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.

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