I Wrote A Response to VGC's "Game Journalism is Broken" Article

This is a repost from a comment, mostly to make sure I have an easy place to link to. If you don't know the article in question, it's this.
 I find this article (and the subsequent attempt at damage control by the author on Twitter) to be fascinating. And hilarious. And completely hypocritical.

First off, it's great that Brett Walton, founder of VGChartz.com, thinks that "journalism needs a big shake up," and that, "Much of the current 'journalism' consists of re-worded press releases." However, you would think that, as founder of VGChartz, he would have some control of daughter-site gamrfeed and would ensure that his own sites don't fall under journalism that could only be referred to when in quotes. 

Second, I don't think it was the best idea to use a sampling method that you claim to be random. This is the internet, where anonymity is king. There is no way for us to know that you didn't selectively choose the articles to make your point. Even if you provide the list of all the articles in the sample, there will be no way to know they were truly random. You've said yourself that "...these blogs thrive on hits and post counts." Why should we assume your'e any different? 

Third, it's great that you're railing on editorialized articles when, until you provide your proof, this is an editorial. You've said yourself that "editorializing also forces the opinion of the writer into the news." Until you post the list of articles so that we can see whether or not you're full of shit, this is all opinion. You've provided no criteria on how you organized your data, just the categories they went into. It's great that you had four different categories of headline. However, without explaining what it takes for a headline to fit in one category over another, it's opinion. Hell, unless you're able to cite some well-known organization method for sorting headlines, it's opinion. 

Using the risk of libel suit is great to explain why you should avoid grammatical errors. You know what else can bring up a libel suit? Accusing another person of being sexist (or at the very least writing a sexist article) without providing proof. 

For someone who claims to want better things from gaming journalists, it should be shameful that you made this article without providing any evidence for any of your points. You have accused a person of being sexist and won't even provide your "evidence" until Monday. I don't understand the thought process that would lead to write such an inflammatory article and not think that you would be expected to back it up. I mean, hell, GoogleCache is not a new thing.    


Why I hate casually-run tournaments

Yesterday I went to a tournament at my college's gaming group.  They had a Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournament and a Halo 3 tournament. I decided to to do the Halo 3 tournament.  The first issue that came up was that they started the tournament before registration was over, meaning that about 10 minutes into the tournament, they added in about 3 more people which screwed up the bracketing, causing the person in the new 5th quarter-final sections to be able to essentially BYE himself into the finals.  I ended up being in what would have been finals if that extra bracket wasn't added, and lost.  I lost 14-6.  Then the guy who beats me goes on to beat the guy who has played less matches than me 15-1. The people running the tournament were giving out 1st and 2nd place prizes, and because the other dude signed up later, he got the 2nd place prize.  I don't want to come off as saying "OMG I SHUD I HAV WON!", but the way they did that was stupid.  They don't know what kind of even they want to run.  They get prizes and try to run a tournament, which is more serious, but then they are really fast and loose with how to set everything up, a more casual thing to do.


DLC, Game Journalists that Need to Shut Their Mouths, and You

DLC.  You guys all know it.  Popularized with the advent of this console generation, games have been finding their way to sell us extra content.  Many of these tactics have severe flaws, which I feel the need to outline today, as well as touch on an issue I've seen from a certain games podcast. 

Day One DLC

It's exactly what the name says: DLC that comes out on the day of the game's release.  There are legitimate reasons for this occurrence, believe it or not.  Take Dragon Age: Origins for example.  Much of the DLC that came out on launch was planned to be post-launch content.  However, the game got delayed to Fall of 09 and they were able to work on the content and finish it well before the game was released.  That's also the explanation as to why the Shale content was quite tightly woven into the main game and why the Warden's Keep DLC contains a personal chest that the party camp does not (when Bioware discovered that a camp chest ended up become an issue).  I understand the general gamers' question of "Why was this not included in my game?" when if they were able to finalize the content to ship on the same day as the game, and as someone without any intimate knowledge of the topic my assumption would be that it was not finalized until after the discs were being pressed.  However, the wrong stance to take with this type of DLC is that your game is incomplete without it.  You are free to feel that way, but it is the developer's choice as to what makes the game complete.  Personally, I feel that, even if work was started prior to the game going gold, if content was finished after the game was then my extra money is going towards extra work. As unsettling as this tactic may seem, it is nowhere near as shady as the next form. 

108 KB (or other incredibly small size) "Keys" to Unlock On-Disc Content

Once again, the point is rather clear.  Many games (however, a declining number) had "extra" content which was, in fact, included on the disc.  This is an area where I feel that we are being ripped off.  I understand that the definition of ownership of digital content is blurred beyond most recognition.  For instance, you are technically only buying a license to play the game when you buy it.  However, I don't think it's unreasonable (even if it's technically incorrect) to feel entitled to the contents of the disc you just spent $60 on.  As far as I'm concerned, the money I give the publishers funds the development of the content contained on in the box I'm purchasing.  Any extra money I give funds extra work. Obviously, these publishers and developers disagree.  There's really nothing else to say other than that it's a shitty move to get more money.  If they really want to sell it as extra content, just make it an unlock code that weighs in at a couple megabytes.  Make it seem substantial so that I don't have to feel like I'm being ripped off because I know that it's just a key.   

Game Journalists that Need to Just not Talk About it

Anyone who listens to the Joystiq Podcast probably already knows why I wrote this in the first place.  For the past year (pretty much since the gaming world cried Bullshit over the Resident Evil 5 Versus DLC) Chris Grant and Ludwig Kietzmann have deemed it necessary to take every possible opportunity to insult those of us who don't like being ripped off with DLC.  Using a typical "nerd voice", they will make comments about DLC that are intentionally unreasonable to satire gamers whose complaints actually are quite reasonable.  We just paid $60 for a game, don't ask us to pay more for a while and/or don't ask us to pay more for content we already posses (in some form at least).  Two episodes ago (if I recall) people who do not like unfair DLC policies were compared to software pirates who say that they steal games because they would be ripped off otherwise.  There's a rather large issue with that statement, at least in regards to the people making it.  By virtue of us being console gamers,  it is fair to say that for the good majority of us, we buy (or have bought for us) all of our games.  By virtue of Joystiq being a gaming news publication that has reviews and receives numerous copies of games that get shared across the staff, it is fair to assume that Joystiq staff members do not spend money on all of the games that they play.  Now, I know that this is standard across all gaming publications, but most other gaming publications don't make comments that insult the intelligence of their viewers/listeners/users.  I know that many journalists will buy the games that they borrow from their company if they enjoy it a lot, and I know that Chris is an avid user of Goozex.  However, the impression made by those comments from people in their position is unsettling to me.  Just months ago, Joystiq was stressing to hardcore Xbox fanboys that the E74 Error is a real problem and they're trying to help the consumers.  If memory serves, Justin McElroy was the person who, not only wrote the articles that got the 3-year warranty to cover the E74, also made the consumer-defense comment.  Interestingly enough, I don't recall Justin ever being rude to the DLC-haters. Maybe Justin's the only person who wants to keep consumers from being screwed.  I don't know.  All I suggest is that, if you are able to play full games for free, you are better off not commenting negatively on people who actually pay for all of the games they play (either by renting or purchasing) who don't like how DLC is being done.   

Da End

If anyone forced his/her way through this WALLoTEXT, I appreciate your patience.  For those wondering, I would have sent this in an email to Joystiq themselves, but, at best, I would have gotten a nerd-voice recital of parts of this blog with more idiotic comments spewed afterwards.  Also, in this way, I have the potential of having a conversation with other people in a similar situation as me.  So, yeah.