Bear with me here, things are going to get a bit rambly and train-of-thoughty. Yes, it’s a phrase.
This morning I went to a Rock Band 4 press event, where I got to try out the game.
I wrote up this preview article detailing my thoughts. Long story short, my opinion was that at this stage it didn’t seem to be revolutionising things by any means, but that was fine because it was still Rock Band and that’s good enough for me.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s completely fine to be negative in a preview. Some believe that publications are scared to badmouth a game at preview stage because they might be denied review code, but as long as the publication is fair about it then publishers are actually usually okay with it.
In reality, the reason most of us don’t go too hard on games at a preview stage is because they’re just that: previews. The game isn’t finished yet, and much of the stuff that gamers like to read about and discuss – the graphics, the frame rate and so on – aren’t really finalised until the eleventh hour of development.
Slamming a game at preview stage for having a bad frame rate is like saying someone’s three-year-old won’t end up going to university because they draw on the walls: that shit needs a chance to get sorted out and, in time, it usually is. Of course, sometimes it isn’t, and that’s why we have both prisons and Ninjabread Man. But you have to give the benefit of the doubt.
In general though, criticising a game at preview stage can be fine and I’ve done it plenty of times in the past. What isn’t fine, however, is the article I read today. Now, this is probably massively unprofessional of me but, strictly speaking, I’m not a professional any more so to hell with it.
Before the Rock Band 4 event which took place in London today, there was one in California. As is often the case, American press events are more lavish than British ones: for Rock Band 4 we were in the basement of a pub, whereas the Americans were on the rooftop of an expensive hotel. In terms of metaphors you can’t get much stronger than that.
I can’t comment on whether this leads to a difference in media ethics between American and UK press: having never worked for a US publication it would be ignorant of me to suggest otherwise. That isn’t my point though. My point is this.
Imagine you’re on a website. Polygon, say. Imagine you’re looking forward to Rock Band 4. Imagine you see an article on the site offering a preview of Rock Band 4. Then imagine clicking it and having the following presented to you. Go ahead and read it and decide on your own conclusion before reading mine.
Here’s my take on it. Simply put, if you’re covering a game and you care so little about the game that you don’t even have the decency to pay attention to it, then – and pardon my vernacular here – fuck directly off.
The sheer contempt this article has for the game in question is breathtaking. Bear in mind here, it’s this person’s job to report on video games. On this particular day he has been sent to cover Rock Band 4. It doesn’t matter if he couldn’t care less about it or, as his writing implies, thinks it’s beneath him. It’s his fucking job.
Sometimes we do things we don’t want to do. Do you think sewage workers adore wading through shite? Can you imagine an estate agent putting up an ad for someone’s flat and writing “personally I don’t care for this apartment at all”?
It has always been my opinion that when a journalist makes themselves the story instead of the game they’re supposed to be covering, they’ve failed at doing their job.
Even when they write articles about how games affected them personally, the best writers still make sure the focus is directly on the games themselves. This amazing piece Christian Donlan wrote about how games are helping him through multiple sclerosis is as personal as you can get, and yet despite how much he opens up and shares so much about his private life with us, the overriding message is still “games are amazing”. When you finish reading it you’re more in love with this wonderful hobby than ever.
Then you’ve got this Rock Band article, in which the writer tells us how instead of checking out the game we clicked a link to read about, he instead chose to be “standing at a safe distance, drinking fizzy water, eating puff pastry canapes and chatting to another colleague about politics in the Philippines”.
Well, I couldn’t give a seventeenth of a fuck about what you have to say about politics in the Philippines. I clicked your link on your site, which is paying your wages, to read about the game you were sent to cover, and instead you have the gall to not only not bother doing so, but also go out of your way to essentially tell me “mate, I don’t like the game you’re interested in, so I’m not going to waste my time looking into it for you”.
I get it. You don’t like Rock Band. Hey, to each their own. One man’s Super Mushroom is another man’s Poison Mushroom. But when I go to McDonalds because I feel like eating something unhealthy I don’t expect the guy behind the counter to tell me “Big Macs are shit” and lock up his till.
It isn’t just the writer who makes me angry here (though let’s be clear: he definitely does). It’s the entire process.
Here’s a story. A few days before I was due to start at CVG my editor-to-be Andy called me up. “Mate, there’s a press trip to Sweden next week to look at some Paradox Interactive games”, he told me. “Do you fancy going and covering them for us?”.
Now, considering I hadn’t even started yet and I was looking to impress my new boss, it would have been in my best interests to accept his request and dig out the passport. But here’s the thing: Paradox Interactive specialises in strategy games. Not just standard turn-based efforts like your Fire Emblems, but enormous grand historical efforts. I know some people adore that sort of thing but frankly, I can’t think of anything worse.
So I turned Andy down. “To be honest mate, those games aren’t really my kind of thing,” I told him. “I’d be a bit out of my depth.”
Rather than think “this prick isn’t a team player”, Andy understood because he realised, as any good editor should, that sending someone who isn’t even remotely interested in a game is essentially a waste of time. We’re called ‘specialist press’ for a reason, and if you don’t send a specialist who knows the genre enough to not only report on a game but also analyse it and comment on it, you might as well just ask for a press release.
What stuns me about this article is the triple dose of bad decisions surrounding it. Firstly, whoever commissioned this didn’t sufficiently check that the writer cared or knew enough about the game’s genre to be the right person to cover it. I find it very hard to believe that nobody at Polygon cares about Rock Band: they’re hipster, but not that hipster.
Secondly, there’s the obvious issue of the article itself: a pretentious pile of bumwash about a nonplussed writer’s experience at a shit rooftop party which happened to have some sort of music game or something playing in the background, I dunno, I wasn’t paying attention.
And finally, this article was actually submitted, approved and published without anyone saying “wait a minute, this isn’t good enough, you didn’t put a shred of effort in here”.
The cynic in me thinks the article was posted just to rile people up and get hits. And by posting this article moaning about it, I suppose if that’s the case then I’ve fallen for it. But the optimist in me hopes there was just a breakdown in communications somewhere and it went up unchecked.
What annoys me most of all, though, is how little appreciation this writer seems to have for the fortunate position he finds himself in.
There are likely tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of people around the world who would kill to be a professional games journalist. For all the moaning about media ethics and GamerGate and all that shite, there are an enormous number of gamers – including those who give the industry constant abuse – who would give anything to do this job.
It may be stressful at times (as I detailed in a previous article) and it may be low-paying, but it’s still getting to play the newest video games before anyone else and getting paid to do so. It’s still the dream job.
As I keep boring people by telling them, I’ve been doing this for nine years now. This morning I still hopped out of bed with a smile on my face because I was getting to see a new game today.
I’ve always said that the day I stop caring about this job is the day I stop doing it. But ultimately this was a decision that was taken out of my hands when CVG closed down and I was made redundant.
And that’s why this article really infuriates me: because while countless people – now including me again – are writing stuff like this entirely unpaid because we love doing it and would kill to make it our job (again, in my case), there are writers like this guy who are being paid to show a complete disregard for this dream job so many are desperate to get just a taste of.
So this is my open advice to all games journalists who don’t give a shit: quit. Go drink your fizzy water and talk about Filipino politics elsewhere, and give up your job for someone who has a passion for this and wants to share that passion with others. If you feel that events like the one you attended are wasting your time, then stop fucking wasting ours.
Here on Tired Old Hack, I am committed to positive coverage of video games. Too many sites are putting a negative, cynical spin on this incredible industry (the above being one of the most blatant examples) and I refuse to go down that route.
This site is a celebration of gaming. My aim is to have you leaving my site with a smile on your face and an urge to play more games, not a frown and a feeling that your favourite hobby is going down the toilet. Because it really isn’t.
We live in a time where there are more fantastic games than ever before, many of which can be bought for only a handful of quid, or sometimes not even that.
We have games where we can turn into squids and cover arenas in paint, or jump into massive robots and destroy cities, or explore a beautifully accurate representation of the Nostromo from Alien, or race go-karts up a waterfall.
And yet many of us spend our times moaning and whining about DLC and resolutions and free-to-play gaming.
Well, not on here.
On here we celebrate.
For more about Tired Old Hack, who I am and my background, check out the site’s About FAQ.
Alternatively, if you’d like to read more of my thoughts on the games industry, here’s Part 1 and Part 2 of my article on the corrupt* world of games reviews. Which, sorry folks, isn’t actually as corrupt as you’d think.
Finally, are you a developer? Want someone to actually play your game rather than simply stand in the same room as it? I’m guaranteeing coverage of your game (note: this will be a review, so may be either positive or negative), regardless of the scale of your project. Enter the Tired Old Hack Developer Open Invitational if you’re interested.
Update: I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting this article along with a GamerGate hashtag. Let me be clear: I do not support a movement that calls into question the credibility of the job I spent nearly a decade doing. Numerous GamerGate members in the past have directly accused me of corruption with absolutely no evidence, purely because of what my job was. My comments on this article are in no way an indication of widespread corruption in the games media. One poorly written preview does not industry-wide shadiness make.
I also refuse to give my blessing to a group of which a proportion of its members harass women. I politely ask that you respect this: I am not going to get involved in any arguments about it. I’ve already wasted enough of my life being lectured by the illiterati on how feminism is apparently the worst thing ever, and I’m not prepared to indulge any more.
Apologies if you support the movement and the above disclaimer offends you in any way, but try to deal with it. Arguing with me about it is fruitless: I won’t be swayed.
Got to feel sorry for a guy who’s being paid to go to hotels and play videogames for free. Oh wait no you don’t. I’m not a fan of games like Rock Band myself but if someone said “Hey, wanna go play this game at a fancy hotel with free food with a bunch of people and write a preview on it,” I’d frigging do it because that sounds like a fun experience at least. I lost interest in reading that article after the first couple of paragraphs and it angers me how little this guy seems to care for his job. Where I work, I have to be enthusiastic whether I feel like it or not. It can’t be hard to do that when your work consists of you playing videogames.
I wouldn’t recommend even given Polygon a second glance. Back when Mario Kart 8 came out, someone on that site wrote a whole article about how Mario Kart is, like, one of the lowest selling franchises ever or some BS (I’d also like to add they later reported how Mario Kart 8 broke sales figures and STILL stuck to what they wrote).
I absolutely fucking love you, Chris.
In this case, you get to say ‘fuck professionalism’ in my opinion, this Colin dipshit didn’t write a professional article (professionalism is more about attitude than getting paid – trust me, I know, I’m a musician) and so doesn’t deserve your professionalism. Part of a handful of games journos who I believe are deluding themselves that they’re Hunter Thompson and writing ‘Gonzo’ journalism, when all they are is self obsessed bores (hunter was both interesting and funny and made it seem effortless).
Anyway, been loving the blog since the demise of the best game site/mag ever and just had to poke my head out of my lurkey corner to say thanks for writing this. More please.
Chis this is an excellent article. You said it much better than I could’ve concerning everything wrong with where the industry is headed. To call out Polygon (the worst mainstream culprits of being cynical dickheads) I really don’t think their writers actually enjoy video games or devs at all. in fact I wonder if maybe their writers actually hate them. However, I know they do love having an open place to talk about how much they dislike everyone and everything.
I often feel like many modern gaming journalists tried to emulate Matt Casamassina and his work for N64.com, but they forget that in his prime as a writer how positive and how much Matt actually loved games for the shear joy of what they were.
Well, things sure have changed. No wonder Nintendo is having trouble finding audiences nowadays as the gaming “journalists” have become too angry and cynical to appreciate Nintendo’s zany enthusiasm.
God help us all
The Polygon piece was an exceptionally disappointing read, and your well-stated reaction mirrors my own thoughts.
I’m sorry, but nobody cares that the writer here isn’t a fan of the series, or the music, or anything else. Nobody cares about his struggle with being tabbed to cover a game that he obviously couldn’t care less about if he tried. It comes off as a punishment piece that a school-age child had to write because he cheated on a test. It does zero service to the reader and zero service to the website– unless drawing in traffic to see how criminally awful the article is happens to be a service.
Some days, we don’t like our jobs. As professionals, though, we understand that it’s a private feeling. We don’t go making a public event of it, as the Polygon piece does. I lose a lot of respect for the writer and for the place that publishes such material when stuff like this happens. He’s not covering a war or how waste water treatment plants operate. It’s a video game. A GAME.
MATE. Come on now. Games are utter shit these days.
If they’re not 59fps, which LITERALLY makes my eyes ooze with pus, then they’re only, like, 900p, and QUITE FRANKLY that’s not what I pay £50 for. £50! And probably HOURS of my time.
I mean, everyone knows that developers just spend all day swimming in their pools of molten gold and sipping mimosas or some shit. The LEAST they could do is add another frame per second. I don’t know anything about computers or software but I’m PRETTY SURE you just have to write “+1 frame per second” in the code. DUH.
Anyway, you’re wrong, and as a well-informed and very, very smart man (definitely not a lady, they only pretend to like games to make manly men like me think they aren’t lizard people in skin suits) I will have to say that I am disappointed in you for even CONSIDERING that journalists have a job to do, and that the very NATURE of their job is to fucking do what they’re asked to do. I work in a bank, and all the bosses say “don’t steal all the money and put it in your pocket please” but I BLOODY DO IT ANYWAY. So there.
You have outmatched me, ‘sir’.
I was inspired to apply at Polygon https://blindjournalist.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/i-applied-to-polygon-with-this-cover-letter/
Sir, I tip my hat to you for saying so eloquently what we have all been thinking.
I don’t have much to add, other than that I completely agree with this. I’ve long given up on my dream of working in games writing. Maybe I wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for the cynical pricks who seem to be rising to the top.
Excellent article. Sums up my feelings perfectly, probably better than I could have done myself. As you say, I would have killed to be at that party, paid or not. So thank you. I’m off to hit that follow button up there.
There’s nothing wrong with the Polygon article.
Why do we need to be told how “good” Rock Band 4 is? In the grand echelon of gaming, Rock Band is a thing of the past. There are more exciting, interesting innovative music games out there (Rocksmith). Rock Band 4 offers nothing new or interesting. Which is why that article is good. It shows the perspective of a outsider who has no passing interest in it, and confirms that Rock Band 4 is nothing more than just more Rock Band. Which is okay if you like Rock Band.
It’s like the Twisted Metal game for PS3. It’s more Twisted Metal. That’s good for Twisted Metal fans, but for anyone who was looking for a evolution or something new and innovative in car combat games, it offered nothing. Which is what Rock Band 4 is. It doesn’t do anything exciting. It’s just more Rock Band.
Smug political awareness aside, the article was totally fine. In fact, i’d take more issue with this article. The writer pulls the “But I do it for free and unappreciated!” card, which is unacceptable if they ever want to be seen as a serious writer. If you’re a fan of something, the gaming companies will exploit you to write about how great their product is. That doesn’t help ANYONE. Instead of a look at the merits of the game and new perspectives it becomes just another example of the gaming press fellating the gaming developers. What critical and analytical perspective are you going to provide for a game series you already have a interest in? And a vested one at that.
Polygon didn’t invite you to cover the event because they knew you’d eat up every word that Harmonix would give out. You’d pass over the technical problems and facade of playing because you “get along with Harmonix PR people.” Polygon did a brave thing. They didn’t let the gaming publishers manipulate the gaming press. I say bravo to Polygon.
With respect, I believe a lot of that is nonsense. Polygon didn’t invite me to cover the event because 1) It was based in the US and I live in London, and 2) I have never made myself known to Polygon’s editors.
Also, if you read the preview article I wrote on Rock Band 4 based on the UK event I attended today you will see that I did not in fact “pass over the technical problems” and made a point of mentioning them. I object to the insinuation that I am not suitable for covering games because I may somehow be an ‘easy’ journalist and too willing to write blindly positive articles. I pride myself on telling it like it is.
And, frankly, we need to be told how good Rock Band 4 is because the article is a preview of Rock Band 4. If the game offers nothing new or interesting then Polygon shouldn’t have sent anyone to cover it and should instead have assigned the writer a game they felt deserved coverage. If the message of the article was simply “Rock Band is no longer new or interesting” then there was no need to attend an event for that: such an article could have just been written in the office.
As for me “pulling the ‘I do it for free and unappreciated’ card”, I did this job paid for nine years and continue to do it unpaid because I love writing about games. I don’t do it for appreciation, otherwise my articles would be similar to the Polygon piece. If my articles only get ten hits each I’ll still write them, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be sore that someone who seemingly doesn’t enjoy doing it is getting paid for it.
But how would they know Rock Band 4 offers nothing new or exciting to new players without attending the event?
How much more self congratulatory can the gaming public withstand from game journalists and developers? Preview events aren’t preview events; they’re wankfests for the developers to be told how great they are. It’s like the american system of everyone gets a award. Polygon had the balls to spin it on it’s head and call out the event for what it is.
Why was Harmonix pretending their game is some kind of superstar simulator? Why was the game shown on a rooftop with high quality expensive pastries other than to elicit feelings from the gaming press and to court biased opinion on their pre-alpha gameplay? I didn’t mean to direct the finger solely at you, but you also fell hook line and sinker into their marketing. This Polygon author didn’t; he realized how inane the event was and that the game is nothing new or fancy.
I covered Liverpool FC for a LONG time for a major paper. If Liverpool had even thrown a press event about the unveiling of the pre-production pencil drawings of their newest kit on top of the Empire Theatre with expensive pastries it would’ve raised a few eyebrows. The gaming press is disgusting in it’s tactics and even more when people like yourself like to shine the “But we live the dream! Gamer cred!!!” card to justify it. You think I deserve to write articles about how great Liverpool is even when they lose because I “have the best job in the world and love the club”? No.
There’s a avenue for those kind of articles, and it’s Liverpool TV.
I’ve had enough of the circle jerk in gaming.
This is also in addition to the fact that you literally retweeted the main marketing and publishing person of a major corporation who gains more by positive previews than negative ones as a sign of “a job well done.” Disgusting. How do you justify that Chris?
I strongly object to your suggestion that I “fell hook line and sinker into [Harmonix’s] marketing”. If you have evidence that my opinion of the game was swayed by the conditions of the event then kindly present it.
With respect, you seem to be implying that no games journalist is capable of forming their own opinion: that somehow by having a pastry waved under their nose that instantly makes them the puppet of the publisher. That’s complete nonsense and frankly insulting to my intelligence.
I have written plenty of previews in the past where I haven’t liked what I’ve seen and said so. I happened to like what I saw of Rock Band 4. You have no right to tell me my own opinion was wrong.
As for me retweeting Major Nelson’s praise, I was happy to receive recognition from a notable member of the games industry and was happy to share it. I’m not sure how that’s anything other than transparent – would you rather it was a secret handshake out of sight from the public? Only when that tweet leads to me blindly promoting something Xbox-related can you then draw an association with corruption, but I warn you: you’ll be waiting a hell of a long time.
Sorry friend, but if you’re trying to find corruption or unethical behaviour from myself, you might as well be looking for bacon in a synagogue.
I’m not looking for corruption, I’m looking for you to be smarter and realize that his entire existence is to further the brand of Xbox and one aspect of that is getting good previews to drive preorders. Of course he doesn’t want negative previews. If you honestly think he’d ever say otherwise as someone who receives a check from any major corporation in the video game industry is silly; equally so on a corporate account.
I’m sorry to say your opinion of Rock Band is wrong; I didn’t mean to imply it that way, but I think you’re wrong to imply the Polygon’s writer opinion is any less valid than yours. If he didn’t like the game, then he’s the PERFECT person to send to a preview event. He’s not going to see the game with rose tinted glasses that a fan of the series would. He’s going to be even more impressed if they managed to do more with it.
Yes, his nonsensical political flamboyancy was off putting and un-needed, but it’s embarrassing to have you put personal insults at him because he “doesn’t appreciate the job”. I’m sure he enjoys it just as much as you. He probably wanted to be wowed by Rock Band. He wasn’t. His title of his article was what all previews boil down to. “More of the same.”
Look, you aren’t getting what I’m saying here. Had the Polygon writer played the game and delivered a negative opinion, that would be completely fine. Like I say, I have no problem with negative previews: I’ve written plenty in the past.
My issue is that he didn’t even have an opinion on the game, because he freely admits he didn’t play it and instead stood in the corner drinking and talking politics. When your job is to write a preview of the game, you’re expected to play the thing and give an opinion based on what you played.
My issue is not that he may have disliked the game, it’s that he didn’t even give it the courtesy of his attention when his job requires him to do so.
All this stuff about press events swaying journalists and him breaking the trend by being honest is complete nonsense – he didn’t do his job by checking out the game and as such didn’t give a valid opinion on it, be that positive or negative.
You say: “If he didn’t like the game, then he’s the PERFECT person to send to a preview event.” It’s exactly this negative attitude that I hate. People read games publications because they’re fans of gaming and want to be excited about upcoming games – sending someone who explicitly dislikes a game to cover it is just a terrible way of doing things.
Yes, he might be pleasantly surprised and we’ll end up with a lovely article on how someone saw the light. But 19 times out of 20 you’ll get exactly what you’d expect: them saying “yup, I still hate it”. Meanwhile, the readers who actually do care about the game or genre are left none the wiser.
And kindly don’t tell me I need to “be smarter” – I know how this business works. I didn’t spend four years getting a journalism degree and taking various media law and ethics courses to be lectured on how to handle relationships with PRs.
“Why do we need to be told how “good” Rock Band 4 is? In the grand echelon of gaming, Rock Band is a thing of the past. There are more exciting, interesting innovative music games out there (Rocksmith).”
Yes, I absolutely adore getting all of my friends around to play Rocksmith. Oh wait…it’s a single-player game. Sorry, learning tool.
In short, do fuck off. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about, and you make that abundantly clear from your very first chicken-pecked sentence: “There’s nothing wrong with the Polygon article.”
To say “Polygon did a brave thing. They didn’t let the gaming publishers manipulate the gaming press. I say bravo to Polygon.” is a lovely piece of comedy. You’re saying that this writer, who wouldn’t have written ANYTHING about Rock Band 4 was it not for the rooftop party and the puff pastries (provided by the publisher) was not manipulated into writing about the game by the publisher’s rooftop party and puff pastries? That’s what you’re sayng? He went from a point of no interest to a point of writing an article entitled “Rock Band 4 is doing a lot of the fun things you want it to do” BECAUSE of the publisher’s “manipulation.”
And Rock Band 4 actually does quite a lot of exciting things. Things that will be appreciated by fans and those who haven’t played the game before. If you’d played any of the RB titles, you’d realise that the changes are actually quite significant in places.
You’re an absolute imbecile, sir. Blinded by the absolute trash that Polygon come out with on a daily basis. You keep on telling yourself that you’re sat with the cool kids. We’ll just sit here and laugh at you.
I’m saying he went to the event and saw it for the farce it was; a company trying to pretend their pre-alpha gameplay was anything more than what it was; just more of the same. But continue with the personal insults instead, i’m sure that’s really helping you out in your career.
The issue with the Polygon article, which I read first, before being directed here by some comments on that article, is not that it offers a unique perspective on a possibly tired trend in gaming. The issue is that the article was presented to the readers as a preview of the game, and instead almost entirely focused on the authors own dislike for the genre and game which he was sent to preview.
I wouldn’t have minded one bit if he had spent his time discussing why this particular iteration of the Rock Band franchise provided nothing new beyond the novelty of “playing” popular music on a plastic guitar. In fact, I would have loved for him to have outlined some of the new features coming in Rock Band 4, and explained why he, as someone who doesn’t generally enjoy this type of game, felt that these features didn’t make the game any more worthwhile.
The issue is that people like myself frequent Polygon as a source for news about upcoming games that we’re excited about. I personally can’t wait to get my hands on Rock Band 4, because I loved all the first 3, and am just about ready to drop another 100 bucks or so on the new version. I clicked on that article excited to hear some new tidbits of information about the game, and instead read a very sad story about a man who went to a party he didn’t enjoy where people were exhuberantly playing a game he didn’t like. Simply put, Colin didn’t do his job. Had the piece been labeled as Opinion, there wouldn’t have been a problem. As it stands, it was supposed to preview the current state of Rock Band 4, and it didn’t do that in the slightest.
“There’s nothing wrong with the Polygon Article”
Well, that’s a bit of an exageration, specially since it’s more of a self-congratulatory piece for the author rather than something that gives any insight on the game or even the industry which it is a part of.
I get it, in theory an additional perspective is good for us all, hooray! But a perspective from someone who doesn’t care about the subject is about as useful as the perspective of a surgeon on Mars’ climate. It might make for somehting never seen, but once you get to it you’ll realize it is something devoid of substance and more of a gimmick.
And besides that, I think the perspective of an outsider who hasn’t cared much about the game is of dubious value. For starters, people who don’t care about the game (such as myself) won’t read an article about it, they just can’t be arsed. And if there’s something I would care less about rockband, is whatever other people who don’t care have to say about it. You have to be a petulant man to think there’s something worth reading there, but “hey!, let’s bring up politics in the Phillipines because I do have some great insights on the politics of a country who elected a professional boxer into their house of representatives.
We don’t necessarily need to be told how good Rock Band 4 is. If it’s not very good, he should tell us that it’s not very good, and give us reasons why it’s not very good.
Instead, he talked about how much he doesn’t care about the genre, and then, while not actually saying it in such words, he heavily implied that he never actually played the game that he’s writing a preview of, choosing instead to sit, and engage in unrelated conversations with other people at the event.
As someone who is looking for information about the new Rock Band, that article failed spectacularly on every single level. I learned absolutely nothing about the game.
If he wants to write an opinion piece about why he doesn’t care about music games, go right ahead, but don’t write that piece, and pass it off as a preview of a new game in the series. That’s disrespectful to your readers, and Polygon should be ashamed of even posting the article in that manor.
Okay, I didn’t see these thoughts in the replies above, so here goes:
You said “[Mr. Scullion]’d pass over the technical problems” (I doubt that’s true, but whatever), but the thing is, that’s exactly what the Polygon article did. It did not contain enough detail to do that – in fact, it passed over describing the new Rock Band in any detail at all. I didn’t learn anything except for Mr. Campbell’s disdain for Rock Band and that he was too busy chatting to his friend to care about the event. (Mr. Campbell didn’t even tell us the details of his conversation beyond the general category, which would have at least made the article a bit more interesting.)
It barely even criticised the game or genre as a whole, let alone this version of it. Well, it briefly talked about the ‘pressing coloured buttons in a rhythm’ thing, which is a bit like critiquing Bejeweled for its reliance on swapping algorithmically-generated coloured gems to get rows of four. It might not be for you, but lots of people find it entertaining, cathartic, and, yes, fun. And there was that jab at Activision and their policy of ‘burn out both the developers and customers in the pursuit of money’, which is something everyone is already against and something that, hopefully, publishers are realising the badness of. But I digress.
The point is that if this is that if these are the problems the writer chooses to talk about – vague, ethereal things with little detail – rather than problems with the game itself, how this version works, here and now? If the key takeaway from the piece is not “here’s what’s in this version of Rock Band, good or bad” but “Mr. Campbell doesn’t really like Rock Band and wishes he was elsewhere”? Well, it’s not a very good preview at all, is it?
It had to be said, and you’ve said it all too well, Chris. So disheartening to see articles written with zero effort which are completely irrelevant to the topic at hand becoming more and more frequently featured on huge publications such as Polygon. Like thousands of others, I’d give anything to attend press events and cover upcoming games for a living, so shite like that is just sickening to read. Just outrageously unacceptable and unprofessional journalism.
I don’t think treating the job as sacred is necessarily a good thing (that can lead to terrible pay and conditions), but there’s no denying it’s highly regarded and something thousands of people do for free.
That preview… is baffling. The writer outright says he doesn’t want to be there.
“I don’t care about rock music. I dislike crowds and I dislike loud noises.”
“Look, sometimes in this job you gotta cover games you don’t really give a stuff about.”
Who do we feel more sorry for – the publisher/developer that brought this guy to a ‘pricey hotel’ only to have him give precisely zero shits about covering their product despite that being his job? The readers who gained nothing from this non-article but an excessive amount of personal information about the writer? Or the writer himself, who displays a total lack of enthusiasm for such a sought-after job?
I always say on Twitter, whenever somebody throws a Polygon article my way, that their writers -hate- video games… because they really do, and nowhere is it clearer than articles like this – being so disinterested in a product you are paid (no matter how poorly) to cover should be career suicide in a field as openly contested as games journalism – one where enthusiasts do the same job as the professionals for free or as-good-as-free, out of their love for the medium. The fact it isn’t is a big problem, much bigger than some nebulous approximation of ethical standards in the enthusiast press, the framerates of the latest Codfield Warfighter shooty bang shoot shoot; or games shipping unfit for purpose, crashing or bricking your expensive games system.
But that’s all beside the point I want to make here. I’m fed up of “cynical” games journalism becoming the new “angry” gaming journalism, the plague of Youtube webshows and gaming blogs circa 5 years ago; it devalues the increasingly rare people who manage to pull it off, and it merely contributes to this “the entire industry’s fucked” air that sites like Polygon like to perpetuate for precious clicks. The industry’s far from fucked – 40 hours spent playing a game about squidkids I’ve owned for maybe four days says otherwise, as does the absolute wealth of cracking games that have been released in the past 6 months alone, not to mention the future, looking brighter than ever with a boatload of great stuff to look forward to, both big budget and indie. The fact these people are getting paid, and the fact we’re technically giving them lip service by even discussing them, is more harmful to the industry than any mediocre preview article more concerned with the political climate in the Philippines will ever be.
Reblogged this on neowarden.
> I also refuse to give my blessing to a group of which a proportion of its members harass women.
Man, that’s like every politically active group. Even some feminists harass some women for being the wrong kind of feminist or otherwise not feminist enough.
And that’s why I don’t really give my blessing to any polticially active group. I believe in what I believe in and don’t wish to be seen to be endorsing any movement.
This kind of attitude is why solidarity is dead, and all politics is controlled by cabals of monied interests nowadays.
If you reduce everything to an atomized, individual decision, existing hierarchies & power structures win, perpetuating their dominance over governance.
Because your individual opinion is meaningless & powerless without the force multiplier of an organizational platform, as you yourself are similarly meaningless & powerless as an individual human being, considering how economies of scale (which affect absolutely every aspect of our lives) operate.
Still though, at least Rock Band 4 is decent
“I also refuse to give my blessing to a group of which a proportion of its members harass women.”
#Gamergate is not a group, it is an idea. The idea that journalists should be ethical, and by extension, that the games industry should be free to make the games they want to make without ideological bullying coming from the press that is supposed to be fairly covering the games. That’s it. If someone does things that support those ideas, then they support #gamergate. If they do something that hurts those ideas, such as harassing women, then they are trolls or false flags from ideological opponents trying to derail the revolt. Please don’t buy into the corrupt media’s narrative. Yes, not all games media is corrupt, but a large swath of the major sites are and have been for quite some time, and they have used that corruption to push false narratives of misogyny in order to deflect attention from their own bad behavior.
I’m sorry if you’re expecting a similarly large reply, but I’ve argued this countless times with others in the past and don’t want to go through the same arguments over and over again. Life’s too short. I disagree with you, please accept this so we can get on with our lives.
Yeah, I just read that article and this. What an amateur attempt at being Detroit Rock City for games events. I guess that’s the new direction now? Writing about the elbows being rubbed and the vision quests you went on with the dev team in a sweat box in the desert? If only that guy could’ve even mustered that, but instead, he wrote about himself and his oh-so-interesting/meaningful apathy because there was no “band” experience to convey, and even if there was… he would have kept his distance because that’s not his scene, and he’s got to talk to the ticket taker about Victorian era architecture.
As much as I agree with this article, weren’t you also producing reviews for ONM that were completely devoid of any real opinions and were just tiny placeholders about a game that you needed to shove a review out for?
Examples please? I’ve never written a review that was “completely devoid of any real opinions”. Every game I reviewed on ONM – from the big-name first-party titles to the DSiWare and so-called shovelware games, was treated with the same initial respect.
Granted, some of the reviews may have been in a smaller ‘capsule’ format but that was more due to space limitations in the magazine. It makes sense that when you have a limited number of pages you’ll give four pages to a review of a Mario game but maybe a quarter of a page to a smaller eShop title.
But I always ensured that whether my review was 2000 words or 200 words, my opinion on whether the game’s worth buying took priority.
“being lectured by the illiterati on how”
Are you proud of that one? You should be, because damn, it’s 10 out of 10.
Yeah, but IGN only gave it a 9.7/10, which was an OUTRAGE, etc.
And only 7 out of 10 from Polygon.
Good article ruined by confirming your mangina status at the end.
Think that comment says more about you than me, man. Keep it classy.
Disappointing to hear your opinions on GamerGate.
Refreshing to hear your opinions about enthusiast press.
Sorry man. Thanks for the kind words though.
It’s fine buddy. We can disagree on issues and agree on others, that’s what adults do.
For what it’s worth, you seem to be a journo who is passionate about what I’m passionate about, and that’s good enough for me.
This is the same guy who wrote a very similar article about Just Dance 2014, calling it the lowest point in his career. So, the staff should have known he wouldn’t give a fuck about Rock Band 4, seeing as how it is also a rhythm game that requires the player to have fun (and he seems to want to avoid having fun so). I don’t get how he can admit that he doesn’t care about doing his job and still have said job.
I have yet to see that article, but as a journalist myself, my editor would have me booted if I handed that kind of article in
Hello. I’d just like to do a quick comment, on the addendum at the end; Here’s some statistics;
Would you say, more than 0.66% of journalism is corrupt? If yes, then I do believe there is no problem in me saying, as you would,
“I also refuse to give my blessing to a profession of which a proportion of its practicioners are corrupt. I politely ask that you respect this: I am not going to get involved in any arguments about it. I’ve already wasted enough of my life being lectured by the illiterati on how ethics is apparently the worst thing ever, and I’m not prepared to indulge any more.”
I believe you would also not give your blessing to black people because more than 0.66% of them might be criminals, yes?
Wow. That’s some pretty special logic there.
Both cases are “I condemn this group where less than 1% of the participants allegedly did bad things”. Please do explain how the total size of said group makes one case of libel acceptable, and the other not.
Selective evidence is not evidence. Taking 9000 or so examples and ignoring everything else is just flawed. You can’t tell me that what you’re presenting to me is fact when there are reputable articles stating the opposite of what you say: http://www.newsweek.com/gamergate-about-media-ethics-or-harassing-women-harassment-data-show-279736
I’m not discussing this further. Your “statistics” don’t hide the evidence I’ve been shown by women harrassed in the past. If even one person harrasses a women in the name of GamerGate, I don’t want to support it. I’m trying to be polite about this so please pack it in.
You see, this is all what I wanted you to say.
“If even one person harrasses a women in the name of GamerGate, I don’t want to support it. ”
Also how you say harassing women is bad, but if it is anyone else then it is acceptable.
I will pack it in as you put it. But here’s just some food for thought, if you would care to further give it any:
Your first response, instead of answering the question or explaining yourself, was an ad hominem “I will now avoid you by implying you have special needs, and therefore your argument is invalid”. That does not seem “polite”. Nor does “you, your friends and family are all woman-hating harassers because the media said this person – who posted a twitter hashtag you used once – said unpolite things to this woman”.
As you say, if even one person did something, then the entire group condones it. What else will you not support if a single person within that sphere was said by the media to have done something wrong? Because if you were to not have double standards, and applied this same standard to anything else, you’d be living as a hermit in the mountains, I feel.
An apology or at least an explanation for libeling thousands was all I hoped, that was it, nothing more. I fully expect you to delete everything, close the comments section and pass this off as it never happened, however, as per the norm in these cases.
First of all, I take enormous exception to your implication that I said you had special needs. In no way whatsoever was I saying that and that’s pretty low to put those words in my mouth. ‘Special’ in the context I used it means irregular or atypical, not disabled.
Similarly, as for the “you, your friends and family are all woman-hating harassers” bit – putting something in quote marks doesn’t suddenly make it a quote. At what point did I say anything about you, your family or your friends?
A proportion of GamerGaters harass women. That can’t be argued. The link I gave you showed this. I don’t care about the percentage: if it’s 1% or 90% it’s still more than 0% and so I don’t support it. End of story.
You will not get an apology from me, I libelled nobody, and I will delete nothing because I don’t believe in censoring people’s opinions, no matter how objectionable I find them.
Please stop jumping to conclusions, putting words in my mouth and criticising me in advance for things I never planned to do. You’re only making yourself look worse.
For someone who agreed to pack it in, you’re doing it in an interesting way.
Couldn’t reply lower in this thread. I assume you’ve turned off discussion on the subject but I Would like to think that if you’re going to post statistics from that newsweek article you would conceed that it be fair that an analysis of those statistics also be posted.
Aside from posting a questionable newsweek article, making statements and then refusing to defend those statements in the same paragraph? this article summed up my thoughts succinctly. Polygon’s reviewer is interpreting his own disillusionment of the industry as a failing of the industry. After I read it, I just had this feeling that the writer was in the wrong job. Then I went and read some other rock band 4 coverage because his article had none.
As I said earlier I’m done with arguing about this, but to clarify I haven’t turned off discussion. The structure of the WordPress commenting system only allows up to three replies. Annoying but can’t be helped. As I said in another reply, I do not believe in banning or deleting comments unless it’s spam or something inappropriate.
can’t edit my other post in this thread? Damn, poor commenting system. It ate the link I was going to provide. Lets see if it does so again.
1st of all, you cannot find any large group of any kind where you do find at least 1 person ding bad stuff, let’S say in this case harassment.
what matters is how the group itself threat such people claiming to be one of theirs.
Gamergate has always condemned harassment, and even actively seek out and exposed some of them. while the opposition supported each others even when they said such thing as GG being worse that ISIS, or MRA nuts, or any accusation under the sun.
also while we’re at it, Gamergate favorise discourse, when someone come into our hubs to challenge us in good faith, we have good exchange, when we are divided on an issue, we discuss it.
while the other side has a hard line, and we seen many people that as soon they started disagreeing with some things, being thrown under the bus. now here’s a mob mentality right there.
in fact a member of the Society of Professional Journalism is setting up a debate about gaming, ethics, and ideologies. and we are really looking forward having a proper debate.
“A proportion of GamerGaters harass women. That can’t be argued. The link I gave you showed this. I don’t care about the percentage: if it’s 1% or 90% it’s still more than 0% and so I don’t support it. End of story.”
What the other person is saying here is correct. Your statement there, as quoted, logically means that you then don’t support ANY group if even just 1% of them harass women. Every group has its lunatic fringe, every group has people who harass men, women, children, racial minorities, etc.
I understand the spirit of what you’re saying, but just the way you word it makes you come off as if you have a zero tolerance approach and are hypocritical. I’m pretty sure that there are groups you do support (I have no idea who, this is the first article from you I’ve read, I’ve literally never heard of you before today) who have 1% women harassers.
Look. Give up. We know it isn’t 1%. Let’s not argue semantics. I’m trying my best to be firm but fair here – I’m not interested in being associated with it. Even putting the harassment of women aside – which I remain firm on – this is a group that calls into question the profession I was in for nine months. Not just select individuals but the entire profession. The number of times I’ve seen “games journalism is corrupt”, as if it’s some sort of card we all carry, is ridiculous. No matter how you try to spin it, I’m not supporting a group that used to call me and my peers into question with such ridiculous blanket accusations. Enough, please.
Tbh, I read both your and his review, and the only relevant bit about the actual *game* you provided that he didn’t, was basically stating the fact that it’s still the same game as rock band 3 with minor tweaks and that the alpha is buggy. Which is okay, since nothing more needs to be said about it, quite frankly (and you don’t need to play the game to know this). So *both of you* wrote about something else. The polygon guy wrote about the actual event he visited, his personal stance regarding games like that, and how he sees the experience of playing that game. You wrote about something we could call meta-information (history of the genre, stuff about the dev, game should be ready at E3, competition with guitar hero). (I did not watch the interview)
Not saying there’s anything wrong with either approach, but the information about the actual gameplay experience of *either* article could probably be condensed in like 3 tweets. At best. If there are any significant changes to the core games (like one of your commenters here is mentioning), neither of you journalists managed to notice them.
And btw (sorry for double post), I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him admitting that, as a gamer, he couldn’t give a flying fuck about sodding Rock Band 4. Because anything else would have been a lie. Games are very diverse, I personally enjoy arena fps like quake or reflex, and I am part of the communities playing these games. In my opinion, I should be able to state that I hate party games without being accused to be completely without passion for the entirety of videogames (*or writing about games*).
He also made it very clear that, from the experience he had watching other people play, the previewed game is apparently good at its promise, since people who enjoy that kind of thing are clearly able to have fun with the alpha.
There’s nothing wrong with him not caring about Rock Band, but if he cares so little about the game/series/genre that he wrote that article, he should’ve just never bothered writing a preview in the first place.
Like you say, you didn’t watch the interview. The interview was part of the preview, in which the contents of the game are discussed for a solid ten minutes. That’s significantly more useful than had I just stood in the corner watching.
As someone who has spent the best part of three years as basically an unpaid games jounalist. Writing hundreds of articles for nothing. Liasing with PR reps and pubs, going through the whole song and dance to get review copies, email interviews and if I was really lucky an invite to the occasional press event in the vain hope of getting noticed enough to either a) be offered a gig at a paying ste or b) build up enough of a following so the blogs I currently write for can go pro so to speak, the actions of this gobshite at Polygon, fuck me off and then some.
I could quit at any time, in some respects my life would be a lot easier if i did. I still have a full time job on top of helping to run a game’s site and doing the mountains of work that entails, but i just can’t!
I love it far too much, and i love the medium too much to stop.
I have mixed thoughts about the article. On one hand, I’m in total agreement with Chris in that it’s disrespectful, and I simply don’t understand how on earth Polygon could have picked him to attend the event. It’s also extremely unprofessional, and is akin to a sports writer writing about how much he hates the team he’s covering rather than writing about the game like he’s supposed (and paid) to.
On the other hand, I’ll also admit that I found it entertaining and somewhat refreshing. While it didn’t give any information about the game itself, I do feel like I’ve gotten a bit of a glimpse into an oft-unlit corner of the gaming industry, even if the author did come off like a douchebag. And let’s face it – if I want to read about the features in the new Rock Band, there are plenty of places to do that just a click away.
Well said. I couldn’t get more than a few sentences into the article in question. “I this, I that…” Nobody cares about you, they care about Rock Band 4, which is why they’re on the site. To vent on a personal blog is one thing (case in point), but to use Polygon’s (usually pretty decent) platform to do this is just a slap in the face to the gaming industry. I would kill for that job. And I actually know about the gaming industry because I don’t focus on politics in other countries (let alone this one). Sad state of affairs when a guy gets a dream job and still complains about it.
Chris, I adore this on so many levels and this very thing is why I have had my site offline for about 2 years while I watch what’s happening in the industry. It’s not just the journalists who are Shite (I’m an American and this is one of my FAVORITE non American swear words) it’s the publications and in some cases even the developers themselves. No one had any respect for games journalism any more. We had a developer actually STALK us to tell us how they hated our review of a finished game. We’ve had some refuse to give us copies of games to review because of the tired old ‘You’re women’ excuse, just everything under the sun. I read this and I had to stand up a chear. Fuck Fizzy Water and polygon, I’m drinking coffee and we’re coming back online. (Sorry shameless plug here, lol) Rock on Chris, you’ve got new fans in us.
Yessssss! Give me a link when you go back online, would be nice to have a look at the site. Chris
And I swear I can spell the word Cheer, damn fizzy water.
Friend of mine pointed me to this post; hadn’t heard of your site before.
Adding you to Feedly; so nice to read someone who still appreciates how amazing games are.
(And sorry for the fawning, off-topic comment.)
I swore off Polygon a while ago and I’m glad I did. This was my first visit there in a while and it just re-affirmed my decision.
Great blog – but I vehemently disagree!
I loved this guy’s article – he gave me a short and welcome insight into the banality of reviewing a game that he had no interest in – without trashing the game. Hardcore gamers DON’T buy Rockband in sufficient numbers – ‘Average’ gamers do. Average gamers don’t read Polygon. Ergo – no foul and I as a hardcore gamer am still open to RockBand being worth reading about when it hits review time.
I imagine his editor let it run because it was well written and had insight – not necessarily the insight you might be looking for – but valid nevertheless.
That’s fine, but don’t run it as a preview piece for the game. Anybody clicking on a preview of Rock Band 4 is looking for insight into Rock Band 4. If the article is going to provide insight on something else instead, run the article with a different title, and scope.
Run an opinion piece, or an editorial titled “What it’s like to go to a preview event of a game you don’t care about”, or something like that. Do that, and this article is fine. Run it as a preview of Rock Band 4, and it becomes an insult to your readers that are clicking on that article expecting to find out about Rock Band 4.
I am a GamerGate supporter and I would never accuse you of corruption, unless of course if there is evidence. But getting onto this article, Chris you are right, when I read articles about gaming, I expect it to be about gaming, nothing else. There has been many articles and reviews that should be talking about the game but somehow also contain gender politics bullshit that I don’t care about. Why are some journalists caring about for example, how there is no female protagonist in a game so they call it misogynistic? Personally I couldn’t give a rats ass of what’s my character’s gender because all I care about is the game any good?
With respect though, some women do want to have their gender represented more fairly in games and personally I think they should have the right to campaign for this without being criticised for it.
fair enough, but you can’t have a game that appeal to everyone, it’s about target audience. and you can create games to fit any of those audience, wide and niche. The problem arise when a game is being shat upon because it don’t cater to a specific sub-group. if a game does not have a woman protagonist, it does not make the game misogynistic. Even more, a game is a story, you can well have an NPC in it that’s say racist againt elves, that does not make the game racist.
what happen is that creative freedom is attacked. shaming developers into being “inclusive” for the sake of pleasing the easily offended. and it never end well, you get a game with a scandinavian setting getting bad review cuz they is no token minority. at the same time, if they include it they get shit on for having a token minority instead of 50/50, and it just get worse.
Developers should be allowed to create the story they want, with the characters having the flaw that best serve the story, if it’s needed.
if enough womens start playing video games, game companies WILL create games for them. But since
ATM it’S still mainly a male audience, you will have proportionately more game aimed toward them.
Also, if a company create a game for a woman, I won’t play it, but I sure as hell won’t whine about the game not being aimed for me. I might even recommend it to friends if I know it’s in their tastes.
If you dont give a rats ass you will be ok with 80% of main charas in games with fixed main chara being not male, not white and not openly heterosexual?
If yes, great, but you arent allowed to say how much you dont care(and imply that everyone else should do it too? I hope not. That’d be a bit rude.
Polygon is interesting in that they’ve gone from their original longform and deeper gaming pieces into a lot more articles on general nerd pop culture plus related clickbait. I think the recent nadir was giving Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” video clip a space at the top of the page because the clip vaguely (and badly) referenced a number of geek films.
They’ve become Kotaku 2.0. And it seems to be working given their apparently viewer number keep rising.
Good write-up. I certainly love this site. Keep it up!
Great opinion piece on the Polygon Article, though you might want to write about your stance on the GamerGate controversy; it seems you remain neutral on this, despite acknowledging the fact that many women were harassed because of it.
I’d like to keep my true stance on it to myself for now, if that’s okay. Truth be told I get enough hassle from some members as it is so were I to stoke those flames any more it would get ridiculous. It should hopefully be clear based on this and my previous articles that I don’t support it and have no intentions of ever doing so. I’m certainly not neutral, then, but at the same time I’d much rather write about games than give it any more publicity. Hope you understand man.
True, but at least you didn’t outright condemn it to be a hate mob against women in gaming.
That’s because I’m sure there’s a proportion – big or small though it may be – that genuinely believes it’s about media ethics. Though it’s clear to me that there are strong anti-woman undertones there, to paint every single one of them with that brush would be hypocritical of me considering my disapproval of the way they paint the entire games journalism industry as corrupt. That said, there IS an anti-woman element there, which I have seen evidence of, and for that reason I can’t support it no matter how many ‘friendly’ types try to convince me otherwise with tales of charitable donations and the like.
If you’re talking about the TFYC donation which spawned Vivian James, I’ll just flat out say it here.
That donation was from 4chan’s videogames board. It’s a place where even most users of the site hate with a passion, and that is a place which regularly adopts the “cynical, everything is terrible forever” attitude internet tabloid sites like Kotaku and Polygon love to espouse. And to top it off, those guys are so rabidly anti-gaming it makes most users of 4chan look bad. Mind you, the place is usually called “the anus of the internet”, and for very good reason. I speak from experience and being a regular user of the place in question.
And yes, there is a core minority that is genuinely interested in media ethics and the like, but when a portion of the movement dons a bloody tinfoil hat and goes on about conspiracy theories, it’s not a very good sign.
It’s not like I don’t sympathize with them, seeing as I live in Singapore, but a portion of their movement hates gaming and wants to see it die a bloody, painful death, and then you have the crazing woman-hating portion…
There’s a good reason why a lot of devs don’t speak up.
Also do keep in mind that the movement is a largely American phenomenon, where the media culture is very, very different from journalism in Britain. I can’t exactly speak for either, but America doesn’t seem to have a very good grasp of ethics while Britain has the BBC at least.
Many of the people I follow and support in regards to gamergate are actually english… a few polish… those are just the people who have an audience, who knows for the silent majority. All I know is I’ve dealt with a more diverse group of people that support consumers and gamergate then I have ever seen writing for a game website. Just my two cents.
You do realise games journalism extends beyond the US and UK, don’t you? Eurogamer alone has eleven different national sites with journalists from France, Sweden, Holland, Italy, Belgium and the like. They’ve even got a non-European site in Brasilgamer.
Either way, your point is completely ridiculous. I don’t care if you know some English people and a couple of Poles who support GamerGate. I don’t care if the fucking United Colours Of Benetton support it. I will never support something that calls me and my peers corrupt by default – as you yourself have admitted you do. It’s just common sense.
Honestly its disappointing, you seem like a reasonable person so I expected better.
I wont try to change your opinion as you seem set in your ignorance, however I will tell you how this article made me feel, it gave me hope. Hope that there were and are still good people who love video games in your industry, and just want to report on them.
So tired of being told I’m part of a hate group because I stand up for my rights as a consumer against a product I do not want, and a specialist media that for years has excluded me and seems to despise the hobby I have loved for so long.
That hope was pretty quickly crushed however… you clearly aren’t corrupt… and I still think you are likely a decent person… but your choice to side with ignorance and put your industry ahead of your consumer is a poor choice to make.
I’m glad you keep writing about a hobby you love even unpaid, still doing a better job at it then most who are… but you aren’t what we need. A dedication to the truth is just as important as your love of the hobby and your effort you put into your work.
Also as for people calling you corrupt without cause or reason, I will say this. My default position when interacting with someone who is a game journalist is that they are corrupt until proven otherwise. Now as unfair as that may seem I am not the system… I am not restrained by any standards… I am your consumer. It’s a pretty sad day when the relationship between a producer and it’s consumer is so toxic. While again I don’t believe you are corrupt, you have done nothing but reinforce that animosity and rift between us. I know you probobly don’t care… but you should.
I’m sorry but can’t you see the breathtaking hypocrisy in what you just said? Your default position is that every single games journalist is “corrupt until proven otherwise”. That means, until two days ago when I wrote that article, if you’d encountered me you’d have decided I was corrupt without absolutely any evidence whatsoever. And yet in your other comment you say you’re disappointed that I’m too ignorant to back your cause? Do you seriously think for a second I’d back something where some of its members (including you, as you admit) start with the default opinion that myself and all of my peers are corrupt? What in the world makes you think I’d nod and say “yup, fair enough, I must be then”? Try to see this from my point of view – or, even better yet, just don’t bother pointing widespread accusations at people.
At no point do I “put my industry ahead of my consumer”, but at the same time I greatly object to being called ignorant just because I’ve seen no evidence of the so-called widespread corruption you claim my peers are guilty of. I’m not about to magically invent some wrong-doing just to support your message.
I pretty much wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote, especially the stuff you added to the bottom.
I absolutely agree with this piece as well. Collin’s story at Polygon is the worst piece of professional gaming journalism that I’ve ever seen. He does his fellow journos (and the readers, and Rock Band 4) a disservice.
Err, Colin. Shame we can’t edit our comments.
Lol, I know plenty of journos who only go to these events for the free drinks and stuff, to the point they badger others on Facebook to be their +1’s.
Then again I know publisher PR people that don’t give a shit either and use the company’s card to buy booze for their mates and do nothing on the games whatsoever. A certain PR woman from a certain publisher that bought the rights to another certain publisher that went bankrupt immediately comes to mind. >:)
But to be honest, they’re gaming journalists, there’s no actual “journalism” above having to reiterate press releases or do interviews that are essentially the same thing. No one is going to read their piece anyway as some clueless 20 year old Minecraft Let’s Player on YouTube gets a hundred times the views they do. Hanging around with their cliquey friends is one of the few perks for them once the veneer of getting to play games all day wears off.
I don’t know, Larry. The actual writing and interview processes are both a lot of fun and improve the journalist’s craft, whether or not the content produced differs dramatically from another outlet’s.
We all have to write about games we don’t care about sometimes. We’re just not usually dicks about it.
I respectfully disagree. To some (like me) these events are a way to play upcoming games and tell readers how they’re coming along. I’m tee-total, so if the events were just for free drinks I’d never go to any of them. I also disagree that gaming journalism isn’t “actual journalism” – I think you’re falling into the usual trap of deciding investigative journalism is the only type that exists.
Well that’s what events are supposed to be, I see a few people who are genuinely there for the games, but there are a few bad eggs that ruin it and those are the people I’m really talking about.
My “actual journalism” is really aimed at people who just re-word press releases, more so that try and make them click bait articles and/or put in misleading titles, Just last week I came across at least two articles about the rumour that Microsoft had bought the rights to Silent Hills and made it an XB1 exclusive and rephrased it like they had the exclusive conformation that it was actually true. That’s the junk that really peeves me off.
Am I right in assuming that the certain PR woman left to work for an online publication with a provocative and awkward name, and has now been sent to an echo chamber off world? 😉
I get the impression this analysis applies more to the American game journo “scene” than the British one. I’m not denying that certain writers do see the career path as an excuse for free booze and swag the world over, but the culture and the little clique that have built around it seems to have its roots more in sites like Polygon, Kotaku and the other indistinguishable clickbait farms; and you’re 100% right – they’ll plumb the depths of obscurity while their target audience gets their gaming news elsewhere or ignores it all outright to watch some Swedish bloke forget that “indoor voices” are a concept. Meanwhile, the people who are there because they want to write about the games, the ones who bring their own little flair to the content to make it a more worthwhile, interesting or funny read will survive the awkward phase games journalism seems to be in right now, and that makes me incredibly happy. Now, we can only hope the clickbait farms choke on their own bile or something to quicken that process.
You’ve earned yourself a new follower, sir. Very good response to a very frustrating piece of writing.
“I do not support a movement that believes my profession is largely doing a poor job. I feel offended. Also some of those people harass women and don’t like more extreme feminists. So obviously they are all scumbags. My mind is closed.”
You know, putting something in quote marks doesn’t mean I said it. You’re literally putting words in my mouth, words I didn’t say. Grow up and stop twisting things.
Great article Chris, I used to follow you when you worked for the Official Nintendo Magazine so I’m pleasantly surprised I’ve stumbled on this site. Keep up the great work 🙂
Cheers! Hope you keep reading my stuff now you’ve found me again 🙂
Yeah, I’m following you now!
Good luck finding a new job too, I’m a games developer for a UK studio and although I haven’t been made redundant I’ve seen many friends come and go. This industry has never been the most stable of places to work and we all have bills to pay so it’s never nice to learn of media outlets or developers having to let people go.
IT’S YOUR JOB TO PLAY THE VIDEO GAMES!
Don’t like the games? Too bad! You signed up for this job!
Did you specifically sign something in your contract that said “I will only play the games I find interesting, some other hacks can deal with the rabble for normies.”
No, you signed up to play every game that you were sent to experience. You don’t see guys from IGN writing huge whinefests on their blogs about having to play Imagine Party Babiez or Catz 6. They play the games, and write about it.
You’ll probably moderate my comment or just not post it, but I really only care that you think about this for ten additional seconds to realize the absurdity of what you’re saying.
Oh, whoops. that last part was something I copy+pasted from my same comment in the polygon article.
Mate, whatever stance you have with GG, that’s all irrelevant in the face of my agreement that Colin Campbell is full of shit. You may not like this idea, but I would gladly punch that twat until his nose exits the back of his skull for writing such infuriating monkeytalk.
This type of stuff needs to be called out. I feel this way on anything, games, politics, etc. Completely agree with your article
Polygon banned me because I called them out on their new star citizen post (don’t go to them or the verge, every click supports them)
Going to start by saying, I am excited to see this game succeed. It is a huge game and has so much hanging in the balance for success. I do understand it’s taking longer than they thought it would, don’t really care. Happens to games all the time, prefer them to do it right. Also don’t care that people are uncomfortable with the games progress and want a refund. Surprised they got it, but that’s another issue. My problem is the fact that these news outlets are twisting words to make a headline, but interestingly enough twist them in a positive light for other games. There should be no twisting and a simple error like this should of been rectified immediately. The article as it is, is inaccurate and seemingly bias.
So I made a reply to their post and I will admit, I was taking stabs at them. This click baiting and possibly mud smearing tactics of theirs and all the gaming news outlets, hell news outlets as a whole should always be called out. It is suspicious and why haven’t they updated their post to accurately represent the situation?
There was poster above me that nailed it in a extremely professional manner, calling them on their fact checking and proper reporting. He was very polite and made polite suggestions, no stabs, he got banned as well as many others that opposed their research. All their posts were removed and only up for less than an hour.
This is the response they gave me(might need to break it up into a few replies :P:
Instead of possibly refutinganarticle’s content and offering a correction, you made comments that were less like arguments, and more like attacks, comments like these:
ME as quoted by this polygon moderator:
“Wonder how much money Polygon is making from said publishers”
“Is Polygon getting paid by some publisher to continue to post these inaccurate headlines? You guys have had your fair share of editors involved in some fairly questionable events lately. So is this a smear campaign against a possibly successful fully community backed project? I would think that at least after making one erroneous quote of this refund nonsense in your previous article, you would learn to fact check a bit more.
Star citizen has a long way to go and has many hurdles ahead of it, but these types of articles seem to be blowing something fairly trivial completely out of the water and in doing so seem like they are meant to destabilize the games progress. Could bust out the tin foil hat, but really don’t need to; This is just sloppy reporting.
Hope all the swag you’re getting(from activision/destiny?) is worth the loss of your credibility.”
Not sure what Activision has to do with any of this, but according to our Community Guidelines:
Complaining about coverage: We cover a wide array of topics, not all of which are easy, comfortable, or reflective of your personal views and may touch on issues normally considered ‘outside’ of gaming such as feminism, sexual assault or religious beliefs. While we’re not against discussions of our coverage, comments containing plainly stated accusations of bias, complaints about the frequency of articles on a topic, and complaints about whether something is newsworthy are usually an indication that you’re not trying to be a productive member of the community. We’ll have words and remove posts to get conversation back on track. This also applies to review scores.
Site bashing: Whether it’s Polygon, or another website – don’t bash them or their staff. It’s not cool and it’s disrespectful to a lot of people. Be the better person here, please.
Personal attacks: Don’t attack or insult another user. It’s not helpful and it doesn’t make Polygon a friendly place. This includes calling other members trolls, fanboys, sheep, white knights, etc. If you’re thinking of using a specific term such as a racial or derogatory insult, think again about why that’s a bad idea, and don’t do it.
As a result, we’re banning you from posting on Polygon.
Polygon Mod Team
You can read, but not participate on Polygon. You must acknowledge your banned status by pressing the button below.
So I can’t tell them they are a bias, sure, I was harsh, a little.. not really. That doesn’t explain the post before mine that was very respectful and suggested improvements being removed along with many others that disagreed with the article. All that is left is the anti-kickstarter, anti-star citizen post, which should be banned too because they constantly call star citizen fans “Fanboys” which is also against their policies. These news sites are a load of crap. They deserve a boycott.
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