Sad State of Gaming Journalism (Response) - skippyasqueeze07 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Sad State of Gaming Journalism (Response)

 

Below is my response to blogger Orochisama LEVON, Spectre  (http://www.gameinformer.com/members/lmvalle/default.aspx) in blog form. Do not read this if you haven't read my previous article (http://www.gameinformer.com/blogs/members/b/skippyasqueeze07_blog/archive/2013/04/25/the-sad-state-of-gaming-journalism.aspx)

 and read his comment to it. 

 

I hope this clarifies some questions people may have.

I understand that you disagree and respect your points, but there are a few misinterpretations of what I meant that I feel I must address. Firstly we seem to have a very different idea of how criticism and journalism should work. Writing for an newspaper I can say that writing based on rumors is looked on with a cautious eye. The concept that I found distasteful that you seem to find to be no big deal is that our journalism is advertisement based. I will get to that later though, and let it simply be known that I feel the publishing of dozens of articles a day, many that turn out to be rumors, seems to me a very dubious practice in regard to the trust of the reader, and one that could very easily sustain the advertisement based practice of journalism that I find so distasteful. As for your second half, the relevance of some rumors being true is that which escapes me. There are other ways to generate awareness in media besides through publishing every whisper in the wind piggy-back cited through three gaming news sources beforehand ending in an anonymous email, but I would once again cite Ben Kuchera, a writer I don't always agree with but seems to have an alright perspective on the state of our journalistic industry. I would refer you to article 1, at the end of this comment.

 

The section pertaining to my statement on the imperative for gaming to be considered as an art form in order for longevity, I think you misunderstood my statement and then padded your argument with the very same logical fallacy is before. I never at any point said that gaming wasn't considered as an art form. I also at no point said that people who don't pay games as art are doing anything less valid than those who do. I simply said that for the long term, gaming has to evolve. Consider it this way, music was once considered base, a trifle for peasants. For music to flourish though, it needed symphonies and expression. That is just as relevant with games. While gaming started out as a toy, ( a toy that I love, mind you) in order for there to be any long term hope, we need to have our classical music along with our electronic dance music, our poetry along with our ten cent romance novels, and our super hero comics with our graphic novels. In order for our medium to continue in the long term I stand by the opinion that if things just stayed as Mario and Angry Birds, they would not have grown into the complex flower they now are. Yes there is still a place for more Nintendo and God of War, and those who love them are valid (myself included of course), but we needed Bioshock and Half Life 2 and Shadow of the Colossus. They were important to the medium's growth, and that is why it is important for journalism, paid adult professionals, feel the valid imperative to champion gaming as they not only should financially but also for the sake of the art form they love. And by the way:

art form (Noun): A conventionally established form of artistic composition, such as the novel, sonata, or sonnet.

Any activity regarded as a medium of imaginative or creative self-expression.

 

Since I was using gaming as all aspects of a video game, development and design included, games are not only a physical object but an art form, just as paint isn't technically an art form as a physical object but the reader knows what the writer means when he says it is, he speaks of the act of painting not simply a colored dye.

 

Moving on from that silly detail, the fact that you say my opinion isn't shared from everyone puzzles me, for what else is an opinion but a perspective that others do not share? The fact that you enjoy IGN is also not relevant, because I am not writing about the lack of enjoyability of the journalism but rather about the detriment certain styles have to the validity to game criticism as a whole. To put in other words, IGN's review statistics are not something to be proud of, to a point where they praise games higher than they should while ignoring flaws. Of course an opinion is an opinion, but critics are assigned to tell others the nuances of their 60 dollar investment. If there is even a whisper of a flaw, it should be mentioned, or what is the point of writing? Writers are not just meant to tell what they think of a game, but also to try to predict what others may think. This is something you may disagree with, but that is fine, since I have resigned to write an article about the review system of journalism being broken in the future for you to agree with or disagree with more fully.

 

Kotaku has written droves of the worst articles I have ever read, from Patricia Hernandez writing a modernist-feminist blog masquerading as gaming journalism (see articles 2-4) to other writer's spewing out articles of perfect inanity (see articles 5-7). Or if you'd like you could just consult the entire blog on why Kotaku is an example of bad gaming journalism. While it is a logical fallacy to point out a bad article to prove that the whole is bad, I have now given you an entire blog devoted to pointing out their flows in hope of removing any doubt that they consistently represent shoddy journalism.

 

Game Informer is a writer I like, but they are without their flaws. As for your statement about Final Fantasy and the Darkness, it is irrelevant, since I was writing about how the hype train shouldn't exist in the first place, not whether it crashes and burns before hitting the final stop. Game Informer's flaw is that of all journalists, and one I'd like to get rid of. They are both critics and advertisers, two contrasting jobs that should NEVER mix. Those two professions give them contrasting interests and force them to either set themselves up for contradiction the second their hype fails, or force them to agree with themselves despite flaws to avoid backpedaling. (I can provide examples for both if you'd like, but I can assume that you can think of a few of these yourself, comment with a request if you'd like for me to search.)

 

As I said, I like Game Informer, they do tackle some ignored themes, and I never said they didn't. But they do have flaws and ignoring them is counterproductive to furthering our standards in journalistic quality.

 

Next comes our most poignant miscommunication, that about what I said about Bioshock, Portal, and Minecraft. Stating the "under the radar" quality to them didn't make clear at what time they were in this state, and I unfortunately assumed the reader would get what I meant when I said it. After release Bioshock, Portal, and Minecraft were all huge hits, sure. They were all, though, surprise hits. They weren't well advertised beforehand or weren't advertised at all. People bought the Orange Box for Team Fortress and Half Life, expecting Portal to be a solid distraction rather than debatably the best game on the disk. The series is now bigger than the game people bought the Orange Box for is. Bioshock wasn't advertised very well either, and was almost a flop, and flourished from word of mouth rather than through any hype train. Minecraft was an indie title developed by one man with little to no advertisement that quickly became an overnight success, though admittedly that success came during the alpha stage people paid for it then, as I played it far before it went Gold, and I would have to say it's success was through word of mouth also rather than through the advertising it had. They were all "under the radar" in my mind, but since you want citation I can give you some. In the book "All Your Base is Belong to Us," endorsed by Matt Helegeson I believe (See Article 8) there is an entire chapter on the surprise hit of Bioshock. For my information on Minecraft, see the documentary on the same titled Minecraft: the Story of Mojang. (see Article 9). As for the first statement about portal, I'll admit that you have me stumped citation wise. I believe I could find an article stating surprise that Portal became so huge when people bought it from the Orange Box, but I can only admit to being able to cite first hand accounts of a few of my friends and family buying the game for Half Life 2 and being surprised to find Portal comparably good.

 

As for your final paragraph I have already made clear that I will write a lengthy article in the future about why I think our 10 point scoring system is broken, and so I won't get into it in detail now, but I will go so far as to say that it is relevant since I think this system is a reflection of the problem I have been stating of journalists glossing over flaws while applauding successes, I feel like the scoring system is built to show a gross increase in quality where there has been increases in some aspects while decreases in others. It is in no way obstinate to disagree with a review, as you seem to think, and I disagree because I think the perspective of what makes a game perfect is different than others. If you would rate Arkham City and Uncharted 2 perfect 10/10's, that is fine, but I will continue to be upset about gamers calling Bioshock Infinite perfect or deserving of a perfect score. That will have to simply be something we disagree with.

 

Finally I fixed my error, thank you for the help in that respect, and I would like to thank you for reading my blog and putting a critical eye to it. I wasn't able to say everything I wanted to in my article (800 word minimum) and you gave me a chance to clarify many of my points. There is nothing more exciting to me as a journalist than to find someone who disagrees with me. It is interesting and challenging to rectify their ideas with mine and see if I can learn something new from it. You have done that and more, and so once again I thank you. Below are my aforementioned articles, and if you have any questions or want more citation for some of my thoughts I will do everything I can to give it.

 

Article 1:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/article/bad-linking-plagiarism-and-re-writes-how-game-journalism-is-its-own-worst-e

 

Article 2:

http://kotaku.com/5914348/three-words-i-said-to-the-man-i-defeated-in-gears-of-war-that-ill-never-say-again

 

Article 3:

http://kotaku.com/5910857/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is

 

Article 4:

http://kotaku.com/5911853/straight-white-male-is-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is-a-follow+up

 

Article 5:

http://kotaku.com/5932081/has-glados-from-portal-invaded-the-olympics

 

Article 6:

http://kotaku.com/5484581/japan-its-not-funny-anymore

 

Article 7:

http://kotaku.com/5748753/watch-my-pink-hands-get-warm

 

Article 8:

http://www.amazon.com/All-Your-Base-Are-Belong/dp/0307463559

 

Article 9:

http://www.2playerproductions.com/projects/minecraft

 

 

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