A General Malaise

29 Sep

We’re approaching that most wonderful time of the video game year, but I can’t help feeling a bit fed up with the community right now, despite finally getting my hands on two games I’ve been waiting several months for (Dragon Quest IV and Mega Man 9). Maybe I’m just a bit anxious to get out there and make my own mark on the industry. I think this recent ‘Jack Thompson being a product of the gaming media‘ issue is finally getting people talking about the problems in the media, even the people behind the media itself.

I don’t care if breaking the rule against feeding the trolls led to Thompson becoming what he was. It’s the fact that the major blogs covered the man’s every word and appearance, no matter how inconsequential to our hobbies those instances were. This practice isn’t limited to the enemies of the industry like Thompson. There’s a ridiculous overabundance of boring coverage and an incredible lack of actual news. Take this recent rumor of a new Nintendo DS supposedly coming by the end of the year.

The gaming blogs got wind of the rumor and jumped on it right away, ending their posts with a casual word that none of this has been verified. Kotaku actually revealed the story with the heading Report: New Nintendo DS Coming This Year With Camera, Music Playback”. Following the rumor reveal, the blogs do what they always do: post speculations and updates with new posts rather than editing the original post. This is a product of 24-hour news.

I love the thrill that can come with a good rumor as much as anyone else, but devoting multiple (poorly presented) posts to unverified rumors is pretty irresposible when you’re one of the most popular sources of news in a specific community. What has anyone gained from this, as of yet unverified, rumor? I suppose there are some people out there with busted DS’s who are eagerly awaiting confirmation, but if every rumor is open to coverage by the people we trust to give us news, how are game blogs any better than tabloids or those horrible celebrity “news” shows?

Every now and then, you’ll find people wondering why video games still aren’t considered a legitimate medium. You’ll probably even see that on Kotaku or Joystiq from time to time. Strange that professionals who report and speculate on rumors wonder why games aren’t taken more seriously.

Maybe I’m just blowing this out of proportion because of how anxious I am to get done with school and get out in the world.

Basically, I just feel that our biggest sources of news are too focused on posting first that they lose focus on giving us clear, important, and factual information. Browsing through these sites several times a week, you’ll see countless posts on games you don’t care for; posts containing information that would be better appreciated on a specific fan site rather than a general news site. I also hate how when there is something important to read, you’ll often find it “after the jump” despite being a relatively short post, often presenting a quote. It’s just a cheap move to get readers to click posts they otherwise wouldn’t, putting cash in the posters pocket. That might just be a personal peeve, though.

I get so desensitized to these repeated topics that I often find myself scrolling through pages of updates until something actually cathes my attention.

It is a bit nice to see Kotaku post a poll asking whether or not we think the media is partially responsible for Jack Thompson (though they continued their lack of proper posting by not having it featured as some sort of sticky poll.) The current results of that poll are even nicer: Over 2000 people voted, and over 70% agree that the media is responsible.

I hope the good folks at Kotaku post a follow-up; they often do.

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