Thursday, October 16, 2014


I really didn't want to write about this, but it's gotten so stupid that I've had enough.

This is in reference to--and I'm breaking up the name so that I don't get idiotic e-mails from Google vigilantes--the group identifying themselves as "Gamer" plus "Gate".

A "movement" ostensibly dealing with ethics and integrity must itself have ethics and integrity. If it doesn't, it's not a movement. It's a mob.

Also, please remember that people who bully others, and enjoy it, are broken in fundamental ways. People who make threats to harm others are even more fundamentally broken. These threats are reprehensible.

I have an idea. Maybe the people threatening physical harm to women could go mention this to their moms. Just explain the situation. I'm sure they'll be very understanding.

Now, if you extract the incoherent rage from the alleged point--the ethics of gaming journalists--maybe we can unpack something that isn't entirely idiotic.

Not idiotic. Just dumb.

First, we need to distinguish writers who discuss games as an entertainment medium, or discuss them at a level about single games. They can be honest.

At the game review level, though, with a big gaming website, it's impossible.

I'm not saying that everyone is compromised, but the entire structural foundation of the "gaming website" industry is a wink wink, nudge nudge with gaming companies that provide them with the revenue they need--via advertising--to survive.

Big gaming websites live inside a box. That box is their financial dependency on the industry they cover. They are as honest as they can be inside the confines of the box.

Gaming websites depend on gaming companies for both revenue and access. If they lose either, they won't exist. They're not hunting for Pulitzer Prizes. They're Entertainment Tonight.

This is why I haven't gone to IGN or Gamespot for years. It's just not financially possible for them to be objective. It's not rational to expect them to be objective.

Let's say IGN decides on full transparency. This means that when they did a preview, they'd have to state up front where the preview was done, and whether the developer/publisher flew them out to see the game. Was their hotel paid for, and what about food? Were they taken out for some kind of event that night?

You might think that would be enough, but it wouldn't be--not for full transparency. In addition, IGN would have to disclose any advertising revenue realized (or anticipated) from the game.

Even then, it doesn't account for everything. It would be simple for advertising for Game X and Game Y to be tied to the review score of Game Z.

Is that kind of transparency ever going to happen? No.

That's why I read sites like Gamers With Jobs. Rock, Paper, Shotgun (which is no longer small, but their writing resonates with me). Pocket Tactics.

Here's a tool that someone needs to create. You would go to this tool, select your favorite games, and you could find reviewers who rated these games highly. Then you would have an idea of which reviewers had similar tastes. That would be far more useful than Metacritic, because it would be tailored to your preferences. You could also set alerts when these reviewers had new reviews come out.

This would help you filter out static and tune the Internet gaming radio to your particular frequency.

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