What has happened to video game news websites lately? Many of the websites I used to frequent have started to take on a mentality similar to cable TV news. Video game “journalism” has become more about sensationalism and personal agendas instead of… video games. Some authors seem to do nothing more than throw rocks at the proverbial hornet’s nest of the internet, purely for the sake of page views and attention of any kind. While some would argue that a list like this could go on indefinitely, here are my top 5 picks for steaming piles of video game “news.”
5) IGN: Kingdom Hearts Sucks (But It Doesn’t Have to)
Sometimes it seems IGN is so busy slapping watermarks on every video game screenshot in existence that they don’t have the time to write reasonable articles. While the author of this article intended to voice some constructive criticism of the Kingdom Hearts games, things went wrong as soon as he wrote the title. The writing style is so childish and immature I had to make sure I was not reading something from the comments section of the article. The author proceeds to list all of his personal nitpicks with the series, and even suggests that Square Enix will vastly improve the series simply by taking his advice. With over 48 pages of angry comments following the article, it’s hard to tell if the author was trolling or legitimately criticizing the series.
4) Kotaku: Japan: It’s Not Funny Anymore
This article is fairly old, but it’s so ridiculous it has become one of the primary reasons Kotaku has earned the nickname, “Shitaku” in some corners of the internet. There are many reasons you should never treat a gaming news website like a personal blog. This article is one of them. If you have enough time in a day to read this small novel, you will essentially find this “featured” article is nothing more than a laundry list of complaints about living in Japan. And what a list! This guy cries about everything from how difficult it is to find food to meet the requirements of his wussy vegan diet, to how much he dislikes nearly every aspect of Japanese culture. Why on earth did someone with this mentality decide to work in a foreign country? Not only does the author sound like a bad tourist, his childish viewpoints on another culture make the rest of us westerners look like assholes. This guy need to move out of Japan, he also should learn that no one goes to a video game news site for long-winded sob stories from washed up hipsters.
3) Destructoid: And You Wonder Why Developers Hate PC Gamers …
The author of this article, Jim Sterling, is one of the reasons I stopped reading Destructoid. He is like the Bill O’Riley of game journalists- his writing is loaded with sensationalism, uninformed opinions, and harsh judgments. This article instantly ruins a valid argument about piracy by insulting an entire group of gamer’s right in the title. While it may be true that piracy hurts game developers, claiming that PC gamers are all pirates because the author has done it himself is a rather damning statement. The author continues to dig himself into an even deeper hole by claiming that PC gamers “deserve” DRM, and even pretends that nothing like this ever happens with console games. The negative reactions to this article were so bad, the author had to update the article and backpedal on several of his statements, TWICE.
2) 1Up: This Month in Misogyny: Exposed Minors, Hair-Pulling, and Advanced Elephantiasis
What is the best way to express your dislike for a video game? 1Up’s Bob Mackey decided to take the high road of video game journalism by placing disturbingly offensive labels on large groups of gamers. This venomous tirade starts by claiming that Nippon Ichi Software’s games are made to appeal to sex offenders; and then goes on to state that Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk.2 is “thinly veiled child pornography.” After a brief rant about an all-girl fighting game that has not even come out yet, the author then goes on a tangent about the breasts of a character from Devil Survivor 2. Right when you think the he has run out of stupid things to say, he blames large-breasted character designs on Japan’s youth losing interest in sex. It turns out gamers don’t really care for being called pedophiles just because they play JRPG’s, as demonstrated by the explosion of outraged commenters.
1) Kotaku: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is
And The Notorious “Follow up:”
Some articles just aren’t a good fit for a gaming news website. Racially-charged articles full of broad generalizations are one example. Kotaku decided to republish an article written by science fiction author John Scalzi, an article that attempts to explain the “white male privilege” in geek terms. The problem is, the author made the mistake of not realizing an article filled with subjective generalizations, racial bias, and a somewhat insulting tone, would come under scrutiny. Naturally, this resulted in a massive shitstorm in the comments on Kotaku and Scalzi’s own personal blog.
Things get even crazier when the author decided to do a follow up article on Kotaku a few days later. This smug outburst of arrogance can basically be summed up as the author saying: “I’m right, and if you disagree, you need to read my article again, and if you still disagree, you are wrong, AND you are a white male.” Scalzi lists several major criticisms of his article, and maturely explains that they could not possibly be valid. The author concludes his infallible stance on the subject by patting himself on the back for getting nerds to talk about racism. Sadly enough, this is the work of an award winning writer, not some burned out hack banging his keyboard in the office of a gaming publication. Watching a critically acclaimed author sink to the level of trolling a gaming website, and then crawling back to his personal blog to brag about it is perhaps the greatest tragedy I have ever seen on the internet.