We Need A New Word For Games Journalist

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We need a new word.

If anything has been made clear in the last couple of years, it’s that journalism is such a mess that even amongst the so-called journalists the word journalist is no longer appropriate. This isn’t true in all fields of journalism, but within the range of geek/nerd news coverage it’s pretty clear that the group making their living covering and spreading the information neither qualify or even want the ideas presented by the word. Some might be quick to argue that this only goes for the gaming press, especially after the large-scale slandering mess that was GamerGate where a lot of journalists felt the need to act even more childish than the 12-year-olds on Xbox Live they’re so offended by. Looking at the rest of geek coverage, it’s clear the same things are happening there too. All in the name of appeasing the larger audience, self-congratulatory smug, middle class, fat, white guys shame that dominant male audience they’re always writing about that they’re no good and are ruining the industry for the groupthink circlejerk, hoping posting these glib attacking pieces give them enough Nice Guy coins to earn a Pity Fuck from a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

Now that I’ve pissed off the exact people under fire and the ones all-too happy to protect them, I’m sure to get another round of passive-aggressive “I don’t want to say you’re wrong, but you’re not right” responses from everyone guilty. Go for it, smother me with your passive-aggressive half slaps.

The word journalist is still often used in those circles, usually reserved for a rallying cry upon success to build momentum. During rare moments of pride, even people normally associated with outlets like Gawker have absolutely no problem using the word journalist to describe themselves or their profession. It’s what gets them into special events, let’s them get in contact with valuable sources to break information, gives them access to free goodies in the hopes of positive coverage. Being a journalist comes with perks, as press packages are only available to outlets that, traditionally speaking, are considering journalistic outlets. The moment we get out of that side of journalism and instead move to public perception, quality of coverage, or professionalism, all pretension of journalistic integrity is gone.

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This is when we arrive at the next stop, Enthusiast Press.

This sounds like a much easier role to fill, right? Doesn’t it just give you a mental picture of a bunch of monkeys playfully showing off the contents of a press kit? Their clueless flailing comes across genuine enough to get people excited about the product, even though the product itself doesn’t really have much to do with the excitement. The monkeys aren’t just there to create the hype. They are the hype.

Except when they start flinging shit. To this day, there are still several game journalists angry at the fact BioWare “caved in” on the demands of “entitled pissbaby gamers” who dared to be dissatisfied with the new ending.

Chris Antista, mostly known for his work on the podcast Laser Time these days, is one of those people. Listening to that show in its current form is outright depressing. The same people who would generally prefer to be stamped as “enthusiast press” come together to talk about videogames because that’s what they’ve decided to do with their life. On the outside it sounds like they’re enthusiastic enough about the business to not only work in it, but to also still produce material for it out of appreciation in their free time.

Unfortunately the actual content they bring out paints a picture of people who are clinging onto the one basket they put all their eggs in. Videogames is all they know, and they know it. Comparisons of their own lack of maturity when paired with people their own age is a common thread amongst a lot of episodes. Attacks towards the audience for being “too young to understand”, “entitled”, “pissbabies”, or just outright liking different genres automatically qualifying them for pedophile status, are common. The only games that consistently get positive responses are from the companies the people on the podcast have a working history with. The negativity that tends to be reserved for just about any other company, happening, or event, does not exactly exude enthusiasm.

This isn’t something that’s exclusive to the people at Laser Time. I’m only singling them out because they’re the people I’m most familiar with in terms of their presentation because I used to listen to their podcast a lot until I got tired of the general negativity from most of the crew, Antista and Henry in particular.

I’d like to counterbalance this of negativity and reliance on negative examples with an incredibly good one to spread some needed positivity here and there, so I have to give a shoutout to the Best Friends for showing me what it’s like to listen to a podcast of actual enthusiasts again. We need people like this now more than ever, and not a week goes by that I’m not appreciative of hearing the genuine excitement that new releases can give these guys.

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There’s a huge fucking issue with the enthusiasm people have with video games if a problem people covering the medium have with it is that it’s too gamey. How the fuck is a video game, a GAME you play, too GAMEy? And who in their right mind would consider themselves an enthusiast of videogames if their highest praise for a videogame is that it’s cinematic, like goddamn movie?

If your problem with videogames is that they’re too gamey and your highest praise is the cinematic value of it, for fuck’s sake, go cover movies and leave videogames to people who want a fucking game instead of a sequence of flashy semi-interactive cutscenes.

That leaves us with the third popular descriptor people take when the previous two fail. Blogger. When all claim of professionalism, accountability, or enthusiasm goes right out the window, that’s what we are left with. Bloggers.

You reading this on my WordPress means that I am officially a blogger. I blog. I write things, throw them up on the internet, and people read it. That is what a blog comes down to. Except, you know, I don’t get paid, don’t get access to special events, aren’t allowed at E3, and don’t get cited on Wikipedia.

Because I’m just a lowlife blogger.

Within games media, my voice has a lot less validity and power than that of Ben Kuchera, even though we are both basically just bloggers. Patricia Hernandez is a much more important person within the games media landscape than me, but we are both still bloggers. Neither of these two would consider me a real voice, despite having a respectable amount of subscribers to this blog and a good amount of people following my shitposting on Twitter.

Why?

Because I’m a blogger. Bloggers don’t get to have integrity or believability. Whenever an outcry happens and the big game bloggers give the typical “I’m just a game blogger!” rebuttal, consider the fact they just admitted their absolute lack of worth. Professional blogging is to regular blogging what professional wrestling is to actual wrestling. It’s all a work, but sometimes people work themselves into a shoot. Then you’ve got the no-life marks who don’t know it a work when it a work.

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In that sense, games media are pretty much a group of smarks.

A Smark is one who claims to have “inside information” on the Wrestling Industry, even though the majority of them are most likely filled with false rumors posted by other “Smarks”. An extremely stupid nick name created by those particular fans. Tend to be extremely negative on what the majority seem to favor. At times extremely hypocritical, and have an annoying “know it all” type of attitude. (The type of men women tend to dump, and make fun of behind their backs ;P) Also tends to spend more time on message boards, and on chat rooms than focusing on more important issues.
A Wrestling Smark is an extremely silly nick name to describe a Pro Wrestling fan whom acknowledges that Pro Wrestling is scripted as opposed to the “Mark”. “Smarks” tend to spread more false Pro Wrestling rumors all over the internet more than anyone else.
Despite what “Smarks” claim they know on a Pro Wrestling business, they can only know if and only if they are on the road or work in their corporate headquarters. And there is very little chance that they do.
I propose that we rebrand “Games Journalism” to “Gaming Smarks.” And until the day they finally manage to turn the meaning around into something positive in the minds and hearts of audiences out there, this branding sticks to remind us of how much they have failed at their work.
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