Gaming one year ago was what Disco was for the late 70's and early 80's. It was without doubt the coolest thing in the world, and even your grandma and five year old little sister were in on it. For example: one year ago I went to a bar and saw girls wearing shirts that said, “Talk Nerdy to Me” and “I less than three you!” However, once people realized, "Hey maybe being a geek isn't that
cool after all, I mean I'm being grouped with the same pimply faced nerds who play Magic: The Gathering in the science lab at lunch that I use to pick on every day in high school." they dropped it and adamantly deny ever having anything to do with it. Games like World of Warcraft and Halo had a huge influence in the surge of gaming popularity; they were really the first mainstream video games that were OKAY to play with your attractive college coed girlfriend watching before banging her out in your convertible sports car while doing donuts in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
Like every passing fad, the market was then flooded with people who wanted to get their hand in the cookie jar before it ceased to yield any more cookies. More importantly, I’m talking about video gaming journalism. With the big gaming boom you saw people reading rags like PC GAMER and EGM thinking, “Wow people are getting paid to play video games? I can do that!” Next thing you know the same guy who was writing meatball sub and Rotor Rooter slogans last week is now a certified Video Game Journalist. If you wanted to check out an unbiased review on Frogger 3D you were bombarded with big words and complex metaphors you would only expect to read in the New Yorker.
The worst thing to happen to video gaming journalism was yet another popular fad, the internet blog. Now any asshole who can read and write can give their expert opinion on why you shouldn’t buy a Nintendo DS because dropping it in the toilet may or may not cause irreparable damage. Poor gaming journalism and easy access-anything goes- internet blogs came together like a mentally retarded and crack addicted Voltron. Only instead of defending the universe it just sat there throwing action words and star ratings at you. I know for a fact I was not the only person in the world who was getting really tired of the shoddy reporting and writing from sources like Joystiq.com and the television network “G4TV.” I will be the first to admit that I am not an educated, well seasoned writer and have little experience testing and reviewing games. These people however are either:
- Hire anyone with a four year degree from a university whose gaming experience range from Pong to Duck Hunt that can promise to write a minimum of X number of reviews a month.
- Getting it free from random internet nerds who will do just about anything to see their writing published via the interweb.
- Or people like me who have been playing games since they were old enough to hold an Atari joystick, but really have no idea what we’re doing.
No matter how you look at it, any of these options really spell disaster for anyone who wants to label themselves as a credible source of information regarding the video gaming industry. With a loyal fan base that can’t take you seriously and more and more bandwagon gamers jumping off, the market really begins its downward slope to the level of yesteryear fads like talking stuffed animals and metro-sexualism. Is there any way to save it before the unthinkable happens? Probably not. Will I still be here posting about my antics in online video games? Most certainly! As long as there are nerds who take games too seriously, I will be here to tell you about how I made them punch their mom in the face because I spent an entire game making sure they don’t make it three feet from their spawn point.
Is what I’m doing considered gaming journalism? I’d like to think not, you’ll never see me give a star rating or pretend (seriously, anyway) that I know what I’m talking about when it comes to giving advice about the latest gaming technology. I’m just a lucky shmuck who was asked to post (questionably) funny stuff on the internet and meet my deadlines once a week; which rarely happens anyway. I can only hope I’ll be able to use this as an artistic outlet the rest of my life and not have to worry about PR or an editor changing my content so we can get free Nintendogs key chains and coffee mugs this Christmas.