Funny. I’ve seen Zombies somewhere too. Super mutated ones too.
Shut the fuck up, Brian.
Before I begin this particular blog entry of mine, let me first say that this is going to be the last entry on my old domain, as I’ve decided to switch over to Tumblr from now on. Why, you may ask? Simply ease of access.
Now, let’s dig into the meat of this particular entry. What exactly do I mean by “domination of fan opinion” and why has it failed gamers? Well, I think what needs to be outlined first is who I’m talking about when it comes to the fan opinion. You’d figure this sort of thing would be obvious, but we live in an age of ambiguity. What could be the definition of one word to one person could be different to another. So, until this age ends, I’m a little bit stuck.
What I am talking about is the gaming “blogosphere.” The grouping of sites such as Kotaku, Destructoid, and others. The sites that could easily be seen as the most popular video gaming sites in the world. The writers employed at these sites are fans, rather than professional journalists. The reason I believe that many people flocked to these particular sites was due to the major distrust in the outlets that were popular six years ago. Many gamers suspected payola and dishonesty from outlets, so we essentially flocked to people like ourselves who were willing to let their voices be known.
That was a mistake.
One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Marcus Auralieus. He once said that “anger can not be dishonest.” He is correct in this philosophy, and fans are anything if not angry. At our cores, we fans are reactionary, have entitlement issues, and are incredibly passionate. Thus, any opinion that you hear from a fan site like Destructoid is obviously honest of that person’s feelings. That particular person will tell you exactly what they’re feeling at that very moment.
However, it is that reactionary honesty that is also the biggest weakness to a fan. Though you may get an honest opinion from a fan, it will never be anything more than an opinion. It has no validity. It has the depth of a three inch swimming pool. It is worthless. The fan opinion simply serves to only reflect a small aspect of a much larger community. Though honest, its scope of vision is limited to those who are similar to a particular fan. To those outside, they are simply left shaking their heads at someone with a narrow mindset.
Truthfully, all of that which I have said is simply a description of what many have attached themselves to. Though fan opinion should be taken with a grain of salt, people have attached themselves to it. The issue here is the influence. Due to so many people flocking to a small number of fans with mass exposure, their issues have permeated into the gamer subculture. All of that selfish, ignorant, narrow-minded ideology has become how people view gamers, whether people realize it or not.
I have no need to call out specific people. They know who they are. I will simply say that gamers are seen as sexist, socially inept, and idiotic. I am none of the above. I know many people who are none of the above. My friends are none of the above. The people I work with are none of the above. Are you seeing a pattern here?
This is why I made a choice to be a journalist. Journalists, at their core, are required to simply deliver the facts, be impartial, and let the readers make up their own minds. My job as a reporter is to simply tell my readers about the information that I’ve been given on a subject. My job as an editorial writer is to give my theories based on what I know, but acknowledge that I don’t know nearly enough. My job as a critic is to analyze the quality and accessibility of a piece of art. The fact is that those who refuse to do this are bad journalists, and those who do it are good journalists.
There are those out there that claim that they are not journalists. To some, this is true. There are people I work with who are primarily entertainers, and I respect that. These people also have the sense to keep that in check by letting their audiences know that they don’t know everything, and aren’t capable of really being more than entertainers in the context of their content. That’s the way that being a video producer works. Though there’s always an opinion at the core, at the end of the day it’s just entertainment.
When it all becomes an issue is when a journalist is in a form of denial. Let’s say I were to point at a man on a bench, and tell you that he has media connections, writes for a major publication, consistently reports on news, and also reviews video games. You would immediately tell me that man is a journalist. To anyone with some sense, it’s rather obvious when you’ve walked into that role. If you continue to walk that way, you will be identified as such.
The fact remains that people cannot hide behind the term “blogger” any more. If a writer refuses to do their job, then he opposes the idea that he is a grown, intelligent human being. That person opposes the idea that gaming, as a medium, should be taken seriously. The actions of the media will inevitably be seen as a reflection of what they cover. If the most popular coverage outlets are fools, then we will all be seen as fools.
What I suggest is simple: We all need to grow up. Game Journalism needs to have a sense of maturity, or our community will not mature. We serve as examples to our community. If our actions are homophobic, racist, sexist, xenophobic, or anything along those lines, our readers will absorb and reflect these ideas. This is not what gamers want to happen to our community.
Video games are awesome, and they are worth defending. I’m sure there are many people who write for blogs that would agree with me on this. Thing is, you need to grow up, re-evaluate what you’re doing with your writing, and whether or not it’s the right thing to do. Should you begin to start typing after that sentence, stop immediately. Right and wrong do exist. Were we to do these things as writers for newspapers or magazines, we would be canned immediately.
Going back to Marcus Aurelius, he also said that “A man’s worth is no greater than that of his ambitions.” If you only want to be a sexist twit, then your life will be seen as a life lived as a narrow minded imbecile. Just do those of us who know how to do our jobs a favor. Stop talking, and you will seem more intelligent.
Ever the cynic.