May 9, 2013

The State of Game Journalism

I'm not an expert. I have never tried to be an expert on anything, because there's always someone better. There's always someone who goes that extra mile that I would never think of. However, with the recent stories that have been running in the gaming journalism industry recently, I am beginning to think that the paid professionals of the major publications need to pull their heads out of their asses and either actually print something people want to read, or let me take the helm.

For starters, the whole review system is a mess. People come to review sites because they want to learn about products that they have an interest in buying, and would like to make an informed decision. As of right now, game review sites such as GameInformer, IGN, and Metacritic are not the place to go. It's not just the publishers paying them off with ad revenue, though that is a big part. The writers just let personal feelings get in the way of a review. A review should be an objective analysis of a game, with their overall thoughts on the game added on to the end. Keep in mind, things like graphics and gameplay can be reviewed objectively. There is a difference between the graphics being technically impressive and looking good, for example.

Also, we need to stop going up in arms about every low score. Remember Jeff Gertsmann, who got a bunch of backlash for DARING to give Twilight Princess an 8.8 in this review? He eventually got fired for giving Kane and Lynch a 6.0, pushing Edios to threaten to turn off their ad revenue, proving that reviews are paid off.
There are more of these. Congrats, your fanboyism knows no bounds.

That's not even the worst aspect.

The problem with journalism today, and the reason I decided to write this article in the first place, is everyone's obsession with homophobic or sexist jokes or non-jokes in games. Nowadays, developers can't make the game they want to (that's even if they want to make an original game, but that's another article entirely), without someone jumping down their throat about a line they wrote being “offensive” and asking for the line to be removed. What if I find your articles offensive? Can I have those taken down too? Stop being a spoiled child. The only reason you're even bothering to write a word about it is so you can make money off of other spoiled children.

By the way, it's a four-line joke. She went to the creative director.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have companies like EA, who parade themselves as being pro-gay. Yes, in this day and age, it's an accomplishment to not be an asshole, according to EA. So some of the games they've published have had gay characters. So what? Why should I, a neutral party, care? As long as the character is likeable and what he likes to do with his little soldier isn't the focal point, it shouldn't matter. However, Mass Effect 3 had that exact problem, with Steve Cortez. It's not the fact that he was gay that makes him a bad character. It's the fact that the only thing I can think of about him is that HE IS GAY. He has no interesting qualities about him. At least the other uninteresting crewmates were aliens, so you could say something about them, and the conversations about their cultures were interesting. Cortez's whole character, every time he's onscreen, is “I had a husband, because I like dudes. He died though, and now I'm sad about the not-woman I was in love with. Because I'm gay.”
Translation: "This guy's my favorite because he likes dudes."
And “journalism” sites like Kotaku go for it, because if you have anything bad to say about it, you must be a homophobe, all because there was one gay character. Makes me sick.

The game industry is big enough to allow for a market for journalists who only report on it. That alone wouldn't make sense 20 or even 15 years ago. It's up to the consumer to make decisions on whether to support the people in that market. I've decided to not give views to the people who don't report on anything worthwhile.

What will you do?


  1. The only game I remember playing that had a gay character was Dragon Age: Origins. I thought they did well with it, didn't seem forced, or tale away from their character from what I remember. Haven't played the Mass Effect series yet, so I haven't seen the type of things that you mentioned. I like to see "diversity in games" as ridiculous as that sounds, it just have to flow and not be forced. I also like to see a lack of diversity, when it doesn't make any sense to include it for story or lore purposes.

    I'm trying to type this little by little as I wait for a delivery from Home Depot.

    As far as reviews, I haven't kept up with many review sites or magazines for the most part for a while. I haven't really settled on one. When I was younger, I subscribed to this magazine called PC Gamer that came with a demo disc. I loved that magazine. I realize nowadays everyone has their own opinion of what a review should be, I get the fact that it's someone else's personal take on a game. But with that magazine, they just seemed to be right there, right on par with what I liked. When they gave a game a good review, it always turned out to be something I loved. I guess it also had to do with that particular time in gaming, it was a good time for PC games, like Heroes of Might and Magic, the old style of FPS games like Rise of the Triad were pretty huge, the whole CD Rom era.

    1. IIRC Dragon Age Origins was when Bioware first started their equality agenda. Dragon Age II was when they started blowing it out of proportion. I like diversity as well, but I also want the characters to be good characters, first and foremost.

      Regarding review sites, I mainly picked on Kotaku because at the time I wrote the article they were clickbaiting with every headline, and getting a lot of flak for what certain journalists published. Never read PC Gamer during that era, but if you find that they have opinions similar to yours, feel free to use their input. I advise that you also read the actual review though and see what the person actually has to say. Most review sites use a "if it's below 7 it sucks" system.



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