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    Friday, November 21, 2008

    RR Couldn’t-Write-His-Way-Out-Of-A-Paper-Bag Writer 2008: Dan Whitehead

    Another runaway winner, Dan Whitehead of the Unreliable Eurogamer lifts the coveted Couldn’t-Write-His-Way-Out-Of-A-Paper-Bag Writer 2008 award. Despite coasting along at a standard so low that his readers have to limbo under his prose if they’re to stand any hope of getting past it, his writing career reached a spectacular peak with his ball-achingly riotous review of fun-but-overrated puzzle-platformer Braid.

    Here’s what some of those readers had to say:

    “His ineptitude is rivalled only by his ability to write the kind of pretentious swill that would leave even an Edge writer weeping. How is it that this man is employable?”
    Anonymous Knight, via Facebook

    “Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer for shittiest cunt of a writer ever. Not just 2008. He's one of those journalists with an instantly recognisable style. You can tell a review is his after one paragraph without looking at the name of the writer. This is not a good thing, however. Because his reviews are full of pretentious bollocks and rubbish.”
    Anonymous Knight, via comments

    Here’s a comment made by The Triforce and ex-Edge man David “Taurus” McCarthy on his own forum. Out of context? Yes. Funny? Definitely.

    “I thought the EG Braid review was pretty embarrassing.”
    David McCarthy

    If Whitehead could write his way out of a paper bag, we’re sure he’d be typing up a thank you speech right now. In the absence of his skull-fuckingly dismal words on the subject, let’s instead round off with a revisited extract from his
    now infamous review of Braid:

    “His mission is to find a princess. She's not a literal princess though, but a metaphor - the romantic cliché of that perfect soul mate as filtered through popular videogame motifs. In the context of Braid's melancholy mood, it becomes a bona fide commentary on the human condition.”

    Yeah, whatever you say, Dan.

    Other notable nominations:

    Ben Furfie (MCV)

    “His copy is dreadful. He can't write for shit. The only time his stuff appears to be readable is when it's been subbed by someone with a better grasp of prose. Which any other English speaker has, incidentally. How he got in your Least Hideous Journo list is a fucking mystery. And a disgrace.”
    Anonymous Knight, via email

    Ben Biggs (Total PC Gaming)

    “By the numbers cock.”
    Anonymous Knight, via email


    1. You know what doesn't count for shit? The opinions of a bunch of anonymous cowards too gutless to put their names behind what they claim to believe.

      Dan Whitehead is actually one of the best game reviewers around at the moment, and I use the phrase "game reviewers" as opposed to "NGJ pricks who wank on for 3000 words and don't even tell you how many fucking levels the game's got".

      The Braid review was a bit flowery, no worse than that - but when you really love something that happens occasionally, and I'd rather read a thousand slightly flowery reviews than some cynical cockwipe pretending to be above caring about games at all, perhaps while working for a magazine company that lets advertisers and publishers dictate review scores.

      I'm sure the guy couldn't give a wasp's arse-hair what three jealous tossers on the internet think of his work. But I'm tired of hearing from sneery little cowards. Fuck all of you chickenshit "Anonymous Knights", and anyone else with such tiny shrivelled balls that they won't attack people to their face.

    2. dan de la peche11:37 am

      Oh dear God, you've only gone and woken Stuart Campbell up.

      It seems that conventional weapons cannot stop Stuart once he is awoken - only once his fully engorged hypocrisy gland has been emptied all over several blogs will the beast be sated, and finally lie dormant.


    3. Anonymous11:42 am

      you used to have a flat top.

    4. Anonymous11:54 am

      I can't follow that. Who could?

      But I will say that Ben Biggs is charming, friendly, incredibly overworked and, to my mind, a decent writer.

      I can't speak for the others in this list, but Ben's inclusion is pretty cruel.

      Plus: he does have the ability to kill you with his bare hands. So bonus marks there.

    5. Anonymous1:35 pm

      Oh come on, enough with the "if you believe what you say then put your name on it" debate. It's the fact that our industry is gutless that you should be belittling. If the games industry could stand up to a bit of criticism and justify its supposed integraity then people wouldn't have to be anonymous. But you deviate from the PR line one bit in this town and you're fucked.

      Let's have some love for RR.

      As for the award, yeah, Dan's shit. Bit harsh on Ben, though. Nice chap from my (limited) experience.

    6. Tim Ingham2:57 pm

      Goodness. As much as I'm reluctant to bring any more credence to your vicious blacklist orgy... people's professional reputations are at stake.

      So I'll do you a favour and redress the balance on at least one of these ugly, childish attacks; which, at best, make you look like a pathetic bully boy, and, at worst, place you in serious danger of defamation action. (For someone professing to be judge, jury and executioner on all things games journalism, have you actually ever read a basic description of media law?).

      To kick off, the profile of Ben Furfie you posted this morning is plain wrong: As someone who has had the pleasure of working alongside him, I can attest that he is a fine journalist, who exhibits the sort of tenacity and passion for his job I'm told you so regularly bemoan the passing of.

      Secondly, it’s inaccurate on the most basic level. Ben does a highly-rated job on MCV sister magazine PC Retail, where he holds a well-deserved position as Deputy Editor.

      Most importantly, he hasn’t worked on MCV for over a year – surely making him ineligible for any such ‘award’.

      Seriously, if you’re going to attempt to enact this sort of ‘rib-tickling’ character assassination… please try and be accurate enough to know which publication a journalist works on.

      Criticism loses something when the very basic facts that fuel it are so woefully fallacious. Dare I say it, Ben is a dab hand at researching subjects before he writes about them. Email him – maybe he can pass on a few tips?

      As for the conker-brained choad who submitted the associated comment... readers may notice that he felt the need to focus on Ben’s high placing in your ‘least hideous games journalists’ list. Could this perhaps tell us that Ben’s detractor is the embittered owner of a less-than-sightly visage?

      I admit, maybe that’s an assumption too far. It's possible he’s a smart-talking socialite of a pretty boy – two parts Depp to one part Dirty Den. In which case, I hate to think what his motivation was for such a pathetic and unjust attack.

      So forgive me for going with the more logical idea that he's merely a sour, cabbage-faced fool, with diminutive genital paranoia thrown in for good measure.

      Regardless, at least we can be certain in concluding that he’s a resentful maggot of a ‘grown-up’... whose only frustrated pleasure in life comes from spending his free time attacking talented individuals from the secure anonymity of his deserted online kingdom.

      What an existence. No offence, Mr. Raider.

      Tim Ingham
      Associate Editor

    7. "But you deviate from the PR line one bit in this town and you're fucked."

      The only reason that's the case is BECAUSE everyone's so fucking gutless and cowardly. If everyone stands up to the bullying, it's screwed.

      But this has nothing to do with that. This is a guy with his name on his work, being personally attacked on some crappy little blog by people too chickenshit to own up to their opinions. Exactly what consequences could ensue from someone saying "I think Dan Whitehead is a crap writer"? Unless it's someone else from EG, none whatsoever. But by pretending that you're a refugee from The Man, you can claim anonymity as an excuse for your cowardice.

      It's just pathetic little children sneering in the dark at someone who's almost certainly better than them. Because out of the tiny handful of game journos these days who ARE any good, I don't think any of them are dismal enough cunts to pen this sort of shite. Is Jon Blyth calling Whitehead "shittiest cunt of a writer ever"? I doubt it. So what we have here is some worthless little corporate shill from OXM or the like killing time until they get a job in marketing by slagging off people who are actually trying to be game journalists properly. It's beneath contempt. And yet, I still hope you all die painfully of some particularly hideous cancer. In a chemical fire.

    8. Anonymous4:27 pm

      Ben Biggs really shouldn't be there. He's a great guy and a decent writer.

    9. Anonymous4:46 pm

      That's fucking harsh on Biggs. He's a good bloke and not a bad writer at all. Whoever submitted that comment clearly has some kind of personal vendetta (though I find even that hard to believe 'cos he's such a nice guy).

    10. Anonymous5:21 pm

      Ditto for Furfie. Used to work with him - a nice guy and, in my opinion, good writer. He isn't on MCV anymore though IIRC.

      I'm glad this blog exists and it does a worthwhile job. The fact that the Rev obviously hates it is a ringing endorsement IMO.

    11. Rammy: Calling a bad writing award "Couldn’t-Write-His-Way-Out-Of-A-Paper-Bag" isn't exactly supporting your position of judge of those who can write and who can't.

      And for the rest of you: wot Stu sez.


    12. Anonymous7:25 pm

      Criticise Rammy all you want, but it's the only blog the whole industry reads. And the Rev was quick enough to comment so he obviously reads it too.

    13. Anonymous7:51 pm

      "So forgive me for going with the more logical idea that he's merely a sour, cabbage-faced fool, with diminutive genital paranoia thrown in for good measure."

      That's totally worth stealing. Going to have to cut'n'paste that one for future use... nice word-smithery!

      --General Achkbar Esquire IVV

    14. Anonymous8:50 pm

      Whoever nominated Ben Biggs is the real cunt of the year.

      Ben's a decent writer and if his copy has ever dropped below standard it's because he's too busy trying to keep a huge magazine alive with no help, or appreciation, from those above him.

    15. I love how inseparable the Bath Elitorati are – it’s literally impossible for just one of them to post somewhere before the rest of them pile in to group masturbate by echoing each others’ opinions in the slightly skewed belief that it makes them sound less wrong.

      Close your eyes and imagine them now, cycling up and down the streets of Bath on their little BMX bikes with Spokey Dokes on the wheels, and their matching Thundercats lunchboxes. They’re so sweet...

    16. You are aware that the vast majority of the people you offend live in Bath, right?

      And that TPCG isn't based in Bath, right?

      It's funny that you see it as conspiratorial, rather than just lots of people calling you on being mindlessly cruel.

    17. And I don't even live in Bath. And haven't spoke to Stuart in over a year.

      As Walker says, occasionally you head over into a slightly-too-cunty area and people want to call you on it. When someone's standing in the middle of a square spouting hateful shit, you don't need a conspiracy to create a lynch-mob.


    18. Anonymous10:50 am

      The Braid review was off-colour, but Dan is actually a competent and entertaining writer. His DVD Review stuff is great.

      Jesus, there are some far worse writers than aren't in this list.

    19. Anonymous4:35 pm

      So Rammy takes the piss out of the Future crowd for being joined at the hip, and they dispute this by... posting together again. Beautiful.

    20. Anonymous6:56 pm

      cockpooper shitbum

    21. Beg pardon? Are you including me in "the Future crowd", anonymous nobody? Because that's pretty fucking hilarious to anyone with more brains than week-old dogshit.

      Rammy is such a poor writer that it's not actually possible to definitely ascertain who his comment was aimed at (the named writers? The commenters slagging them off? The people attacking the piece? Could be any of those), but NONE of the writers slagged off by nameless mediocrities in this shitty little piece are in Bath and nor is Kieron, which would make "the Bath Elitorati" comprise either a handful of anonymous chickenshits of whereabouts unknown, or... me and John Walker. A two-man elitorati! Sweet!

    22. Anonymous7:44 pm

      Re Ben Furfie

      I've had the pleasure of knowing Ben for over two years and have watched him blossom onto one of the most talented up and coming journos currently working in the British games media. I only with there were more journalists as well read, knowledgable and likeable as Ben and his recent appointment to Dept Edship was in my opinion a much overdue testament to his abilities.

      While I do find this blog interesting as someone who works in the media, you should know better than to encourage base defamation of your colleagues whether freelance or staff. Yes not everyone is an angel and this industry has it's fair share of idiots, shysters and even a few whom you politely address via the c-word but public assassination is not the answer, it merely fans the flames. Shame on you!

    23. James Cross1:24 am

      How dare any of you not know Stuart Campbell's history with Future publishing! You journalists should follow his lead and stand up to The Man and see where that gets you.

    24. dan de la peche1:39 am

      And there I was thinking a blog should be entertaining.

      I say you SHOULD encourage base defamation of your colleagues, and even more so if they've nothing wrong - because this is the internet, and that's what it's for; calling people cunts.

      I know this guy at work - he's a PROPER cunt. He probably doesn't read this blog, as we're all chefs, but hey.

    25. Rev. Stuart Campbell1:40 am

      I am a cunt too.

    26. Anonymous8:20 am

      Just in case anyone is wondering, no one outside the games mag industry and/or Bath really gives a shit what you all think of each other. We just want to know if stuff is worth buying.

      That Whitehead guy could be lovely in person, but the Braid review was fucking terrible. If that's the sort of stuff that floats Stu Campbell's boat, then it's a bloody good job he's just a rant-loving relic these days.

      Give it a rest with the awards shite though Rammy - stuff like the Eidos bullshit-a-thon is far more interesting to us plebs.

    27. Anonymous5:58 pm

      Come on Rammy, clearly some of these 'Nominations' are from simpletons who take umbrage with a review score, not literary critics with any degree of insight. I read TPCG from time to time and I have always been impressed with Ben Biggs' writing to be absolutely honest. A tad unfair and perhaps the anonymous cuntbag who posted that remark deserves an award instead?

    28. Anonymous10:37 am

      Oh look, it's Lesley 'I'll do anything for work including ringing editors six times a day and begging' Smith. Hello, love! Can we have a new award for 'most tencious industry cunt', Rammy? I have a nominee.

    29. Just in case anyone is wondering, no one outside the games mag industry and/or Bath really gives a shit what you all think of each other. We just want to know if stuff is worth buying.

      Needed reiterating. Be grateful that you even got identified as important to games journalism, even if useless, and move on.

    30. Darran Jones12:03 am

      I wasn't a fan of that Braid review, but that doesn't mean I think Dan is a bad writer, far from it.

      He's written for Retro Gamer several times in the past and I've always been happy with both his work and professionalism. I totally understand why some people would want to remain anonymous though (although I don't agree with it myself).

    31. Darran Jones12:10 am

      And while I'm at it... Ben Biggs doesn't deserve a nomination either. He's doing a great job (along with the rest of the team) and on top of being a decent rider is a very charming guy as well.

    32. Anonymous8:43 am

      It's true, about Biggs. He's lovely as fuck, and has every right to be more of a cunt than he is. Never bitter, always charming, and hasn't once resorted to killing people in a way that everyone knows he can. If I were a woman, I would cock open my chute for Biggs and Biggs alone. Also he's a good writer, which I think was the point.

    33. Anonymous8:54 am

      Decent ride eh? I knew the pay and work conditions on most games mags were shit, but I didn't know compulsory bumming was part of the deal now as well.

    34. Mr Chris4:24 pm

      Christ on a bike. I'm always amazed that, even with Google and Wikipedia on hand, internet people continue to have no idea what defamation is.

      Oh no! I've defamed you all!

    35. Anonymous7:23 am

      Wow, games journalists really are a thin-skinned lot. It's like a load of mothers have just been insulted.