Friday, 28 December 2012

Suicide Gaming end of year awards: the backhands

You were expecting this weren't you? And now Christmas day and a pretty good doctor who special is done with, we can go back to business as usual by awarding the bastards of 2012 with the first annual "Backhands" to give due credit to major cuntishness this year. So the usual barbs for EA and Activision don't qualify as that's par the course for them.


Lauren Wainwright

Not much of a shocker, is it? The unintentional face of games journalism (and not a animal abuser, I'm fairly certain) after being mentioned in Robert Florence's Eurogamer article, as an example of the ubiquitous nature of the PR people within games media., citing Wainwright's promotional tweet to win a PS3. She then threatened legal action unless Eurogamer cut her out of the article, which they did, causing Florence to leave (be sacked by) Eurogamer. This shameless greed and censorship of another writer perfectly personified exactly what is wrong with games journalism. More the "nothing happened, move on" attitude of  her fellow hacks. Granted, she's not the mastermind of the long running collusion between publishers and game journalists. But her actions and apparent oblivious nature concerning just how dodgy it looks to promote a game publisher in return for a free console at an awards show (supposedly) for games journalism! However, we can thank her for being the crack in the plaster that has made some realise the wall of games media is crooked.


Robert Florence

"But wait, you spoke out over Florence's article being censored and getting flack off people in games media." That's right, I did. And I always will speak up for his, my and everyone else's right to have basic freedom of speech. It doesn't mean I like him or anything the self satisfied, internet darling does. A jobbing comedy writer   and internet Jesus as he always reminds people. Although if you ever saw Video Gaiden (the regional video game show, that was actually a comedy sketch show that happened to be about games) or read on of his condescending reviews or articles, you wouldn't think so. Anyone that critiques a game with "If you don't like this game, it's because you're crap at it" is no better than the mouth breathing clique that hound potential new players from daring to try their precious game. "But wait, Florence's so-so article named and shamed Lauren Wainwright and Dave Cook. He's saving games journalism!" No he wasn't. He was hinting at something by quoting tweets from a couple of hacks wanting free stuff. He hinted at journos who are always on the scrounge for free stuff, going out to press events and chumming up to the PR people. Did Florence name and shame these corrupt parties dragging games journalism through the mud? No - even though that's the real story- he didn't. I mean, come on Rob. Just tell us one of them, it's Steve Boxer isn't it? Or were you promised a go on his Thai mail order bride to keep shut?


DC Comics
The above image (fixed by myself) of a advert the irrelevant College Humour site- ran in all of it's comics for roughly a month- pretty much sums up the overriding feeling DC hates comics and comic readers. And I don't mean that like some lame, straw man "Oh, publisher X won't make game Y, they hate us!" because that's always a case of lack of money or incompetence. But I honestly feel DC parent company, Warners are honestly have a dislike for the medium of comics. And I'm not going on about Before Watchmen, that's a issue (get it?) with all of the comics biz. As if the "New 52" wasn't pointless enough as a overblown stunt to recapture lapsed readers -because that advert makes it abundantly clear new readers aren't welcome. Then virtually every woman in the DC universe was redrawn to resemble a lap dancer, add to that multiple sackings and departures, forcing Rob Liefeld on the comic reading public in more than one title. The ridiculous firing (and then rehiring-well done internet) of Gail Simone and the continued mishandling of the Vertigo (what, no Hellblazer?) line has lead 2012 to be a rather frustrating year to read DC comics. Yeah, Batwoman looks great but it better start getting beyond this Cthulu wank-off soon. And where the fuck is the Marshal Law reprint?



MCV/ Games Media Awards

It's a double-header as both MCV and the GMAs are run by the same parent company, intent media. So they can have all the credit for the prolonged whoring of  games journalism. MCV as a news source is a fucking joke- just look how many times posts have to be edited on account of their writers only doing the most basic of research (which to them is having a quick look on metacritic or copy-and-pasting some PR blurb) and who clearly have no standards, if their previous employee, Lauren Wainwright is anything to go by. Who, by the way, way dropped for, "not passing her probationary period" meaning, "You're a lowely freelancer, and you're attracting too much heat so fuck off" in public. Because writing and journalism is all well and good (except when Ben Parfitt does it) but you don't want it eating into that important ad revenue, do we?  Likewise, the GMAs have long been considered a industry joke and something to be ashamed of even being nominated for amongst game journos and how they were sponsored by coked-up  geordies last year. This year more people outside of the usual gaggle of video game hacks, or "the charlie club" as others call them, thanks to said hacks sacrificing any legitimacy they had to win a PS3. But at least thank the GMAs for being unofficial labels for shit game journalists, if a writer has won one, then avoid their opinion like the fucking plague. And don't ever let those entitled cunts tell you otherwise.



Capcom

Most big time publishers act like massive shit baskets anyway, but Capcom really went above and beyond this year, starting off with their below average beat 'em up, Street Fighter X Tekken and Capcom's blatant money grab by locking off some of the characters so they could sell them back to you as downloadable content for the sake of "ease of use" so could play against someone online who had them and there wouldn't be a connection issue. No Capcom, "ease of use" would be to have those characters that are on that fucking disc I paid for. Things carried on as they began when the marketing for SF X Tekken left a equally bitter taste in the mouth when a tournament organised to promote the game, "cross assault" ended up being an example of the culture of the fighting game community...no, sorry, that's Twatty O'Beard-face's words. What actually happened was the moron you see pictured sexually harassed a female contestant (and a member of his own team in the competition) and Capcom did fuck all about it. Then Resident Evil 6 continued the overall mediocre crappyness that was eveident in Resi 5 but making 6 into a Gears of War knock off that had a hard on for Quick Timer Events. So much so someone wrote a song about them. And releasing a (admittedly free and quite decent) fan made game to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Megaman when they could of released two actual Megaman games, had they not sacked the fucking producer. Could be worse, at least he wasn't worked to near death like SF4 producer, Yoshinori Ono was.



Square Enix

The fact their online shop is still down from being hacked for god knows how long now (seriously, I just want that fucking Bayonetta figure) would be enough to have them here, but Squeenix, their marketing department and newly bought Cristal Dynamics have been so offensively idiotic, it wouldn't be much of a surprise if it was revealed Jimmy Saville worked for them. First was the early footage of the Tomb Raider reboot, how it would be a retelling of Lara Croft's origin and footage of young Lara about to be groped. Executive producer at Crystal Dynamics, Ron Rosenberg explained this was included as a way to make male players empathise with Lara and how the trauma of nearly being raped was part of what makes her into the kick ass action heroine we all know. As if sexual assault was some kind of character building experience that makes you into a tough woman that boys can respect, even if the developers don't seem to. Rosenberg's comments were quickly rebuked and it was explained that Lara, at not point, gets raped. Her captor tries to grab her breasts and she knees him in the balls to make her escape. A slip of the tongue perhaps? Then came the Hitman: Absolution "attack of the saints" trailer. I say trailer, it looked more like the result of what you'd see if Michael Bay or Zack Snyder had made a porno, set in a universe where men had no penis so had to make do with impregnating women with bullets instead. Fuck, it makes a lot more sense than the back tracking over murdering a bunch of S&M nuns to sell a video game! Then came a quick backtrack over not wanting to cause offence, which Squeenix did when a facebook app promoting Hitman allowed users to target people for reasons such as, "small tits." Great job Squeenix, be sure to sight small tits as an excuse when the next Dragon Quest sells bugger all.


KSI 

The inexplicably popular (by youtube standards) and completely unfuckable KSI, who made a name for himself making videos about Fifa, PC accessories and acting like a prize prick at events. Most noticeably this years Eurogamer Expo where his hackneyed act of behaving like the trainee rapists you see at conventions. Well, it is youtube.  But acting like he worked for the old PlaystationPlus magazine (in their period of wanting to be Loaded magazine or play-mag) did at least get him banned from the Eurogamer Expo. But alas, until I finally catch him alone and nail him to a door, so I cam smash his arsehole open (to roughly a diameter of 25cm) and vomit boiling hot venom into his weeping anus wound. Only then will he be able to understand a tenth of what people feel like from watching his abominable attempts communicating to his legions of dubstep listening dickheads and woman-haters who think Jack Whitehall is the height of comedy (after a viral video of a baby seal being crushed by a steamroller) uses the term "faggot" like it cures cancer and resents all women for committing the crime of not being in love with a obese chav. If you think my criticism of KSI is harsh then he only has himself to blame for going out dressed like acting like such a repugnant arsehole, just begging to have a new channel tunnel dug into it with the cock of Zeus.


Honourable fuck yous


G4 TV - After years of having little to no relevance to gaming, they finally saw sense and shut up shop. One can only hope their new owners are smart enough to keep it that way.

Explosive Alan -After poncing some cash of their fanbase, using it to make a glorified podcast with their hack buddies (remember how I said those that sucked them off on twitter would get to be on, just wait) and commercial pieces for publishers, the fruits of their labour equal to "Thank you for gaming" which looks exactly like Inside Xbox, except it's got a swear in it! No wonder you won the GMA for that level or originality.

Bruce Evriss - Just for being the resident troll on Gamesindustry International. You have to be a troll Bruce, because -outside of a Faustian pact- I refuse to believe someone as stupid as you appear can achieve a high position as you have.

Dan Howdle -Editor of X360 said fanboys were to blame for disproportionately high review scores. Right before he gave Hitman: Absolution 10 out of 10...pretty sure it's you Dan.

Silent Hill HD - Konami took one of the most atmospheric games of all time and then you took out what made it so atmospheric, the fog!

John Riccitiello - Because I'm not paying for fucking bullets in a game, nor should anyone else. Just for thinking of the idea -let alone pitching it to EA- you should throw yourself onto the come sponge at a leper's gang bang.

Curiosity - It's not a game, it's a online chain gang. Except prisoners in actual chain gangs didn't pay to join one.

Outside Xbox- I was gonna actually review their video content. But sadly it was so painfully bland and forgetable, that I couldn't write anything past, "it's just like inside exbox, but now with a giant meat puppet and the poor mans Jessica chobot." So sadly I never got a chance to use this image...

Fucking wasted!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Suicide Gaming end of year awards: the glad hands

It's that time of year when games journalists have fuck all else to write about, so they knock out a worthless puff-piece looking back at the highlights of the year. And I'm no different, except the Suicide Gaming end of year awards, The Glad Hands and Backhands, aren't written to further cement their grip on the cock of game publishers, in the hope their  hand written hand job will result in plenty of review code and event invites in the new year. My list of people, games, events and other related items of note in 2012 are on the list purely because I think they deserve the attention, for better or worse. And at least it's not some mawkish Christmas message, like some glorified PR people would write. So without further a do. Here's the best of 2012, the Glad Hand winners:

Retrocade magazine

For being the first video game magazine in nearly a decade I parted with actual money for and didn't regret it. More than just a collection of reviews and articles of childhood memories. Retrocade reads like a game magazine from the 80's. Lists of high scores, instructional manuals on BASIC, old school adverts (back when most cover art looked like a prog rock album cover) and smartly written articles on genres and subject matters from gaming's past. Where else would you find a article looking into the proper sex of a Final Fight enemy which turns into a journey of the author challenging his own views on gender identification? And best yet, it's a downloadable mag, so there's no missing a issue in the news agents.


Dredd 3D

If you didn't see this in the cinema to experience the full 3D effect then shame on you. Because you missed out on a excellent sci-fi, action thriller -with feminist undertones- that pisses all over the vastly inferior Stallone movie. Dredd (wonderfully realised by Karl Urban) is the main star but the movie is really about rookie judge Anderson (brilliantly played by Olivia Thrilby), who is unsure whether she's cut out to be in the ranks of the totalitarian Judges of Megacity-1, on account of empathising with people- thanks to her psychic ability. Which puts her at loggerheads with the grim, stoney-faced Dredd as they end up trapped inside a collossal tower block ran by psycho drugs boss Ma Ma (Lena Headey) who wants both Judges dead. Don't let the shadow of the shitty Stallone Judge Dredd movie put you off. Dredd is far from a brainless comic book movie and Anderson and Ma Ma are far from tacked on female roles. Ma Ma isn't some limp, fem fatal who uses her super model looks to manipulate brainless crims into doing her bidding. No, Ma Ma is a shark-like, alpha nutcase who is in charge because she's a brutal killer who doesn't blink at having someone skinned and thrown down hundreds of floors to their death. And Anderson is the prefect foil to the emotionless Dredd as she grows in confidence and proves she's worthy of wearing the badge. Sadly the movie bombed in the box office, so make sure you get this on DVD/BluRay and then lament that we'll never see Urban as Dredd and Thirlby as Anderson ever again. And speaking of which...

2000 AD

Not only did the Dredd movie exceed all expectations but 2012 has really been a top year for the galaxies greatest comic. Nikolai Dante reached it's end in the only way it could. The ABC warriors showcased Clint Langely's amazing digital artwork and it achieved the impossible by doing a crossover story that actually worked, because it was all self contained, so you didn't have to buy another comic for the whole story. It started with the days of chaos and reached a climax with trifecta. You wouldn't be blamed for thinking the prog has hit upon a new golden age.



NeoGaf


In recognition of their tireless work in researching the blatant hypocrisy of game journalists during the "doritosgate" furore and being a netter news source than any (supposedly) legitimate gaming site...and that thread about the guy that got a STD off a prostitute and ended up marrying her sister, that was fucking hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure. Oh, and those photoshop threads are pretty excellent too. So don't listen to the hacks who dismiss your honest reservations with games media and have the common sense to walk away from any "men's rights" threads.


Lollipop Chainsaw

Thank fuck Suda 51 was able to get this thoroughly enjoyable hack and slash (or saw) title published by someone other than Rising Star Games, or else I wouldn't even know this existed, let alone when it was released. With combat more fun than DMC (the remake with Justin Bieber) and better presentation and soundtrack than Bayonetta -thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy helmer, James Gunn and MSI's Jimmy Urine- this really is a gem of a action game that you should track down. And in tribute to the sterling soundtrack, the Suicide Gaming gladhand goes specifically to Jimmy Urine's cock, as he moaned about it not winning anything on his fucking twitter. Happy now?
At least, I think that's his cock




Fez


It speaks volumes about a games originality, aesthetic and overall gameplay is so good, that you tolerate the long development time, the save destroying update (just stay away from it kids) and that  Fez's creator, Phil Fish  is a twat of the highest order. But he's a clever twat in taking Super Paper Mario's initial concept and running with it. And if any Japanese people got knocked over then to hell with them! Because as I enjoyed the puzzle platforming and brightly realised pixel style graphics, I couldn't help but think, "how can such a massive wanker create something so wonderful?" Just goes to show, there's more than one side to some people...and yes, I will be punching myself in the face for writing that weak analogy.


Anita Sarkeesian

Before May of this year, Sarkeesian was a fairly unknown media critic and maker of the feminist video series, "Tropes vs Women" which looked at how women are depicted in media. And then she decided she wanted to do a video game based series of Tropes vs Women and all holy hell broke loose as every misogynist with a games console attacked her with all the maturity and restraint of a angry baby shark that had it's dummy stolen. By the initial reaction alone, you'd think Sarkeesian was trying to raise money to build a laser weapon that would target every copy of COD in existence. And then it got worse as threats of murder and rape were sent to her and some waste of DNA created a flash game where you could punch Sarkeesian in the face! So even though I don't agree with everything she says and  being a  "media critic"  is no different to "dosser who sits at home watching telly all day", except you blog about it. Sarkeesian should be thanked for being the person who finally drew attention to the fact gaming, it's associated media and gamers need to grow up and get some fucking perspective.


The Gaming Goose's dog

Even if I do disagree with (by which I mean, secretly know they're wrong) some of his world views. I do agree with his policy on being kind to animals. So if you can, chip in something to his GoFundMe  page to help raise the money to get that eye operation for his dog.


A street cat named Bob

Thought I only liked dogs? Then, as always, your assumptions about me will be your downfall. A street cat named Bob is the true story of one man's redemption from drug addiction and being homeless. All from meeting a very extraordinary cat. If you've ever wondered around the Covent Garden area of London, then you might have seen James Bowen busking, with Bob at his side, who travels with him on the bus. The book is a bit of a weepy and captures the attitude of having a cat.


The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The initial worries over the stylised, CGI look of this new show disappeared within the first ten minutes of the first episode. Not since the flawed, TMNT movie (the CGI one) has the turtles properly come across like brothers. And in this new show, all four turtles and their master, Splinter are a brilliantly realised family unit. All the turtles have their own distinct characteristics, yes, even Leonardo! Remember when he was just, "the one with the swords"? Here, he's the unsure, yet to realise his full potential, sci-fi geek. All the voice cast are excellent, with original Raphiel -Rob Paulsen- now playing Donatello as a love struck boffin, but the run away star turn is Greg Cipes as Michelangelo. A work of comedy genius.
Throw into that, a genuinely threatening Shredder, a interesting take on Krang/ the ultron and more fan references than you can shake a bo staff at.

Honorable mentions


Patrick Scott Petterson -For his stance against the NRA douchebags who think playing Kirby turns you into, well, a member of the NRA., But also for his refreshingly snappy and presenter free online series, Gaming Culture x History x Attitude

Dicks -For being the funniest comic this side of the Shankill Road, and to Avatar Press for having the balls to even publish it.

Neca -I'm gonna be broke buying their Portal stuff, but I honestly don't care. They're making figures of Peabody and Atlas, that's all that matters.

Peoww.co.uk - If only for Minecraft Danny Dyer and they're not afraid to talk about the scumbags that work in games journalism

Wesley Copeland - For not being scared to go against what other journos, or even gamers are saying and this excellent article about gaming and depression.

Jet Set Radio - For finally being on a digital format. And for being Jet Set Radio






Monday, 10 December 2012

G4 may be rebranded as Esquire TV

 
 
For those of you looking to follow in the footsteps of Olivia Munn's career (god help you) then you may be in luck. Only difference is, you may have to go a bit up market. Because even though the fucking terrible G4 gaming channel shut down the last of their video game content, with the demise of X-Play and Attack of the Show. However, the Hollywood Reporter has reported that G4 network owners, NBC Universal, may be finalising a deal to rebrand the channel in the image of hardly relevant, men's lifestyle magazine, Esquire. In an attempt to, "court metrosexual viewers that History and Spike ignore" with programming focused at "gaming and lifestyle." So for you ladies, wear only the very best evening gown when jumping into a giant pie. And fellas, get a decent shirt and tie for presenting that puff piece about how awesome Mass Effect 3 is or how we're all gonna love the next wavey hand game for Kinect.
No doubt, hardcore gamers will balk at the idea of  their beloved G4 dying a slow death of drowning in endless reality show repeats, only to be made over as a channel aimed at metrosexuals. Because NBC/Universal think it's still 2006. Esquire TV (or whatever the channel will be called) will have to go some way to prove they're up to the same standards of innovative gaming content, that G4 became famous for.
video games, Yeah!
But don't all flock to Spike TV just yet, young  Americans. Just because Esquire doesn't present itself as a yapping gaggle of frat boys, boasting about their first date rape. Because a brief look at Esquire's gaming content on their website shows they have just has little regard for honest, in depth gaming coverage and display the same amount of passive aggressive, disdain for gamers that G4 had. So don't judge Esquire TV too much, when they produce shows about hair gel and Dog The Bounty Hunter marathons. Because you're bound to get the same millisecond of actual video game content as you did a few months ago.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

American McGee on the glorious people's republic of China



Game producer, James "American" McGee -the man behind some level design on Doom 2 and the below average Alice games had -UNDER NO DURESS WHATSOEVER- a interview with The Escapist about working in the Chinese games industry. But mainly it was McGee rebuking everything the  excellent Robert Rath's Critical Intel article about China's growing economy and it's influence in media. So McGee -BY HIS OWN FREE WILL- went about addressing and countering the points, and "underlying agenda" made in Rath's article. Because he obviously loves working in China and the Chinese government officials, who would never shut down his entire operation and "disappear" his loved ones would he dare criticise the Chinese Ministry of Culture, like the unmutual bastard, Robert Rath.

According to McGee, Rath is a deadly enemy of THE INFALLABLE CHINESE GOVERNMENT and their genrious grants, tax breaks and popular factories/orphaniges. And their prectices of raping the landscape, single handely reinvigorating the ivory trade and banning foreign products that threaten to establish a monopoly without paying a kickback, are no different from, American video game rating board, the ESRB.
Rated E for extinct fucking elephants!

On no, McGee, WITH NO COERCION, is perfectly happy with his interactions with the Chinese government and their NOT REMOTELY CORRUPT officials. "We get nothing support and kindness from them" as he puts it with a slightly creepy air. So suck on that Robert Rath! When was the last time anyone -never mind an entire government with little to no proper regulation- gave you any support and kindness? Especially a government that takes such due care to look out for corrupting influences in their media. Just like the ESRB (or how PEGI does in Europe) does. As McGee says himself,
"I personally like the idea that the Chinese government actively works to suppress superstition and cults throughout games and media"
 
 Don't you wish the gaming advisory boards in the West would keep superstitions and cults from you? Horrible superstitions and cults like Christianity, Tibetans,  Islam, and proper working conditions.
Too bad we live in countries that let us protest (for now at least) and criticise your government. What entitled buggers we all are. Thank you American McGee. May you dine on the last surviving panda for showing us decadent westerners the error of our ways. And I do hope the culture minister was only joking when he threatened to drop your loved ones into a vat of acid

Friday, 23 November 2012

IGN want casual sexism to be recognised as a sport


And racism and homophobia too. Because according to report in MCV (so take the following with a Mountain Dew flavoured pinch of salt) the desperate to be sold off, IGN- who organise their own pro league-  believe mainstream acceptance of pro gaming could be not far off, according to IGN's  eSports general manager, David Ting. Who believes that pro-gaming will increase in popularity that it'll be a recognised sport in five years.  Even as going as far as to predict gaming will soon have it's own equivalent of David Beckham. What? A borderline retard, with shit tattoos, and an addiction to Lego? There's hundreds of guys like that in gaming already!
This whole " e-sports will be in the next Olympics" bullshit keeps rearing it's malformed head as the audiences for gaming tournaments grow alongside the proliferation of easier to access and use online streaming sites like Twitch and Ustream and Youtube (if you're desperate), and in turn someone can now reach a audience of thousands, if not millions. However there are two things to take into account before you go storming the gates of ESPN. Because TV is the sure sign of mainstream acceptance. Just look at G4...or maybe not.

First off, the numbers are great yeah. If  just five years ago, you'd have said we'd be able to watch the likes of Super Battle Opera online, live, I wouldn't have believed there would even be a demand for it, let alone the infrastructure to pull it off. But bare in mind this isn't mainstream acceptance. It's just a world wide version of the audience you get at gaming tournaments; the people who play at them and their mates. The people watching are the hardcore audience for those games. And the internet is where they access nearly all of their news and other gaming related tomfoolery. Plus bare in mind some of the most awful, offensive, poorly made videos have pulled in fuck-tonnes of hits. Which is no indication of quality of mainstream visibility. That's why attempts at broadcasting pro-gaming on television have yielded less than stellar ratings. Lest we forgot the televisual crime that was X League. Which was British TV's attempt to present video games like it was a sport, but came across like a cut-price IGN. But with much less success and far less attractive presenters. Granted it didn't help they height of their content was endless repeats of the same Halo 3 quarter-final, insightful reviews like this and  was mostly presented by -a coked out of his box- Paul Vale. But nonetheless, it showed TV wasn't quite sure how to market gaming to the masses and whether the masses were even interested in pro-gaming.
Which leads to the second problem with pro-gaming. The pro-gamers. These people are supposed to be the stars. The special individuals that are so excellent at what they do or are so charismatic, that they crossover into the  mainstream. Using IGN's example, even those who aren't fans of football know who David Beckham is. That's not gonna happen with the current (or probably any) batch of pro-gamers. Because they come in two varieties: either they're mind-numbingly dull in the vein of any premiership, post-match ,"Well we have it 110%" interview. Or they're baby-punchingly obnoxious who confirm all the worst stereotypes of gamers being a shower of  homophobic, racist, woman-hating man-children. Or "dude-bros" for the sake or our American readers.
"Shut up! Being monosyllabic wankers is in the culture of gaming"

 Remember the story about the League Of Legends match fixing issue from a few months back? Well, watch this interview with one of the disqualified players. Even though it's kinda his job to play  to the best of his ability, he don't give a shit. Now who the fuck would want to pay good money to see him on TV, a breakfast cereal or a personalised fragrance? No one out side of the League Of Legends fanbase, that's for certain.
Pro-gaming can never be as mainstream as regular sports because first of all, it's video games, and games are NOT A FUCKING SPORT! And never will be. And even if it was, video games are too fragmented in of themselves to really garner the same kind of TV audiences. Which genre of game is most popular? Then which specific game do they play? What happens of the players from that scene don't like playing that game and move on? And don't forget the publishers will probably want part of the organisation and TV rights, so that's another minefield of trouble. Plus the closest gamers have to the entrenched loyalty on comparison with sports fans is with specific titles or consoles. So they only way you could have something close would be to have a bunch of Medal of Honor players take on some Call of Duty players in a 10-man, free-for-all, oil wrestling match. And the appeal for that is limited to only a handful of websites. Or so I've heard.
You know who's gonna watch pro-gaming in the future? Gamers, that same people that watch it now. That's if they're not actually playing the video games themselves.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

MCV has saved games journalism!



Fucking hell, this Rabgate/Doritos thing just keeps going and going and never stops being tragically hilarious, as MCV staff writer and octopus murderer, Lauren Wainwright  used her (and most likely MCV's) legal might to censor a Eurogamer article because the writer- patronising irn bru salesmen, Robert Florence quoted her twitter where she boasted about getting a free PS3 for promoting a publisher with a hashtag. A twitter feed that she made private after her litigious actions attracted the ire of Florence's fans and misogynist alike. And, to make this whole thing even more amusing, game journalists have all turned on each other and have been biting at each other like a sack of frenzied rats in a tumble dryer. 
Especially yesterday, when MCV posted a report on the initial critical response to Hitman: Absolution. With the headline, "critics delighted with agent 47's return in Hitman: Absolution" quoting almost entirely positive reviews. The only one that didn't think Hitmn: Absolution wasn't the greatest thing since sliced Jesus was "Grumpy Eurogamer."Yes, a industry news site made a dig a site daring  to say the new Hitman is anything other than amazing. 
So commenters and journos  couldn't help but think it looked a bit shitty to brand a website (that one of their employees threatened with a libel suit) "grumpy" for giving a less than stellar appraisal of a game that MCV has been heavily promoting and one of their writers used to work for the publisher. Cue the report writer, Ben Parfitt spitting his dummy out out over people daring to criticise him writing  about only the positive reviews.

After four updates to the piece, Parfett finally saw it fit to include a more balanced view of Hitman's critical reception and  changed the headline. Something that regular readers of MCV will be familiar with. Maybe if Parfett took the time do some actual research, instead of just looking at Metacritic, then those horrible internet people would leave him alone and stop accusing MCV of being in Squeenix's pocket. Or any other publisher for that matter.
Well it seemed MCV had finally reacted to the fallout from Rabgate as they announced via their twitter that Lauren Wainwright had been sacked  -last friday it seems-for not passing her probationary period. So there you go. It's all over, Robert Florence can return to his role as games-media Jesus, MCV can go back to concentrating on organising next years GMAs, and games journalism is safe once more because Lauren Wainwright has been chucked out on her ear. She'll probably have to eat her video capture device, just to survive.

after burning her Tomb Raider posters for warmth

Yes, when Wainwright tried to hush a beloved darling of the gamers with her industry clout, it was a bad decision up there with slapping a bear, invading Afghanistan and trying to shamelessly ponce a job from a less than reputable employer. And if she never works in journalism again then that's fine by me.  But sadly the mouth-breathers that instantly turned this into a gender issue didn't help one bit. As better people than me have pointed out, Wainwright isn't the cause of this  climate of cash for review scores, she's a product of  the corporate cock sucking that's been going on for years.
You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that MCV finally tired of the negative attention Wainwright's  shenanigans brought and ditched her. Don't worry about her, she'll end up in PR or a site/magazine in a unrelated field, like every shit journo does. So drop your misplaced sense of phallocentric entitlement and instead concentrate on the real issue here. MCV, a trade news site gladly allowed one of their staff to censor another writer, until it was too much hassle. Because ad revenue is far more valuable to them than reporting balanced news and certainly more important than their staff.  Look past the -admittedly hilarious- verbal  barbs, games journos and PR people are throwing at each other on twitter right now. Those are people either angling for work  or sick of sites, worse than theirs, getting more hits than them. No, the entity everyone needs to be concentrating on is MCV for claiming to be a industry news service, but is really just  glorified ad-space. As are many sites and magazines are. This is the downside of the rise of video game websites. Yeah, it's free but it means that those sites are entirely dependant of advertising to keep them afloat. And those are fuelled by site traffic. It doesn't matter that MCV can totally ignore negative reviews to make a game they have been heavily promoting look successful and insult those that call them on it. So long as you click on their site and bump the hit count up.
But it's ok, because Lauren Wainwright is gone, hooray! We can all go back to the IGN boards and 4-chan and return to our ongoing discussions about men's rights, getting rid of females in gaming and why do women hate us? ...The bitches! The GMAs are still a excuse for shit games journalists to get boozed up and score free shit and is thought of as a industry joke, but don't worry. One fucking writer got sacked, so everything is fixed now.

While on one hand this scandal has been excellent in shaking up  elements of games media and alerting people to the underhand and incestuous behaviour that rules games journalism. Even though the real story is the journos that Florence knows that really do sell review scores, but pussed out of naming them. But gamers need to follow through. If you see something that comes across as cut-and-paste article or is a glorified advert (or a "mock review" as the hacks have charmingly branded them)  then call them on it and leave. Never visit the site again. I don't mean a review you disagree with. That's a matter of subjectivity. Opinions are not facts, and having different ones from yours is not evidence to accuse someone of loving New Super Mario Bros. in exchange for phials of Shiguru Miyamoto's highly collectible seamen. And even if it is, go looking for a site you do trust/agree with. Give them your support. Because while it's been fun kicking the coked up hacks over this (as we should continue to do so until my prayers are finally answers and they are all cleansed from this earth by the fires of hades) modern day version of the payola scandal. It's also important to give equal time and attention to games media you enjoy. Because a sizable amount of people in games media actually dislike video games and resent having to deal with people like you on a daily basis. It's why those people have been so good at dismissing this whole sorry affair. You don't matter to them. Be it writing PR blurb ad-nauseum or rehashing lowest common denominator bullshit that they think you want to hear. Next time you visit a game site, ask yourself, "If this was a magazine, would I pay for it?" Because if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. And if you pay Doritos, you get game journalists.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

MCV pays tribute to their money paying overlords



Attention PR scum! Now is the time to lobby (by which we mean, pay) for your chance to show off your ability to get paid to contribute fuck all to the games industry, by submitting your foul practises to try and win big at the -not remotely coveted- 2013 MCV awards. Oh yes young lion, you could try and justify your pointless existence of organising events to smarm off hack journos as your glorified marketing team, doing white lines with that guy that used to the game reviews in the Daily Star and censoring the press
I know  you're thinking, "But how can win a prize aimed at celebrating games retail and marketing? I don't work for MCV's sugar daddy, Square Enix." And yes, known animal murderer, Squeenix sycophant and spaghetti thief, Lauren Wainwright will probably be part of the judging committee (someone has to count all the kickback money) but with a whopping 23 awards up for grabs/purchase at the ceremony, held at the Lancaster London Hotel, April 18, there's bound to be some catagory of recognition for your disgusting works. So if you feel your game or PR team can rival Square Enix for excellence in the further ruination of video games media then sign up now. Go on, go for it. You've already signed away your soul when you decided upon a career of brainwashing the masses and strangling UK  games journalism of whatever  legitimacy it has, so you've nothing to lose but the £275 for a seat at the event (or £2.699 for a table for ten) hosted by Gregg Davies, who hosted last years GMAs (you know, the one where the award sponsors went on a coked up rampage and had the cheek not to share their go-go dust with the rest of the attendees) so you'll be in capable hands in between stashing bottles of free wine and listening to everyone become one big echo chamber of self congratulatory, mutual masturbation about how some editor helped out so much with the UK launch of "Dr Fuck-knuckle 2" on the DS and the gamers (you remember them, the people that actually buy the product you're selling) are all, "entitled, whiny arseholes" who  cry over unimportant things like honesty and quality writing in games journalism, who clearly don't understand the important work your industry does for video games.

Just like the GMA does

Fuck those geeks, as MCV has clearly shown during the Robert Florence incident, advertising revenue is far more important than the audience. Because when was the last time any gamer sent you a shitty t-shirt or action figure? That's what makes the video games industry work, not those code-monkeys, beavering away on making new games, it's all about your great work in promotion. So get you applications in and with a bit of luck, the building will collapse on top of you and the rest of the amoral filth that comprises games PR.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Anarchy Reigns: The good news and the bad news



The overbearing gaggle of scum that comprise Sega's UK PR team -which by default, makes them Sega's European PR as they're the only team not to be closed down- who really are some of the most miserable cunts you'll  ever meet have finally given up a Western release date for the pretty decent  Powerstone inspired, semi-sequel to Mad World, the beat'em up, Anarchy Reigns.
Platinum Games' new multiplayer fighting game for the PS3 and 360, with a shit-tonne of play modes and options, with international online play in mind, was released in Japan, June 5th. And even though Platinum wanted a universal launch (English translation and all), publisher, Sega- in their mindless idiocy and panicked struggle to skim off as much staff to save money- decided to delay the US and UK launch...by about seven months.

So, for those of you that didn't want to pony up the £60 for the Japanese version, Max Anarchy (which is region free on both formats and has a English language option) you'll finally be able to play it next January. January 8 for North America and January 11 for Europe to be exact. And, here's the good news. Because Sega have so little faith in Anarchy Reigns to be a hit, it's being priced at a budget value of £20 ($30) on release. Even though both Amazon and Play both have it listed at full price with a release date of March 29.
Great job on keeping the two biggest online retailers up to date Sega Europe! And now the bad news. No, don't worry, it's not another attempt to remake Sonic the hedgehog as a relevant brand.  See, Sega may be releasing Anarchy Reigns at a wonderfully affordable price (something that could of helped Catherine) but being Sega, they have to be rather twattish about it and have rolled out the old chestnut...locked off content!
If you want to experience the full game, then you'll have to pre-order the "day one edition" as not only has Bayonetta been made a pre-order exclusive but so have two of the multiplayer modes, "Dog Fight" and  "Mad Survival." Dog Fight has you and another player fight each other, while hanging from helicopters (which is worth the 20 quid alone) and Mad Survival has you and two other players face off against waves of enemies.  So gamers will just have to pre-order and hope that Sega tell the retailers (Game included) that it's not supposed to cost £40.
Of course that is dependant on the PR team (who's boss has the cheek to criticise Rockstar for drip feeding information about GTA 5) can stop wanking over those faked, topless photos of the frag doll that used to work there, gets off his arse and...you know, tells people. That might help?
Because Anarchy Reigns is a pretty good game, and tries to do something different with the genre. So please Sega, I know you don't give two fucks about anything that isn't a "Mario and Sonic go to the all night, fascist rally" game but some of us would actually like to buy Anarchy Reigns. So please, stop masturbating, making lazy jokes about paedophiles and boring everyone to death about modified sports cars and settle the price information. Because it's not fair to fuck  gamers about like Sega did with Platinum Games, Ok?

When this get so complicated?  What was wrong with the simple business model of, games company makes game people, then those people pay for it. And if enough people buy it, game company makes another one. But the big publishers had to get greedy and milk gamers for every spare penny. Take a look at your past actions Sega, remember when you used to make consoles? At one point you were set to overtake Nintendo for market dominance, and then you got greedy and farted out a a pathetic succession of add-ons for the Mega Drive/ Genesis, that  reduced the value of the console and the good will amongst your customers and in the game developers that you tried to bend over  a barrel worse than Nintendo did during their power years (when they had 90% of the Japanese market) with clandestine licensing agreements. Your greed cost you your part in the console market. Think about that, if you can.

EDIT: online retailer Zavvi has the correct pre-order for even less than the RRP. So Sega at least took some time away from blowing off journos for interviews at events and trying to get cosplayers drunk to at least tell one retailer about the price and release date. So well done there, Sega. You're actually learning how email works. Good for you!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Is Lauren Wainwright MCV's fall guy?



If you recall the previous post on the excellent fallout from the moderately funny, natural predator of pies, Rob Florence's article about the growing concern of just how in bed games journalists and the PR people are with each other. I remarked how odd it was that a freelance writer, who did occasional PR for Square Enix and coffee thief, Lauren Wainwright could afford the legal representation to threaten Eurogamer into censoring Florence's original article, which implicated her as being corporate  a meat-puppet for Square Enix. Most full time games journalists really couldn't afford the huge fees involved in libel suits, which can drawn out for months.
Well, a piece in The Verge  asks if Wainwright was essentially used as a scapegoat by MCV and Square Enix to divert attention away from their dealings? Which is advertising the release of the new Hitman game? If that is the case then that means MCV, the trade magazine for UK games journalism -and organiser of the self congratulatory gangbang, the Games Media Awards- was fully behind censoring a writer and used one of it's staff as a sacrificial lamb so as to protect the filthy lucre coming in from Square Enix.

Not that MCV are saying anything about it of course, and neither are most other sites, game journalists and PR people. Apart from some snaky comments about the lack of importance this story has. Like the rather charming Ben Lawrence (PR for 2K games) did. To be fair, 2K games are so fucking tight, it would be difficult to see if there was a dodgy collusion issue with the games press. But it's a good example of the overall disdain that much of games journalism has for it's own audience and total lack of respect for it's profession. Plus (like a fair few PR people) he's a prize twat, so why not put the boot in? The mirror has cracked and we're all getting a look in at the disgusting actions on the other side.

And this stance over the story as finally prompted Rob  Fahey at Gamesindustry International to write a excellent article on how the whole sorry affair has diminished trust in the eyes of the audience in general, and trying to brush it off as "not important" is only gonna kill off whatever trust your audience had in you.  Which of course attracted the customary idiot commenter, most notably CMO of Kwalee (no, I've never heard of them either), Ben Evris (who always feels the need to comment on every fucking story) theorised that with the ever growing, multi-million dollar budgets of games now, it's a good investment to bribe journalists. Then  the editor of X360  Magazine, Dan Howdle, got a full hard-on for defending games journalism like it took his virginity (or the very least his sense of human decency) and said fanboys, crying out over giving their favourite anything less than a 9/10 score was a bigger threat to the legitimacy of games journalism than any supposed PR shenanigans. And that it was far better for journalists to be on the inside of the PR machine, being able to report on it. That's right kids, Dan Howdle is our man on the inside. looking out for our best interests,  getting sozzled, enjoying free trips and gifts. But it's ok because he's aware of it, so for our sake he'll take note of every freebie he got and make sure no one finds out about it. Because his moral fibre is totally unbreakable no amount of trips to America or free clothes will influence his judgement (who thinks The Avengers was shit) on all things video games.

And that may very well be the case. You have a will like a piece of iron that can't be swayed by neither free shit or lines of coke at the pub in London, half of the shit-kickers on the games press forum goes to. But the issue is, that if you're constantly showing off your free Assasins Creed hoodie top (which really are fucking awful) and tweeting for free consoles (part-time jobs too good for you then?) looks like there's a price on your opinion. As stated in Keith Stuart's gaming blog in the guardian. Proper standards and ethics are clearly needed in games journalism to re-establish trust with an already cynical audience. Because otherwise, you might as well follow the natural career path of a games journalist and just be a PR person from the get-go. Cut out the middle-man, just study to market video games to people. That's clearly your calling in life. Because if you sleep with dogs, you catch fleas. So just drop the pretence of doing anything remotely like journalism, shave your head, get the fucking Activision logo tattooed on your eyeball and keep obediently tell us there's nothing to worry about. And just keep saying, "Nothing important is happening -oh look, free Mountain Dew- there is nothing wrong in games journalism you fucking morons!"
...Unless Sqaure Enix wants to hook me up with a whole bunch of the Play Arts Kai figures, they make? Because I'd rip someones arm off and beat their mother to death with it for that Merryl, Raiden and those Arkam Asylum figures! 

That's why so many game journalists have kept quiet or dismissive over the matter. Either they don't want to be shown up for all the free crap they've received or they don't want to rock the boat and get cut off or lose out on a prospective job working in games PR. Seriously, look how many people used to work in games journalism that are now in PR? Or both in the case of the Pwned and the explosive Alan team. That's why the Rob Fahey article asks not to crucify Wainwright over this -like the usual collection of mouth breathers have been trying to turn it into a gender issue (but that's another matter that I will help you all with at a later date) because even though she's been stupid enough to openly ponce free stuff at the expense of her journalistic credibility. She's only doing what a lot of hack journos have been doing (as far as I know) since the 90's. Going out with the heads of PR in a shameless attempt to secure exclusives is nothing new. It's something I touched on before and I'll tell you right now, I would always try to buddy up to PR people to try and score a review copy of a game. And it works, ask lots of questions about a certain games release date, gameplay etc and some of the nicer PR people will be more willing to send you a copy. That same PR person then suddenly didn't have any more spare review code after I was rather critical of one of their games.
Now that's not to say every games journalist is on the take. There are some great writers and reviewers and journalists out there. And their love for video games come through in their writing. And, for the record, Dave Jenkins (and the other Game Central writers he pretends to be) does flog his freebies on ebay,but I don't believe for a moment he's ever taken a dive on his reviews.
And not every PR person is a flatulent arsehole, with all the charm of a racist wasp. Some of them are just doing a job and do actually enjoy some of the games they represent, and they give a fair shake to independent media. Not enough to drown out the greasy scumbags who broker high review scores for early exclusives though.

It's gone on for yonks. You get a to publish a big preview and review early, so long as you give a healthy, glowing score. If you don't, then other sites/magazines will get the previews first and your audience will go to them and by the time they realise the 9/10 game they just bought is-at best- average, it's too late. The site/mag got your attention and the publisher got a sale. I believe that's why so many gamers have real trouble with review scores and got apeshit, because they think giving Skyward Sword a 8/10 means you fucking hate it. Because to them, a 8 score is a average.decent game from all the shitty, hack reviews they've read.

You may ask, why do so many hack journos go in PR? Well, firstly, their mates give them the gig and most importantly, it pays better. Because the reality is games journalism doesn't pay very well. And is it any wonder when they all lower it's value. You may also ask, does receiving free stuff mean a reviewer is in a publisher's pocket? Not quite. PR firms are constantly sending out pointless trinkets like key rings and t-shirts. You get sent them whether you wanted them or not. It's why sites/magazines give them away in competitions. It's why I always gave away the freebies I got sent. But free trips and nights out on the company tab (which hack journos always try to abuse) give a very clear impression to the audience. And the Publishers and PR twats must think it equals into favourable coverage and scores, or why else would they send all the money doing so? Because they like hanging around with the shower of phonies, liars and borderline autistics that comprise UK games journalism? Yeah right. The gamers are starting to view games media the same way publishers view it. As another means of game advertising.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Eurogamer grows a spine: Wainwright did threaten to sue




Boy has this been a interesting few days. After much banging on their front door, Eurogamer has finally done the decent thing and made a statement on the Rabgate debacle. In a blog post, Eurogamer Editor, Tom Bramwell addressed the circumstances behind the editing of the article and Rob Florence leaving/being dropped and it turns out, the initial suspicions were correct. As Bramwell wrote,

"Lauren Wainwright threatened us with legal action and made it clear she would not back down, at which point we took legal advice and ultimately made the decision to remove the paragraphs"
Which goes against what the editor of MCV, Michael French said on twitter
 

Hence why most -me included- believed MCV was behind the leaning on Eurogamer to edit Florence's article. Plus how can a freelancer like Wainwrighthave the kind of cash to be able to threaten a libel suit? Legal costs are not cheap (the reason why the party that once threatened me with a legal suit dropped it), especially if you lose. So you can't fault Eurogamer for taking the threat seriously. Bramwell and maybe even Ellie Gibson (if she can be bothered to take a break from all her holidays) would never work in games- or any kind of journalism if they were the people who tanked a big time website. So fair play to Bramwell for setting the record straight.
And now we know Wainwright is a anti-journalist. Someone quoted her twitter, to make a point about games journalist getting too cosy. And instead of writing her own rebuttal piece and putting her side of the story across, she uses the UK libel laws to silence another writer. She actively tried to delete the flow of information and expression of one person's opinion. If it weren't for the fact that Florence's main work comes from TV writing, we'd never hear from him again and people would soon forget. It's a galaxy-sized joke this scummy, hack has the cheek to list herself as a journalist. Pray tell, what other atrocities has Wainright committed in the foul pursuit of free stuff?
This free Starscraft goodie bag was used to smuggle illegal sex-tablets

And here is her shelving unit, built by orphans, from pure ivory

That libel enough? No? Just be glad I'm not publishing the texts from when she had an affair with my ex. The spelling is fucking awful! Or the one occasion at last years MCM Expo, she set a baby on fire. I let that last one go, because it was me that borrowed her the lighter.

So now we know that Square Enix weren't involved in Florence's article being cut, but don't think what I've said before about how the PR game is played still isn't the law of things in games journalism. That's why most of the hack, game journos have stayed silent or brushed it off as if it's not important. Because it's only games, right? Well when people are relying on your opinion how to best spend their own money on a game, then it is fucking important. Because you may get lovely free stuff and party invites, thanks to the PR people. But without the readers, you have no job. It's those people at home, who visit your site daily that are the reason you get games sent to you in the first place and why companies want to buy ad-space from you. You have a professional responsibility, as a journalist/reviewer to be as honest for the sake of the audience. Or is that not important enough to distract you from your free Area 51 figurine, while you do lines of coke in a particular pub in Camden? It's no wonder so many gamers have little to no respect for games journalism, when the games journalists themselves have little to no respect for it either

Monday, 29 October 2012

UPDATE:latest news: "There is no corruption in games journalism"



How can there be anything rotten in games journalism? Despite the fact gamers are still discussing the fallout from "Rabgate"  (as only I seem to be calling it) where it's highly suspected that because the sentient bag of oatcakes that is Rob Florence, cast a light on his perceived suspicion of collusion between hack journos and PR people from game publishers, and how it looks bad in the eyes of one's audience. But don't worry. Kotaku's Stephen Totilo has cleared the whole mess up, by treating it as a non-story. As you can read -highlighted in the above image- he's more concerned with "doing good games journalism"...which he proves with the industry-breaking news that chips are going cheap in McDonald's in Japan. Well blow me down with a feather, there was me thinking (like pretty much every other person in the industry) that Kotaku was nothing but a glorified blog, when they  throw the games industry on it's fucking head with a cutting expose on the over saturation of potato-based food in Asia. No wonder the Japanese games industry is suffering a crisis. All those dev-teams must be stuffing their faces instead of making good games! Well done Mr Totilo, that Pulitzer Prize must be on it's way right now. Stick it next to your Crash Bandicoot mug, why don't you.

Granted, Totilo has stated, on twitter, that Kotaku will now cover Rabgate. Which is awfully big of them seeing as every other major site has stuck their head in the sand, hoping the air of discontent will soon blow over. MCV obviously aren't gonna say anything and neither will Gamespress International (as as they're owned by Eurogamer)  so that's the trade sites keeping silent and bar the odd opinion piece, like this one by Destructoid and the decent indie sites. As well as  the ongoing neogaf thread. When a forum is a better news source than established and/or trade websites for covering a fairly important story within the industry, something is wrong. Right now, the usual shower of twats that comprise the Gamespress forum, presenters or company hacks (that are too coked up to remember the time he drunkenly tried to chat up the girl from Namco-Bandai) will continue to dismiss this issue as nothing more than  a fanboy storm in a internet teacup. Let the nerds rant, they'll tire out and move on to the next subject to get pissed off about. Besides, all Lauren Wainwright did, by her own admission, was do do some freelance work for Square Enix.She hasn't reviewed any of their games...
Might be a different Lauren Wainwright?
Look in the bottom, left of the review
 
Ok,  that looks a little bad. But it's not as if Wainwright went and let the cat out of the bag and openly admitted that games journalism done purely as a business and the relationship with the PR people is paramount, in the comments section of a article about standards in games journalism, did she?  Oh wait, she did! And now MCV and Square Enix censor someone who brought the whole sorry business to public attention and threw a 25 year old freelancer, well and truly under the bus, so the internets can vent their anger at her, while the insidious, corporate collusion carries on as normal. Because while Wainwright did a really dumb thing. No way does she carry the kind of industry clout that could get a article censored and a writer dropped
EDIT: Turns out Lauren Wainwright DID threaten Eurogamer with legal action. Which would explain why she's gone silent over the matter. She must have really of wanted that free PS3?

Don't think this is some new phenomenon that crept into games journalism. Where do you think Paul Rose's (aka Mr Biffo) parody, games journalist, Insincere Dave  is based off? It's almost always been like that.
Now, you may ask, can a games publisher directly demand a website/magazine change it's content or else it'll cut off it's supply of review code, press assets and invites to press events? No, not really. It is, however, understood that if a publisher has bought a load of advertising space for a game about to come out and your site/publication has early or exclusive access to it, that wasn't done because they like you. They expect something in return. Like a good review score. If you put the boot in, then suddenly the PR people stop calling to invite you to press events and all review code has run out, and the publisher doesn't buy as much or any ad-space any more. Nothing is said (certainly not to the writers directly) but the implications are very clear. Not every publisher or PR firm is like that (Rockstar still are one of the good guys) but more than enough are, that someone on the inside had the guts to speak out about it. And he got fucking sacked. Again, nothing is said, but very much so implied. Speak out and we fuck you good and proper.
So when Lauren Wainwright and whichever media-studies degree waving, tossbag  gets caught up in the scandal, and is made a sacrificial lamb. Remember the companies that made this climate of corporate cocksucking will carry on as before. And worse yet, Rob Florence may even have another stab at making a video game TV show!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Accepting free consoles for promotion is bad? An explanation



Despite mainstream gaming sites going silent over the fallout from Rob Florence's leaving/sacking from Eurogamer, due to his article criticising the climate of accepting free stuff for favourable reviews within UK games journalism, and accurately describing the Games Media Awards as the self congratulatory gang bang of mediocre, coked up, hack games journos that it is. The internets are getting all hot and shouty over "Rabgate" as no one is calling it, as UK games journalism stumbles further into the gutter, as it was reaching for a free Tekken 6 mug..

Gamers have always suspected that some reviewers may have been "bought off" by the game publishers, and Florence cited the actions of MCV's Lauren Wainwright in particular, and how she partook in a competition to win a PS3 for hash-tagging a games publisher and her constant tweets about the new Tomb Raider. Published by a company she previously freelanced for. And the fact that her twitter background has imagery from the new Tomb Raider game. He didn't outright accuse her of being in Square Enix's pocket, but it certainly looked dodgy when her job is to review games and she's openly publicising  a game that's yet to be released.
Wainright's employer asks Eurogamer to edit out any mentions of her, Eurogamer complies and Rob Florence announces he's leaving Eurogamer, thus causing fans of the overrated, human biscuit tin to go apeshit online and cry foul play on MCV's part. That Eurogamer was threatened with legal action over Florence naming names in his article has been suggested by everyone and their sister, something that MCV has denied. Nonetheless, fans of Florence and the cynically minded have cited this as the proof of their long-term suspicions that publishers call the shots, when it comes to  the reviews of their games. And shedding light on it got Florence and Eurogamer into hot water. It didn't help that some pointlessly posted insults on Wainwright's personal website as well as her latest post on MCV. Great job on helping games media mature by acting like toddlers guys. Whoever accused Wainwright of flirting with Nintendo's PR to get a 3DS obviously isn't in UK games journalism, because Ninty's UK PR is so fucking stingy, you'd have to gang bang the entire PR firm just to get a Gameboy Advance!  But is the minor shit-storm anger justified?

I used the now infamous image of "industry leader" Geoff Keighley sat next to some corn chips and fizzy pop, because Florence used it as the basis for his condescending, but sadly censored article. That Keighley is sat next to obviously placed snack treats is a sure sign he's taken a kickback from Dorritios and Mountain Dew, right? Most likely not. He was publicising a video game awards show, that he would be presenting. If there's product placement there, that's something that's been decided by the award organisers (in this case, secret SOPA supporters, Spike TV) and even if Keighley did accepted cash for sitting next to some food, so what?  He's more of a presenter than an actual journalist (see also Jessica Chobot) and unless Mountain Dew or Doritos enter the world of games publishing, there's no real conflict of interest, right?
Not when it gives off the impression you're a corporate lap dog and your job involves people believing in your opinion in something.  If you're a games journalist and you help yourself to complementary food at a press event, there's nothing inherently wrong with that. Hell, without them, some journos would fucking starve. Poor Steve Hill is living off whiskey fumes after paying so much for his house in stab-town, North London. But being sat next to a big cardboard sign for Halo 4 is the real issue. Someone who people look to for an opinion on video games is sat, slap-bang next to a advert for a upcoming video game. But no one has really taken much notice of that, which is odd because that's more representative of what so many UK games journalists do. But it happens so much, everyone has become desensitised to it. It's why most of the hacks don't even see the conflict of interest it creates.

Some journos genuinely asked, "what's wrong with getting a free games console for promoting a video game?" And cries of how hard it is as a freelancer to afford consoles, so scoring one  for free is a much needed in their line of work


This is what entitled looks like


Well, unless the ghost of Dominic Diamond's career makes you compelled to be a games journalist for the rest of your  life,  why not do what the rest of the world does, get a regular or temp job and fucking buy your own. It's no wonder new game journalists are always asking, "How strict should I be with my review?" because they feel uneasy in giving a harsh write up to a bad game, because the PR people were nice enough to send you a review copy of their game, sprang for lovely canopies and designer beer and gave you a load of t-shirts and key rings (which you're best off giving away in competitions and not flogging on ebay like Dave Jenkins does), so long as you're fair in your critique, you shouldn't feel obligated to bump up your score of a game.  Or  you risk losing whatever credibility you have. Eurogamer's Dan Whitehead made a very good point, about the subject
"So how can you know when a writer is being sincere in their praise? Here's the horrible truth: you can't. It's a trust thing. And that trust is eroded when writers enthusiastically take part in PR and promotional stunts."


People often ask me, "Do games journalists get all their games for free?" And, on the whole, they do. If you're a freelancer or writing for a site with a ok-ish following, then there will be times you'll have to buy a game, simply because review copies are limited and all the big publications and websites get theirs first. Or it's an obscure game with little to no PR or has to be imported (like some people did to review Max Anarchy/Anarchy Reigns), so going to  press events to try and charm the PR into guaranteeing you review code is sadly a essential part of games journalism, if you're  starting out in the business, as we mentioned before.
But if you honestly can't see there's a difference between saying, "Hey, you should get this game because I think it's really good" and, "Hey this game is awesome #IwantAfreePairOfShoes awesome@capcom" then congratulations, you clearly have the lack of integrity and shame needed to be a UK games journalist. Now tell Dan Maher you love his work and that GMA is bound to be yours.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Rob Florence humbly leaves (sacked by) Eurogamer



Hairy-balled egomaniac, Rob Florence, the (probably) self-proclaimed architect of online games media and comedy writer stepped down/was sacked from Eurogamer today over his opinion piece about a recent interview,  with industry name, Geoff  Keighley about the upcoming Spike TV Video Game Awards (or, "how viacom has their cake and eats it")  in which many gamers passed criticism about the glaringly obvious product placement around him.  Which is nothing major, as Spike TV would have insisted Geoff was sat next to a big fat-bastard bag of Doritos, while he talked about the future of games journalism. But still a  depressing visual metaphor on the state of games media as it stands.

He then talked about his observations in UK games journalism -and the mutual masturbation of egos that is the GMAs- and relationship between games journalists and games publisher's PR people.
"I keep an eye on people. I have a mental list of games journos who are the very worst of the bunch. The ones who are at every PR launch event, the ones who tweet about all the freebies they get. I am fascinated by them. I won’t name them here, because it’s a horrible thing to do, but I’m sure some of you will know who they are"
 
 Except, rather hysterically, he went ahead and named two journos in particular who had won PS3s by using a # to promote a game (published by a company that also sponsored the pre-award show drinks at this years GMAs) on their twitter feed. Which instantly got heat from one of the journalists mentioned, who cried foul, prompting Eurogamer to remove the offending passage. Which  we're about to quote, for your convenience.

"One games journalist, Lauren Wainwright, tweeted: “Urm… Trion were giving away PS3s to journalists at the GMAs. Not sure why that’s a bad thing?”
Now, a few tweets earlier, she also tweeted this: “Lara header, two TR pix in the gallery and a very subtle TR background. #obsessed @tombraider pic.twitter.com/VOWDSavZ”
And instantly I am suspicious. I am suspicious of this journalist’s apparent love for Tomb Raider. I am asking myself whether she’s in the pocket of the Tomb Raider PR team. I’m sure she isn’t, but the doubt is there. After all, she sees nothing wrong with journalists promoting a game to win a PS3, right?
Another journalist, one of the winners of the PS3 competition, tweeted this at disgusted RPS writer John Walker: “It was a hashtag, not an advert. Get off the pedestal.” Now, this was Dave Cook, a guy I’ve met before. A good guy, as far as I could tell. But I don’t believe for one second that Dave doesn’t understand that in this time of social media madness a hashtag is just as powerful as an advert. Either he’s on the defensive or he doesn’t get what being a journalist is actually about."

 

Pretty strong words from a guy who's games media credentials include a short-lived video series on Xbox LIVE and a TV show nobody saw. And pretty surprising Eurogamer published the original article in the first place, seeing as they're very careful of anyone making personal digs. Especially at other people in the business. I guess being a internet darling really does carry some weight? But the plot thickens.
As soon as the offending section was removed, people assumed that Lauren Wainwright's employer, MCV (an industry news site) had threatened legal action over Florence's allegation that Wainwright's journalistic integrity (if there ever was any) had been compromised for the sake of a free games console. Which MCV editor-in-chief, Michael French denied on twitter. Although Florence's twitter suggests different. I don't see what the fuss is all about. All Wainwright did was mention the new Tomb Raider in a positive manner. It's not as if she ever worked for Square Enix, like say...in between jobs for Playboy and News International?



At the time of writing Wainwright has removed Square Enix from her journalisted.com profile and has made her twitter private. Meanwhile, award-winning games journalist (I think the award is for swimming), gave a back track on his twitter that the console he won was for a competition, and has now been given away to charity. Well god bless your finely kept beard, Dave. That would be my excuse too!

Now, Rob Florence has always been a smug prick, who's only real contribution to games journalism is that he inspired a whole generation of talentless idiots, with camcorders to film their own gaming videos and stick them on youtube. Which, in turn, inspired people to make online videos about games that were actually good. And the Doritos next to Geoff Knighley was just Viacom swinging it's corporate dick about. But regardless of Florence's misplaced sense of importance, he does make a very good point, in that many gamers are becoming more and more suspicious of the legitimacy of the journalism they read. Granted, that's always gonna happen if you -as a reviewer- commit the crime of under/over-scoring a game. But when your job is to write about and critique video games, yet work for game publishers or out and out promote a game (that clearly isn't some obscure indie game that could do with some extra attention) it's clearly creating a conflict of interest. See also, Julia Hardy and the Outside Xbox lot.

The other, more important point is that a journalist-or rather their employer- silenced another journalist because they didn't like what was said about them. Florence didn't make any personal on either Wainwright or Cook. He made an observation on their public (in the sense that anyone could of seen their twitter feed) behaviour. If Wainwright or MCV had a serious problem with it, why didn't they write a rebuttal piece, explaining the situation? Instead of threatening another writer with the UK's libel laws? Or maybe think that openly accepting gifts from the very companies that you're supposed to be subjective about, raises serious questions about your credibility as a games journalist? Oh wait... if you're  a UK games journalist, you have no credibility. Never mind, carry on an enjoy the free booze and t-shirts