On Friday I’ll be in Las Vegas for the annual DICE Summit, which I guess amounts to the “TED” or “D” conference for gaming. While I always attend every year, this year I’ve been asked to speak on a panel about “game journalism.” As of late I’ve avoided immersing myself into many of these discussions (like this one on Slate, or this symposium) because, dare I say, I would rather see folks doing more to change the state of journalism than lamenting it 10,000 words at a time. And I’ve been especially weary of talking about it at DICE, where a few years ago the “game journalism” panel included one editor of a single-platform magazine stating that their job was (to paraphrase) be a “cheerleader for their platform, and to make the reader feel good about owning that system.”
But this discussion should be an interesting one. It’s going to be moderated by Ted Price from Insomniac Games, who is one of the nicest guys in the business. (But he promises me there will be lots of drama and intrigue on our panel!). And I’ll be joined by some of my favorite peers, including Blog.Newsweek.com/Levelup’s N’Gai Croal, USA Today’s Mike Snider, and Seth “Schizzel” Schissel.
Instead of talking about the STATE of game journalism, maybe we should talk about WHAT game journalism even is in the wake of Neo-Gaf, The Wii, and MetaCritic. Why that’s a great name for a panel isn’t it! (For the record I can’t take credit). Does a game journalist even matter anymore? Sometimes I feel like the enthusiast magazines end up being nothing more than a mechanism for screenshot delivery, and today it’s still hard to get mainstream publications to write intelligently about the business.
Who deserves the blame? The journalists? Our editors? Or the game publishers/developers? I’m sure the DICE audience (which is largely comprised of developers/publishers) will lay the blame squarely at our feet, but I’ll argue that I think publishers and developers should look in the mirror too. Great journalism is about great storytelling, and far too often the game industry is so secretive and NDA-focused that some of the best stories never get told. And Ted is the king of the no comment…he’s very good at it, as you may remember from our Resistance 2 episode of GTTV last year.
I’m looking forward to the discussion.