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 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 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.