The year is 1999, Dreamcast has just been released. I don’t have one yet, but I sure as hell want one, my parents say I need to save money for it myself and I know I need to wait for it to get a price drop if I want to buy it with my hard saved money, but on the other hand I don’t want to be left out on the news about the console and it’s games so I run to the shop and get the latest issue on the biggest gaming magazine on the country.
I guess reading about video games and staring at paper printed screenshots was my second favourite activity when I was a kid, I think I spent as much time reading gaming magazines as I did playing games. Magazines were my go to place to know about which games were worth my lunch money, they were my go to place during school nights when the living room T.V. was busy with news, they were my go to when debating with my friends which console was the best and weather the Dreamcast would prevail against PS2 or not.
It was cool and I didn’t put much thought into what I was reading, I trusted those editors to give me honest reviews, I knew they were gamers just like me, I knew – well I believed – that they were some of the few people that actually understood how much I loved video games and how much games mattered to me.
Fast forward to 2017, the paper gaming magazines gave place to gaming websites where professional journalists write about video games, their connections with game developers are shady and not so long ago gaming journalists and gamers collided when proof of collusion, corruption and manipulation on gaming press were revealead. Things were so far that the biggest gaming outlets even released coordinated articles declaring the death of gamers and claiming that gamers should no longer be game developer’s audience (yeah I know it’s retarded but they are the press, give them a break), all of this to take the side of a group of people that were, once again, attacking video games and gamers, again complaining about violence in video games and claiming that video games made people sexist, racist and homophobic. All this accusations came, of course, from non gamers and if back in the 90’s you would see those gaming magazine editors working together to debunk such accusations now, in the 21st century, you see professional gaming journalists actually supporting such theories and turning against their own audience.
If you think their move is irrational you are absolutely right, it is. And it can only be justified with an ideological bias that makes professional gaming journalists hate the very industry that they work for as well as their audience. Now there might be several reasons to why this happens but, unfortunately, there is not yet a scientific study that explains this phenomenon so we are left with opinions. My intent here is to give you my own opinion on why this happens, and you can agree or disagree with it (use the comments section to argument if you will)…
Personally I think the problem today is that we no longer have gamers that got together to write a gaming magazine but instead we have professional journalists, with no gaming background, that get hired to write about games. What’s the difference you might ask?
Well, while the first group probably didn’t know much on how to write an article and probably made several mistakes on how to build an effective text to express their opinion, they knew a lot about games, about gamers and about gaming industry and they shared the same wavelength as the core of the gaming community. So, even if the structure of their texts was sometimes flawed, the message that they transmitted made sense to gamers, they analyzed a game the same way a gamer does, well… to put it shortly they were a part of the harcore gaming community and they were writing for this community – especially since casuals weren’t much of a thing back then.
Now on the other hand these professional journalists that write about games seem to have no clue about what they are writing about, we’ve seen several incidents that actually prove this. From the famous Polygon video in which some editor seems to be playing Doom with his/her left foot, to gaming outlets refusing to review games because they were “too hard” or “too violent”, to the most shocking cases of too much reading into games and trying to connect them to political ideologies while presenting “evidence” that only makes sense in some very distorted minds (again, because of ideological bias).
The question here is where do gamers go from here? What will we do? Keep bashing Polygon, Kotaku, Wired and others on twitter for the lolz in hope they will learn and change? Will we just boycott them and let them do their thing while casual gamers keep them relevant to the point that developers actually listen to their bullshit? I personally think gamers should take back gaming press, gamers need to find a way to become the prominent voice in gaming industry and for that we need to take away the power that the press has been gathering lately.
How can we do that? Well, we need to become the press. We need to organize and create our own major media outlet that will give enough exposure to developers and to their products that will make it worth their while to listen to us.
My idea on how we can achieve this is to create a space written by gamers for gamers and that gamers will trust as a place of reference for their news, reviews and articles on vidya gaems.
Will Vidya be that place? Time will tell. For now it’s just a project made in collaboration with several gamers. We will see where it goes from here, will you join us on the ride?