Monday, 27 May 2013

Anonymous guest spot: The GMAs are ruined!

What is becoming a bit of a tradition on this pitiful blog -well, something that's been going for more than two weeks- is the only input from people in professional games journalism and the games industry, under the proviso that they write under the protection of anonymity, for fear of losing their job or getting blanked by Sega at the Eurogamer expo. So, the name of the writer and their place of work have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Benny Piecroft has been lead writer for Massive Con Vlogs since 2005, using his time working for game publisher, Finger-Bit, to help turn the ailing fortunes of a gaming site with his concept of advertising disguised as news posts

The Games Media Awards are ruined!

In my line of work, the very last thing in the world you want to do is listen to the whining, fucking plebs. Especially the twats in the comments section. But if you've been browsing multiple gaming sites to steal their traffic, you couldn't help but notice one saying that's been spreading, industry crash.

With a global recession showing no sign of ending, AAA publishers suffering big losses, having to shut down dev-teams while the price of development increases more and more. The unanimously negative response to the Xbox One reveal furthered the talks of a industry crash, not unlike the console crash in the '80s. And from the way things look right now, I'm starting to agree. I've been involved in gaming since the start of the last decade and in all my time have I never seen the games industry in such a worrying state as it is now. Because the very worst thing that could ever happen. The single biggest sign that the games industry is on the verge of a crash, The Games Media Awards have been compromised!

Did you read what this blog posted previously? "The GMAs are saved." I wonder how long it took him to come up with that piece of weak, internet snark. It's really quite shit, isn't it? Thinking one of the worst things to happen to our great industry is fuel for insipid comedy, the cunt!
Ever since the first GMAs were hosted in some ropey strip club, it has been the epitome of excellence in UK games journalism. And because some fat bastard got on his high horse about a perfectly innocent competition where game journalists could win a PS3, causing our glorious industry watchdogs at Intent Media to change the rules to this years GMAs, so the competition to win a PS Vita, by adopting a baby and naming it Vita has been scrapped (so that's me with another mouth to feed) and all our brilliant friends in PR- who always provide such wonderful ad revenue and the occasional line of Bolivian happy dust- are no longer allowed to vote. If that doesn't say the games industry is screwed, I don't know what does.

The GMAs were always the highlight of the year if you were a games journalist. Free drinks, lukewarm beef burgers, karaoke, and a cool goodie bag with loads of cool shit, if you won a award were what awaited you. But now the GMAs have scrapped all of that and only the pissed up karaoke remains, because some fanboys got all pissy about about how we're so dependant on publishers buying ad space and high review scores are essentially for sale. What's wrong with that you pricks?

Why have you forsaken us Intent Media? Did we not appease you with our ritual sacrifice of Lauren Wainwright?  Did we not continue in the clandestine tradition of only ever nominating and voting for our friends in the games press? Did we not shout down that fucking Doritos crowd, with their calls of collusion loud enough? Why have you taken away our chance to win lot expensive prizes and letting the game publishers pimp our principles for the chance to win even more free shit?

The GMAs are our special night and now Intent Media have taken some of the sponsor money, that should be rightfully buying ipods for the winners, and are using it to build a  fucking school! And for what? To pay some new writer for some freelance work? WHAT THE CUNT FOR?!  You're not supposed to pay them, even for a competition. That's what makes the GMAs so special, the celebration of how we're all in the special club and no one else is allowed in. That's how games journalism works. But now, I just don't know any more.

As a child, I used to dream of getting t-shirts and video games for free. And when I became a games journalist, that dream came true. Since 2005, I have not paid for a single video game, hoodie top or whiskey sour. And I'm very proud of that I've been able to do that purely by regurgitating other people's news posts and using Metacritic as proof of whether a game has been a success or not. And the GMA was the one big night of the year where other professional game journalists could get together, trade stories, laugh at the freelancers and amateurs and doing white lines with Mr Foxy's rolled up broadsheet newspaper. It was great, and now it's ruined. The entire collapse of the games industry can't be far behind. So thanks a bunch for that you twats!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

The GMAs have been saved!

Is it really time for the Games Media Award nominations already? God, I didn't want to write about the GMAs again this year, I really didn't. And barring some hilariously embarrassing incident, like coked up footy hooligans sponsoring the event, or having a competition where game journalists tweet the name of a publishers to win a PS3, which sparked off the rabgate debacle last year, I wont be writing anything about the awards or whoever wins them later this year. Because outside of the corporate cocksuckers who win them, the GMAs are of zero interest to gamers.

However, I couldn't help but take notice of this years inevitable mess of self congratulation and borderline drug and alcohol addiction, no doubt presented by some cunt off BBC 3, when I read about the revised voting rules and supposedly pro new talent approach. As described in a circular email, sent out by the soulless drone in charge of GMA PR. For your benefit, I've cut out the poor attempt at (what I hope is) self-effacing humour to address last years obvious evidence of industry/journo collusion.,

"They will be 100% voted for by you. In the past we gave PRs about 10% of the vote
(not marketing, sales or management) because we figured they knew you well and read
your stuff. And it was a spread of PRs - not necessarily from the sponsors, all PRs. 

Well that's good to know, isn't it? So yes, PR people voted in the GMAs, but it was only a small amount of the vote. So people that have, or should have, nothing to do with the  writing part of video games media no longer vote for their favourite games journo. As if we should applaud Intent Media -the company behind the GMAs and -hypocritical advertising posing as a -news site, MCV-  for getting accused for making their awards show  nothing but a booze-laden cementing of the suspicions of the insidious relationship between games journalism and games publishers. So to alleviate those suspicions, Intent  end up confirming them but promise never to do it again. So now it's a totally legitimate award to win because the voting is entirely done by other game  journos.  Who we all know are incorruptible pillars of society and in no way would vote for their mates or for current/potential employers. How  attendees of the GMAs will feel about other amendments, like  no more promotional competitions, where hacks at the event were free to prostitute whatever scant credibility they had. And gone are the fancy goodie bags that came with winning a GMA. But if you have no soul, and pretended to be Michael French's mate enough to get nominated, don't be totally disheartened. There will still be free alcohol, all paid for by the publishers that sponsor the event, so it won't be a totally wasted trip.

What's also interesting is the new addition to the GMAs, the confusingly named, Games Media Academy. Which is, as the name might suggest, not a venue or even a course of higher learning or key skills, but is a competition for any writers not being paid for their writing. So if you're just starting out or still looking for your break to finally get some paid work, this is worth looking at. The winner gets over a thousand pounds worth of paid freelance work their way and, according to the superior John Walker, expert mentoring! All you have to do is write a 400-word article, be it a preview, review, interview, opinion piece or analytical feature. So long as it's about video games, and you send it to the email in the GMA academy page before October 10th and hope you get the work. You know, just as if you were normally applying for freelance work at a website or magazine. Except in this case Future, Gamespot, IGN, Network-N and MCV/Develop are using, what is supposed to be, common business practice to pat themselves on the back because they saw it in their hearts to assess one person's writing, like it, offer them work and pay them for it. Wow! what a amazing concept eh? Doing work for money. Funny, I thought Future publishing did the opposite with new writers?

But if it's really your heart's desire to finally get your foot in the door in the world of freelance games journalism, and somehow think writing should be a competition and don't mind  getting totally wankered  on brain-breaking cocktails while the moral and talent void that comprise most of UK games journalism sink further into a mire of pathetic hypocrisy and karaoke, in the vein hope it will kickstart your career. Be my guest...Just stay away from the toilets, alright?


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Ready Up can only pay you in disappointment

Hey you, are you a aspiring games journalist, looking for their break in one of the most insular and down right incestuous industry? Well young lion, look no further than the GMA nominated "blog" Ready Up, who  are looking for a news writer. Which means you'll be, "researching, writing and editing your own topical stories, one day a week."  Meaning, if you get the job, you'll be required to write daily news posts. Which is easy as piss, it really is. All you have to do is get up in the morning, copy-and-paste  the latest press releases from game publishers (making sure to change enough words to keep it legit) or reading all the big video game sites, find a interesting story, copy-and-past it (making sure to change enough words and linking the source to keep it legit) in the "house style", for the sake of those who didn't read my post about "style",  basically means, look at how the other articles are written on Ready Up and copy exactly how it's written. Get the job and that will be you away on the journey of a professional games journalist, working for a website recognised by the esteemed Games Media Awards, three times no less! Your career will have truly begun...Well, actually you'll have to keep that day job at the cotton farm because Ready Up can't pay you with actual human money. Because even though the human toad and former Ubisoft PR person that run the site of sad mediocrity have more game industry contacts than you can shake a rolled up fiver at and yet somehow don't pull in enough to pay their writers? Funny that

 Ready Up's editor and owner taking advantage of the catch-22 situation all budding games journalists find themselves  aside, I find it odd that Ready Up seems to be allowed an exception the one golden rule all established game journalists and writers will tell you, don't work for free. That's why all professional games journalists look down on blogs and fansites. Because it cheapens the profession.  And it's not just people in games writing, you'll get that from news journalists, writers and esteemed science fiction author, Harlan Ellison will tell you himself.

And it's true. If someone wants what you produce something, then there is value to it and you should be compensated for it. Which begs the question, why would the GMAs, an award show dedicated to games journalism, even have a blog category? If working for free is slowly killing industry by undercutting the professionals with unskilled, inexperienced writers then why celebrate any of  them? Because if it wasn't for writers working for free, games -and by extension all popular magazine and web- journalism would grind to a halt overnight. This is part of the grand hypocrisy you'll find in games journalism. The bloggers are all killing the business, but only a handful of the pros ever speak out over sites that could pay their writers  and the big publishers that run their magazines and websites with glorified slave labour. Of course in journalism it's  called a "internship." Where you'll do little bits here and there for a short period of time for no pay. If you're lucky you may get reimbursed for travel and perhaps a job offer at the end of it. But normally they say thank you very much and the old, "we'll keep your CV on file" bullshit and fuck all else except another name to pad out your CV with. So blogs that pull in less than a thousand views a month are murdering everyone's mortgage payments, but Ready Up are good guys and Future publishing are a market leader, so shut up, do that news collating  for eight hours a day and fucking like it.

I've been at both ends of the scale. I've done both paid and unpaid stuff, so I  see both points of the argument. When you're just starting out, you don't know anyone who can pull a favour for you (which is how I got my best paying work) and you have no work experience to even warrant a reply from a editor. So if you don't have the ability to set up a blogspot or wordpress site of your own- although you really should use one as a online portfolio at the very least- then what other option do you have, if you want to develop your writing style and get feedback on it?

If you honestly can't get a break anywhere and you want to write about games then there's nothing wrong with not getting paid in the beginning. And some blogs and burgeoning sites are decent enough to pay writers a small fee or allow individual writers to receive the AdSense revenue from their own posts. If you're not doing it as a hobby then you should be always on the look out for paid work while you're finding your voice as a writer and getting your name out there. Very few people make a living from writing for just the one outlet, so it's a good exercise in providing content for different audiences. It's a early investment in yourself to learn how to get review code, interviews with developers and getting invited to press events and conventions. If a blog/site can't offer you any of those opportunities then move on, it's of no benefit to you.
However, whether you've only had your photo posted in the writers section of a site or have been plugging away on every blog and amateur site in Christendom. If you do something for a established, professional site, they should pay you. Unless the editor is gonna come round to your house and personally give you feedback and career advise, then you are getting nothing from it. Don't fool yourself in thinking that doing free work for a proper site/magazine will see your hard work be recognised and eventually rewarded with a full time writing gig. It wont, they'll just keep allowing you to work for nothing because they see no value in what you do, or else they would pay you for your work.

Writing and journalism is a solitary practise. You are your own commodity, so everything you do must be for your benefit, first and foremost. There's no pension and the money is minuscule,  if you want to make a career out of it, then you need to do what's best for you. If you can't get work anywhere that pays, then that's because no editor thinks you're any good. So get good, plug away on working for sites where the only thing you get is experience. In that sense you're working for free, but you're not working for nothing. But if you're starting to get more replies from editors (even if it they're rejections) and bits of paid work, here and there, and a editor tempts you to work for him but for free, turn them down, because they still don't see any value to your work. If a site can pay for  podcasts, get-togethers, HD cameras for their shit youtube videos and  travel to events,  then they can afford even a minimal amount to pay you. And if they can't, then leave  for some place better, because either they don't value your work or have no ambition to try and properly monetise their site. But if you think it'll be a laugh  writing daily, generic news posts for little to no recognition for people who enjoy all the perks of sucking off the games industry but share none of it, then don't let me stop you. Just don't expect Eurogamer to kick your door down for work any time soon.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Anonymous guest spot: There is no sexism in gaming

Because this is a low grade gaming blog, the great and good of the games industry wouldn't be seen dead having anything to do with me -which will make Bruce Everiss' eventual funeral a bit fucking awkward. But some generous souls in games biz have agreed to contribute to odd guest column, under the condition that it is done under total anonymity, for fear of loosing their valuable PR contacts. So all names have been changed to protect the writer's career.

"Percy Jameson" is the lead coder and CEO of mobile gaming company, Mighty Revolution Apps. When he's not regurgitating his own ignorance, Percy likes nothing better than chipping in on subjects he's nothing about nor directly concern him, acting like a prize tit to honest enquiries and building and racing his own one-man hovercraft

There is no sexism in gaming  By Percy Jameson

Right, as of late, you may have read all the malarkey about sexism in video games. Whether it's  some bird off of youtube,  the pointless #1reasonwhy moan-fest or some some trolling video about  how every bloke in video games is a sexist. And for most people, I bet it's dead hard to get a realistic opinion on the state of working in gaming while all the racket, this shit-storm has created. Well, as the CEO of a game developer (that you've never heard of) and I've been working in video games for nigh on 62 year, man and boy, and I'm gonna go on record right now and tell all you mugs, the video game industry isn't sexist and never has been.

I started out in gaming as a mere lackey, or "intern", as we call them now- delivering game code to magazines (for demo tapes and reviews) and worked my way to become CEO of my own developer, Mighty Revolution Apps. That's every possible department in the games business I've worked in, since 1951, and not once have I ever seen any sexism...ever. Not even as much as a raised voice or a pinched bum. Well, except for that one time at ECTS when I accidentally (accordin' to the police report) prodded a booth babe in the fanny, but that don't count! Sure, maybe some nonce on Xbox LIVE  might call some tart a slag or something, but that's the gamer community and their problem, not the industry's to sort out. I don't asking the people who play our games advice on my latest restraining order, do I?

For instance, that video I mentioned before,  is a kickstarter for a documentary called, "GTFO" that wants to look into the supposed misogyny in gaming. What a load of old pony! It's obviously  trolling a non-issue in gaming. In the scheme of things, the odd bird  handing out lanyards at E3, getting chatted up by some window licker ain't exactly the Taliban shooting a girl for going to school, is it? This Shannon Sun-Higginson bint, who will direct GTFO, has she ever made a documentary about how sexist the Taliban are? Nah, 'couse she fuckin' hasn't. I mean, neither have I, nor have I  ever done anything for women's rights anywhere, but I don't have to because I'm defending the games industry -be it potential customers and employers- so you can't touch me for it mate.  The documentary is blatant trolling of the lowest sort. Sun-Higginson is no better than Fox News, just jumping on a hot topic and using it to increase her profile at the expense of the games industry. I hope Activision fuckin' sue her for it. Because that's what you should get for daring to criticise the games industry, especially if you don't work in it. Just like my whore of a mum, who never soddin' breast fed me either!

If  you were bored enough to watch the entire moan-fest about  women in gaming at this years GDC, you would have heard the bloke who made Doom's missus and Clementine out of the Walking Dead game  rabbit on about how women are the minority in the industry and sexism is to blame. Bollocks, have you ever been to a gaming convention? There's fuckin' loads of skirt, handing out flyers, shaking their tits for game journalists and having their photo taken with undercover masturbators. Oh, you mean women working on the actual making of games? Shut your mouth then, because there fuckin' ain't any. No word of a lie, I would love to fill the office with dolly birds, but the applicants (or, "apply cunts" as I like to call 'em) I get are 98% male. We once had a woman come in for a interview at MRA, I thought she was delivering sandwiches LOL! Her CV was alright, but she couldn't hack working  typical game dev working hours of 80+ hours a week on a zero hour contract, for minimum wage and got all uppity when a graphics coder demanded she sit on his knee. Get a fuckin' sense of humour love! Now that's not sexism love, it was a joke. Besides, she was wearing perfume and had a nice hair cut,  she was fuckin' asking for it geezer! And that sort of carry on is soddin' typical of all these women who feel obliged to complain about non-existent sexism. Until all this #1reasonwhy pony happened, I was gender neutral, but now all these bints have come out of the woodwork, complaining about stuff that isn't important -because I'd much rather have someone tell me how nice my tits look than get blown up or eaten by a shark- so I fuckin' sick of them now. Frankly, I'm glad Eurogamer banned booth babes from their expo. All you women can do one!

Because of all this cobblers, I'm really glad I almost never get to see  my sons, Paul and John, anymore (I would fight for more visitation rights, but I'm too fat to fit inside the Spider-Man costume) because I it sickens me that a vocal minority of  feminazis, yeah, I fuckin' said it, and their gay boyfriends, who think  just because they've worked their way into noted positions in gaming, they're some how entitled to harp on about  how it's "offensive" it would be for MRA to host our latest game launch party in a lap dancing club, where the dancers are doused in custard, sprayed from a hose, held between my legs. It would crush me to see the look of disappointment on my little boy's faces that the game industry has become overrun with  politically correct donuts, who have taken a almost non-existent issues and overblown it, that the games industry is no longer like it used to be. A sad, fanny-bashed, shadow of its former self, where it's somehow wrong to display flyers for your new game in the cleavage of a paid model-who doesn't speak a word of English. Next thing you know, I'll be forced to go to work with my trousers on! It's a fuckin' disgrace, and mark my words, it'll be the beginning of the end of this industry. Once those witches take over, that's the fuckin' games crash and that'll be all of us, out on our fuckin' ear.

TL:DR - Us blokes was here first and women have no right to speak out over sexism, so we don't have to confront it because I hate my mum and secretly wish I could confess my love to Colin, in accounts. So jog on, you mug!