I tend not to get to worked up about games journalism anymore, there’s no point in it. It’s fundamentally broken in just too many ways to count. It’s frustrating to wade through so many worthless articles and reviews that it fries your brain cells and makes you wonder what editor was sleeping underneath his/her desk when they allowed said to be published. Sure, not all game journalists are bad, but there’s not very many good ones either.
Reading this reddit post is so ridiculous for me. The redditor in question who posted this article basically feels hurt that the post went viral, and that it puts real issues that game journalists deal with in an overly simplified manner, boo freaking hoo. You can take any serious issue, and spin it into a simple thing.
The ABCs of Game Journalism is a very snark post, and that’s the point. I don’t think the person who posted on reddit really gets that there are OTHER posts there that are ABCs of other things: Marriage, 80’s action movies, Sales, etc.
The reason that post went viral is because of how true it is. I’m going to just go through this reddit post and dissect the guys faultyness in posting this (Italicized is the redditor, Bold is my response):
Yes. The games press lives in expensive cities. Why? That is where the industry is. The symbiotic link. The source for new material. Some can move away. Many do not.
There really isn’t a such a need to live in these areas anymore, most of the news is online and can be snatched from so many other sites you can spin your own preview without having actually played the game, which I’m sure some random journalist does.
Yes. The games press is friendly with PR and Marketing. They are the gatekeepers to the games industry. The games press are the gatekeepers to their readership. A good work relationship benefits both parties.
And that is the biggest problem to the readership. Unless the press universally demands that they get access without having to be cozy to the PR and Marketing, it will only get worse. Do I need to even bring up Mass Effect 3, and how the press was so protective over the game? And that anyone, EVEN people who had legitimate gripes with the game were labeled entitled? I don’t hear of movie critics having to be cozy to movie studios for the next private screening of (insert film/unnecessary sequel here).
Yes. Sites do depend on ad clicks to survive. Free content needs a method of monetization. Responsible and good editorial will know their readership. They will put out good content. It will be read.
How many times do I have to hear a cry fest over people using AdBlock? If a reader chooses to keep obtrusive, distracting ads off of their page, that is their right, and choice, quit trying to make people feel bad about that.
Yes. Some sites abuse agendas. Social responsibility is important. Going too far can be risky. Some sites benefit from this. Some race to the bottom of quality. Depends on editorial staff.
I’m not going to argue this one, the SJW craze really burned me out from paying much attention to game webpages anymore. You either where supportive of the crusade of how old video games (that were based on gameplay, not on story) were misogynist, or you’re a rape apologist. But if some web pages want to say they’re all for equality, yet post garbage that is often unrelated to games, and then still preach that some game makers are sexist pigs, you’re a hypocrite (see Kotaku).
Yes. A lot of games writers are terrible. Unmannered. Unprofessional. Can’t write. Can’t plan. Can’t edit. Some move on to editorial. Some editors are still terrible. Many are not.
Been seeing/saying this for years, moving on.
Yes. For many the endgame is the industry. Most keep writing in other methods. Very few actually develop.
And this is why the distrust stays so strong with the gaming press. It’s not too rare to see well known individuals in the press often going to work for a game company as their PR, or writer, etc.. It’s great they find a better paying job, but it’s sometimes gigantic proof for some of crooked practice that we see all too often in the real world (Senators are often a rotating door of lobbyists for companies).
(Had to break this next paragraph up, same format as before)
Yes. Compensation in games journalism is typically poor. Competition is extreme. Man from previous writeup left games writing for corporate copywriting. Now does games writing as hobby. Now paid more than he could have if he stayed. Other games writers not so lucky.
That was obviously a smart man. I think people who review or do game writing as a hobby are often people who enjoy it more, and can be far more objective than a guy who has to put in at least 20 hours into a game by sundown who still has three more games to finish and review
Quoted from Ben Kuchera formerly of Penny-Arcade Report on news of termination: “My career options are 1) Have a senior position at an online publication focused on games and technology or 2) Walmart greeter.”
This a quote taken completely out of context on TWEETS. I’m pretty sure that Kuchera was kidding on his two options. He worked for Ars Technica, which is a good site, why he left that is beyond me. Penny Arcade Report had promise, but it devolved into just another web page of worthless posts and click baits. Kuchera is rarely a good writer either.
Quoted from Kris Ligman formerly of GamaSutra on news of termination: “Twenty-seven years old and all the marketable skills of a three-legged mule. Goodnight.”
Which brings me to a point that I’m going to repeat, that’s not our fault or issue, that’s yours pal.
A lot of skilled people in games journalism could do things outside of games writing. Many do not.
That is their choice, and probably to their detriment.
Picture this: a job having lackluster pay and no direct marketable skill development that’s occasionally enjoyable. Everyone wants this job. That’s games journalism.
How does games journalism improve from here? How does free content profit when adblock exists? How does compelling content compete when lazy copy can convert? How can press members have social responsibility without it overtaking editorial? How can writers be paid more when the market does not support it?
These are the problems plaguing the industry. Not personal vendettas. Not petty issues. Actual problems. We need to find a balance.
To the audience: how do we solve this?
To the author: WE, THE READERSHIP, DON’T. THAT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. This goes right back to the point I said I’d repeat myself on, that we are not responsible for the problems that plague the gaming press, and passing the responsibility to us is lazy, cheap, easy, and unprofessional.
Gamers just want honest reviews, not tainted by PR speak, and fancy words that press try to use to make their review sound glossier than before. We don’t mind a preview spread that talks about an upcoming game, but quit acting like it’s the second coming of Christ when it’s only getting an 8/10. Quit trying to make every game, including indie games (that five years ago would have been completely forgotten in five minutes of their release) as being “Bold, Daring, FRESH”, when half the time it’s just them using sprite work and animations that PALE in comparison to games from the NEO GEO.
If the press is so concerned over their plight, it is THEIR responsibility to make a better life and profession for themselves, it is not the readership’s job to help with that.
And quit crying about your real life issues, we don’t come to your site for that, we come to read about games. I don’t know why they think we want more than that.