December 4, 2007

I Don't Think Anyone will be Quitting Gamespot over that

By now you've run across le' affaire de Gerstmann, the story of an intrepid game reviewer slagging the mediocre FPS Kane and Lynch by game company Eidos. But, sadly, I disagree with the idea that anyone else will be quitting CNET over this who wouldn't have done so anyway.

First off, I am not intimating that the folks who fired him, ostensibly to satisfy or placate an advertiser, are anything but total douche bags. An apology to my more delicate readers, there really isn't a better word to describe the moral compass that allows such indicated behaviors.

So why, you ask, why would our friends in the upper reaches of game journalism stick around a corrupt system? Well, simply put, where else are they going to go and still play video games for a living? The reality (as I perceive it) is that, like straight males in the porn business, game reviewers are often nothing more than people who take screenshots for a living and distribute the word 'fuck' around like its going out of style.

I speak from exceptionally limited experience: I once wrote an article for Boot (which became Maximum PC) reviewing the very fun GTA 2. This is when Grand Theft Auto was not the household name, Jack-Thompson-lawsuit attracting thing it is today, but back when missions included trying to kill the President from an overhead view. I came away thinking that a) what a fun job that would be full time and b) hating every minute of it. The editing was sloppy and given to 'enbitchenification' and in the end, they paid very slowly.

Its that last part that matters. Game reviewing doesn't pay its reviewers well at all, because, in the end, solidly good game reviews are a dime a dozen. A dime a gross. Anyone with a blogspot account can take a screen shot of their favorite or most hated game and be found instantly by Google or other search engines. I'm not saying that game journalism (dahling) doesn't exist, it does, in the form of the Escapist, for some, and the Penny Arcade blog for so many more. And wither trustable reviews? Take a look at Amazon, instead, which notes that the title is a 'rental only' and that 'The cover art is the best part of the experience'

I'll end this post by wish the best of luck to Jeff Gerstmann and know that there are plenty of jobs that pay better and , frankly, deserve the dedication you brought to your last job. Also, many of them, you'll be pleased to know, are douche bag free.

1 comment:

Emily said...

I remember when you were reviewing it. You were supposed to be...doing whatever it was we did at that company...taking over the government of Singapore, I think.