The Evolution of Games Journalism

Korolev

No Time Like the Present
Jul 4, 2008
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Well, in a way it's a good thing. Games are attracting the same criticism that movies and books attract. That means they have become complex enough and interesting enough to warrant such criticism in the first place.

I'm not too worried about this sort of criticism having negative effects on the gaming industry. Film and Literature have had the same amount of scrutiny, and you still get all sorts of film. Games will be no different - critics will not be able to stop games they don't like from being made and in some cases genuinely insightful criticism will result in some improvements.
 

Imp_Emissary

Mages Rule, and Dragons Fly!
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th3dark3rsh33p said:
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.
Well, I agree that a little education never hurt.

That said, while Jim famously goes on rants, he also puts out pieces that are pretty well researched.

Like the Perfect Pasta Sauce episode.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/7161-Perfect-Pasta-Sauce

Granted, he can get a bit ranty in those too.

Also, I would agree that more ethics in journalism can only be good.
With that said though, I don't think we have it all that bad at the Escapist. Though, no place is perfect, but that just means we can always be better.
 

The Wooster

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Jul 15, 2008
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RJ 17 said:
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. Or well, at least this comic captures my sentiments. :p
It's been happening for years, and it's largely because games are becoming a more narrative-driven medium. Notice how more articles about movies talk about story/pacing/message than the actual shot-to-shot movie-buff stuff?
 

Deadcyde

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Jan 11, 2011
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It's more frightening because it's beginning to convince even gamers like yourselves to forget that it's just a damn game.

Seriously, I actually saw Rock paper shotgun debates about the asylum in outlast being a misleading representation of real mental health care facilities..

What the proper fuck.

IT'S A GAME!!! Whether it is or isn't a realistic portrayal it is still a game and therefore -not reality-

Seriously. *shakes head*
 

wAriot

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Deadcyde said:
It's more frightening because it's beginning to convince even gamers like yourselves to forget that it's just a damn game.

Seriously, I actually saw Rock paper shotgun debates about the asylum in outlast being a misleading representation of real mental health care facilities.
Well, discussing these kind of things isn't necessarily something bad, but I think people are getting a bit overboard with it. I don't think every game is supposed to be discussed this way; I mean, I honestly doubt that anyone is worried about the political/racial/sexual/etc consequences that the "The Expendables" movies had.
 

Deadcyde

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wAriot said:
Deadcyde said:
It's more frightening because it's beginning to convince even gamers like yourselves to forget that it's just a damn game.

Seriously, I actually saw Rock paper shotgun debates about the asylum in outlast being a misleading representation of real mental health care facilities.
Well, discussing these kind of things isn't necessarily something bad, but I think people are getting a bit overboard with it. I don't think every game is supposed to be discussed this way; I mean, I honestly doubt that anyone is worried about the political/racial/sexual/etc consequences that the "The Expendables" movies had.
the disturbing thing is there is people that care about "the political/racial/sexual/etc consequences that the "The Expendables" movies had" and that it's becoming more and more of a trend.
 

Thedutchjelle

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ImBigBob said:
I love the beginning of the Kotaku logo in the last panel.
So I wasn't the only one who noticed that (EDIT: Commented before seeing the other 2 pages of comments. More people pointed it out). Is there a specific game review they put up that led to the inclusion of them in this comic?

I actually like Kotaku to be honest. It has nice articles to read and less ads all in my face. It lacks a forum though.. so for that I come here.
 

Norithics

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It's funny how nostalgia goggles make us love the first one so much, despite the fact that it was blatant commercial propaganda with no actual content. : )
 

Jumwa

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wulf3n said:
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.
That's a bizarrely all or nothing attitude. Either a game is perfect or something to reject entirely.

Can you not see how ridiculous a scenario you've set up? You can criticize something, find issues with it, and still enjoy the overall experience. We all do it all the time, some just pretend not to.
 

bartholen_v1legacy

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
Jan 24, 2009
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The middle panel guy isn't Yahtzee, nor is it anyone else. He's an amalgamation of every "angry nerd ranting on the internet" person: the hat is Yahtzee, the suit Nostagia Critic, the couch Linkara, the face Brad Jones. Well played, Grey.
 

VanQ

Casual Plebeian
Oct 23, 2009
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I can more or less get behind this comic, to be honest. Though I felt it was very close to being 100% accurate, I felt there was a slight change needed to really nail it.


What font does he use in these comics? Blambot Casual was the closest font I have that I could find but it's still a bit off. Yes, I'm aware that I'm terrible at photoshop. That was a grand total of 5 minutes worth of work though.
 

The Material Sheep

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The Wooster said:
RJ 17 said:
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. Or well, at least this comic captures my sentiments. :p
It's been happening for years, and it's largely because games are becoming a more narrative-driven medium. Notice how more articles about movies talk about story/pacing/message than the actual shot-to-shot movie-buff stuff?
To a degree, but even then is our games journalism really talking about that much these days? Is it not more knee jerk reactions to the slightest hint of something that might be a sensitive subject, than honest criticism of the craft? I mean it's definitely an improvement over the marketing pretending to be journalism that use to go on, but its still not a good place.
 

RJ 17

The Sound of Silence
Nov 27, 2011
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The Wooster said:
RJ 17 said:
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. Or well, at least this comic captures my sentiments. :p
It's been happening for years, and it's largely because games are becoming a more narrative-driven medium. Notice how more articles about movies talk about story/pacing/message than the actual shot-to-shot movie-buff stuff?
That's true. More games are coming out these days that focus (or at least try to focus) on the story-bits. And when your focus is story, it's fair game to break down that story like any other story: pulling out themes of racism, homophobia, class-disparity, etc.

Still, I miss the simpler times of the Bit Wars...everyone seemed so happy back in those days. Guess that's pretty much right where you're 90's Game Journalism Guy came from. :p
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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Deadcyde said:
It's more frightening because it's beginning to convince even gamers like yourselves to forget that it's just a damn game.
People should all have the same values.

Thedutchjelle said:
[Is there a specific game review they put up that led to the inclusion of them in this comic?
If I'm remembering right, Kotaku's the home of that woman who got hate and animosity from the internet for an article comparing online video games to rape. An article, I'd add, she didn't write, but got hate for anyway. Because fact checking? What's that?

I'd never seen things about Kotaku being "social justice warriors" before that point, but afterward, they were the feminist/black/gay agenda site.

Maybe there's truth to it, but I'm skeptical because of that.

Norithics said:
It's funny how nostalgia goggles make us love the first one so much, despite the fact that it was blatant commercial propaganda with no actual content. : )
Not only that, but when it happens today, "we" shit all over it.

But yeah. These were the guys who tried to sell you Dick Tracy and Battletoads types of games. Broken, frustrating, or just plain crap. And people pine for that? Reeeeeally?

On the plus side, with publishers stonewalling critics who say bad things about their games, we're nearly back to an era like that. Maybe the next Ride to Hell will get rave reviews.
 

Deadcyde

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Jan 11, 2011
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2030's will be "still no flying cars, so here's call of duty 50: feminist riot wars"
 

wulf3n

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Jumwa said:
That's a bizarrely all or nothing attitude. Either a game is perfect or something to reject entirely.

Can you not see how ridiculous a scenario you've set up? You can criticize something, find issues with it, and still enjoy the overall experience. We all do it all the time, some just pretend not to.
I think you misunderstood what I was saying. It wasn't that if a game has a single bad element it should be disregarded, but rather if a game has any racist or other ist element and that is something said person passes them self off as being against, how can they, in good conscience continue playing the game.

When talking about standard criticisms such as bad voice acting, poorly mapped controls etc, you're right it's a crazy position, but those are different to instances of racism etc. The difference being bad voice acting and issues of that ilk don't hurt anything but the game where as instances bigoted mechanics or narrative elements have the potential to cause real harm.

So I can only assume it boils down to:

a) The instances of racism etc are so minor/forced that it's arguably not even there.

or

b) Said person isn't really as progressive as they make themselves out to be.

NOTE: Said person is not you. This is just a common opinion I've seen here on the Escapist that I've always found odd.