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    Monday, September 25, 2006

    In Defence Of Old Games Journalism

    Dave McCarthy (Taurus from the Triforce) interviewed Gillen a couple of weeks ago about NGJ for MCV. McCarthy was irreverent, but Gillen in between his pretend (we think) pretentiousness threw in a few snipes at OGJ including “there were only three things you could write about games: a review, a preview or a tips guide” and “The best Games Journalism now is better than it’s ever been. We probably should be grateful.” It angered Dave Perry who vented on the Triforum and mentioned his viewpoint in a letter to MCV last week, but the main defence of OGJ was left to us. So here it is, how they printed it:

    “Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. That describes Kieron Gillen’s take on NGJ and his opinion in last week’s article by cheeky Garry Bushell impersonator Dave McCarthy (‘Games Journalism RIP?’, MCV 8/9). I’ve not got much space, so I’ll keep this brief.

    On Gillen’s Definition: For someone who sneers at NGJ’s detractors for not having read his ridiculous article about it, he needs to get his opinions straight. One minute it’s ‘travel journalism to imaginary places’ (puke), the next it’s ‘anecdote based writing’. Make up your mind, because the difference is quite important, you know.

    On NGJ: Why does it exist? Gillen thinks there’s an audience for subjective journalism. You know, like when one of those terrified kids sat there during Bad Influence droning in a monotone, “I like playing Altered Beast because I like playing it.”

    Sure, it sums up what that reviewer’s feeling. But isn’s [NOTE TO MCV’S SUB-ED: READ THIS] games journalism there to tell gamers what they might like to buy? And doesn’t that mean you have to be just a tiny bit objective?

    On Gillen’s Opinion: Gillen not only thinks there’s a market for this crap, but that it’s overtaken Old Games Journalism in terms of quality. Of course, Jaz Rignall, Stuart Campbell, Gary Penn and Dave Perry only used to be able to write reviews, previews and tips guides back then.

    Now we can discuss the existential ramifications of post-feministic perspectives on the use of the silencer in Counter-Strike as a symbol of phallic rape. Wow, I’m so grateful games journalism is so bloody great now.

    New Games Journalism is the mother of all misnomers. It’s not ‘new’. And it’s got more to do with the faceless boring writer than the ‘games’. Writing ‘my monitor and me: a pretentious autobiographical account’ will never qualify as journalism.

    You want to know what NGJ really is? Old Writer Narcissism.

    RAM Raider


    1. Stating the obvious, "The best journalism now" includes everything that's being done, not just the stuff you hate.

      It may even include you, Rammy.


    2. Anonymous10:46 am

      This whole NGJ thing is really getting old now. I've read Gillen's original piece, and it reads like a tongue-in-cheek call to simply shake things up. That is all.
      I'll bet he is pretty amazed by all these people who are angered by it because they know deep down that they'll never be a good enough writer to pull that sort of thing off with anything approaching style or panache.
      I've read Edge so I know.

    3. Kieron: Thanks, maybe.

      Anonymous Knight: I didn't want to do two NGJ posts in a row, but I had to squeeze in my MCV bit.

    4. Anonymous3:31 pm

      Surely a case of rose tinted specs? If you read Stu Campbells excellent forum, which I'm sure you do, you'll have bumped into Stu's views on first-person shooters, which goes something along the lines of - 'they're shit unless they're configured for gamepads (and let you reconfigure your own keys.) Anyone who uses mouse and keyboard doesn't know what they're talking about.'
      Now this doesn't really contain even a hint of objectivity. You can't say it's wrong (although 8 out of 10...) because it's his opinion. It's subjectivity of the highest order.
      Stu made a name because he was opinionated, not because he gave an overall objective review of a game.
      NGJ? OGJ? You're dragging this non-debate on, and on, and on. (Although I love the fact that you're still open to compliments about the quality of your journalism from KG). If people don't like a particular style of writing, they won't buy the mag, read the website, buy the t-shirt, etc. Move onto what you're best at - exposing the corrupting elements in the industry and let the indie boys write about their personal fantasies at the keyboard.

    5. Anonymous5:17 pm

      "...I didn't want to do two NGJ posts in a row, but I had to squeeze in my MCV bit."

      You had to make a special post drawing attention to your letter in which you complain about writer narcissism.

    6. Wow, same old thicko arguments that fail to identify what they're arguing against. Here's the same old points for you to continue ignoring:

      1) The word "new" in the stupid title has never meant "recent".

      2) OGJ, as you insist on madly calling it, is still literally 99.9% of games journalism, making your continued stampy protests much like picketing a sweet shop because you don't like lemon sherbets.

      3) No, the fact that an Oblivion review in Gamer once wrote incidents that occur in the first-person game in the first person is not a sign of some evil ooze taking over the industry. It is, of course, a legitimate means of describing the nature of the game. You don't enjoy it, that's fine.

      4) That Gillen agpnisingly gave a common and perfectly accepted decade-old form of games writing a name does not suddenly make it a problem. It hasn't hurt you, it continues to not hurt you. Why are you complaining? What's wrong with you? Are you bored? Are you just incredibly thick and can only angry when 0.01% of something doesn't entertain you?


      Are you really so woefully self-absorbed that you think your not liking something means it must be hated by the entire world? That's how five year olds, or people with severe autism think. And gosh, I'm sure you've found seven other people who don't like it either. Why, I've got seven people who do like it here!

      For the love of God, stop blabbering on about something that barely exists, and do something useful.

    7. Anonymous6:53 pm

      Exposing the corrupting elements of the industry is what Daniel Emery is best at? Has ANY corruption ever actually been exposed here, other than the imaginary kind Daniel Emery imagines is happening because it might be?

    8. Anonymous7:34 pm

      Yeah come on Rammy we need some dirt. Handbags between you and the bible basher aint cutting it. Thats about as interesting as the bashers eurogamer reviews.

      I want names. Who has sold inflated review scores or let the publisher write the review? I want stories about envelopes full of used £20 notes and rented out hookers and stuff. Doesnt even matter if it was 10 years ago or something...

    9. Anonymous11:07 pm

      "For the love of God, stop blabbering on about something that barely exists, and do something useful."

      John, you're always on here posting angry posts like you're fit to burst. Has it ever occurred to you that one of the reasons people come on here is to see you rise to the bait time after time after time, using phrases like: "That's how five year olds, or people with severe autism think."

      Honestly, your outbursts are more like a 5-year old's. You don't like something, i.e. Rammy's blog, but instead of ignoring it like most 'adults' would, you post extraordinarily long rants on here every other week, for the amusement of everyone else.

      To quote you, but in relation to Rammy's blog: "It hasn't hurt you, it continues to not hurt you. Why are you complaining? What's wrong with you?"

      Pot. Kettle. Black.

      Or maybe, just maybe, you're as thick as all the other 'thickos' in the world.

      Except you're serious, which makes it all the more hilarious.

    10. John W1:15 am

      Well, if the comments are amusing people (as much as it may not be in the way I might intend), then I'm achieving something.

      Rammy *has* hurt people I know with his inaccurate accusations and outright insults. I feel better if I reply, as ineffective or pointless as it may be. Of course I'm hot-headed and quite thick, react too quickly, and make inappropriate comments of no use. (I should add that my autism comment was never intended to be insulting to anyone, but merely pointing out the specific nature of such a way of thinking. I didn't write it very well, sadly).

      While ignoring the blog would be the more mature response, I'm not very mature. Plus, if someone's talking about you and your friends, you're going to look, aren't you?

      Don't do the "Pot. Kettle. Black." thing. It's horribly wanky. It makes you sound like Angus Deayton.

      Oh, and to Anonymous Puss #37 who keeps announcing I'm a Christian: I know! Repeating something I've said doesn't work. You have to do a bit more before it's an insult. Perhaps, "And that makes you rubbish because it's like believing in fairies, or maybe Father Christmas."

    11. arcofyesod10:28 am

      "You don't like something, i.e. Rammy's blog, but instead of ignoring it like most 'adults' would, you post extraordinarily long rants on here every other week"

      And here's me thinking debate and engagement were the adult things to do. I don't enjoy reading John's replies because I find them amusing, I enjoy them because they generally provide a counter-point to Ram Raider's original piece, providing an alternative argument. I know that also sounds a bit wanky, but I enjoy it.

    12. Yeah, maybe the "I hate NGJ" has been done to death by now. How about we move on to "I hate GJ in general"?

      I recently registered the domain: If Rammy wants it it's his. He could simply post hilarious quotes from Edge, 1UP, GameSpot, and IGN reviews. He wouldn't even have to comment or anything. The quotes would, ahem... speak for themselves.

    13. Great idea. Why don't you make it into a Wiki so the Anonymous Knights can add hilarious quotes as they find them?

    14. I was thinking more in the lines of a blog, where people could send in quotes. I could give posting privileges to those who regularly send in good stuff.

      With a wiki there wouldn't be any form of editorial control, and if some people post unfunny quotes the quality of the site would be diluted...

      What do you think? I am open to ideas, or I could just give you the domain and you could set it up yourself.

      I've got a ton of quotes in a text document already.

    15. Anonymous5:02 pm

      Get out much, do you, Alex?

    16. Leave Alex alone, you big bully...

      Go for it, Alex. Let us know when it's set up, and we'll support it.

    17. Well I started setting it up, but then I received an email from one of your anonymous followers who offered to take it off my hands. So I gave it to him. He said he'd have it up and running in a few days.

      I guess we'll have to wait and see if he can make something worthwhile with it.

    18. Anonymous10:12 am

      "Well I started setting it up, but then I received an email from one of your anonymous followers who offered to take it off my hands. So I gave it to him. He said he'd have it up and running in a few days."

      Bullshit! You can't try to pin this on someone else now. When you've set it up we'll know exactly who's responsible.


      Is that really your site, Alex? Because me and my journo friends are going to have a hell of a time ripping its content to fucking pieces when you launch your new one!

    19. Yeah, that's not really a problem, knock yourselves out.

      I know my shortcomings, and I work constantly to overcome them.

    20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    21. Paul Barnett3:55 pm

      Nice to see the voice of hope still beating out there.

      Paul Barnett
      Creative Director Warhammer online