Thursday, November 5, 2009

being an asshole doesn't make you a journalist

I stopped writing about games about four months ago. It wasn't because of the games. I still play video games every chance i get. I still read about games. I still talk to people about gaming. In actuality, nothing really changed, save for how i felt about gaming.

Back in June, I was enthralled with gaming. I really wanted to get into the gaming industry, to become a journalist, a blogger, a podcaster to get in there with the best of them and talk about the thing i enjoy the most in life next to art. Now. I'm not so sure. It's not because I'm less interested in gaming. that's definitely not the issue. No, It's something that's been gnawing at the back of my head for months now. Something that I could easily ignore, but if I do ignore it it'll just run rampant, and unchecked.

My beef is with you video game journalists.. oooh it's with you.

You're probably reading this and thinking "what bug crawled up this guy's butt?", and I assure you my reasons are purely valid. I've read articles from magazines I've purchased and have equally thrown them down in disgust over things that i knew was both bias and ignorance, I've sat on the computer and read news sent from people who praise someone telling other people to "STFU" as a valid point against people not wanting to have to buy the latest rehash game, or telling PC gamers to "just put out" because a company who's business model is known for only for "exploitable" franchises drops dedicated servers for one of it's popular games.

And this counts for Journalism these days? Bollocks.

And yet the more you really look at it Gaming journalism and Political news pretty much fall within the same category. Sensastionalism. The loudest voices are the ones that are heard. the statements most divorced with reality are the ones that get the most attention. It's an old ploy, but it gets the most hits. But unlike the old pros at Fox ( Faux) news, The gaming journalist has a more relaxed ( vacant) style altogether. You'll never see a journalist on tv use analogies for rape in their debates against why they hate Obama, but you're definitely see it in an article about why you should just shut up and buy the latest "AAA HD masterpiece". Yet since the gaming journalist is a hip edgy facet of the gaming industry, it's totally okay.

You have to also look at the bigger picture when dealing with "frat dog" journalism. Who really benefits from being told to just shut up and buy the game? If you went to gamestop and someone asked you if you wanted to preorder a game and then cut your reply off with "oh stop being a pussy, and get the damn game!", would you really respond with "ok" and comply? Hell no. you'd most likely look at him as if to say "who the hell are you?" and tell him where he can stick his damn game. The gaming journalist, however seems to be in a different boat, not being bound by either logic, or courtesy or consideration for the consumer at all. The journalist is in the business of pimping the next big thing.

You notice it in every article. "_____ is the next thing that'll make you slap your mother, cause it's so good that it'll change the face of gaming". Any skepticism towards that is met with comments akin to Ricky Bobby's endorsement of Big Red. Why? because The more you suckle on the teat of the next big thing, then that company will give you coverage of the next next big thing. You know, that thing that will be bigger than the thing that wasn' t so big when it was supposed to be bigger than the thing before the next big thing.

Maybe journalists should stop being lead around by the nose so much and actually start questioning their own actions. I remember when I was a kid I wanted to be a reporter. I wanted to ask questions and get the inside story on any and everything. As I got older I often felt like I needed to know everything, and developed a seriously ravenous thirst for knowledge. That thirst has been most beneficial in debates, especially in breaking down opinions of people who are happy with an industry that really doesn't like them. Or should I say wants to keep gamers in line to where they'll accept anything that's put out there.

I know this has been an long rant, but I'll end it here with this.

Digital distribution is the "next big thing" being toted around by developers. For those not in the know DD means that not only will you, the consumer not have a physical copy of a 50 or 60 dollar game, you can't return your game, or at least take it to gamestop to turn it into a better purchase. So all those graphically flawless games with zero gameplay or content will sit on your harddrive for better or for worse. Is it not surprising that complaints as to this are met with "Digital Distribution is the future. you guys should just shut up and accept it".

mmmhmm.

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