After taking into heavy consideration the attention span of the average reader. I have decided create a chopped and screwed version of my "Where Do You See Gaming Going?" piece. This is an ongoing project I have been working on since early November and I thought I would share it with some of my favorite people on the internet, gamers. May god have mercy on my soul.
Journalism has turned into quite the beast. There are new sites popping up on a seemingly hourly basis. Heck, look at this site?! Integrity and uniqueness appear to be an issue in the online space. Print has turned into either a dying beast or an incredibly niche medium. I've even noticed a fragmenting group of "print elite" versus short-form blogging. A topic recently brushed upon in Alex Cronk-Young's article with ex-1up editor, Nick Suttner. I was wondering how does this finger pointing help/hurt games journalism?
It keeps us honest when a Gerstmann-gate happens. It keeps the general hardcore gaming public aware of what kind of articulate face we present. When IGN or Kotaku 'reports' or presents a seemingly less-than genuine journalistic facade, we should have something to say. We should be able to have standards as well as be enthusiast.
What worries me are the extreme edges of both sides of this nerd-fence. On one side we have a completely reactionary voice that will use every expletive imaginable to express a supposed high-brow view on why your Uncharted 2 4-star review is wrong. On the other side of the fence is E4G and the fans who love the site.
There is no outlet that absolutely covers any media extraordinarily well, but instead of swallowing anything put out there, or -- conversely, we can stand to lower our nerd lasers when we feel our precious culture hangs in the balance with every porn article or ill-scored game review. We [as fans] can be so much better than we already are.
I believe games journalism and the enthusiasts that support the media have to look at what else can be shared. It is very easy to put up a review and talk sales numbers month-in and month-out, but there are gaming companies and events in South America, Malaysia and Australia that go uncovered. Since the top three gaming consoles are popular in the top three continents [North America, Asia, Europe], it really makes you wonder how different the experiences are in places like Africa, South America and Austrailia.
What are the games being developed and released there that we will potentially never see? Something tells me this is where being multi-lingual is an extreme asset. It does take time and probably even a fair amount of money, but I really think the general gaming audience [well at least the one that reads occasionally] could stand to see something different.
We play million-dollar games on hundred dollar consoles. We have a gaming industry that releases sports, role-playing and fighting games to an audience that ranges from toddler to damn-near senior citizen. Is it safe to say that our gaming culture is maturing? Is it that much of a stretch to assume that so should our reading material?
If ESPN can do an in-depth documentary on the losing-est track star and within the same breath give us the daily sports report -- can we not have a journalistic backbone that is similar in dedication? Is it possible for an IGN to cover game development in Israel and be taken seriously by its peers and its readers? Can Edge dedicate an entire issue to lists without being an unreadable joke? I think a large majority of the games press has grown up with games and because of that we have missed that there are just as many adults as there are children playing video games.
2009 was a huge year for gaming and subsequently games journalism. From EGM closing, to the rise of popular gaming blogs and now the small blips of 'do-it-yourselfers' [at least that's what I call them].
We see publications like Edge, Game Informer, Play and others continue to fight the good fight in print, while figuring out this wild-wild-west adventure that is the online market. We are starting to see the medium be taken more seriously. It is hard to gauge if we take ourselves too seriously, but me writing this article kind of says something doesn't it?
What happens next with games journalism? With John Davison taking the lead over at GamePro and rumblings of a new EGM rearing its head early 2010, what should we expect to read when we are not playing our favorite games?