My Take On: The Self Destruction Of Gaming “Journalism”
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Before you begin reading this article, please note that I am neither a journalist nor a person of relevance in the gaming industry. I am a schmuck with a website, a show and a staff of no-nonsense individuals who speak freely without the shackles of slavery binding us to any industry – especially gaming. Now that you read that, you can either continue or hit that X-button in the corner and continue forging yourself a path with blinders on.
Since doing MTR live for the last few years, we have worked hard at giving brutally honest and humorous commentary on all aspects of our coverage. We are not experts, but we know a bit about everything which allows us to share our views on all content we cover. Honestly, one of the most cut-throat of industries to cover for us is the gaming industry. The gaming industry is built on small segments of genuine gaming love coupled with a menagerie of people fighting for a piece of the proverbial pie. These building blocks have created some engaging and entertaining personalities in the industry, but it has also created bitter, spiteful and negative atmospheres for anyone that is not a part of the gaming journalism “inner circle”. This, my friends, is a shame because there are loads of talented people that may not have the connections or resources to be major players yet come equipped with vision, passion and a genuine love of the industry. Those individuals fight tooth and nail to get demos, event invites and access to coverage which most times is a crap shoot. I say crap shoot because smaller sites may lose out to the guy that has a paint-by-numbers website yet has those industry “connections”. It's not what you know, it's who you know, right?
I am sure you are wondering why I am touching on this topic when there are tons of things going on in gaming that should be addressed. My reasoning stems from keyboard warriors who decided to shit on a guy who clawed his way to the top to get in this so called “industry”. That individual is Hip Hop Gamer. I have had the pleasure of meeting Hip Hop Gamer on numerous occasions, and feel that he is one of the better ambassadors for the independent journalist and someone that is a prime example of hustle leading to opportunity. While our approaches are different, I respect the fact that he doesn’t give a shit about the standards expected by the industry. When HHG was announced as a member of EGM Now, I was genuinely happy for the guy because it's another step towards the mainstream and delivering something different. A few hours later, I saw a multiple page thread littered with congrats and kind words but sadly also filled with bias, loathing and criticism. This annoyed me not only because of what was said, but because guys were griping about his success. How can people sit there and tear down an individual that clawed his way out being of another gaming pundit and into someone with some klout? Sadly, in the short time involved in this “industry” I have seen firsthand the machinations of sites and individuals hard at work to ensure people on the come-up do not get ahead and recieve opportunities. It’s a sad thing to see. I’d rather read sites like Dual Shockers, Royal Flush, Talking About Games, VGN and Digital Noob then throw support behind corporate shills like IGN and Gamespot who deliver the equivalent of Entertainment Weekly for gamers. The independent sites I named above are but a few of which I read and enjoy. If I sat here and named every indy site I read, this article would become the equivalent of War and Peace. My Google reader gaming folder is filled with over 1k articles a day of gaming news mostly from independent sites. This content is more engaging and, at times, resonates more with me than the mainstream content churned out every day.
I’ll be honest when I say I don’t go out of my way for acceptance in the gaming industry. I’d rather let my product speak for me and not shameless pandering and begging. I don’t need to sit at an industry party with other site owners while shit-faced to grow my brand. I say that not only because I don’t drink, but because eyes are on you in every situation. (Something I picked up from the talented guys from 15 Minutes of Game.) Every douchey move you do is watched and commented on behind close doors. If you want to be someone in the industry it is one part who you know and one part what you produce to make this industry better. Sadly, the definition of “better” is open to interpretation. To every disillusioned aspiring gaming journalist out there, all I can say is keep at it because the opportunities are out there if you stay at it long enough.
To all the smaller sites delivering hard-hitting and honest content I salute you. To the guys like HHG, Torrance Davis, JVB, Stephen Cosentino, Kevin Baird and Urriya and the ladies like Crixlee, Trina Finton and Angel Thanatos, I personally want to thank you for creating unique and engaging content that is good for the industry.