Metal smear!?

Wow, I’ve really arrived — I’ve received my first smear attack on BoingBoing, regarding the Konami NDA situation. For reference: I have no integrity for signing an NDA, I’m a spineless apologist for posting an even-handed piece of commentary in response to the violent nerd overreactions that’ve been circulating gaming forums for the past month, and most surprising of all, gamers aren’t the only ones who think video games are Serious Business and erroneously conflate “criticism” with “journalism.”

I’d always assumed I’d be devastated if someone at such a large site tore me a new one, but the situation has been so blown out of proportion that I find myself simply bemused and not personally offended in the least. I guess years of seeing slam-bloggers demonize celebrities and other people in the most vicious terms possible has dulled the edge of this sort of thing.

The irony of it all is that the MGS4 review situation has motivated me to begin formulating my own ideas for an independent site. Ideas which include a blog element that — unlike venues such as, oh, say, BoingBoing and Gawker-type site — would rely not on frothing, purple hysterics and personal screeds to build its readership, but rather on measured, thoughtful commentary. Of course, a site like that wouldn’t get anywhere near the traffic they do, because the Internet thrives on conflict. But at least when I go to sleep at night in my cardboard box and look at myself the next morning in the warped and broken shard of glass that serves as my makeshift mirror, I can feel good knowing that my desperate poverty can be credited to integrity. God bless America and the Internet!

46 thoughts on “Metal smear!?

  1. Meh, integrity and $200 will buy you a G3 iPhone.

    You should make a site with blckjack and hookers.

  2. heh. boingboing is so obnoxious it makes me want the drm badguys or whatever they are to win, just on the off chance it might make them cry.

  3. If you drum up enough publicity ala Jeff Gerstmann, the new site could catch on pretty fast (ala Giant Bomb). I’d love to see a Parish-run games site.

  4. are they demonizing you for the NDA -OR- are they actually saying you didn’t include enough pictures of girls to distract them from reading words?

  5. I do not mean to play the role of the dummy, but I’m a bit confused; how did BoingBoing smear you exactly? Via their website, an email, or in the comments?

    Sorry, I just want that cleared up a bit. Also, since when did BoingBoing cared anything about video games? I thought they were too busy worrying about DRMs and the Canadian copyright laws?

  6. “You should make a site with gambling and hookers.” In fact, forget the gambling.

    “Argue with Everyone – the first honestly titled forum on the Internet.”

  7. The first rule of counter-culture on the internet is to stick it to the man, without regard for consequences. The second rule is to blog about people who don’t.

  8. responding to this kind of thing is pretty much the worst possible course of action. =/

  9. True enough. If I had posted that blog a month ago, it probably would have been filled with fiery screeds. But my anger over the situation long ago turned to resolution. I suppose that is ultimately why this doesn’t upset me too much — I’ve already been through my reactionary fury phase and have sublimated that into more productive channels. It’s hard to take umbrage at wildly-aimed snark and ill-informed judgment.

  10. My favorite part about this sort of arbitrary “scandal” is how people always assume it’s a big change from how things usually go. Granted, saying this here is preaching to the choir I’m sure, but the reality is, EVERY major publisher makes EVERY news source sign NDAs when they’re giving them decent info about ANY game. Everyone has publishers getting really friendly with them, everyone’s review scores are a collection of very arbitrary numbers, and everyone involved (at least on the press side of things) always thinks the whole thing setup is pretty stupid.

    The upside to all that though is, since everyone’s going through the same crazy dances, it all cancels itself out when it comes to biased coverage. Sure, the small obscure games from lesser publishers don’t get the same rituals performed with’em, but then the good ones get praised anyway because the people writing at them haven’t gotten annoyed with people constantly reminding them that it’s ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL they don’t mention the name of the composer for the ice level and whatnot.

  11. Jeremy Parish = aspiring Tim Russert of games’ journalism?

    Or is this just New New Games Journalism?

    Konami kind of deserves a lot of this for silliness on what folks couldn’t say, including stuff that was *listed in a press conference*. The game quality was all that should have really mattered though. Who was honestly thinking MGS4 wasn’t going to be rated on a scale of “awesome” to “very awesome”?

  12. “Jeremy Parish = aspiring Tim Russert of games’ journalism?”

    Too soon, man.

  13. Since you didn’t explain what exactly the Boingboing piece said, I went over to the site. I feel bad for giving them traffic, but it did put the situation in context.

    They completely skipped over the background and your impetus for signing the contract (i.e.- you had a plane to catch and a magazine to finish). The icing on the cake though is all the “If it were me, I would have…” comments. It’s claptrap of this sort that has made me averse to most aggregate news sites.

  14. I’m surprised this was even mentioned on BoingBoing. Does MGS4 have a steampunk mecha or something?

  15. I did like the Flash game of sneaking out of Konami’s corporate headquarters under of a box. Less so when it became obvious there was no way to avoid Parish being shot by a turret.

  16. Okay, so there was no actual way to avoid that damn thing. Good to know. You can also see that the guard has a Konami logo on his helmet. Boss.

  17. yeah i didn’t figure you would think that much of the boingboing smear. it was just kinda disconcerting to be browsing early on a saturday morning and seeing your blogpost so poorly abused. at least you weren’t slashdotted. does that even happen anymore??

  18. “Jeremy Parish = aspiring Tim Russert of games’ journalism?

    “Too soon, man.”

    Ouch. That’s fucked up, man. Not the Tim Russert part, but the part where you called him on it.

    Tom Brokaw announced his death. He looked like shit, and couldn’t even hold himself together for the entirety of the report.

  19. I don’t care what you do as long as Retronauts is involved in some way. That podcast is the best thing about the whole damn internets.

  20. I can’t make any promises. I’m running out of retro topics I can discuss in a reasonably informed manner.

  21. Bah, it’s okay for another reason, Jeremy.

    It was Boing Boing Gadgets, which is usually the ADD Boing Boing Junior, with a Kotaku refugee.

    John Brownlee (who was the first person comment and crow about it in the entry comments) wishes he could be as talented as you, man.

  22. Dreams of being a lone ranger once again?
    Anyway since I can’t contribute anything meaningful (I did find and read the BoingBoing article) here’s something from neogaf .
    It made me think of you, and how I’d love to, but am afraid to, play Etrian Odyssey.

  23. I should feel offended at the offhand disgust at gaming blogs, but I feel the same about all of them other than mine, and I’m pretty conflicted about the ones I do write for.

  24. Parish being an anime apologist sounds seriously out of character (although I think a lot of people were blown away by Evangelion when they first saw it).

  25. While I read BoingBoing from time to time for all the neat gadgets and toys they report about, I never expected them to capable of actual smear and misinterpretation, especially against one of the most cogent writers on gaming — which probably shows you that I’m not familiar with a whole lot of writers.

    It’s like the Beschizza didn’t even read the article in question thoroughly enough, and instead wanted to point out what a prissy wuss Parish is. The man should have decked every threatening Konami staff member in the face and gunned for the door! Right on!

    I like how they go so far as to create a silly flash game, just in case the cute picture wasn’t enough to send the message home. I really wish Parish would react–with a vengeance!–but I guess he’s not taking this personally. And so it goes.

  26. This isn’t anything new, is it? My impression of BoingBoing has long been that it’s what, say, Engadget would be if it were run by, say, Gawker — an uneasy combination of obsessive techno-lust and inexpert personal attacks. In any case, I can’t imagine that a response in kind would have accomplished anything positive.

  27. The comments on the BB entry in question are gold. It’s full of people detailing how they would “call 911” because the situation was obviously “illegal detainment.” I would love to see that.

  28. Gizmodo is, precisely, Engadget run by Gawker. And that’s a pretty accurate description.

  29. Also, you *can* beat the little game I put together. Use your imagination, Konami fans!

  30. Hi, Jeremy.

    I didn’t criticize you for signing an NDA, as you write here. NDAs are as common in my line of writing as they are in yours. The problem is that the NDA here was a particularly unpleasant one, and the circumstances Konami forced upon you were completely unacceptable. I’m deeply sorry if my presentation was overly personal; but I think most readers will see that Konami’s behavior is the issue, not yours.

    But why hyperbole like “spineless apologist,” when no such thing was ever said about you? And “frothing, purple hysterics and personal screeds” — really?

    What specifically do you object to about my post?

  31. By which I mean: it will be corrected if it is wrong. How about an interview? Got 20 minutes tomorrow?

  32. The “discussion” section over there is a joke. I attempted to make an even-handed post wherein I conceded my belief that the NDA shouldn’t have been signed under those terms under any circumstances (sorry, just how I feel about professional conduct; but then I wasn’t there to see how things really went down, either). But I also went on to point out that Parish was NOT defending himself by burning Konami (e.g. by the use of “straw men” as Rob suggests)… and guess what? Beschizza vetoed it. Meanwhile the only postings in Parish’s defense that are allowed are weak ones that despite their authors’ good intentions make only soggy semantic arguments. So that should tell you something about the level of maturity over there.

  33. That last post of mine should probably be disregarded… I just noticed that they do have a warning label and that the approval process applies only to anonymous comments.

  34. It’s annoying, I know, but we get an awful lot of spam and general nonsense, which necessitates the anonymous-post approval queue.

    And I think your comment was a good one. Thanks!

  35. Rob Beschizza (fo’ rizza):
    re the flash game: But winners never cheat! A childhood of ABC after school specials taught me that.

    And hey, you say “hyperbole”, I say “purple prose”.

  36. Gladstone, if yours is the comment I think it is, it has been published. All anonymous comments are held for approval. If you had used a registered account your comment would go up automatically. With that said…

    I think things have gotten out of hand and we’re to blame. So my apologies for that. We shouldn’t have let the conversation go from “What a fucked up request from Konami!” to “Why didn’t Jeremy Parish do this or that?” We all have our opinions on what we might have done in that situation, but Jeremy wouldn’t have had to have made any decision if Konami hadn’t waved around a ridiculous NDA in the first place. That was the only valid point to be made.

    That some have argued here or on our site that the NDA itself — ignoring the strange circumstances and timing in which it was presented — is par for the course, part of the standard operating procedure for getting a crack at reviewing a Triple-A videogame. And it often may well be, although there were certainly plenty of reports on Konami’s ultimately needless paranoia on this particular title. Point is: those sort of NDAs — agreements where they tell you what you can write about — are insane. Consumer electronics journalism, especially the sort of skeptical catalog stuff we do, is just as much “enthusiast press” (with all that connotes) as videogame journalism, but we don’t have to deal with that degree of meddling from PR bodies.

    If it seemed like we were picking on gaming journalism as a notion, we’re not. All three of us that run Boing Boing Gadgets probably self-identify as “gamers” as much as we do “gadget dorks”. I was shocked at how onerous some of the conditions placed on you and others can be. Sorry, Jeremy, for letting it get personal. That was unfair and counterproductive.

  37. Joel: well yes… I also wish I hadn’t said anything about what JP should have done as far as making a split-second decision in an business environment with which I’ve had no personal experience. So I take that back. I’d also like to apologize to Jeremy… the main point I wanted to make was that you were admirably cool-tempered about the whole affair and gave the game, as a product separate from PR…folks… the fair treatment that it deserves. It goes without saying that I’d accept even minimum wage to write about games, but that ain’t happening. When I say that gaming journalism is not socially significant, I don’t mean it at all as a dismissal of a medium I also love, although I’m sure it didn’t come out that way.

  38. An interview? Yuck, no thanks. I wanted this topic to dry up and die even before I posted my 1UP blog, which I did strictly to clarify the situation behind our five-page review strangely transforming into a five-page fluff piece. I really wasn’t looking to become the target of blind-fired strawmen criticisms (which, in retrospect, were primarily from the comments thread rather than the original post — I guess I did my own share of conflation, too). Needless to say, all of this nonsense has done little to build my enthusiasm to prolong the topic’s miserable lifespan. Just let it drop, please, and we can all get on with our useless little lives.

Comments are closed.