I have noticed that more and more gaming sites have been bleeding over to more generalist popular culture articles that have less to do with gaming. Add to that, game journalists’ terrible track record has by some act of idiocracy-esque become more about waging war on their own readership and social justice than actual reviewing of games. After the train smash that was the Polygon Doom demo, liberal thought pieces poured out defending gaming media and fellow reviewers for their inability to play games and calling the “git gud” culture of gamers toxic, and like always taking a big fat shit all over the very same people they expect to read their articles and support them. I mean really think about it! What other type of journalists can be so blatantly ignorant about their subject matter and keep their jobs?
These gaming “journalists” are now straying further and further from people who truly “love” games and more and more into people who are chosen because of their political ideologies while also playing games, it creates a huge disconnect between these writer/reviewers and their target audience. Unless their target audience is social justice advocates who also enjoy games. But let’s be honest here that is a pretty narrow audience to pander too. Video Game journalists/journalism is becoming more and more irrelevant. Publishers still want them, because traditional printed/written press is “important” to them (because traditions) but it’s shifting so fast that they cannot keep up with the change anymore.
So what do they do? They shift towards clickbait tabloid media style articles, sure setting bridges on fire certainly will attract a big crowd to watch. The problem comes a year down the right when the crowd is gone and you have no fucking bridge left. And it is not like the industry is not self-aware, they know full well they are losing their own respect and integrity, and that they are in a dying industry. Not to mention that they are now getting called out on their bullshit, and they don’t like that one bit. People still want gaming news, we always will. But these “journalists” have been tightening the noose around their own neck for many years and they have begun to realize this, so now they are lashing out at their own reader base.It does seem like cognitive dissonance but if you consider it from the games journalists point of view. They have two choices. Either admit that their industry is corrupted to the very core and make some difficult choices, or do whatever they can to make the problem seem smaller than it really is and hope we get bored each and every time they screw-up. They went with option two, and now a couple of years down the road they are starting to pay for it. And this is why I miss the heyday of print media gaming magazines. I remember finding old issues of magazines my brother got and reading them cover to cover. They had reviews of games, predictions for how new games would be, interviews with people in the industry, walkthroughs and guides, and funny entertaining articles in there too.
I remember the old days of Computer Gaming World where editor in chief Johnny Wilson had a rule that the game reviewers had to play through the entire game (No Cheats) from start to finish before writing a review. I guarantee modern game reviewers don’t operate under the same set of rules as back then. While the vast majority of video game journalists have become involved in identity politics and the church of Anita Sarkeesian. They have sold themselves out years ago for perks and their boss’s advertising revenue. YouTubers like Boogie2988, Videogamedunkey, and TotalBiscuit have gained a huge followings by just talking about games without alienating the community. I don’t buy a game before I have checked with reputable Twitch streamers and YouTubers that I follow.
At any rate, viewing actual game play, and listening to the broadcaster/YouTuber give an opinion based on stuff that I can actually see makes a huge difference to me. No longer do I have to take video game journalists word for it. I can see before whether I will like it or not before I buy it. The use of reviews of anything is nothing less than a study in confirmation bias. We’ve all considered buying a product and chosen to ignore negative reviews and take heed of positive reviews. The other problem is the broken review system, in which anything less than 8 out of 10/80% is seen as bad/a failure and anything less than 6/60% a catastrophe. And can anything, objectively, be 100%? What is perfect? And where is the room for improvement/something better?
Gamers now more than ever know more about the product and they are placing their trust in people who do not get paid for their reviews or for playing games, and are doing a better job at playing and reviewing these games than people who consider it their job. But video game journalists cannot solve their problems by preaching about the death of their audience. That audience is dying only in that it is leaving them, a process the journalists have evidently decided to accelerate by blaming their target audience for what is wrong with them instead of looking at themselves as being the problem. Game journalists are in essence to use a gaming term rage quitting their meal ticket, cutting off their own nose to spite themselves…