Saturday, 20 July 2013
VIDEOGAMER starts the games journalism evolution
Gaming website, Videogamer.com has caused a little bit of a stir with their recent announcement that all of their reviews will limited to 300 words max. Some gamers and writers have accused Videogamer of dumbing down for the sake of higher review turnover and essentially giving in to the barely literate gaming masses, that frequent IGN and the Kotaku comments section. Or worse yet, purposely stifling any personality a writer might try to insert into a "wall of text." So everything is kept to the Videogamer house style and does away with any desires to be the next Charlie Brooker -something 90% of UK games journos aspire to be once they find out how shit the money is. And even if that is the case, I think they're doing the right thing. Because lets be honest, most gamers don't read reviews. They look at the screen grabs and scroll right down to see the score so they can confirm their original opinion of the game or violently disagree with it. Hell, even the term, "games journalism" doesn't apply to 98% of the output of gaming media. We're not journalist, we're critics, and mostly questionable ones at that. We're not translating the dead sea scrolls, we're saying whether a digital toy is worth paying for or not, and there's no point trying to act otherwise. So I applaud Videogamer for having the sense to see what their audience really wants and give it to them.
Videogamer's example has made really think about how I write, making me look back over the one hundred previous posts that comprise this here blog. And some of what I said, and the way I said it makes me wince now. I've gone through a few changes in my personal life and I believe there's nothing wrong with learning new perspectives and changing your opinion on things. So I owe some small apology to Jessica Chobot for even hinting at calling her an attention whore. She works as a TV presenter, it's part of her work to get people to pay attention to her and create a profile. You would honestly be surprised how important it is for a presenter to have a social media presence these days. I still don't think much of her (or Olivia Munn) professionally, but I certainly wouldn't criticise her the way I did around the time (and before) her mind boggling inclusion in the Mass Effect 3 now, so as to distance myself from the frothing-at-the-mouth loons of the Men's Rights Activists.
There's also the issue of word count. Long before I wrote this blog, one criticism I would usually get from readers or editors would be that I write too much. Well no more. This is the final time I ever write anything close to this word length ever again. Videogamer has shown what the future of games writing is, compression. But the thing is, they're not committing fully to the concept. To hell with written reviews, who in christ wants to read anything other than the title, format, release date and price on a game review any more? Nobody, that's who, just give a score and move on. That's all people care about, so it's time to jump into the future with booth feet.
From now on any reviews on Suicide Gaming will only contain the score. No intro, no explanation, just the score. And I won't be using something as cumbersome and complicated as a number score either. How the shit am I supposed to condense the varying quality of a video game into one of ten, or even one hundred, separate quantifiers. Fuck that noise. The new scoring system from now on will be a three-colour scoring system. If a game is good, then you'll see a green square next to it. An average game will get a amber square and a poor game will get a red one. There, no need for personality, ideas or opinions, just compression!
And that's not all, everything on this blog is getting the same streamlined treatment, because I'm not afraid of the future, all regular posts- where I link to a story or bring up a subject in gaming, then give you my thoughts on it-will just be a headline, a link related to it (if there is one) and next to it, to represent my opinion, will be a emoticon right next to it. For example,
Future publishing is losing sales and many may lose their jobs
Progress! This is how it's gonna be now, because I've seen the future and I do not fear it, I embrace it. Unlike the half-hearted efforts from those pussies at Videogamer, who won't commit to this great upgrade 100%. Are you listening you hyperthyroid tosser? You don't need Julia Roberts' ex husband doing a comedy Northern accent all the fucking time to pull in the numbers. Just give people cold data and the hint of an opinion, so they can carry on with the rest of their day. That's where this business is going, where a single intern could run the news and reviews section of a whole magazine/website. And when that happens, you'll know who to thank