We're going to pretend to be a workblog for once. After some courting by industry rag MCV, we decided to fire off a response to an article they printed about how being a games journalist is the best thing ever. They printed it on page 61 of the 18/11/05 issue:
“Another week, another ill-judged, misinformed and overly-aggressive editorial. In the last issue of MCV (11/11), Matt Martin took it upon himself to declare that games journalists have "one of the best jobs in the world", and forcibly poured scorn upon those of us who have dared to complain about the games industry. Well excuse me Mr. Martin, but you can take your "put up or shut up" attitude and stick it up your arse.
In case Mr. Martin has forgotten, games journalists are part of the national press. The press are there for a specific reason – to tell it how it is. We witness incompetence and poor practice flying at us from all angles, and it's our duty as the press to report this to the consumers. Of course the job is better than scraping grease from biscuit-making machinery, but I bet when Martin did that for a living he wasn't leaping out of bed every morning praising the heavens that he wasn't a one-legged leper with AIDS. Everything's relative.
Ignoring Martin's point about the "hundreds of talented kids out there who would kill" to be in our position (purely because they don't exist – ask any magazine editor how many legible applications he receives in a year and you'll receive a single-figure answer), scolding us for not appreciating the "perks" is yet another flaw in the argument. Does he really think PR trips are laid on as a massive favour for the journalists? They're there solely to convince us to portray their forthcoming games in as favourable a light as possible – glorified advertising at best, borderline bribery at worst. [The second half of that sentence was edited out]
But we should of course all follow Martin's advice immediately, and leave the games industry. After all, why bother standing up and speaking out against everything that's rotten and joyless about the games industry when we could just take the coward's way out? Oh, that's right – because it's our jobs to tell the truth.
We're moaning about the games industry because we care about it. We've seen how great it can be, and it can be saved if only more people would make a stand against charmless asinine journalism promoting poor industry decisions. Martin demands that we should "rekindle the passion", but if there's anyone more passionate about games than the journalists who are prepared to openly debate the games industry, warts and all, regardless of what the PR and publishing overlords dictate, then they've done an excellent job of flying under the radar.
How about this for a counter-proposal – end the sterility coursing through the veins of modern games journalism and rekindle the fun and honesty, or piss off.
MCV’s reply was “It’s great to see such passion, but surely the “coward’s way out” is criticising from behind the safety of a pseudonym…?”
The answer to that is simple and obvious. We’ve all seen what happens to journalists who actually do their jobs and tell the truth instead of toeing the corporate line so, to quote from a comment we left on some guy’s blog a couple of weeks ago, “honesty is the bastion of the exiled and the anonymous”.
We’re not ready to be exiled from the industry yet, so we’ll stick with anonymity for now.