The Evolution of Games Journalism

JimB

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I'm not quite sure how to take this comic, so I may be responding to a statement the creators never intended to make. That said, I tend to think the trends being described are...well, you know that one friend you have, the one who just found Jesus and now won't shut up about it? She's kind of pushy about it, and not only keeps bringing it up but judges people using Christianity as the foundation for beliefs she didn't have a week or a month or a year ago? I think the gaming journalism industry is going through something like that. They've been converted to a new belief system, and it's become an exaggeratedly prominent personality feature.

I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, mind. New beliefs are passionate beliefs that need to be tempered by time, distance, and perspective. That part is coming. Personally, I'm glad when games journalists display sensitivity to people who are not straight, white men. I do see how it could be a little tiresome, though.
 

RJ 17

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Funny thing is that I actually considered making a topic on this very...well...topic. Basically pretty much exactly what this comic talked about: how games (or at least reporting on games) seems to have changed from talking about graphics and how many bits a new system has and such to "That game is racist, sexist, gender-biased, homophobic, and anti-Semitic!" I was going to ask when/why this change occurred, but couldn't really settle on how I wanted my OP to be worded. Oh well, at least this comic captures my sentiments. :p
 

Kingjackl

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We joke about it, but it is actually a positive step. We've gone from mindless positivity, to mindless negativity, to actually thinking about social issues and broader human spectrum and blah blah words humanities blah.
 

rbstewart7263

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Imp Emissary said:
Jumwa said:
thaluikhain said:
Saying a game is racist isn't automatically wrong, racism is hardly an uncommon thing.
Right. Jim Sterling has done a Jimquisition about how you can still enjoy problematic culture. Acknowledging problems with what you love doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying them.

I like the comic, but I think people will take the wrong lessons from it. As I see it, it's the process of gamers and game culture growing up.

At first it's all unquestioning optimism, then when you grow up a bit and start to see flaws you react far too negatively. Then later on you start to strike a balance where you can recognize and discuss the flaws with what you enjoy while still enjoying it, and heck, even deriving value out of discussing those flaws.

Many of my favourite authors were racists and misogynists, but I still love the work. And far from ruining the works, it has led to some enlightening and amusing discussions.
This. THIS is what should be taken away from the comic.

People often complain about games journalism not being "real journalism". Well, to be "real journalism" it means that they have to "be real".

By that, I mean if they think/feel something about a game/the gaming community, they have to tell the public about it.

These things could be positive, negative, or a bit of both.

To continue with a recent example;
When Jim Sterling talked about how he loves Dynasty Warriors.
When he called out people for harassment.
And when he talked about the power the community has when they work together, and get mad.

We can all still love games, but unconditional love is for pets and children.
[sub](By that I mean we can unconditionally love our pets/children, not that unconditional love can only come from them.)[/sub]
We have to be able to talk about the imperfections in our games. Because no game is perfect.

[sub]Except for [insert your favorite game here]. That one is perfect.[/sub]
;p
well yes but often those racism and sexism accusations dont hold merit and are justt there for page views or to be reactionary. just look at the recent news where the last of us dev did a post analysis of her game in response to the new york times calling it sexist. also the tomb raider scandal and kotaku are fine examples. its not all valiant level headed feminists vs evil misogynist trolls like some would have you think. there's more layers to it and not alot of people care to see that.
 

rbstewart7263

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Kingjackl said:
We joke about it, but it is actually a positive step. We've gone from mindless positivity, to mindless negativity, to actually thinking about social issues and broader human spectrum and blah blah words humanities blah.
true sometimes but look at the little emblem on the end or rather the letter.



now look at kotaku as its writ on there page.





While I agree that we should celebrate people who take a good look at broad spectrum issues like jim,moviebob,that guy from the borderlands team. I dont think this comic is doing that because if it was I dont think kotaku would be featured here.
 

Imp_Emissary

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rbstewart7263 said:
Imp Emissary said:
Jumwa said:
thaluikhain said:
Saying a game is racist isn't automatically wrong, racism is hardly an uncommon thing.
Right. Jim Sterling has done a Jimquisition about how you can still enjoy problematic culture. Acknowledging problems with what you love doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying them.

I like the comic, but I think people will take the wrong lessons from it. As I see it, it's the process of gamers and game culture growing up.

At first it's all unquestioning optimism, then when you grow up a bit and start to see flaws you react far too negatively. Then later on you start to strike a balance where you can recognize and discuss the flaws with what you enjoy while still enjoying it, and heck, even deriving value out of discussing those flaws.

Many of my favourite authors were racists and misogynists, but I still love the work. And far from ruining the works, it has led to some enlightening and amusing discussions.
This. THIS is what should be taken away from the comic.

People often complain about games journalism not being "real journalism". Well, to be "real journalism" it means that they have to "be real".

By that, I mean if they think/feel something about a game/the gaming community, they have to tell the public about it.

These things could be positive, negative, or a bit of both.

To continue with a recent example;
When Jim Sterling talked about how he loves Dynasty Warriors.
When he called out people for harassment.
And when he talked about the power the community has when they work together, and get mad.

We can all still love games, but unconditional love is for pets and children.
[sub](By that I mean we can unconditionally love our pets/children, not that unconditional love can only come from them.)[/sub]
We have to be able to talk about the imperfections in our games. Because no game is perfect.

[sub]Except for [insert your favorite game here]. That one is perfect.[/sub]
;p
well yes but often those racism and sexism accusations dont hold merit and are justt there for page views or to be reactionary. just look at the recent news where the last of us dev did a post analysis of her game in response to the new york times calling it sexist. also the tomb raider scandal and kotaku are fine examples. its not all valiant level headed feminists vs evil misogynist trolls like some would have you think. there's more layers to it and not alot of people care to see that.
I did see the articles about The Last of Us, and I have to say that your summary of them is very inaccurate.

The first article from Chris Suellentrop was mostly a positive review, that made some good points about a few old tropes used in the game.

And the article from Alexandria Neonakis was a rebuttal to Chris's points. For one, pointing out how much Ellie grew during the game.

In short, it was a public, and polite argument. Just what the topic needs/deserves.

As you said, "It's not all valiant level headed feminists vs evil misogynist trolls...there's more layers to it..."

As for the Kotaku bit? I can't comment as I have not been to Kotaku. Hear a lot about them though.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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That guy in the middle is looking more and more like Yahtzee by the minute.
 

Imp_Emissary

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TizzytheTormentor said:
Oh how I miss positivity in gaming journalism, now everything is terrible, like raisins...

Also, artsy games are smart and you don't get it will be a common sight.
Oh, it's not all negative.

I've seen a fair bit of positivity recently, and not just because people are making their top of the year lists.

Positivity is easy to find if ya look for it. ;D
 

Depulcator

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Thunderous Cacophony said:
Aeshi said:
Is that Yahtzee Croshaw in the 2nd panel? The hat looks like it could be a Trilby, but the suit makes me think otherwise.
I think it was just supposed to be a generic '00 critic. But now that you mention it...

I'd like to see a return to 90's game journalism, if only because of my enduring love for tie-dye.
A fellow tie-dye lover. My new years just got better, bless you internet person...bless you.
 

Kingjackl

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rbstewart7263 said:
true sometimes but look at the little emblem on the end or rather the letter.



now look at kotaku as its writ on there page.





While I agree that we should celebrate people who take a good look at broad spectrum issues like jim,moviebob,that guy from the borderlands team. I dont think this comic is doing that because if it was I dont think kotaku would be featured here.
I don't know, Kotaku aren't that bad. Granted they put out about 1 worthwhile piece for every 100 inane editorials and regurgitated fanart, but that's the state of the industry for you. They probably just used them as a shorthand for 'modern games journalism company', like how the cynical pretentious bloke is obviously a caricature of Yahtzee. Speaking of which, if his latest column is anything to go by, that dude can't 'evolve' fast enough.
 

rbstewart7263

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Imp Emissary said:
rbstewart7263 said:
Imp Emissary said:
Jumwa said:
thaluikhain said:
Saying a game is racist isn't automatically wrong, racism is hardly an uncommon thing.
Right. Jim Sterling has done a Jimquisition about how you can still enjoy problematic culture. Acknowledging problems with what you love doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying them.

I like the comic, but I think people will take the wrong lessons from it. As I see it, it's the process of gamers and game culture growing up.

At first it's all unquestioning optimism, then when you grow up a bit and start to see flaws you react far too negatively. Then later on you start to strike a balance where you can recognize and discuss the flaws with what you enjoy while still enjoying it, and heck, even deriving value out of discussing those flaws.

Many of my favourite authors were racists and misogynists, but I still love the work. And far from ruining the works, it has led to some enlightening and amusing discussions.
This. THIS is what should be taken away from the comic.

People often complain about games journalism not being "real journalism". Well, to be "real journalism" it means that they have to "be real".

By that, I mean if they think/feel something about a game/the gaming community, they have to tell the public about it.

These things could be positive, negative, or a bit of both.

To continue with a recent example;
When Jim Sterling talked about how he loves Dynasty Warriors.
When he called out people for harassment.
And when he talked about the power the community has when they work together, and get mad.

We can all still love games, but unconditional love is for pets and children.
[sub](By that I mean we can unconditionally love our pets/children, not that unconditional love can only come from them.)[/sub]
We have to be able to talk about the imperfections in our games. Because no game is perfect.

[sub]Except for [insert your favorite game here]. That one is perfect.[/sub]
;p
well yes but often those racism and sexism accusations dont hold merit and are justt there for page views or to be reactionary. just look at the recent news where the last of us dev did a post analysis of her game in response to the new york times calling it sexist. also the tomb raider scandal and kotaku are fine examples. its not all valiant level headed feminists vs evil misogynist trolls like some would have you think. there's more layers to it and not alot of people care to see that.
I did see the articles about The Last of Us, and I have to say that your summary of them is very inaccurate.

The first article from Chris Suellentrop was mostly a positive review, that made some good points about a few old tropes used in the game.

And the article from Alexandria Neonakis was a rebuttal to Chris's points. For one, pointing out how much Ellie grew during the game.

In short, it was a public, and polite argument. Just what the topic needs/deserves.

As you said, "It's not all valiant level headed feminists vs evil misogynist trolls...there's more layers to it..."

As for the Kotaku bit? I can't comment as I have not been to Kotaku. Hear a lot about them though.
I was almost quick with saying that you were right until I took a look at his review. first heres how the escapist characterizes the review.

.http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.818827-The-New-York-Times-Criticizes-The-Last-of-Us-for-Having-a-Male-Protagonist

"The New York Times reviewed The Last of Us today, and while reviewer Chris Suellentrop praises the game's storytelling, much of the review is a criticism of how the game has a male protagonist. While the title I gave this post is probably going to cause trouble, it's also accurate."

alright now lets see how that characterization matches to the review. first we have the header to the article.

In the Same Boat, but Not Equals
In the Video Game The Last of Us, Survival Favors the Man

alright so thats the first thing he points out. fine. lets continue on with some of the gender things he has to say.

"This being a video game, we already know it?s not really about Sarah. She?s not pictured on the box, for one thing. And yet, for a few fleeting minutes, I really did think I was going to play something different, a game that would transport me into the life of someone very unlike me, using what Austin Grossman in his new novel, ?You,? calls the medium?s ?physical link into the world of the fiction"

not too too bad but not terribly positive.

"the Last of Us, in its defense, is neither crude nor unsophisticated. Rather, its artfulness and its intelligence make its treatment of women all the more frustrating. In the game?s resistance to allowing the player, for much of the story, to control ? or, to use a more accurate word, to inhabit ? Ellie, The Last of Us casts her in a secondary, subordinate role. "

thats actually some well written criticism there imo.

other than that he does actually say alot of half positive negative things. he praises ellie in the since that he wishes that joel would die so that he can play her. he also brings mention of microsoft and how of all its games couldnt bring itself to have one female protagonist in one of its thirteen games shown at e3.Im not sure if hes trying to write a review or if hes trying to do so while also bring to light for nyt readers some of the things going on in the gaming sphere which is fair. I imagine that this is his only slot to talk about things that he reads about on more game related websites.

overall I felt the review was unbalanced in its attempt to critique the gaming sphere while also critique the game. I dont really see what relevance microsofts man loving presence at e3 really has that matters in the context of this game and with its representation of females. its not quite the same as the debate over orsons amazing enders game vs his homophobic viewpoints. those two have more ties than a ps3 exclusive has with a microsoft e3 presentation.

so yeah his reviews not bad though. rough and loses sight alot but not bad. in truth though im gonna disagree and say that his review wasnt that positive. it just wasnt that negative.

though I will agree with you that I dont think his review had to do with page views and you are right about that. I think hes more just overly passioned having just watched anitas tropes series and that spilled into his review in not the most constructive of ways which is fine. hes human and all that.

also apologies for the rambling I gotta hit the road soon. ta ta.
 

wulf3n

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Jumwa said:
thaluikhain said:
Saying a game is racist isn't automatically wrong, racism is hardly an uncommon thing.
Right. Jim Sterling has done a Jimquisition about how you can still enjoy problematic culture. Acknowledging problems with what you love doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying them.
That has always seemed like something of a contradiction to me. Maybe not contradiction... kind of like hypocrisy but not quite.

If something is or has a Racist/Sexist/[insert]ist undertone or message intentional or not is it really "OK" to support? If the offence is so minor that you still want to enjoy the game I question how truly [insert]ist it really is.

TLDR: If someone says a game is Racist or Sexist but supports it anyway the problem of Racism and Sexism is theirs not the games.
 

wAriot

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Imp Emissary said:
Isn't that, and telling us things we should know/otherwise wouldn't know all that is needed to be a games journalist?

If not, then what else is needed?
Well, how about getting some education in journalism school?
 

Xangi

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The first part of the problem is that most games journalists are the very definition of midbrow. They like things that are complex enough to make them feel smart and hard enough to make them feel skilled but not complex or hard enough to make them feel stupid/inept. The second part of it is that a vast majority are neither smart nor skilled at games. Then the third part which is less important overall but still an issue is that they have no goddam integrity and are clearly paid off in many cases, or will always give a game that touches a social issue a good rating for fear of being called racist/sexist/ist. These lead to shitty, incorrect journalism and a generally bad industry.

tl;dr reviews are shit, look for gameplay instead
 

Something Amyss

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Does that mean you don't believe that games journalism was intelligently designed?

Aeshi said:
Is that Yahtzee Croshaw in the 2nd panel? The hat looks like it could be a Trilby, but the suit makes me think otherwise.
It's Yahtzee after his regeneration from Linkara. You can tell by the surroundings. >.>

Alarien said:
I think we keep forgetting that gameplay really should come first.
The flip-side here...No, I should say flip-sides. How does it have more than one? This coin was engineered out of a TARDIS. Anyway, the manifold issues here:

Gamers who seek legitimacy and value for their hobby as an art form have pushed us into a realm where games are gooing to be pushed not just as a gameplay vector and yes, they won't always be gameplay first. In fact, even amidst the gaming industry and fandom people are well aware of this (even disregarding the games as art or legit media crowd): that's why Rockstar can make games that handle like ass and get good reviews and fan followings. Even the terrible botched PC ports get a fair amount of praise.

We value a lot of things highly in gaming and often gameplay already takes a back seat.

Finally, gameplay is often so boilerplate as to make little difference for the sake of commentary and/or criticism in itself.

Izanagi009 said:
Remember the last time the Nostalgia Critic reviewed a game, Bart's Nightmare? it ended up being a giant failure with a massive backlash that he had to apologize for though the resemblance is there
It really wasn't a review, it really wasn't all that bad, and the outrage was waaaay over the top, like pretty much everything the internet does.

JoshuaMadoc said:
The problem with the '10s is double-edged.
The same with the 90s logic and the 00s logic, actually. Both will engender arguments that solve nothing. Oh well.

Captcha: Sonic Screw Driver.

Well yes, how else did you expect me to build a coin from a TARDIS? With a lightsaber?
 

Imp_Emissary

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rbstewart7263 said:
Imp Emissary said:
rbstewart7263 said:
Imp Emissary said:
Jumwa said:
thaluikhain said:
Saying a game is racist isn't automatically wrong, racism is hardly an uncommon thing.
Right. Jim Sterling has done a Jimquisition about how you can still enjoy problematic culture. Acknowledging problems with what you love doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying them.

I like the comic, but I think people will take the wrong lessons from it. As I see it, it's the process of gamers and game culture growing up.

At first it's all unquestioning optimism, then when you grow up a bit and start to see flaws you react far too negatively. Then later on you start to strike a balance where you can recognize and discuss the flaws with what you enjoy while still enjoying it, and heck, even deriving value out of discussing those flaws.

Many of my favourite authors were racists and misogynists, but I still love the work. And far from ruining the works, it has led to some enlightening and amusing discussions.
This. THIS is what should be taken away from the comic.

People often complain about games journalism not being "real journalism". Well, to be "real journalism" it means that they have to "be real".

By that, I mean if they think/feel something about a game/the gaming community, they have to tell the public about it.

These things could be positive, negative, or a bit of both.

To continue with a recent example;
When Jim Sterling talked about how he loves Dynasty Warriors.
When he called out people for harassment.
And when he talked about the power the community has when they work together, and get mad.

We can all still love games, but unconditional love is for pets and children.
[sub](By that I mean we can unconditionally love our pets/children, not that unconditional love can only come from them.)[/sub]
We have to be able to talk about the imperfections in our games. Because no game is perfect.

[sub]Except for [insert your favorite game here]. That one is perfect.[/sub]
;p
well yes but often those racism and sexism accusations dont hold merit and are justt there for page views or to be reactionary. just look at the recent news where the last of us dev did a post analysis of her game in response to the new york times calling it sexist. also the tomb raider scandal and kotaku are fine examples. its not all valiant level headed feminists vs evil misogynist trolls like some would have you think. there's more layers to it and not alot of people care to see that.
I did see the articles about The Last of Us, and I have to say that your summary of them is very inaccurate.

The first article from Chris Suellentrop was mostly a positive review, that made some good points about a few old tropes used in the game.

And the article from Alexandria Neonakis was a rebuttal to Chris's points. For one, pointing out how much Ellie grew during the game.

In short, it was a public, and polite argument. Just what the topic needs/deserves.

As you said, "It's not all valiant level headed feminists vs evil misogynist trolls...there's more layers to it..."

As for the Kotaku bit? I can't comment as I have not been to Kotaku. Hear a lot about them though.
I was almost quick with saying that you were right until I took a look at his review. first heres how the escapist characterizes the review.

.http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.818827-The-New-York-Times-Criticizes-The-Last-of-Us-for-Having-a-Male-Protagonist

"The New York Times reviewed The Last of Us today, and while reviewer Chris Suellentrop praises the game's storytelling, much of the review is a criticism of how the game has a male protagonist. While the title I gave this post is probably going to cause trouble, it's also accurate."

alright now lets see how that characterization matches to the review. first we have the header to the article.

In the Same Boat, but Not Equals
In the Video Game The Last of Us, Survival Favors the Man

alright so thats the first thing he points out. fine. lets continue on with some of the gender things he has to say.

"This being a video game, we already know it?s not really about Sarah. She?s not pictured on the box, for one thing. And yet, for a few fleeting minutes, I really did think I was going to play something different, a game that would transport me into the life of someone very unlike me, using what Austin Grossman in his new novel, ?You,? calls the medium?s ?physical link into the world of the fiction"

not too too bad but not terribly positive.

"the Last of Us, in its defense, is neither crude nor unsophisticated. Rather, its artfulness and its intelligence make its treatment of women all the more frustrating. In the game?s resistance to allowing the player, for much of the story, to control ? or, to use a more accurate word, to inhabit ? Ellie, The Last of Us casts her in a secondary, subordinate role. "

thats actually some well written criticism there imo.

other than that he does actually say alot of half positive negative things. he praises ellie in the since that he wishes that joel would die so that he can play her. he also brings mention of microsoft and how of all its games couldnt bring itself to have one female protagonist in one of its thirteen games shown at e3.Im not sure if hes trying to write a review or if hes trying to do so while also bring to light for nyt readers some of the things going on in the gaming sphere which is fair. I imagine that this is his only slot to talk about things that he reads about on more game related websites.

overall I felt the review was unbalanced in its attempt to critique the gaming sphere while also critique the game. I dont really see what relevance microsofts man loving presence at e3 really has that matters in the context of this game and with its representation of females. its not quite the same as the debate over orsons amazing enders game vs his homophobic viewpoints. those two have more ties than a ps3 exclusive has with a microsoft e3 presentation.

so yeah his reviews not bad though. rough and loses sight alot but not bad. in truth though im gonna disagree and say that his review wasnt that positive. it just wasnt that negative.

though I will agree with you that I dont think his review had to do with page views and you are right about that. I think hes more just overly passioned having just watched anitas tropes series and that spilled into his review in not the most constructive of ways which is fine. hes human and all that.

also apologies for the rambling I gotta hit the road soon. ta ta.
Bah! Don't worry about it. It's what the comments are for.

Also, I agree that the review got off track a few times.

Plus, you caught onto what Alexandria Neonakis brought up in the rebuttal. That Chris talked a lot about Joel, but commented little about the good things that Ellie did.

May the road be good to you, and may you have a great new year. =w= b (<- Thumbs up face)
 

The Material Sheep

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Imp Emissary said:
wAriot said:
Imp Emissary said:
People often complain about games journalism not being "real journalism". Well, to be "real journalism" it means that they have to "be real".
People often complain about games journalism not being "real journalism", because many "game journalists" aren't actual journalists, just some guys and girls that write more or less well and, from time to time, play video games.
Isn't that, and telling us things we should know/otherwise wouldn't know all that is needed to be a games journalist?

If not, then what else is needed?

Or if you're going off the definition;
"a person engaged in journalism; especially : a writer or editor for a news medium."
Then I still don't see what's missing.
It usually reflects in their ethics, the veracity of the research they do on a given subject and way they write. The majority of video game journalism done these days, is done by uplifted bloggers who likely before this just wrote opinion pieces and were only accountable to the audience they catered too. That kind of writer can't and won't be able to ask the questions necessary about a game or the industry because they are far too involved with their own opinions. As much as I like Jim and believe he displays a level of objectivity and fairness that is rarely seen in gaming journalism today, he still has articles/videos where he really sets that down and rants like a blogger, doing no one any good.

Blogging is entirely concerned with itself. Journalism is entirely concerned with finding truth in given subject. As much as the two bleed into each other a times, there is rigor, and level academia related with Journalism that tends to weed people out, where as blogging tends to be a situation where just about anyone with a messiah complex or polarizing personality can succeed.

So in the end. I'd like it if more games journalists, had degrees in journalism. If only for the added benefit of having had to go through some hoops to get to their position. As well as knowing the difference between an editorial and a news article which I think a lot articles here on the Escapist tend to forget.
 

GreenSkin99

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rbstewart7263 said:
Kingjackl said:
While I agree that we should celebrate people who take a good look at broad spectrum issues like jim,moviebob,that guy from the borderlands team. I dont think this comic is doing that because if it was I dont think kotaku would be featured here.
Except people like Moviebob and Burch are terrible at doing it and stick their foots in their mouths constantly.
 

Kyogissun

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The '10's journalist more accurately would be:

The game you like is racist/sexist/homophobic/ableist/religiously insentitive/intellectually beyond your understanding/my opinion and since it's my opinion it's whatever I can want it to be and you can't criticize it because it's an opinion and not fact/enforcing white privilege/enforcing cis privilege/anti-feminism/not intellectually stimulating/not indie and therefore bad.

Just wanted to put out that suggestion, albeit that could take up... More than ONE comic panel.