Why Games Journalism Is In Much Better Shape Than You Think

Why Games Journalism Is In Much Better Shape Than You Think

In a past life, David ‘Raygun Brown’ Rayfield was a music journalist. Nowadays he writes about video games. In the wake of Dorito Gate, and an inordinate amount of introspection, he takes a look at the differences between games reporting and music journalism. You might be a little surprised at the differences.

It’s a little childish to hold a grudge against Method Man but on some unconscious level, I still do. Three times in a row, the former Wu-Tang Clan member cancelled an interview I had scheduled with him. Well, he didn’t cancel it. His PR people did. Every time, it was all very last minute. I understood he was a busy man but it was getting rather frustrating. He was touring at the time, possibly with Redman, I don’t quite remember. I shuffled around my life at the drop of a hat every time I received a call and was told he was ready to be interviewed within a few hours. Alas, I didn’t secure the interview and eventually managed to squeeze a reason out of his PR people afterwards. I’m paraphrasing here so my apologies if I remember this incorrectly but the interviews kept getting cancelled because Method Man was “stoned out of his fucking mind”. In retrospect, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

For the most part, my time writing in the field of music journalism was rewarding and fun. As a contributor and part-time deputy editor for a music street-press magazine here in Brisbane, I met tons of great people, travelled, covered countless live shows and on the whole, helped shaped me as the starving writer I am today. Sonic Youth were extremely friendly, Simon from Basement Jaxx didn’t bite my head off when I mistakenly called him Felix and the boys from Kasabian bought me a drink over our shared dislike for My Chemical Romance. I learned a lot and wouldn’t have changed it for the world. Even though the music industry was incredibly self-important and filled to the brim with people who thought they were changing the world, I still consider it a rewarding time in my life.

But in over five years, not once did I hear anyone take issue with the state of music journalism as a concept. Not another writer, editor, musician, publicist, event coordinator either here or overseas ever said to me that they believed music journalism was ‘broken’. Not once. Despite regurgitating PR email after PR email and being slaves to the advertising dollar for our very survival, there were never any cries of corruption or bias from any corner of our industry. Sure, musicians and PR responded to bad reviews or questionable interviews but our main concerns were:

1. Making damn sure we had our VIP passes for an upcoming music festival.

2. Pretending you actually liked Spiritualized or My Bloody Valentine.

3. Bragging to other music journalists about how some crappy indie band from Brooklyn formed last week and can barely play one song but they’re so amazing and you know the bass player.

These were our worries. Don’t get me wrong, stellar writing and journalists were everywhere but nobody gave a damn about whether an excess of untoward influence ran through music journalism. No constant rage or mocking of other publications and how they weren’t keeping up to some invisible standard of a Lester Bangs or a Mark Jacobson. There were no regular columns or articles discussing music journalism and what can be done to improve it.

Complaining about trying to make that four hundred word interview somehow seem coherent because Red Bull marketing takes up three quarters of the page? Who cares? I wrote it, so just pay me my money and give me that sweet Batman Begins jacket and Radiohead tour poster while you’re at it. When it came to the actual practice of music journalism, nobody spent too much time thinking about it. True, I wasn’t editor of Rolling Stone or NME but in five years, it stands to reason I would have at least heard about such a thing happening somewhere.

Games journalism seems to be a different beast. It has come a long way from the mainstream media discussing games with sentences like “Games have come a long way since (insert obsolete video game here)” but it still struggles for legitimacy outside of the world it lives in. Ironically, this doesn’t seem to hold it back. Whereas the music industry thrives on growth-crippling cliques and self-obsession, the games industry (whether press, PR, developers or fans) is inherently global. Everyone just naturally pays attention to everyone else. And despite all the constant criticism, this watchful attitude is strangely healthy. ‘Keep the bastards honest’, to quote a former Australian politician.

Most of the accusations against games press are exaggerated and sometimes insane but if there’s even a hint of impropriety these days, it is immediately clamped down upon and laid bare in gruesome detail. No other form of journalism, from music to sport to political to imbedded war reporting, has the kind of ravenous wolves scratching at the door like this one. They are always there, hungry for more evidence of wrongdoing. You think the slightest dip in writing quality or a random misspoken comment on Twitter will slip through their net? You better think again. They make sure nothing gets past. Their instantaneous nature brings these ‘issues’ to light and breaks them down under a microscope. If they smell the faint whiff that you were somehow influenced by a publisher or you’re ‘trolling for hits’, then you might as well be on trial for murder. Because the Internet is representing for the prosecution and your past deeds will be exposed for everyone to see. We shouldn’t exactly thank them, but the state of games media isn’t in the dark hole everybody seems to think it is either. And it’s because everyone involved won’t allow it.

Nothing like this existed during my time in music journalism. True, I mostly wrote for a print magazine but the feedback was always there. In the space of half a decade, it would make sense that even a vague notion of this same deranged authority would present itself. But it never did.

Here’s a small example of how different the two worlds are. During the time I was covering such events, Boy George came to town to DJ in one of those multi-million dollar super-nightclubs. That night, any media or VIPs that went anywhere near him was given a strict set of instructions by his PR team. One of these rules was ‘Unless he is talking to you, don’t look him in the eyes’. If he didn’t ask you to get him a towel or a drink, it was forbidden to make eye contact. I’m dead serious. I wasn’t up to speed on what the consequences were if such a rule was broken, but that’s beside the point.

Can you imagine if anyone in the video game industry had such a stipulation? Their reputation would be in ruins and they would become a laughing stock. Half a dozen articles across many different sites would be written about what this means for the industry and whatever game or site they were connected to would be shredded to pieces and a hundred career-ending memes would be created within the hour. In the music industry however, it was laughed off as yet another example of a prima donna, celebrity attitude and forgotten in a haze of free booze, dancing and “ooh, is that the guy from The Presets?”.

The general consensus seems to be that games journalism is ‘broken’. When compared to any other field of journalism, this criticism has been blown out of proportion to a staggering degree. If you say it’s broken enough times, then maybe you might start to convince yourself and others that it’s true. Like telling everyone a new Syphon Filter game will be totally awesome or repeating the word ‘Candyman’ three times while looking in a mirror. In reality, this just isn’t the case.

Games journalism is perfectly fine. It’s safe and sound because we have our own twisted police force protecting it. On some macabre level, all the nutcases who cry foul of games journalists being influenced on a game review by giving it a 7 instead of a 9 or yelling from the highest rooftop that all games journalism is recycled PR, help to highlight the fact that nobody can hide. Anything that they might deem to be anything less than in-depth, solid and groundbreaking games journalism is studied and analyzed as if it were a treasure map leading to a pot of Mountain Dew. There’s no chance of the industry press getting worse because anything that’s even slightly questionable gets stopped in its tracks and torn apart in excruciating detail. Game journalism as it is today can only get better because it picks up after itself like a drunken yet responsible maid of honour at a wedding.

So maybe you shouldn’t worry so much about that less than glowing review or a guy sitting next to a bag of Doritos. Because when you step back from it all, everything seems ludicrous. It’s okay to think twice about raging about a writer not meeting a level of quality that some other writer displayed last week. Hundreds of other people will take care of that for you.

And yet, I still think Method Man is a bit of a ponce. I guess games journalism can’t fix everything.

You can (and should) follow David Rayfield on Twitter. He blogs at Preparations For Birth.


  • Superbly written. As an aspiring games journalist myself, its good to see that the bastards are keeping honest. Well, for the most part anyway.

  • “It’s okay to think twice about raging about a writer not meeting a level of quality that some other writer displayed last week. Hundreds of other people will take care of that for you. “

    Hahaha, oh wow. David knows his target audience!

  • Games journalism I’ve seen as one of the last bastions of honest media. I used to do interviews with actors, directors etc a few years back (wow… going on six years O_O ), but in that time, it started out great, I found when I started moving onto higher ranking actors and directors (from nobodies who were great to talk to), to higher paid ones (Eli Roth and Chloe Moretz ((hitgirl)) for instance) that the interviews became very *controlled* to the point where my questions were requested beforehand so they could be screened and answers prepared. I found this insulting and it drove me out of the industry, it killed my passion. It’s great to see though that this sort of thing isn’t existing by and large and if it does pop up, it’s quickly called out.

    • It feels great to strike down upon journalists and institutions that accept pre-interview manipulation, but I’d argue that we’re worse off than we seem, because it seems to me (and others; see A Random’s comment below) that many journalists seem to be implicitly complicit with the problem by simply failing to ask hard questions in the first place.

      I see the recent SquareEnix/Libel/Doritos/Mountain Dew examples as even more deeply pervasive PR-infiltration of the media, rather than as a separate field of complaint, and while I’m extremely pleased to see that some people have been slammed for indulging in such, I feel that the general satisfaction arising from that victory is making people complacent about the general weakness in interview technique that is seen across the board.

      • Oh very fair point absolutely. Im not saying its 100% uncorrupted, its just moreso uncorrupted than the music or movie industry. When I interviewed Chloe Moretz, it was super fair of them to remind every journalist “This is a minor, please refrain from language, topics of a sexual nature” etc. That was all well and good. When I was asked “Hey, can we please see the question list you’re asking? We just like to make sure there’s nothing inappropriate…” all interviews were pre-recorded and we were working almost solely with Lionsgate by this time, when a PR cow (woman… in theory), got her hands on the interview, she said to me ‘I want you to ‘reshape’ this question to ask him more about his physical preperation… you could ask it this way?’

        I just about spat chips over the phone. I thanked her calmly, hung up and felt insulted.

        Best one was Tom Sizemore. Wanted 5000 dollars to just be interviewed and by his own publicists words ‘had to be portrayed in a very positive light and focus on his outstanding success’ lol!

  • i bet geoff keighghley paid u to write this.

    I think the constant pressure on games journalists is a positive thing (in that everybody is hyper-alert to any wrongdoing, and hyper-critical of it) but the cosy relationship between the press and PR still concerns me. At the very least there’s a culture of being flown around the world for press events, free swag, etc.

  • What we’re seeing now is a collective downgrading of our expectations on games writing: from expecting legitimate journalism to gradually taking it as the enthusiast press, which is what it is for the most part. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though.

  • oh shut up shittaku, you really have no right to talk about the state of journalism considering other fake journalists (like yourself) makes fun of how bad you lot are

  • Music journalism is pathetic. Full of post modern trendies that are so obsessed with the ideas they attribute themselves to the music they listen to, no not even that, the scene surrounding the music they listen to, they forget to actually tell you about the music. But then again that’s no surprise because they are incapable of talking about the actual music itself given their complete lack of training in musicology. Which is usually why they waffle on about lyrics so much, it’s the only way they can enter into a world theyre not qualified to…like a new age crystal worshiper talking about forces of the universe without actually having a clue about mass or velocity.

    • It all depends on who your audience is. Does the average street press reader or Rolling Stones reader have an academic understanding of music? Probably not.

      • Fair comment. I’m not all about making music an elitist endeavour either but I do believe that people that actually have an understanding of its working comment on it. Like no other art except perhaps film do people feel as enfranchised. With poetry or art for instance many may offer an opinion but will ultimately say they don’t appreciate it or aren’t knowledgable. With music and to a lesser degree film everyone counts themself as an expert…that’s why it’s hard to take a so called expert in the form of a critic, amongst a sea of so called experts in society with just a pinch of salt.

        • I couldn’t agree more, Waldo!
          I have a Bachelor of Music (contemporary music, majored in performance) and I briefly dabbled with music journalism for a bit of fun. I hated it. I would try and avoid using musical terms when reviewing albums so it was accessible (and so I didn’t sound like a wanker) but still attempt to describe the overall style, textures, tones, influences only to have my editor(s) come back with some crap about how I needed to give it a score out of ten and write more about the lyrics. Then just to rub salt in the wound, whenever I would see a review of a band I was in, the ‘journalist’ would focus on the lyrics for 90% of the article!

          I recently met a guy who does movie reviews for a couple of newspapers and magazines. When I asked him what he thought of a certain film he responded with, “I gave it three and a half.”
          Thanks mate, that’s just what I wanted to know. Idiot.

          Music journalism aside, I love Junglist’s game reviews on 5-Inch Floppy because he gives an in-depth analysis and describes the mechanics of a game in great detail without having to slap a big single digit number up on the screen at the end of the review. I know that scores have their places but people seem to focus far too much on the number rather than the actual review/analysis.

          • Haha thanks bro! Yeah I have a similar background but with classical and it is just infuriating. Like I said I want everybody to enjoy music, but to appreciate it on a raw musical level you have to know how and understand the tools. That means musicology brcause thats the language of music. Im sure doctors dont have to read through medical journals and read pieces on flu vaccinations from some granny that got one describing how it was administered into her “arm”. I understand that not everyone is trained in music and doesn’t know what an ionic mode is, the problem is neither do the critics that pass judgement on musicians that do. Fair enough, write for your audience but there are alleged higher caliber sites for music criticism and they are probably worse than the pleb press. I once read a review for a Missy Elliot album that waxed post modern lyrical on (surprise surprise) the lyrics and how they offered hints at her lesbianism. Wow, just wow. Thanks post modern guy, you are so hip and forward thinking in considering social factors you attribute to the music you, forgot to tell me what it actually sounded like. As if you ever could.

    • Well when we have such magazines like Rolling Stone Magazine, I think that answers everything. I don’t understand they’re still proud of themselves in this day & age, and the way they govern which bands get recognised in places like the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame is disgusting.

  • I’ll be honest – I didn’t read the article; I’m in quite a lazy mood right now – but what I kind of gleamed from it, and some of the comments, was that it’s partly about control and integrity of questions and answers and the role journalists play. Gaming journalism might be fine “in comparison” but that doesn’t say a whole lot. Media, music, gaming journalists all do the same thing unless someone is already in a spot of controversy – they suck up, kiss ass and lick balls. Journalists exist pretty much to garner hits on websites. Very, VERY rarely do I see a journalist ask someone from a video game company “why does your game suck? Why did your last game suck? Why did you over look game design decision a,b,c,d that any blind monkey would have picked up on and ultimately led to your game being terrible?” Why? Because the developer wouldn’t answer your questions. “Your game doesn’t look new or exciting, why should anyone buy it?” If you’re not asking truthful question how do you expect to get truthful, insightful, relevent responses? Maybe those questions could be asked with a little more tact, but more than likely, just like the politician embroiled in a sex scandel, those questions won’t be touched upon unless the developer simply can’t avoid them. I wonder why almost every game that is spoken of is done so with such reverence and respect and the same mush gets put out by 20 different websites?

    Often the questions seem to be a little naive, as if the person asking them doesn’t actually play games or isn’t aware of the game and its history. Often so-called journalists seem to be very unaware (like people playing Minecraft because it’s cool wow hot new/buzz words instead of because they actually like Minecraft and know how to play it. Half of gaming journalism might as well be those blonde girls with big boobs from IGN who know nothing about games but dress up as faux-reporters. Gaming communities know and understand gaming and interviews and media often don’t reflect anything like that. It’s like two different worlds.

    Am I being over-the-top? I really don’t know. I honestly don’t pay much attention to games journalism because I don’t want coddled interviews where developers get to pick and choose what they want to say. They’re being interviewed not giving a presentation.

    inb4 people rip me apart

    • “I’m in a lazy mood” *writes micro-essay* 😛

      Are you being over the top? I’d say, yeah, a little bit. But maybe not as over the top as the article itself was; I think a fair few people got swept up in the charismatic writing (which was excellent, no question!), even though the article doesn’t really seem to reflect the reality we see before us.

      I have to agree with you, Random, that there is simply not enough of the Kerry O’Brien style hard-ask going on. Between the Raygun Rant above and Weresmurf’s illuminating comment it seems that there are quite a few other fields of journalism which also lack perceptive and willing journalists. I come to Kotaku Australia again and again because I really, really enjoy Editor-Lord Serrels’ editorials, which haven’t been afraid to ask hard questions in the past. It’s why I keep an eye on RockPaperShotgun, too. However, a few bright stars does not a glorious dawn make; you need a galaxy of them.

      Now, this said, it’s impossible to escape the kinds of conditions that Weresmurf mentioned: controlled PR-ghosted interviews will keep going, and that’s frustrating, but inevitable. I sadly acknowledge this. After all, why would a publisher agree to an interview with their developer when they know it’s going to be a bloody slaughter with no good answers, especially when there’s already a multi-million dollar marketing plan in place which might be harmed?

      But the recent furore hasn’t been about this at all. Instead, there’s been accusations of improprietous sponsorship, imputations of what amounts to threats by journalists against journalism publishers, and a growing trend of PR and journalism becoming synonymous. It really does look like there are genuine problems worth tackling. That the public (or even players of the game itself) are invested in seeing these problems resolved is just great, however, that these problems exist signify a serious fissure in the ethical integrity of the gaming specialist journalist industry as a whole. Essentially, it’s a false comparison to say that we’re better off than another field which isn’t concerned with tackling the problems we are, because we still HAVE those problems.

      I’ll wrap up with a quote that I think sums up the Raygun Rant pretty well: “When you play the game of thrones, you either win or you die. There is no middle ground.” –Cersei Lannister.

    • Am I being over-the-top?

      Well considering you didn’t read the article and yet responded with three paragraphs, I would say perhaps you are indeed being a a smidge over the top there.

  • So, we don’t need to worry about games journalism because it’s kept in check by all the vocal worrying about games journalism? Got it.

  • Nice article, but honestly who cares? Read review articles, pfft who has time for that. Go straight to conclusion and score with these easy to follow steps:

    1) Google for “[Game Name] review”
    2) Check at least 5 scores from 5 different websites to see if it is higher than 7 or 8 on most scores
    3) Use brain: Is a game worth playing? Yes or No
    4) If Yes, play it. If No, don’t
    5) Rinse and repeat from step 1 for each game

    Where does game journalistic writing abilities come into these 5 simple steps? And more importantly who cares if they are being paid by a potato chip company? See step 2 and increase number to 10 to alleviate any subjective biases.

    If you add any more steps to this such as troll journalists about their legitimacy, I challenge that you Sir are not a real gamer because a real gamer wouldn’t waste their idle time on such nonsense because If you were a real gamer, you would be gaming!

    • Yes, who cares about journalism or the context of people who actually make games, real gamers just want to shoot dudes and pewpewpew yyeeeaaahh.

      It’s not like there are interesting stories in how games are made, the culture of the industry, the culture of fans or the motives behind which games get made or bought, and why.

    • so by proxy you are not a real gamer, as you are sitting here writing long winded nonsense comments rather than playing games?

  • What the hell, why is the comment section flooded with trolls?
    Re. games journalism: How boring must your life be when start arguing about the state of journalism; of games; of luxury goods we consume…

    Use your brain, it is really not that difficult to spot a payed review.

    • It’s true that it’s easy to spot paid reviews. But when you have them in the Metacritic mix it complicates things. I’m happy for game journalists to have perks, but they should disclose them so that I know when a reviewer is given a free Warthog for his review of Halo 4. Better yet, there shouldn’t be perks at all.

  • You can’t prove something isn’t broken by proving something else is in a worse state.
    Anymore than you can cure having syphilis by proving your not hiv positive

    • Exactly. Games journalism is awful (which isin’t to say there are not any good writers). It’s unsurprising that so many have risen to combat these claims but sad that so few have actually taken their criticsm to heart, learned from it, and moved on.

  • Honestly, to use the music industry as any sort of example, you may just as well say prostitution is amazing because, hey at least it’s not a drug cartel.

  • The reason no one declaims the state of music journalism is because *no one in the world* takes it seriously. It’s a sad joke made up of revisionism and ADHD.

    So please don’t try to use the Doctrine of Relative Filth just because some of us would like *better* games journalism.

    (First Totilo’s article, then this…I guess we can be thankful Mark Serrells hasn’t thrown his hat into the Kotaku Defence Ring. I suspect he’s too smart to fall for it.)

      • Hadn’t even thought of MTV, but in fairness I don’t believe they have much to do with music these days 😉

        I was thinking more along the magazine lines – Rolling Stone, NME, all of that stuff. That album they slagged off last year? No wait, it’s suddenly amazingly experimental! That brilliant album they reviewed last year? No, it’s now a rehash of a tired formula! The hard hitting interview with an ageing rock star which is a softball PR exercise?

        At least a number of vocal gamers actually want improved coverage. Never heard of any music lover wanting the same.

  • *This article was proudly brought to you by Mountain Dew™ and Doritos™ whom has sponsored writer David Rayfield by giving him 3 HALO4™ XBOX360™’s and only paying for 70% of his PR dinners (30% contribution by Rayfield so he can keep his integrity).

  • A good read with some valid points. It’s articles like this that keep the industry honest. Kotaku is at least clinging to some objectivity, unlike other games press sites, but the industry as a whole still has some glaring and deep seeded issues, whether people point them out or not. Love reading the references to Australia and Brisbane.

  • so based on the fact that music journalism is completely corrupt its ok to suggest that being annoyed by the constantly increasing corruption in games journalism is simply ludicrious in the scheme of things because the people will keep them honest?

    the whole reason people go off about gaming journalism is that we do catch all these suss activities constantly….the industry sees nothing wrong with this (the eurogamer guy got fired despite his comments being proven to have merit after investigation) and it becomes the average man’s job to sift through the rubbish while journalists are quite happy to continue publishing it

    …you know what i had more points but if you read though that article and didnt see a problem with the author’s ethics then you may as well just go out and preorder whatever they recommend at EB and enjoy yourself

    • Well, my optimistic disposition has soured considerably.


      Whar is this David? Do you remotely comprehend what it means to be a professional?

      Listen well David. I am an expert and a professional. I am involved in several very important aspects of Integrated circuit design including timing simulation and lab evaluation. If I am not an expert and a proffesional, if I do not treat my job with the respect it deserves, I will cost my company hundreds of thousands of dollars, to possible ramnifications in the millions, and I will most certainly be held accountable for the trust of our customers which I betrayed.

      I am not alone, just counting the nes generation there are 42 million 80’s children who are now in or nearing their 30’s with real jobs, real responsibilities, and real expectations, David. We expect out of you, what our jobs expect out of us.

      My chosen Hobby, my main choice for entertainment is not sports, nor movies, it is not reality tv, it is videogames, and it is not a cheap hobby in comparison.

      But you david, you are not an expert, and most certaibly not a professional. You cant even fake a professional appearence to your audience. You are child amongst children enjoying a free ride. I have to indulge my own children David, I dont have the time or the patience to deal with you and your giggling twitter friends.

      The free ride could be ending soon David.

      • Typical elitist music journo. This is the way many of them talk as though we are but dumb animals reading their articles and they are descending from on high blessing us with their divine wisdom.

      • Listen Oldtimer, and listen well.

        I’m going to ramble on, not really ever making any kind of point, but frame my remarks so condescendingly that the actual content will completely cease to matter. You will understand that I am right, and you are wrong, without any evidence to support the view that I haven’t even bothered to express. By the time you’re done reading this, you will have completely lost interest in my opinion, because I am a poor communicator. I have grown fat on my sense of self worth and you can tell from the smug voice in my writing that I’m probably touching myself inappropriately.

        But I have to indulge myself, Oldtimer, and I don’t have time to indulge you and your harrumphing nursing home friends.

        Nobody loves me.

  • Music journalism seems pretty pointless to me. Listen to the melody for a few seconds on a sample stream, or hear the song on the radio. If you like it, buy it. What you hear is the entire product.

    Why do i need to hear someone review a song, or album? I dont.

    Videogames are not such a simple medium. They need to be experienced to get the whole picture, which is why we need people to try them and tell us about them.

    The only reason game journalists have a job is so that game companies can get my sixty dollars. They WILL uphold my standards, or advertisers will soon realize they are wasting money paying salaries via adspace, as I, and I most certainly mean the collective ‘I’ will have moved on to a different way to aquire the information i need to decide what publisher gets my sixty dollars.

    In fact i already have. I, and a growing number like myself have abstained from gaming news sites for years now, using message boards like neogaf and youtube for gaming news use without supporting ad revenue for websites and magazines i stopped trusting long ago. If the quoted text looked reasonable, we would click on the link to read the article from the actual site. If not, we dont, period, if we disagree, we express it in the thread, not in the comments section of the article. A review for game journalists essentially. And these last few weeks has seen an explosion in our number.

    I am fairly excited to observe the promise of reform, which is why im actually posting in the comments section of a press sites article. I support this discussion of ‘keeping the bastards straight’, and have no problem with my view of this particular webpage being a tick on an ad counter. It would be nice. A lot less work on our end for the straight skinny.

  • Despite the points put forward in this well-written article, it’s hard not to lose faith after seeing 6 reviewers give Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 100/100. On metacritic, over half of the “Critic Reviews” gave the game over 90. (The user scores, however, are hilariously polarized from those of the critics.)

    Not a single critic score under 70, despite being reviewed by 81 critics. Common sense dictates that there’s no way that can be right.

  • Nice article. I read the headline and thought ,”oh boy, here we go again”, but then I saw it was an AU article, and one by David Rayfield, so I read on. It’s nice to read about this “fiasco” from a different point of view.

    While I do agree that we don’t need random whiners in every article, I’m glad that this industry has respected figures like John Walker and Ben Kuchera who aren’t afraid to stir things up a little bit if they see something that rubs them the wrong way. They may not always get it right, but having them there keeps everybody else in check.

  • I was listening to NPR yesterday and they were talking about General Petraeus. The talked to a reporter who interviewed him. Petraeus set a condition that the reporter would have to go on a run with him and he would only do the interview during the run. The reporter agreed wanting to get the story. Yesterday he said in retrospect he was sure that this kind of interaction colored his perspective. He talked about how impressive it was that Petraeus could do the run and keep up with an interview and handle other things at the same time. Petraeus controlled the situation and it affected the reporter’s coverage.

    That was just going on a run. Video game reviewers think it’s ok to have specially crafted days where publishers wine and dine them and then create a perfect situation with which to play their game.

    Roger Ebert thinks it creates a conflict of interest to accept a small gift basket from an actor AFTER he has already written a review for the relevant movie.

    Video game reviews think it’s ok to accept all manor of gifts BEFORE they write a review.

    Gee, I wonder why audiences are so jaded and have no trust at all with video game reviewers.

    Here is a a link to the society of professional journalists code of ethic,http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp. I’ll quote the important parts.

    “Journalists should:

    —Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
    — Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
    — Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
    — Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
    — Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
    — Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.”

    See that:
    real or PERCEIVED conflicts of interest.
    REFUSE gifts, and special treatment
    DISCLOSE conflicts

    Lets continue

    “— Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
    — Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
    — Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.”

    Interesting that it doesn’t say anywhere that journalists should defend perceived corruption of their peers.

    Gaming journalism is a joke. Everybody knows it’s a joke and that’s why they aren’t taken seriously, and don’t get any benefit of the doubt when the hint of corruption comes up. Instead of handwaving away all complaints maybe you should be thinking why so many people were immediately ready to believe you were all corrupt?

  • At least some of you realise that he is talking about giving games LOWER scores than their worth right? Its a well written article of bullshit. Game journalism is maybe a little bit more honest than music journalism, but I am only basing that on my own conception of “music” journalism. Games are a multi billion dollar industry now, most likely to surpass movies and music in profit, marketers realise this and now is when they are going to hook people, before they think big business has anything to do with it.

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