There is even hierarchy amongst the lowest of the low. Almost anyone over the age of sixteen who is savvy as to gaming culture will know that games ‘journalism’ is entirely insipid. Infantile to the point where it becomes a matter of course to place air-quotes around the word journalism. For me, this isn’t even a case of derision. Journalism implies a sense of professionalism, both in the way that the journalists conduct themselves and above all, in the manner in which the articles are written. Good journalism should:
(a) Be expressed in a lucid and literate manner
(b) Serve a purpose
Obviously we’d all like it if, at the same time, journalism could be witty and insightful, but we are talking about games journalism here so let’s not aspire to more than those first two.
Gaming has spawned a culture filled with vicious backbiting, neuroses and an obsession with review scores. Not that I would ever suggest that the literary world or the field of movie criticism is any better, far from it. Given the choice, I’d rather have an IGN bullet point summation of GoW2 than read a New Yorker puff piece about Cliff Bleszinski. Again would I prefer to be told that the Halo 3 multiplayer experience is great than have the ‘mighty pantheon which Bungie has constructed’ described as ‘magisterial’. Better bad information than drawling word salads.
However, mired in idiocy and sycophancy as they are, it’s hard to argue that other critics cannot express their opinion in a literate, erudite manner. One up on games journalism, then.
Do we have this established yet? I could talk about the fact that games journalists are the dregs of other forms of journalism, incapable of better. Or that even that fetish of those who would argue that gaming is serious business, N’Gai Croal, seems to know very little about the games themselves and is merely capable of putting together a coherent piece of writing. This is not noteworthy, though. Gaming is a field in its infancy, the journalists who chronicle it even more so. It is trite and all the synonyms which thesaurus.com can conjure for that. In this sense, it is a field not worthy of criticism in itself.
Which is why the fact that eegra.com subsists entirely on criticising games journalism all the more infuriating. That’s right, the past 400 words or so was all to establish the culture in which gaming finds itself, so as to allow me render my hatred of eegra.com in the proper context.
Eegra is a wellspring of smug pointlesness. It is an onanistic haven for self-important wankery. Looking now at the front page, I see that gurning moron Dan Staines cleverly pointing out the absurdity of creating an action game based on the distinctly non-action oriented Inferno. And oh, what a damned witty observation it is. Is that source material at all suited to the creation of a new IP in the action genre? You’re right it isn’t at all! Furthermore, you’ll notice that he hasn’t actually written anything of note himself, but rather referred the reader to an assuredly ‘hilarious’ thread on the forums which I can only assume are populated by equally conceited sentient supermassive egos.
I could compare this brand of smugness with a variety of archetypes: the Hybrid owner, the smoked salmon socialist, the PETA member. But I won’t have to go so far afield. We in games are familiar with people of Dan’s ilk. We’d know them as hardcore fanboys, fighting phantom enemies with post counts that spiral into the tens of thousands.
Reading down the page I see in order:
(i)Sycophantic plug for A Magical Wasteland.
(ii)Breathless fan exhortation to Capcom
(iii)Two seperate M.Bison comics. I’m not sure if these are intended to be submersive or downright stupid. I suppose I’d prefer the latter and suspect the former.
(iv)Plug for Ellie Gibson and reference to ‘Golden Age’ of British journalism. Golden provided you liked reading uninformative, unprofessional and uninsightful in-joke ridden slagheaps with ever so idiosyncratic references to Phil Mitchell. I can only assume then that Dan purloined his opinion about this Age That Never Was from RAM Raider, a site which can be generously described as Satan’s own bowel movement.
(v)Killzone 2 review wherein brown and gray and lack of imagination is complained about.
(vi)Patrick Alexander writes about obscure app for the iPhone. Alexander at least has the decency to be diverse in his inanities.
(vii)Hilarity Comic. Edgy, submersive, exposing the seedy underbelly of gaming as Fight Club did for modern life.
(viii)The breasts of Lara Croft. Or ‘breasticles’, as I’m sure Eegra would refer to them.
Essentially, eegra is criticising a culture not worth criticism with essays written in the manner of the culture they are criticising. They are writing nothing badly. Going through the archives I’m left with one mildly amusing Phoenix Wright skit and a Pac Man comic as the only things which aren’t pointless, snarky and moronic.
So what was the ultimate point of all this? Surely if I have such contempt for the site then I wouldn’t deign to squander my time in criticism thereof? Long story short, self-affirmation is where it’s at. I’m reaffirming my factitiousness by attempting to make unnattractive, bearded twats attempt a paradigm shift within themselves. Maxing the envelope.