When Is News Not News? When It's Not News.

Games journalism. Two words which will invoke two very polar feelings from the People of the Internets; on one side, there are stalwarts of the games press who make an effort to come up with fresh copy which is intended to reward the reader with insight. Such a rare thing these days, right? The other side is the more popular opinion of games journalists - recyclers of press releases, unrelated stories about erotic doorknobs and perhaps the most henious of crimes - the "?" story.
That question mark is a bountiful reward to any would-be writer of videogames. It can be used to speculate rather than, I dunno, report the news? Too many times have I read stories which stroll down fanciful paths of fantasy and wishlist fanboyism. A good deal of the time, these stories are normally associated with an up-and-coming game. The ravenous hordes of gamers want any scrap of information about the game they've no doubt pre-ordered and hunted through polar-white web pages; videogame news sites want their advertisers to be happy with click-throughs, so why not post blatant speculation about videogames? No one gets hurt, the hungry gamer facepalms himself in his mind and continues his merry way.
This blog entry was prevoked by such a news article based on such obvious bullshit, yet the writer in question appears all too happy to go along with it. The news article? Should I post the link? If I do, you'll no doubt click it and get one more click-through for the site, which will no doubt be encouraged to post even more utter horseshit. Games Radar, I'm calling you out. " GTA V leaks: Alleged ex-Rockstar employee leaks map, man claims to know all about the game" doesn't feature the beloved "?", but it does feature an alleged image of the map of GTA V. All this allegation and no cold hard fact can only give the reader some kind of misplaced confidence in Games Radar and their ability to filter out truth from a teenage fan getting all fancy with the MSPaint.

 Real? Of course it isn't.
 Real? Of course it isn't.
So here's that photo of the map of GTA V. Already boxes have been ticked inside the majority of our brain stems regarding the authenticity of the map - why is it that these leaks always come with out-of-focus photos and video? Maybe those ex-employees are super-nervous about being found out? Maybe this photo of the map was taken over the shoulder of Sam Houser? That ex-employee had to be quick! As maps go, it's a mess. Fan-pleasing placenames have been slapped on top of a mush of black and white pixels, roads carved out with the precision of a mouse with a defective optical laser. I wouldn't be surprised if the "REAL?" text was also drawn by that elusive ex-employee. We all know it's horseshit, right? Games Radar doesn't see it that way. To them, the map "looks plausible" and "certainly looks legit".
 *mind facepalm* 
I had a mental image of the writer of the article. I can tell you what that mental image wasn't. It wasn't that of a man in his 40s who had worked in the games industry for a considerable length of time. It wasn't that of a man who could tell you the exact POKE code he used to fix the dreaded attic bug in Jet Set Willy. It wasn't that of a man who could use some common fucking sense and not even commit finger to keyboard. Behold the wise sage - Nathan Irvine. See how young he looks in that profile photo - the playful nature of a man barely out of his gaming nappies. It has since been confirmed (note the "?"!) that the map is indeed a waste of everyone's time, yet Mr. Irvine doesn't want to taint his story with actual truth. I give Kotaku some credit - at least they [UPDATE] their horseshit stories.
The article continues with the other fabrication of a Future Publishing journo who claimed to have played the game for an hour at Rockstar Games in Edinburgh (or as he puts it, "Scotland") and was writing for a GTA V special which would be coming out in a few months time! He spilled a tin of Obvious Beans all over GTAForums and expected everyone to believe him. Already he was on shaky ground with his chronic use of the English language - something which I would have thought would have been a no-brainer prerequiste for any seasoned games journo pro. Further evidence from Future Publishing journos' Twitter feeds confirmed the fetid non-truth within. Doh. Let's all facepalm ourselves. We were all suckered, right? 
Now this map. This is 100% real, especially Cock Beach.
Now this map. This is 100% real, especially Cock Beach.
Remember when you were younger and this internet stuff was just a crazy Englishman's dream of what was to come? Imagination took place within our bedrooms - all the "What If"s of our dreams ended up scrawled onto the pages of a notepad, never to be shown to anyone. These days those crazy, hip kids have access to all kinds of art-based applications. Can they use them? Can they fuck. The fake GTA V map would have least gained some of my respect if it actually had artistic merit behind it. 
After the GamesRadar story, I loaded up MSPaint for the first time in 8 years (it actually looks like paint in Windows 7!) and came up with my own 100% official GTA V map, not forgetting to take a blurry photo. It took me 10 minutes, but the point is that anyone can come up with this. Anyone can lie on forums and get a disproportionate response of suckered fanboys and idiots passing on the lie to others. Certain news sites should know better. Measured judgement is lacking these days - editors are happy to get the "story" out there and stir up some kind of fake buzz for the sake of promotion and click-throughs.
I mentioned at the start of this entry of those who practice excellent games journalism, but alas - these heroes of our hearts are few and far between. That saddens me somewhat. Stop giving the MSPaint-owning wannabe-developer bedroom fantasists the oygen of publicity. They are the pixel-cancer of a written craft which needs more Klepeks and less Irvines.