#1 Edited by I_smell (3924 posts) -

This is kind of a self-indulgent thread, so heads up right from the start: I know this is a hot-headed reaction.
 
I just wandered over to Penny Arcade and here's this link to How Game Journalism Is It's Own Worst Enemy and I thought "Oh good, games journalism is dumb, someone's analysed this."
The basic gist of the story is that people don't credit interviews. Like Gamespot's copy-pasting stuff from G4, and some other stie is scanning magazine content from Game Informer- "Mass Effect 4 confirmed in OXM interview, tell us your thoughts in the comments below" and stuff like that. As soon as the thought of "That's not the story here, what are you talking about" formed in my head, I had to look up who wrote it cos I fucking knew it'd be this Ben Kuchera guy again.
 
The reason I recognize that name is because its from the first time I checked out PA Report; this OUYA EXPOS É. They promised a lot, but the article's written as if the thing's a giant hoax and really leans on the fact that it doesn't exist as if that's a huge gob-smacking story.
I thought the OUYA was a really goofy campaign at the time but here's the thing: Every Kickstarter project doesn't exist. That's the point. Its SUPPOSED to be in concept stages, and then it gets funded. If they had em in stock it wouldn't be a Kickstarter.
So I felt like they were really hammering these guys for the wrong reasons. I mean if it was a story about pandering and why the phrase "its by gamers for gamers!" is so stupid then I'd be on-board, but I remembered this cos it was a weird angle.
 
A few days later I went back cos that OUYA thing was interesting. Front page: Critical Path tackles "wall of white dudes". So first things first I check out Critical Path and get lost watching these videos for like 30 minutes. This site is sick as fuck, you should all check it out. Its huge veteran designers like Will Wright, Ken Levine, Jenova Chen talkin about how they look at games. So I go back and I'm just saddened that the focus of this news is on how they're all white. Diversity has an effect on a creative industry, that's totally a thing worth talking about, but can we not diminish these guys' years of work here? I'll tell you why game designers are all pasty nerds, its cos the only people who used computers in the 80s were fuckin pasty nerds-  Sid Meier isn't like a racist or anything, that's not fair to these designers, or the documentary guys, its not what's important or interesting about the topic, and its just gonna turn your comments seciton into a pihranna pit.
 
So I decided this isn't the site for me and didn't go for a while, until someone linked me to Games With Female Protagonists Don't Sell Because Publishers Don't Support Them. This is where it just broke for me, its a complete fucking none-story. Yes female protagonists are rare, and that's worth talking about, but they just looked at a list of statistics over the passed year, connected the dots, and put a picture of Mirrors Edge Girl ontop of a LITTLE stack of money with InFamous man ontop of a WHOLE BUNCH o money.
Common sense points to the fact that Mirror's Edge is a first-person game where you run away from shooters with Flash animation cutscenes, and InFamous being a super-powers open-world PS3 exclusive-- NO SHIT it got a lot o funding! Sony did not make a budgeting decision based on whats-her-name being a girl. There's SUCH butchering language on the invisible boogie-man of "publishers" in this article, you'd think they had a secret plan to erradicate women completely.
This one's such a loud shot in the dark, I could sit here all day and just... Two Portal games, two Final Fantasy games, Bayonetta, Mirror's Edge, they all had adverts on TV which is a lot more than I can say for most games, and they all sold in the hundreds of thousands. WET got less funding than God of War 3, that's really the angle you're going with here? AGAIN there's a story here, but why twist it into this noble, glorious exposé? Its like... its like the mother who pretends her baby's spoon is an aeroplane just so he'll eat. I don't need the news dressed up in black n white heroes and villains like this, I don't need someone to hate and someone to root for just to be tricked into reading. How can you think of your audience like that? I've read 3 great articles in the passed 2 months: How the Wii came around, How a development project can fall apart, and how Double Fine found it's footing. All super interesting stories built on super interesting facts.. that second one's kinda bullying Dennis Dyack a bit, but hey its hard not to in that story.  (EDIT- I actually read a bunch of good design articles that dissect how games work, but those are more just like thesis things)
 
So this brings me back around to the article that triggered me to write my thoughts down: How Games Journalism Is Its Own Worst Enemy. Why call out GamerSyndrome and stomp on GamingEverything? LOOK AT THEIR HOME PAGES!They have less presence than GameBomb.ru!  Youtube channels and funnyjunk and tumblr blogs have stole their content since their inception, this is not the story of what's wrong with "games journalism". How about the Geoff Keighley Doritos thing? How about the fact that you all live and die on putting up trailers and promotional assets? How about the dilemna of scraping for hits on the internet and how the games you have to work with are all marketing and sequels anyway, and the attitudes of an audience that just wants more and more and more exclusive info? How about Polygon's whole thing, just in general?
How about a videogame blog circuit so clawingly desperate to wear the romantic title of "journalism" that it squeezes everything it can into the noble mould of a "villains caught red-handed" exposé?
 
Alright that was harsh. If you think I'm just attacking this one guy who doesn't deserve it, and I've completely missed the heart of what I'm professing to be talking about, and I've reeled you in with a click-baiting flashy title; then GOOD, that was your crash course in jounalism.
 
...no offence patrick. you... seem like an alright guy. argh crap i really fucked up this strong finish i had, now wha- sorry I said "exposé" 3 times, I spent so much time looking for that E with an apostrophe over it that-... look I mean the long n short of it is that I jus couldn't think of another word. god if people just read the title n post without lookin at the replies again like my last thread I will ffffFLIP!!!! wait should this be in General?
 What would YOU like to see in Mass Effect 4? tell us what you think in the comments below v-v-v-v-v

#2 Edited by Humanity (9206 posts) -

Not sure what you were hoping for. You apparently read a news story by Ben Kuchera about how people don't give credit in game journalism. In said article, which I skimmed (this Ben Kuchera guy sure writes a lot about dumb video game stuff!) theres talk of various websites not crediting articles. You then wrote a Ben-Kuchera-length blog that manages to completely muddle the point in the last few sentences rendering the reader clueless as to why he bothered even reading all of that in the first place if there was no point.

Incidentally I also did not read any of this topic.

#3 Posted by I_smell (3924 posts) -
@TheHumanDove said:

Why would you flag that post? I also did not read this topic.

Cos that doesn't contribute anything and just fluffs out a post count and makes a thread harder to read. If all the posts were "I didn't read this" then like what are we doing here?
#4 Edited by MarkWahlberg (4604 posts) -

No, PA Report does kind of suck. I was going to post this huge rant about a Tomb Raider article they did a week or so ago but gave up because I was so frustrated I couldn't write anything coherently.

It's really weird, all these people have come out with these things supposedly to combat the low quality of gaemz jurnalizm, but end up being just being useless in a completely different way.

EDIT: wait, i totally broke the 3000-comment barrier and didn't notice! WOOOO

#5 Posted by csl316 (8646 posts) -

Its*

#6 Posted by I_smell (3924 posts) -

I searched for a Tomb Raider one and yeah I'm guessing it was "Virtual Sexual Assault: Our Experts Weigh In".
 
...guys if you want me to make a poll about like "what's your favourite kinda bread" I could just do that instead.

#7 Edited by falling_fast (2218 posts) -

I tend to prefer stuff like Rock Paper Shotgun's New Games Journalism (emphasising personal experiences over professional reviews, press releases and interviews etc.) to reading press releases and interviews and reviews by someone I've never heard of. It was obviously a big influence on Giant Bomb, as well. Jeff has stated on many occasions that the reason that they put themselves out there to the degree that they do is so that we can better understand how they interact with games as individuals. Patrick even name-dropped Rock Paper Shotgun as an influence on one of the first bombcasts he was on. I think most of the people here agree with me. It's why there are more quick looks than traditional reviews on this site, and why we have the endurance runs.

see also: Zero Punctuation, and Something Awful's excellent Let's Play Archive.

edit: also, the PA Report is alright. I like what they're trying to do.

#8 Posted by BestUsernameEver (4825 posts) -

Its*

#9 Posted by BestUsernameEver (4825 posts) -

@I_smell said:

I searched for a Tomb Raider one and yeah I'm guessing it was "Virtual Sexual Assault: Our Experts Weigh In". ...guys if you want me to make a poll about like "what's your favourite kinda bread" I could just do that instead.

Please do.

#10 Posted by jewunit (1060 posts) -

I looked up the definition of journalism on Dictionary.com. The results are below:

1. The occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or of conducting any news organization as a business.

2. Press.

3. A course of study preparing students for careers in reporting, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines.

4. Writing that reflects superficial thought and research, a popular slant, and hurried composition, conceived of as exemplifying topical newspaper or popular magazine writing as distinguished from scholarly writing: He calls himself a historian, but his books are mere journalism.

I think Mr. Kuchera is thinking of journalism in the sense of the fourth definition. Mr. Kuchera writes these editorial columns that are meant to be thoughtful, but also relatively fast and easy to produce. It is the nature of his work and the work he criticizes. What you are looking for, I believe, is something closer to the first definition. Certainly, Mr. Kuchera writes as an occupation, but it is not the sort of writing that is meant to report. Reporting in games journalism is usually limited to game announcements. Very rarely, you get stories such as the disclosure of L.A. Noire's ridiculous production or the collapse of 38 Studios and the mess that followed. That sort of journalism is often too rare to find and report regualrly. As such, the journalism of the fourth definition takes precedence and you end up with a lot of "obvious" editorials about the state of video games and the way it is reported. I don't think it is Mr. Kuchera's fault. I think it's just the nature of that kind of journalism.

#11 Edited by mnzy (2914 posts) -
@MarkWahlberg said:

No, PA Report does kind of suck. I was going to post this huge rant about a Tomb Raider article they did a week or so ago but gave up because I was so frustrated I couldn't write anything coherently.

It's really weird, all these people have come out with these things supposedly to combat the low quality of gaemz jurnalizm, but end up being just being useless in a completely different way.

EDIT: wait, i totally broke the 3000-comment barrier and didn't notice! WOOOO

I'm completely with you. It often feels like they are writing for their colleagues and game making folks, not for people who play them. Or "useless", as you put it. 
We need more articles like this is what I'm saying.
#12 Posted by Trace (3553 posts) -

Just a note to those of you who think you're being witty or awesome by posting "didn't read this" comments: Cut it out. Once we get the new site tools that make certain punishments really easy for us, I can almost guarantee posting such useless comments to demean a lengthy opening post will be a great way to find yourself without posting privileges for a day or two. Consider it encouragement to engage in some more of that reading you're apparently averse to trying.

Carry on!

Moderator
#13 Edited by I_smell (3924 posts) -
@damnable_fiend: Yeah someone actually asked me yesterday where I get game reviews from, and I said "I don't really read game reviews. Maybe GiantBomb? MAYBE?" cos like I said I'm steering away from reading anything cos its all such fluff. If its not like "Top 7 booth babes" then its the opposite end of the spectrum which is this.
What's great about podcasts is that people are just naturally being themselves.
The only thing I ever read on RPS was the interview where Peter Molyneux cried, so that was good.
@BestUsernameEver said:

Its*

Someone already said that and I already went back and edited all the it's.
@PsEG said:

Just a note to those of you who think you're being witty or awesome by posting "didn't read this" comments: Cut it out. Once we get the new site tools that make certain punishments really easy for us, I can almost guarantee posting such useless comments to demean a lengthy opening post will be a great way to find yourself without posting privileges for a day or two. Consider it encouragement to engage in some more of that reading you're apparently averse to trying.

Carry on!

Finally, I suggested time-outs ages ago! You NEED a step that's not perma-banning someone, but then not doing nothing.
For anyone who thinks I look like a crazy person: A bunch of posts saying "I didn't read this" got deleted at the start there.
#14 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

The best way to combat traditional gaemz jurnalizm is to engage in actual journalism. I'm a believer that good writing and research can produce top quality, worthwhile articles with nary a game trailer or advertising hook in sight. But that requires a lot of work. There are plenty of very real, very relevant issues to be considered about misogyny and race in the video games industry, but doing the leg work to create quality postings isn't worth the clicks (Which is what most websites are interested in generating). Far easier to just say, "Here are my thoughts on the evils of the industry," and move on to something else.

The problem is, navel-gazing articles about the state of games media, without well-thought-out arguments and evidence, rarely add anything to the conversation. Whether they be about advertising in the media, a lack of female protagonists, or some other potentially troubling issues, the half-considered thoughts that are much of the content coming from folks like Ben Kuchera only add to the noise of controversies. Worse, they pull attention away from real solutions and insight.

I don't blame people for getting mad about these bandwagon posts. I'm all for standing up against ills you see in the world, but people also need to think clearly about their position and its implications rather than just spewing forth their thoughts. But I suppose if we could convince people in any profession or pursuit to stop and "think" about what they were doing, we'd solve a lot of the world's problems altogether.

#15 Posted by HoboZero (187 posts) -

There is definitely a discussion to be had for whether gaming press is "journalism" or "trade press" or something in betwwen, given that the source of most news is press releases, etc (as opposed to investigative reporting). It would be interesting to hear opinions on the subject from members of the gaming press. PA Report / Ben Kuchera's blog, however, doesn't seem to be the place that discussion is likely to blossom.

Fun wikipedia link for you - what you are railing against is yellow journalism, and it's been around a fair sight longer than the gaming press. I guess we'd call it link bait? Though to be fair it sounds like Ben has put effort into his articles; it would be cynical to assume he has no interest in the subjects beyond generating hits

Hmm, maybe this proves the gaming press has grown up, as it suffers from the same flaws as traditional news? All we need is a good payola scandal and a Hearst-like magnate to abuse his powers (or hers, wouldn't want to be sexist), and the industry will be all growd up :D

Unrelated: On the subject of Patrick's articles, my only complaint would be that he tends to take a bit of a conciliatory tone in what I assume is his earnest attempts to remain neutral, or at least professionally distant, on most topics he writes about - but I prefer that tone over the snark, sarcasm, and cynical condemnation you seem to get from other site's writers (and, to a lesser extent, from Alex).

Also, my favorite kind of bread is banana loaf.

#16 Posted by I_smell (3924 posts) -
@HoboZero said:

There is definitely a discussion to be had for whether gaming press is "journalism" or "trade press" or something in betwwen, given that the source of most news is press releases, etc (as opposed to investigative reporting). It would be interesting to hear opinions on the subject from members of the gaming press. PA Report / Ben Kuchera's blog, however, doesn't seem to be the place that discussion is likely to blossom.

Fun wikipedia link for you - what you are railing against is yellow journalism, and it's been around a fair sight longer than the gaming press. I guess we'd call it link bait? Though to be fair it sounds like Ben has put effort into his articles; it would be cynical to assume he has no interest in the subjects beyond generating hits

Hmm, maybe this proves the gaming press has grown up, as it suffers from the same flaws as traditional news? All we need is a good payola scandal and a Hearst-like magnate to abuse his powers (or hers, wouldn't want to be sexist), and the industry will be all growd up :D

Unrelated: On the subject of Patrick's articles, my only complaint would be that he tends to take a bit of a conciliatory tone in what I assume is his earnest attempts to remain neutral, or at least professionally distant, on most topics he writes about - but I prefer that tone over the snark, sarcasm, and cynical condemnation you seem to get from other site's writers (and, to a lesser extent, from Alex).

Also, my favorite kind of bread is banana loaf.

My favourite kind of bread is tiger bread and I don't really read Patrick's articles.
I agree that it's cynical to call it link-baiting, I put off using that term, and think I might have used it once near the end. I think he's SUPER enthusiastic about doing this, but its getting ahead of him being good at it. It's like when you see an art game, and the SHEER EXCITEMENT this developer had in making an art game actually outshines the content they made... y'know? This stuff is all really far down that road.
 
Also GERSTMANNGATE 07!!!!!!!!
#17 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@rebgav said:

I'd still prefer to read a well-researched, well-written article that I disagree with vehemently than the rehashed press releases and pointless op-eds that most sites trade in.

A really fantastic sentiment and one I wholeheartedly agree with. I'd bet that's an extreme minority view though. As far as site-traffic vs. writer-time-committed, I imagine it doesn't pan out.

#18 Edited by I_smell (3924 posts) -
@BrockNRolla said:

The best way to combat traditional gaemz jurnalizm is to engage in actual journalism. I'm a believer that good writing and research can produce top quality, worthwhile articles with nary a game trailer or advertising hook in sight. But that requires a lot of work. There are plenty of very real, very relevant issues to be considered about misogyny and race in the video games industry, but doing the leg work to create quality postings isn't worth the clicks (Which is what most websites are interested in generating). Far easier to just say, "Here are my thoughts on the evils of the industry," and move on to something else.

The problem is, navel-gazing articles about the state of games media, without well-thought-out arguments and evidence, rarely add anything to the conversation. Whether they be about advertising in the media, a lack of female protagonists, or some other potentially troubling issues, the half-considered thoughts that are much of the content coming from folks like Ben Kuchera only add to the noise of controversies. Worse, they pull attention away from real solutions and insight.

I don't blame people for getting mad about these bandwagon posts. I'm all for standing up against ills you see in the world, but people also need to think clearly about their position and its implications rather than just spewing forth their thoughts. But I suppose if we could convince people in any profession or pursuit to stop and "think" about what they were doing, we'd solve a lot of the world's problems altogether.

I can't tell if you're talking about... ME? or the Penny Arcade Report.
 
but anyway the other example I forgot to bring up was this ol' gem when I decided to stop reading Kotaku. The top comment is a thousand times more on-point and actually insightful than the article, which is just noise that clouds out the actual problem they're addressing.
#19 Posted by casper_ (903 posts) -

i like ben kuchera...

#20 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@I_smell:

I was speaking of PA, not you. Your post seemed to me more an expression of personal indignation rather than something with a point you hoped to be proven. I wasn't apply any sort of theoretical journalistic standards to what you wrote. Blowing off steam, as long as that's made clear which I thought it was in your closing, is a valid sort of writing as long as the author doesn't claim any deeper truths.

Your link example is very indicative of the problem and that sort of thing is the same reason I stopped going to Kotaku as well quite a while back. It's a post without any real thought, just a few words and images. Conclusions? Unclear, unexplained. So what was the point? Controversy and clicks. Where does that get us? If we're lucky, precisely no where. If we're unlucky, a bunch of rage directed at what is otherwise an important and relevant topic.

#21 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4604 posts) -

@PsEG said:

Once we get the new site tools that make certain punishments really easy for us

I love it when you moderators get kinky.

#22 Edited by crcruz3 (264 posts) -

@I_smell: Great post. I don't really get what Ben Kuchera is trying to achieve. I find him boring most of the time.

Some links would be appreciated: "I actually read a bunch of good design articles that dissect how games work, but those are more just like thesis things"

Thanks!

#23 Posted by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -
#24 Posted by Brad_D80 (16 posts) -

Ben Is the king of Video game Journalism Didnt you know.

http://www.somethingawful.com/d/video-game-article/king-ben-kuchera.php