Taking Your Review Ball And Going Home With The Games Press

What’s a games press to do when all of the sudden they’re not privy to early access to an upcoming video game to review? Especially from a publisher that has already started anti-games press things like “blackballing” certain outlets, and by “outlets” just Kotaku and not releasing early review copies of the most excellent DOOM earlier this year.

Bethesda Softworks, creators of such fine video games in the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series announced a couple of weeks ago  that they were essentially doing away with day and date reviews for their games. Citing the previously mentioned DOOM and its glorious reception from both gamer and games press alike, it has decided to forego sending out review copies of games of Skyrim: Special Edition and Dishonored 2 well in advance of their release.

Not to toot my own horn, but I have been calling for this for a long time now. I even wrote about why the written review was a useless endeavor for games publishers.
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Of course, this doesn’t mean the utter and complete end of the games press, and I wholeheartedly disagree with Forbes’ Erik Kain that certain gamers shouldn’t be gloating about the games press being declared “dead”. Nevertheless, this does portend a growing trend of their needlessness in general. Perhaps a culling of the apes is in order.

More damning, in that all of the articles and podcast “hot takes” I found no real compelling reason from the games press as to why this was a bad thing. Instead a near universal din of this move being “anti-consumer”. How much this would make a reviewer’s life more unbearable by being forced to marathon a game review in order to beat competitors to be first.

Ideally, this only affects maybe 25 people. Moreover, that’s a games press the world over.

Last year when I quoted the ESA report on video game buying habits, “Written Product Reviews in Video Game Magazine and Websites” polled at an anemic 3% of influencing purchase power. It’s not even referenced this year, instead it seems to have been absorbed in to an all encompassing “Other” of about 22%, or maybe it’s finally fallen of to be statistically a 0%?

Aside from the hot takes, there seemed to be this assertion from many in the games press that this really didn’t matter, as there’s been a shift from “day and date ”to a more long view“ games criticism take on games. There is no need to feed the content monster when you can clog it up with such hard-hitting pieces of playing a ten-year-old PS2 game in 2016 and shaking your head at all the misogyny and general Japany-nonsense all up in it!

More to the point, it’s apparently another way for the games press to pooh-pooh the video game focused Youtubers who once again come out on top in all of this.
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Anecdotally, I’ve always used reviews as a validation device. I buy most video games I want to buy day-and-date, and then I’ll go read the reviews from a few select sites. It’s usually not until the following week that actual discussion and breakdown of a game occurs anyways. So why is there such an apparent “pro-consumer” need for a day-and-date review? Aside from competing websites trying to be the first one and therefore getting the most clicks.

Barring that, most video game websites have a plethora of gamed related “content” surrounding almost every major release, so that regardless of an actual review on the site itself there’s a spike in interest for the game. The game gets some sort of coverage, and with the games press being another de facto wing of the marketing department these days, that’s about as good as you can ask for.

Video is king now. People are more interested in seeing the game in action, getting some form of “hot take” on the video game. Personally, I find this lacking, as most video games are hour’s long endeavors at best, and a quick hot take just cannot do most games justice. I mean how many times have your cemented an opinion on a video game in the first few hours. The only thing you can really comment on is how ubiquitous the tutorials are…at best.
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I’ve always been of the mind that video game publishers are wasting precious resources trying to get video game websites to cover a game. It’s not that’s there’s literally too many  games to play, but the games press is getting smaller and leaner, and becoming more pointed in their coverage. In addition, the average games press member is a chubby white guy in his late 30’s…he’s tired. He cannot stay up all weekend trying to marathon a game for review. Hell, he cannot even bother to write a review in anything approaching a timely manner.

Youtubers, for lack of a better word are what the games press should be now: young. There’s this jaundiced, cynical, chubby staleness to the current games press that can no longer be ignored. There’s a lack of enthusiasm for video games, and it’s gotten palpable to publishers.

What sells games better? “Meh, here’s another one of these.” or “Hey, this just came out and it. Is. Awesome!”

To readers that listen to video game podcasts, how many times have you heard the hosts not even bother playing the games that are currently out, or they’ve only played a few hours to “get a feel” for a game of the year discussion to happen later or to deliver some sort of “hot take”?

More publishers need to follow Bethesda’s example and eschew the games press and just take it to the gamers. Have giveaways on social media for early copies. Get the word of mouth out on a game. That’s what really worked for DOOM, early adopters started playing the game, found it to be awesome and spread the word!
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Of course, it’s not going to work in all cases, a new Elder Scrolls game or Dishonored 2 doesn’t need reviews. It’s going to sell a boatload of copies just on name and previous excellence alone.

Gamers are much more informed than they were in the past, and day-and-date reviews are a more recent development. There were literal decades as a gamer you didn’t know the quality of a game until you played it. If you were really itching for an opinion, you could wait for a magazine to say something….a month later. Typically, word of mouth, previous games in the franchise, or the publisher dictated purchasing a game.

This whole notion of the move away from review copies being “anti-consumer” is absurd. The games press has long proven itself more “anti-consumer” than anything a publisher could do. Taking the message directly to your fans, who actually want what you’re selling, is an infinitely better business move than shoveling your games at a disinterested chubby shaved ape that might not even play your game. In the post, Bethesda even acknowledges that if you are so desperate for a review, just wait for it, then make up your mind.

Nintendo has long proven the uselessness of a games press and many, many year’s later publisher like Bethesda are coming around to this idea. The games press is not your audience, the games press is dead.

Taking Your Review Ball And Going Home With The Games Press

Clearing the Low Bar of Intellectual Conversation in Games

I would love as much as anyone for the video games press to be able to talk about topics like race, politics and the ever-elusive “games as art” topic. Problem is, the games press is full of fucking idiots.

There’s a sheer cliff drop off from the topic of video games and everything else in a general games press’ purview. This was never more apparent than last week with the discussion surrounding Oculus founder Palmer Lucky reportedly giving money to the dark Satan that is the “alt-right” and Vice Gaming’s Austin Walker interview about race and the like in Mafia III with the games senior (black) writer. Then go ahead and toss in some post presidential debate talk for good measure.

I’m here to discuss politics in video games!

As I was listening to the scant few video games focused podcasts I listened to, I found that when the topic of Luckey reportedly giving money to “alt-right” group Nimble America, there was plenty of silence for the most part.  This is standard operating procedure for the games press, especially when it comes to most topics that aren’t video games first.

The fact they were even covering it was also questioned, as it is technically “video game related”, but then that means that the people discussing it have to do the “both sides” dance or be as milquetoast as possible when discussing their thoughts about the topic. Just saying, “It’s gross!” over and over again isn’t really coverage.  So why even bother?

More to the point, it’s in the realization of the utter hypocrisy of the games press, when Alison Rapp (yeah, remember her?) was let go from her position at Nintendo earlier this year. The games press erupted about someone’s private life being foisted out in to the open and the ensuring harassment from those no-goodniks on The Interents towards Ms. Rapp who, mind you, wasn’t just “minding her business doing nothing” to garner this “harassment”. She was actively starting shit with various anti-feminist groups and trolls on twitter, but when it got “too real” suddenly she was just a scared little girl that was being bullied by those big nasty goony men!

But Palmer Luckey? Because he’s a rich white dood…fuck that guy? The harassment and bullshit he and his girlfriend are getting…A-okay? No one in the games press was talking about that aspect. Just how gross and wrong it was that Luckey maybe supported Trump, and that a couple of companies are pulling their support for Oculus as long a Mr. Luckey is around.

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Aside from that, you also get a heaping helping of this somehow having a profound impact on the suddenly “fledgling” virtual reality sphere and you have yourself a slow news week for video games at best.

The problem with all the race bullshit around Mafia III is the not so subtle preemptive disappointment with the games’ shortcomings in the discussion on race. All through the interview the games senior (black) writer, Charles Webb essentially says that the game is only taking a broad approach to race in the game. Sure, he can talk about race and politics all day long, but as it serves the game he is writing on, it doesn’t really matter. Mafia III is being marketed and sold as a broad mainstream open world crime title with vague connections to other 2K Games properties. The game will be no more racially charged than a Grand Theft Auto game, which is typically the only game that attempts to tackle topics like race and class in its narrative/world, if anyone cared to notice. But we’re too busy worrying about the plight of the hookers!

Mr. Walker is mostly upset that Mafia III isn’t going “far enough” with the socio-political elements or that use of nigger is more for color (no pun intended) to really paint the bad guys as…bad guys. They say nigger without any shame for crying out loud!

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Then you get to the spartan comment section and the interview as being lauded as something great and of some note. Which reminded me of the first days of video games site Polygon, with all its high-mindedness and focus on things “gamers” supposedly wanted? Initially, the site offered some of the best features on video games and was actually worth a shit. After a couple of years of losing money that way, it was decided gamers apparently wanted click bait social justice hand wringing bullshit and shitty game reviews focused on tertiary nonsense.

As it stands now, Vice’s “gaming” section is nothing you haven’t seen before and more likely what the new venture will wind up turning in to anyways, another half-coked Kotaku clone. Better yet, it will operate under the structure of having a few fully paid “personalities” that guide the site “editorially”, meanwhile a raft of underpaid freelancers do all the content heavy lifting. Where’s the deep concern and investigation in to that bullshit?

Mr. Walker’s new video game website venture doesn’t really fill a need as is currently being laid bare. There’s (arguably) too many of these pop culture websites focused on duodenary elements of nerd culture and how it’s “problematic”. Then there’s this perceived satisfaction that through articles like the Mafia III interview, the site is elevating the games discussion to a completely new level. Nevertheless, this intellectual bar is a low one, dare I say subterranean in nature.

What’s more, gamers don’t really care about this shit! High-minded or no, this type of content is the niche-est of the niche! It reads more as children putting on dress clothes and pretending to be “adults” than a serious discussion on the relevance of games to the deeper artistic discussion therein.


I would love nothing more than to have a games press that could discuss art, sex and politics…on top of video games. I’ve been a gamer far longer than I’ve been active in the other realms of adulthood as I assume much of them have. However, it has been proven, repeatedly, that members of the games press don’t possess the intelligence necessary to have these discussions.

But what do you expect from people that eschewed college, or were English majors, and people that got their jobs in the games press because they knew a guy who knew a guy and could cogently string together a couple of sentences about flashing lights and loud sounds coming from a television?

Clearing the Low Bar of Intellectual Conversation in Games

Maddy Myers of the World: Stop Using Your Self Diagnosed Mental Disorders to Hide Your Cuntiness

Pokémon Go came out at the beginning of the month and instantly became all the rage among anyone with a smartphone. All of The Internets had to comment on this phenomenon, even those pesky click bait sweatshops found some way to get their grubby little opinions out on a variety of topics all related tangentially to the game. Least of which was The Mary Sue, the self appointed “nexus of pop culture and the uncharted universe” which must be a mistake as the site appears to be the nexus of the charted click bait universe and nothing more.

Being in a rut lately, The Mary Sue has really been beating their sweatshop workers…I mean “journalists” to really hit that nexus lately. So of course, Pokémon Go got its respective turn at the wheel of thinly veiled feminist critique.

Here we find yet another Maddy Myers article where she insists that all gamers play a game the way she would prefer. She’s done this before, namely with last years Splatoon, and extolling the games lack of voice chat as some sort of landmark endeavor in protecting her soft, dainty ears from the harshness of teammates daring to tell her what to do.

Ms. Myers represents much of what I’ve found so disgusting with SJW gamers. A lot of thinly veiled misandry, masked under this notion that because of a perceived minority status within nerd culture they are free to shit on “others” in gamer culture. Namely, the vast bulk of gamers that is male.

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One of the many articles she churned out about Pokémon GoStrangers of the World: Stop Hitting on Me While I Play Pokémon Go”() is great representation on the typical toxic garbage spewed from SJWs like Ms. Myers and click bait sweat shops like The Mary Sue.

The spirit of Pokémon is gloriously simple: go explore the world and interact with other trainers to catch and battle Pokémon. End of story. Pokémon Go is the physical manifestation of that ideal. It’s diabolical in its ability to get a traditionally sedentary beast like the gamer out and about looking for Pokémon, while also discovering more about their respective living areas via landmark expropriated as gyms and shops.

Yet here we find ourselves with an article that not only is anti-gamer in nature, but also seems completely naive about the general workings of society and how people interact.

Ms. Myers sets the table with the classic SJW tactic of empathy for her condition:

“I don’t like talking to strangers. I never have, and I don’t think I ever will. It’s not that I dislike people, or believe the worst in them, or anything. It’s just that I have social anxiety, so talking to strangers always feels more difficult for me than for other people.”

Because of “therapy” and “practice” she’s supposedly gotten better, but then it begs the question that if someone has social anxiety, can you really believe them when they relate several anecdotes about their poor interactions with other humans? In addition, why would you play a game that demands a fair amount of socialization as one of its core components if you don‘t like people in general?

I do love the part where she says that she doesn’t dislike people or believe the worst in them but then writes an entire article doing just that towards doods that dare play Pokémon Go in her general direction!

The first fearful tale of a male hitting on her takes place on an evening stroll with a group of friends to an athletic field with a track. Other people…namely men…then dared to show up!

“[…] a guy in a hooded sweatshirt saw us from across the street, stared at us, walked over, and began to make his way around the track, slowly but surely.”

Unbelievable right? Who the fuck comes to a track to “walk around” it? He must be a creeper. At least that’s what Ms. Myers are her other girl friends believe.

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“[…] I did my best to quiet my discomfort about the guy lurking in the shadows.”

Wait, I thought he was walking around the track? I’m assuming this place is lit like a Christmas tree, as many athletic parks tend to be. Was he just lurking in the dimmer parts of the track, locked in a deep stare with Ms. Myers’ group of Pokéfans as he made his way around the track?

“This guy was probably trying to muster up the nerve to become our friend, and I was the jerk who didn’t want to talk to a complete stranger in a dark field on a Saturday night.”

The entire article has operative phrasing like this. These men were “probably”  “maybe” doing something. Who really knows right? Luckily, for her:

“He must have sensed our discomfort, because he never did end up talking to us, but he hung out in the dark for a very long time.”

Ms. Myers has admitted to having social anxiety problems, can we really trust she knows intent? I mean, she uses words like “lurking” and “hung out in the dark for a very long time” making sure we know he stayed in the shadows and painting an ominous picture. This has nothing to do with them being at a park…at night. He is just one of those creepy, rapey men. And yet no one technically “Hits On” Maddy Myers.

Making things a bit topical, but veering away from the thesis of the article, a cop car shows up on the scene.

“[…] we all stopped short. Half of my friends started panicking out loud. Not all of us are white, and, well … you know how it is, right?”

How is it, Ms. Myers? The cops were going to rush up and start something? Did they also “lurk” and “hang out” in the dark for very long time? She also relates that if the cops did approach her group she didn’t know what would happen. If it’s the kind of group that is out late looking for Pokemon at a park, I’m assuming a whole lot of nothing. Until the cops leave, then everyone will talk about what would have happened. In fantasy-land. In addition to all of the topicality: no one “Hit On” Maddy Myers.

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Discovering that perhaps it may be safer for her to wander about in the daytime, Ms. Myers is again dismayed to discover that even the hot heat of the day cannot save her from all these male Pokemon Go fans out to catch some monsters and possibly rape! Probably women right? I mean, the Pokemon are not physical things that can be raped, and surely, they are not raping other men…though that could be true…as men can barely control their rape urges as is.

Ms. Myers relates that no women Pokemon Go fans ever came up to her in the 72-hour time span covered for the article.

“Strangers kept walking up to me. Specifically, strange men kept doing it.”

However, it’s in the paragraph where she’s going over the previous nights events in her head. In which, one strange man walked “near” her, and the cop car…which I guess could be counted as the man…and a strange one at that…was Maddy Myers adjacent. But that was it, what gives?

I guess as she’s going over the previous nights events in her head and grossly exaggerating just how many strangers are coming up to her, she just so happens upon a few of them!

“I noticed that guys (and, as I said, it was only guys) kept doubling back to look at my screen and then look me over appraisingly, a clear question in their eyes. One guy followed me for several feet, and as he looked over my shoulder to check if I was looking for Pokémon […]”

During all this, she’s pretending to ignore them, looking at her phone, so how does she know they were exactly looking her over “appraisingly“? Maybe they were impressed with her collection of various Pokemon, or maybe wanted her to join their team so they could conquer a landmark, or whatever bullshit you get up to in Pokemon Go. You know the SOCIAL element of the game!

“When I walked by a Pokémon gym and considered battling there, I saw a group of twelve 20-somethings had gathered outside, all on their smartphones, socializing. I didn’t feel like talking to any strangers, so I kept walking, scanning the sidewalk for critters as I went. Soon after, a guy followed me down the street, then tapped my shoulder and gestured for me to remove my headphones. His opening line: “Are you playing Pokémon?” I nodded in silence. He smiled expectantly at me, clearly believing that a conversation should ensue between us. I put my headphones back on, and I walked away.”

Again, you have to wonder just how much her social anxiety is coloring these interactions. The use of “expectantly”, “appraisingly”, and “a clear question” being in their eyes lends this notion that all these men wanted to do was “Hit On” Ms. Myers, when more like they were trying to play the social aspect of the game. Why would you venture out to the various gyms and areas looking to battle, but then when it comes time to do so, not because a man dared to say something at you? The guys expectant smile was probably in relation to someone around his age playing a goddamned kids game so he didn’t feel like so much of a creeper or he wanted Ms. Myers to join his team to battle other trainers?

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For some odd reason Ms. Myers feels compelled to say that the young man “[…] was physically attractive and polite and my age and well-dressed and even had a nice smile.” What about his race or any other duodenary identifying element that needs to be related? Did that factor in why you were such an asshole to him? Disappointingly, I have to stress that no one “Hit On” Maddy Myers in the classical definition of the phrase in this last anecdote either.

Nevertheless, never mind that, Ms. Myers has no time for other people, how does the game affect her and all the other special snowflakes out there in the world? More importantly, it may not even be safe for her “not white” friends! Is there any unseen benefit to the societal scourge that is Pokémon Go?

For Maddy Myers the games provides a few benefits,

“It’s an excuse to leave the house, which helps stave off my depression and encourages me to see landmarks that I wouldn’t visit otherwise. It gamifies exercise and sight-seeing.”

Nevertheless, other people, namely men, are ruining everything!

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In her parting words, she has advice for the other Pokémon trainers: don’t make it weird. Which is a bit odd considering Ms. Myers is the only one really doing so with her self-diagnosed social anxiety, and seeming inability to understand the difference between someone trying to be friendly and ruthlessly trying to drop game.

Instead, we get another classically overwritten 2000 word Maddy Myers column telling gamers how to play a game in the exact opposite way it was designed. You would think a more elegant idea would be for her to just play the near two dozen single player Pokemon games and let all the other sane gamers enjoy Pokemon Go in peace.

 

Maddy Myers of the World: Stop Using Your Self Diagnosed Mental Disorders to Hide Your Cuntiness

You Don’t Have To Choose A Side In The Culture Wars

I’ve had pieces lined up about my thoughts on things like the Ghostbusters trailer nonsense, the release of the new DOOM, but decided against them, as they seemed to be outdated by the time I coalesced my thoughts around them. More importantly, I found there to be some evergreen elements of both pieces that I could expound on here.

With the culture wars currently taking place on The Internets, there’s this wrongheaded notion that you have to pick a side in them. Both side express frustration at the countless people in the middle that just can’t seem to give a shit about the great “wrongs” that are happening…if only they would care!

It’s easy to care about the goings on of the culture wars when you’re getting paid to do so. It was the greatest takeaway I had from my time at Reaxxion. You could care quite a bit about what an element was perceived to be doing, but it did no one any good if no one was really buying it. Moreover, while I never really aimed at perpetuating the culture wars, I tried in earnest to do what I’ve always done: expose those who prey on others with fear and prejudice, using ignorance to their advantage by not making a full, truthful account to push an agenda.

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Yawn.

I have no problems accepting the flaws in my given ideology. I am not locked in to one way of thinking, and am grateful to hear other arguments and viewpoints. There are some I find loathsome, and just by being exposed to them I know more about their ideology than most of its practitioners, but I’ll humor most.

The problem I’ve had with social justice, and those of the left-wing as of late has been the perpetual need to choose a side in a given culture battle. On top of this, this notion has to be correct or ALL of social justice and liberalism will fall to major setbacks. Women will be forced back in to the kitchen, and the men will have to do manly things like chop wood and build furniture…or some shit.

More disturbing is those of social justice who are more prone to roll up the windows of their intellectual curiosity for fear of being like their enemies. I’ve discussed this before, in great detail, but I never fail to be disappointed by this.

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Blast away those bad comments with science fueled FEMPOWER!

In the Ghostbusters trailer debacle, several SJWs found themselves in a pickle: they had to defend the obviously shitty trailer, by making up nonsense like the “toxic internet community” full of misogynists were hating on the movie because “Feminism” or be labeled as “MRA-supporters” and women-haters themselves! Oh dear!

I watched several SJW-tinged writes take a knee on this decision. Demanding that they not be bothered by this nonsense…they didn’t have to chime in on EVERY single battle in the culture wars. Really? When it’s expedient for your SJW bonafides, you have a hot take on EVERYTHING, yet here, you can’t be bothered?

This hypocrisy has been constantly crippling to social justice. However, it’s human hypocrisy that makes this whole thing humorous. You don’t have to like the new Ghostbusters trailer; it is indeed a piece of shit. It looks to be another in a long line of tepid Melissa McCarthy paint-by-numbers-remake vehicle. The only reason this movie is getting any real attention is that it’s “Ghostbusters but with ladies!”

You’re not suddenly going to be labeled a misogynist because you agree with the vast majority of people that this looks like a dumpster fire.

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Look at all these women hating down-voting having misogynist men!

I mean what’s a more reasonable notion, that nearly a million women hating men cared enough to “down vote” a shitty trailer because they just HATE the idea of an “ALL woman Ghostbusters” movie so much. On the other hand, that perhaps, a million people can see through this pile of shit that calls itself a movie trailer to the cynical cash grab social justice pandering nonsense that it is. I say it’s pandering to social justice because apparently it’s the new culture zeitgeist cash cow to milk for all it’s worth.

This new Ghostbusters movie will do just fine at the box office, which is why I find it odd that a culture war sprung up around it in the first place. It will make its $250 million at the box office and everyone will move on. Thus the cycle of the culture wars continue, with people on the outside looking in and wondering just what all that fuss was about?

No one is making anyone choose sides in the culture wars. SJWs have the over-inflated sense that they must be ideologically consistent for some reason. It’s humanly impossible, thus why they perpetually look so goddamned silly in the face of something as absurd as “defending the honor” of a trailer for a shitty movie.
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It is shameful that SJWs, and those of the left leaning proclivity that they “other” people of differing ideologies. In addition, as we all know “the other” is a nothing but a horrible thing to be. “I can’t hate this thing, because then people might think that I’m one of ‘the other’” seems to be the thinking. That derision is what sickens me the most.

It’s because of those wedges that people can perpetuate the culture wars for both profit and the senseless continuation therein, eschewing deeper discussions on the things that truly matter. Guess what, it’s not fucking movie trailers for shitty movies.

You Don’t Have To Choose A Side In The Culture Wars

Welcome to the Next Generation of…uh…wait a minute…Power?!…maybe?

So we have the PlayStation 4K or PlayStation 4.5, maybe a new Xbox 1.5 we’re told. It’s all fierce conjecture for sure, especially considering that the operative word being bandied about is “exploratory”. But hey, let’s just run with the wild speculation anyways! What other pressing matters are the pundits supposed to talk about?

This current generation started out a weird one, with consoles daring to touch the face of the gods by demanding to be connected to The Internets 24/7, not playing used games maybe, and a whole slew of other things. It continued with indie developers like Jonathan Blow having the brass iron ball sack to charge $40 for an overproduced touch-pad puzzle game. No Man’s Sky is daring to ask a full priced $60 for a game that even they have issues describing to the unwashed mashes…and now we have the notion of midlife console upgrades being waved about.

Moreover, why not? The games industry used to be all about experimental shenanigans. Odd peripherals to clog up the area around your console and TV to be tripped over in the night if left unattended. Later to be repurposed as some sort of imaginary weaponry when it inevitably broke and was only useful for playing soldier or what-have-you when you played outside.

Video game pundits are having none of this! They are continuing this absurd idea that in the recent past the games industry has been awful about the myriad of things they’ve tried to bring to market and they have all failed. What? Have they forgotten that, yes while entertainment, the games industry is predominantly business focused. They will try anything and everything to wring that almighty dollar from gamers. You can throw a rock in the past decade of video games and hit five or six trends that have come and gone. Some are still with us!

Of course, the wide misses are embarrassing. We don’t need to be reminded of that absurd push for 3D gaming five years ago. The Nintendo 3DS being ostensibly the only successful gaming device to use 3D. Sony produces things like televisions, it would be farcical to think they wouldn’t take a stab at something like 3D, touch screen, and the new “all the rage” the ever loving over hyped “thing of the future” virtual realty.

What’s more puzzling the asymmetrical reaction (read RAGE) from both video game pundits and gamers alike. The notion of the Xbox 1.5 wasn’t viewed nearly with the askance eye as the PlayStation 4.5. The perception being that Microsoft had to do something to catch up to the PlayStation 4, like this is some sort of contest that needs to be won or lost via the console manufactures.

If what is “known” about the PlayStation 4.5 is true, then that extra horsepower is predominantly for the VR element and 4K output built in to the unit itself, nothing more. Those who don’t wish to upgrade will possibly be offered some bulky unsexy looking box to attach to their current PS4 and enjoy VR that way. Again, who knows, “exploratory” could mean anything…and absolutely nothing.

What’s more aggravating to me is watching the games press throw all kinds of shade to the idea of console upgrades, yet have no qualms wrapping their shit eating mouths around the veiny cock that is the VR clusterfuck machine. These things aren’t remotely related, mind you, I just find it an odd dichotomy of reaction versus general dearth of information.

As stated earlier, I don’t have a big issue with the notion of a console upgrade. As someone who bought a PS4 a year in, you’d think I would be. Perhaps I’m withholding my rage until E3 when Sony will actual get around to telling people just what all this PS4.5 business is about. The games press will look like buffoons, yet again, and we’ll all move on like the past few weeks of pundits screaming, “It’s on FIRE! Fuck Sony! What a bunch of assholes!” never happened.

The games press, yet again, proves that they are bereft of any decent ideas even trying to wrap their soft empty heads around the concept of a mid-generation console upgrade. I keep hearing the usage of “make good” like it actually means something. As if these console makers owe people something for buying in early. These “make good”’s wouldn’t come across as so absurd if they actually were based in reality.

Can you imagine Sony offering to “upgrade” your PS4 by charging you an “upgrade fee” and having you mail it to them? What a fucking logistical nightmare that would be, yet that was one offering from the games press. I mean, I guess that’s why they’re overpaid to react wildly to moving pictures and flashing lights instead of fomenting actual workable solutions, but still. Sony also isn’t Microsoft, who can just will all the money into existence to solve their console and business shortcomings.

The idea of the 4K output still seems farfetched as well. Maybe for streaming, as that would make sense coming from Sony. Nevertheless, 4K gaming seems like it’s a bit further down the road. Not that I wouldn’t mind seeing what that might look like, but for people like me, who won’t have a 4K TV any time soon it’s not going to be a factor one way or the other.

Welcome to the Next Generation of…uh…wait a minute…Power?!…maybe?

The Demise of GameTrailers.com and the Continued Erosion of the Games Press

Earlier this month GameTrailers.com (GT) shut their doors and I did not notice…and I try to go to the site as often as possible. That’s not to say its closure didn’t have some impact, there are hundreds of forum pages breaking down “What Went Wrong” or something.

Here’s what went wrong: people are leaving behind the traditional games press.
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Sure, you can point out, and many did, that YouTube, corporate middle management shenanigans, laying off popular staff, site redesigns, and so on did the site in. Nevertheless, what you can’t deny is that most games press outlets are on the decline.

In the aftermath of GT going away, I looked around to what people were saying and found our good friend Jim “Consumer Advocate” Sterling weighing in…figuratively…I mean, he is a large man.

His article “GameTrailers Was A Victim Of Itself” says something along the lines of what I’ve always been saying: shaved apes can run the games press and no one would care…or notice! He places the blame on corporations not finding inherent value in “audiences” anymore, be they of the site proper or the people running it. Which is a bit laughable in the years after #Gamergate when people like Jim Sterling actively antagonized their “audiences” for not accepting the “correct viewpoint” and drove traffic away from the “traditional games press”?

He then goes on to give “examples” of how corporations just don’t realize the utter goldmine of talent they have with IGN letting go of it’s “most recognizable faces” so they could form Kinda Funny Games, The Escapist “laying off” Bob Chipman, and that’s about it.

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A sausage party’s worth of white guys that were living the dream. RIP GT!

With Kinda Funny Games, I do not think IGN “just let them go”. IGN has been around for decades now. They, along with Gamespot, are some of the top hits when you type “video games” in to Google. IGN doesn’t have need for, and in fact has chugged along just fine without, “recognizable” faces for most of its run. Quick, can you name other people from IGN that have since moved on? What’s that? Who gives a shit? Exactly.

Oddly enough, Jim Sterling’s tacit support of ol’ “MovieBob” Chipman is rather humorous as both are now e-begging “free agents” who have had parallel trajectories since leaving The Escapist. For some odd reason Jim Sterling walked away with the “most audience” whereas MovieBob has regularly failed to maintain a steady stream of “audience”.

This may be because Jim Sterling has kept a constant output of some quality, whereas MovieBob can only be bothered to fart out content when the need arises, or in between crying in blog posts about the need for a social life and battling his addiction to cake.

This is even in the face of MovieBob’s Pixels video review going viral. He garnered absolutely nothing from it, his Patreon stayed at its perpetual flat line, but a disturbing trend began of filling his next video reviews full of crass, fast talking nonsense that flew in the face of all the decent work he had done in the past. If Jim Sterling had one video go viral, you’d be damn certain he would’ve been able to capitalize on it.

However, therein lies the rub, even the mighty Jim Sterling isn’t flying high with “audiences”. Looking at website analytics, he’s on the same trajectory as any other games press outlet, on a smaller scale of course. There’s clearly a big bump around the release of Fallout 4, which broke his website, but after that…nothing. His YouTube channel has grown very little, but there may be mitigating circumstances to that one.

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Another example of the fine quality of hosts in GT’s employ: Kyle Bosman looks like that weird kid in high school who always wore corduroy pants, got weird boners under his desk in class, and was a general creeper to ALL the girls.

In his free agency, Jim Sterling has developed a nasty habit of repeating himself. You can even break it down in to about a 3-4 month window. He’s got about four good topics in him and he repeats them ad nauseam. In fact, he’s acutely aware of this and refutes this obvious cycle by stating he has to because things don’t change. I guess it has no bearing on him being a lazy, soft target-loving pundit…no, no, no, that can’t be it at all.

Those four topics are (in no particular order): Fuck(Game Company) typically the big AAA companies that everyone loathes, free-to-play being evil, gas lighting Stream games and their creators, and finally railing on and on about that one time Randy Pitchford tricked grizzled game press veteran Jim Sterling in to believing that Aliens: Colonial Marines was going to be a good game. Just as recently as four weeks ago, Jim Sterling was once again riding Pitchford’s jock over something.

This is not how you maintain an “audiences”, by any standard.

Continuing in his article, Jim Sterling has the gall to throw shade at these games press sites that charge for “premium subscriptions”. Those who live in e-begging refrigerator boxes shouldn’t throw shit at subscription glass houses. Even more insulting is the fact that Jim Sterling has nothing of value to say in the whole of the games press sliding in to obsolescence. Maybe because he is also just white knuckling his relevancy as long as he can before it’s all gone.

This echoes in the annual tradition of certain members of the game press asking what or whom the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is for anymore. Where you want to scream “It’s for you assholes! If you didn’t have something like E3 to cover you wouldn’t even exist!” The most traffic any games press site gets is in correlation to E3. It is from this traffic that essentially makes it so the corporation that owns the games site allows it to run for another year. It becomes absurd that even they can’t see that by bemoaning the annual tradition and trying to free themselves from the annual grasp of E3 is only going to expedite their end.

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Classic video game press site staple: a scuzzy looking white male and attractive white female do a show about video games. Remember X-Play? What’s not love?

On the other hand, I believe that this vaunted “audiences” Jim Sterling is speaking of is looking for something more authentic out of its games press these days. The games press is still too bloated with failed actors, models, and entertainment “reporters” who don’t give two shits about video games. Websites are still too bloated with too many “editors” who are indistinguishable from one another, and in fact, have nothing of worth to really say anyways that would differentiate them from one another. And with the bulk of these games press outlets being situated in California you an throw a brick in downtown San Francisco and hit a snaky hipster you can pay far less for his “take” on a video game.

This is to say nothing of the perpetual need of some of the current games press to try and push their ideological bent in their output. I think these “audiences” are looking to get back to the games press’ roots established in the hobbyist and enthusiast nature of ye olden times. Because you can find all of the “This game made me feel…” or “This game is lacking diversity” bullshit all over the place. Where’s the games press for how the game plays/looks/costs and less about how you can grind axes in a review?

You’re going to see continued shrinkage of the game press as the years go on. Even free agency isn’t going to save the vaunted pundits who pride themselves on their iconoclastic bullshit. People’s largess can only take you so far, and when you’re not saying anything of value, you will lose “audiences” as they move on. We need look no further than to see how games press legends Adam Sessler and Jeff Green were chewed up and spit out by their “audiences” once they left the games press at large to forge new career paths. Some people just need overlords to churn out good content.

What’s more, shaved apes could run the games press and do a similar if not better job. All that is truly required of a games journalist is an ability to get overexcited about loud music, moving pictures and bright lights, then slap a few sentences together about their experience and stop for the day. There is no value in this to an audience, who is looking for more from their games and this is why the games press will continue its slide in to nothing.

 

And now that the football season is over Chad will never leave you…or get laid off by some asshole corporation hellbent on squeezing little guys, like me, out of the games press or having an overwrought opinion about weapon spacing in those weird plastic contraptions inside the box of an action figure. Donate today!

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The Demise of GameTrailers.com and the Continued Erosion of the Games Press

Satire Is Dead…Long Live Satire

Here’s a hot tip: if you explain that what you’re doing is satire…then it ceases to be satire. Why would you do that to yourself? How insulting do you need to be to your audience to essentially say, “Hey, all of this was SATIRE!”

Who is to blame for this apparently sudden turn of Satire-Not-Satire that has plagued denizens of The Internets?

It’s not only satire that has taken a turn for the awful; it’s this constant need for people to button anything they say with a criticism “shield” of sorts. Such as, “I don’t want to hear in the comments ‘X’” or “People are allowed to disagree about stuff” or any other beta-ass mealy-mouth nonsense that is supposed to act as butt hurt insulation against arguments or disagreement that arises from said comment.

How about you just say the stupid thing you’re going to say and deal with the consequences?

Nevertheless, back to the topic at hand. What happened to satire?

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In the great democratization of The Internets, it appears that satire has befallen the same sort of homogenization that apparently every single thing has fallen to. You can’t be Coke or Pepsi anymore, you have to be San Pellegrino Blood Orange Flavored Carbonated Beverage or Organic Cruelty Free Protein Smoothie with Kale, this micro-niche tribalism is fast getting out of hand. The absurd need to be an “individual” is nearing an apex and instead of “people”, we have singular “republics of me”.

Look, I’m all about “doing you” or whatever that means, but that doesn’t mean you get to eschew the rules to fit the ever-sliding scale of covering your ass or not appearing to convey something you are conveying.

Satire is not saying something you know is inflammatory and pretending you were just kidding, just as you get in to increasingly hot water with the public at large. Once the marketplace of ideals has soundly rejected your “satire” that is not the time to suddenly say “Oh, just kidding! Satire…you know!”

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Satirists like Jonathan Swift and Ambrose Bierce didn’t append their works with a page of “you know…this is all satire”. The need to clarify if something satirical is completely antithetical to the nature of satire.

Perhaps there is confusion because people are generally ignorant and don’t understand that instead of satire they’re just partaking in hyperbole. That could necessitate the need to explain it when the need arises. Instead of using satire as some sort of shitty catchall for your general lack of understanding satire, perhaps say, “Hey, I’m just being hyperbolic to make a point!”

Herein lies the rub, hyperbole is a tool of satire, but there is more to satire than just being outrageous. Hence, the clarification that saying something inflammatory then going “JK” is not satire. Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded room and then telling the authorities you were just being satirical isn’t going to absolve your ass from being arrested.

It’s with much effort that I have avoided simply posting the definition of satire and then “breaking it down” in this article. I think this tactic, while informative, has also ruined by The Internets, especially by “activist” YouTubers milling about in e-drama.
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This subject hits especially close to home because the sudden “subjective” definition of satire is the entire reason this site exists in the first place. I had someone describe the article “What I Didn’t Learn From All These ‘What I Learned From’ Articles” as “over the top” and essentially outlined the literal definition of satire as they rejected it’s satirical nature and that it wasn’t humorous. Which is also in and of itself subjective.

It was in this exchange then over the past few months of exploring what satire means and what it has become these days that I learned that satire had become infinitely more subjective.

Many things don’t offend me, but high on my list of things to find offensive is humorlessness. Moreover, to find so many self-appointed gatekeepers of what “is” and “isn’t” has become intolerable.

Not content to just infect satire, we suddenly find what “is” and “isn’t” humorous under fire. Stand-up comedy has long had it’s battles with political correctness, but to have people who know absolutely nothing about joke telling or humor try to break down and analyze comedy is…again…absurd. You don’t find something funny? That’s fine…it’s just not for you, find those things you find funny and enjoy them.
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It’s in this constant policing of everything that we find ourselves accidentally mired in the culture wars that exist on the peripheries on any given topic. You go to defend your favorite comedian from a bunch of internet asshole SJWs…or hell just say that you enjoy said comedian…and now you’re a Rush Limbaugh listening, Reagan loving, right-wing asshole! Discussion over…you’ve been labeled.

As someone who likes to think of themselves as a satirist, I find the lack of humor disturbing. We can’t be taking ourselves so seriously as to not enjoy the humor to be found in rigidity of any ideal or construct.

More to the point, if you need to take a timeout and explain to your audience you’re “participating” in satire then you’re not only doing a disservice to your audience but also the great legacy of satire. You should probably stick to just being “for real” outraged or “telling it like it is” and bloviating in that safe space echo chamber with your ditto head idiot followers.

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Satire Is Dead…Long Live Satire