Okay, before we get into the nitty gritty of this “controversy” a little housekeeping is in order, not only to make sure my comments section and email inbox isn’t invaded by a lynch mob but also to clarify what I’m referring to and why.
To be clear, this is kind of a response to an article made by nichegamer.com here. That in turn is a response to a rather controversial article here. That in turn referred to what basically amounts to the overall reaction to the video shown below.
As you may or may not have noticed, the person playing the game in this video has skills that are…lackluster, to say the least. The response from gamers was basically a combination of outrage, disappointment, and protest against not only Polygon, but gaming journalism as a whole. Again, the response to that outrage was this, and the response to that article was that. The former article seems pretty biased, as it basically blames disasters like GamerGate for the controversy that developed, while the latter article from NicheGamer at least tries to be fair, even if it expressed an opinion I disagree with.
So now that your all caught up, let me be clear on a few things; it was DEFINITELY a bonehead move on someone’s part to let someone with very little interest and/or experience in FPS titles represent the demonstration of Doom, which is the flagship title of not just the genre but the whole concept of 3D gaming. Without the first Doom game and Wolfinstien 3D, we wouldn’t have classics such as Halo, Half-Life, Overwatch, or System Shock (Precursor to the more famous game Bioshock), all which are touchstones in the transition from pure 2D to the 3D landscape vistas we so often explore.
That being said, its obvious that the video is meant for little more then a demonstration of how the game looks, feels, and works in general. While it is a shame (and kind of a missed opportunity) that they didn’t just sponsor some professional player on twitch who is already an expert on FPS games in exchange for playing in this video, the response before and after this video to the gaming journalism platform as a whole hasn’t exactly been admirable. To this day, twitter is echoing with retweets about how the guy who reviewed the game Doom for Polygon represents everything that is wrong with the medium of game journalism.
Let me be clear; the man who reviewed “Doom” for Polygon did NOT play in that video!
Trust me. He didn’t even write that inflammatory article from paste magazine; Garret Martin did. I won’t mention the name of the reviewer of Doom because he has nothing to do with this whole mess nor does he deserve further defamation.
In fact, if I am going to be honest with you guys on here, I can say that this kind of culture war BS that goes on between gamers like me who played computer and video games since age 4 or younger and the rest of the world is mostly a product of this kind of internet bitching and moaning. The storm of GamerGate has come and gone, but the hate mongered on both sides put a sizable rift in our community, and while I can’t say nice things about the reactionary response from Garret about the whole thing, it certainly feels like we have more to talk about in gaming then weather or not some guy paid to play the Doom tutorial for 30 minutes is any “gud”. I hope that in writing this I present a clear and objective view to the conversation without adding further flame to the argument. I will relent to the awesome guys at nichegamer.com and to gamers in general that we are definitely represented in the media, but like the late great Michael Jackson said, if you wanna change the world, take a look at yourself and make the change.
OK. Housekeeping is done. Onto the nitty gritty
Why you should leave Polygon alone, and why it matters.
Gaming skill is a definite boon to reviewing and writing about games, believe me, I know. But a much better skill to have for journalism, even for journalism about games, is of course journalism. Getting your facts straight, communicating effectives with speech and/or writing, and getting to the core of what affects the gaming industry as a whole are far more important then being able to strafe and shoot at the same time. To say the game reviewers and journalists in general should be “required” to know how to play games is like chastising a commenter on ESPN for not knowing how to throw a football. It sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud.
I hate to break it to you guys, but gamers as they are often referred to represent the minority of actual video game users. We are basically what experts call the “hardcore” players. That is to say, we are the ones that have been playing since the beginning, and we are the ones that stayed. While I am proud to be in that circle, I share that territory with a much wider demographic known as the casual players. These are the players that make up you grandma or your sister, whose first experience with games is very likely Candy Crush on the Iphone. While I admit its painful to see new players like these pick up Doom for the first time, and I definitely think that it was a mistake to let someone from this group play the first 30 minutes of said game before anyone, these types of novices make up the vast majority of the purchasing power that puts companies like Bethesda and Id software afloat. They are the new generation of gamers, and have been its lifeblood since the beginning. After all; weren’t YOU a new player when you picked up Super Mario Bros for the first time? Or was it Pac-man at the Arcade? Joust? Pong, if you are really old?
The average age demographic for video game players is 18-35. We should start acting like we belong in that age bracket. I don’t know about you, but doesn’t maturity involve a little thing called patience?
Am I right or am I wrong?