There has been an awful lot of navel-gazing about the very silly vocation which is often referred to (mistakenly) as “videogame journalism.” GameDaily seems to be leading the way, having stumbled upon the realization that it’s a shortcut to instant traffic: whine about the gaming press and the gaming press will whine right back with a big ol’ link, dragging readers unwittingly (and often unwillingly) into our ugly little world of PR handshakes and money hats. But their little traffic trick does provide a handy case-in-point for the whole issue — people think the gaming press sucks because the gaming press won’t stop talking about itself. Seriously, peer group! Here is what you need to do:

  1. Go watch “Capote.”
  2. Observe Truman Capote’s behavior throughout the film, and the fact that he talks about nothing but himself, and the fact that he is very tiresome.
  3. Apply Bloom’s taxonomic principle of synthesis re: your own behavior.
  4. ????
  5. Profit.

I’ll leave it to you sort out step 4 on your own. But hurry, audiences are growing restless.

Me, my biggest complaint about game “journalism” is that it isn’t particularly creative. It’s writing about things other people have created. And while that’s all well and good and sometimes perfectly enjoyable, I think my brain is beginning to chafe at the prospect of spending my life writing about the work of others and never doing anything original myself. This is usually where trouble begins, so brace yourselves.

Of course, I’ve gone and created my very first Wikipedia page — writing about someone else’s work in someone else’s communal encyclopedia. This is not what you would call “progress.” I’d like to blame Bryan Lee O’Malley, but I guess I should face facts and accept that it is actually my own stupid fault. Is it so wrong that I take umbrage at the complete lack of Demonhead coverage, well, pretty much anywhere? If loving justice is wrong, etc. etc.

Just kidding about the moneyhats, by the way. But man, my bank account wishes I weren’t.


  1. I loved Clash at Demonhead! As a poor little boy I must have rented it over and over, but I never beat it. It’s pretty much my #1 most wanted title on the Virtual Console (since Nintendo has re-released most of less obscure games from my childhood). I never even realized how much of an anime feel it had (having played it long before ever hearing the term “anime”), but in retrospect… yeah, whaddaya know?

  2. But can’t that self-absorption be extended to all media, not just video game journalism? It’s always nauseating to watch media outlets breathlessly report on other media outlets — but they do it anyway, because they all exist in a chummy little circle and everyone is intensely aware of everyone else. Gossiping about each other is always the path of least media resistance, regardless of the focus or format.

  3. Ugh, when will people stop complaining about complaining about games journalism!

    (for maximum humor, complain about this comment!)

  4. I wasn’t really aware it was that big of a problem… assuming there even is one. I find games that interest me, I find news and media on them. I see features on game news websites I go to and I read the ones that interst me.

    Prehaps it’s because I lack the insider’s prespective, but from here I really don’t see any sort of serious problem… and I never even heard of people talking about a problem until recently.

  5. Well, exactly. It’s all a lot of self-absorption and it’s embarrassing to watch. As a rule, writers should never write about writers, and the press should never cover the press — outside of an ombudsman, of course, and contrary to what certain people think that’s not a self-appointed position.

  6. You could always stop writing stuff that will eventually compel you to write stuff complaining about that first stuff you had previously written. You’d be saner that way. And we’ve grown fond of you. We want you sane. At least, I do.

  7. Weren’t you going to make a game soon? That should settle a bit of your personal need to create something which is not merely commentary.
    Won’t save the games media, of course. Oh no. That ship is on fire in an ocean of gasoline.

  8. Right on! Gaming journalism is completely devoid of creativity! You should buck the trend and write another article about Metroid! Maybe, this time, point out how Metroid’s plot shares many similarities to Alien!

    Of course you’re terrified of being a game journalist for the rest of your life. You’re a talented writer, but you’ve written the same article about Super Metroid and Castlevania: SotN about six times each. But I keep coming back for more so I guess I’m just as guilty.

  9. Weirdly, seconds before coming here, I was idly pondering the rise in number of times I’ve seen the following out of its natural habitat:


    Ugly critter that it is, it’s from 4chan. If “/b/” doesn’t mean anything to you, you’re much better off that way.

  10. “A Game Journalist in Spite of Himself” would probably make a pretty bitter play, actually.

  11. I don’t want to get into a “who’s the biggest geek” competition, but I am fairly certain the “???? —-> PROFIT” meme is from South Park. Specifically, it’s from the episode with the underpants gnomes. If my memory serves me, their plan invovled three steps:

    1: Gather underpants
    2: ?????
    3: PROFIT!

    I could be wrong, but my hunch is that the people at 4chan (and everywhere else on the internet) are just quoting Southpark. Otherwise, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are huge 4chan fans, which I find rather unlikely. On the otherhand, I have never been to 4chan, and also have no idea what “/b/” means, so I do not claim to actually know what I’m talking about.

    In any case, it’s hilarious bit and I encourage its widespread useage.

  12. I think of you more of a critic than a journalist. Games, from an early age, shape the way we think about and interact with computers. As a medium whose original purpose was to seperate kids from their quarters, I think of games as younger cousin to comics (to me everything is an analogy of comics, so please bear with me) Serious comics criticism didn’t grow legs until the form had grown in complexity. I think video games are at about the early 60’s Marvel Comics Stan Lee/Jack Kirby stage. Games have’nt had a Maus or a Watchmen yet, but I think they will.

  13. Oh, but what about the adventures of Ace Cardigan Videogame Journalist and the way he cracked the Gizmondogate scandal?

    Children, never miss an episode of Ace Cardigan, Videogame Journalist!

  14. The “????/Profit” thing, like all dumb Internet-propagated jokes, is something I allow myself to use only once in my life. And that was it.
    “…but you’ve written the same article about Super Metroid and Castlevania: SotN about six times each.” That is a very forest-for-the-trees view of things you have there.

  15. “Games haven’t had a Maus or Watchment yet”

    How do you know? What would you call Super Metroid, Zelda:LttP, Mario 64, Metal Gear Solid 2, EarthBound, RE4, Chrono Trigger, (insert important game to its respective genre here). We’ve had plenty of games that point to the potential of games as a medium–we just keep on ignoring what MADE them that way.

    (Hint to game designers: it wasn’t a chick in armor, a dark world, 3D, graphics, humor, better graphics, or time travel)

    Everyone makes fun of Tim Rogers for taking games (waaaaaay) too damn serious, but at least he’s looking at what we have shaping our games now instead of gazing into the future where, someday, someone might start making great games. Cause we certainly haven’t had a Miyamoto or Kojima for the last 20 years.

  16. C’mon, Pading, do it. Let’s have a reversion war and lots of heated antagonism in the Discussion tab! Otherwise it’s not really Wikipedia.

  17. I also think the PROFIT meme was on Slashdot before it was on 4chan (mostly in response to posts about SCO)

    4chan has become sort of the new something awful when it comes to being attributed to starting memes.

  18. Well, writing about video games beats getting infected with tuberculosis while scrubbing public toilets, so I can’t really complain. At least my family can tell the rest of my relatives what I do for a living, now.

    Shallow? You betcha!

  19. Jeremy Parish, you are now my hero after that Wikipedia article on Clash at Demonhead. I mean, more so than you were already.

    Just because I like to openly criticize your work on forums for retards (and also Gamer’s Quarter) doesn’t mean you don’t have a space in my heart.

  20. Nice job on that Wikipedia page, I don’t like to write on there because the format of the pages are all the same and I don’t want to disturb it.

  21. So this ????/profit thing… it’s supposed to be… funny? I’d never even heard it before…

  22. Yeah, sort’ve. The ????/profit things assumes three things.

    1)An outrageously crazy plan.
    2)An undetermined/unknown second step. Hence, the “????”
    3)Massive profits.

    Most people have got the first and third steps down pat, but are lacking on the crucial second step, which I suppose is where the humor comes in.

  23. Is it ridiculously self-absorbed of me to kind of wish I could spend some time with (an inexplicably resurrected) Truman Capote simply so I could seem less self-absorbed by contrast? I know that has nothing to do with the actual topic, but.. you know… self-absorbed and all.

  24. I felt that The Far Side did that joke better, with its lengthy mathematical proof that included the phrase “and then a miracle occurs”.

  25. Your Wikipedia article reinforced to me why I so enjoy both your writing and Wikipedia. The article itself was extremely well-written and well-informed, clearly crafted by someone who loves games (and gaming history) as much as I do. And Wikipedia…well…I can go to the entry for, say, Super Mario Bros., and with all the cross-linking, I can keep myself busy for the better part of a typically dull work day.

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