Something’s been making me angry for the past couple of years. It’s difficult to put a proverbial finger on, but something about games websites, game-related social media, and game writers and communities in general has been pissing me right off. And I think I’ve finally been able to articulate what it is: It’s all the journalists fault.
I have come to the conclusion that large number of ‘games journalists’ and bloggers that I interact with have been to some meeting (to which I was not invited), where they received the following instructions:
1. Make sure you point out why everything is stupid. Even if you really like it.
This is possibly the most important item in the list. Whenever a piece of ‘good’ news comes out – like the announcement of a new game, or console – it is your sacred, god-given duty to ensure that you immediately point out to everyone why it’s really shit.
It doesn’t matter if really you like the news, or even if you’ve not formed a real opinion either way. The important thing is that you broadcast to the world that YOU are cooler than the thing in question. New Call of Duty is announced. *unzip* “HEY EVERYONE, I’M TOO COOL TO BE EXCITED BY THIS!”
No sooner is the news released that you frantically grab your android phone and start drafting a witty tweet. Timing is everything; you don’t want to make a 140 character joke that someone’s already made. No sooner is the Xbox One revealed than you’ve tweeted “ONE thing I won’t be buying”. That’s it – well done, you can now don your horn-rim shades and get back to reading The Guardian. App.
2. Have a really cool, witty bio on Twitter
They say first impressions count – and the internet is no exception. You want people who search for you to instantly know how cool and articulate you are. Drafting a succinctly witty twitter bio is absolutely essential for our kind. It’s not something anyone can do – there’s a specific template you have to follow. Let me explain.
An online writer’s bio MUST contain the following three things: a semi-joke fact, a reference to some other hobby (so the world knows how diverse you are), and a self-deprecatingly phrased statement that you are a writer. All of the above must be achieved in short sentences – preferably 2-4 words. Take a look at these examples (that we made up):
“Loves Cotton. Master of homebrewing. Been known to make sentences out of words.”
“Lover of Eels. Stamp Collector. Write some words sometimes on mediocreblog.com”
3. Defend Nintendo, especially when doing so defies all logic.
It doesn’t matter that Nintendo’s products and business model are objectively below any acceptable standard for today’s gaming world. Nintendo is perfect and good, because you played Mario when you were little and you liked it. End of story.
In one breath you should criticize certain companies for putting out the same game and same IP time after time. But when Nintendo announce a new line up that includes new Mario, new Luigi, new Mario and Luigi in go-karts, new Donkey Kong and a new Zelda game, they are geniuses. Even if one of those games probably won’t come out for another half-decade, if at all.
Of course if you review any of those games – Mario Kart for example – don’t think about what score that game would have gotten if it were just a random Karting game on XBLA. A random game with generic characters but all the same game mechanics and graphics. Base your review entirely on nostalgia.
4. Purchase a tweed blazer
Essential clothing for the modern internet gentleman must include a Tweed Blazer. If you’re attending Eurogamer, E3, or Gamescom, be sure to wear a blazer with jeans, a colourful shirt and nice shoes that match your brimmed hat. Bonus points if you have a brown tweed knapsack. Double bonus if you’re wearing a Nikkon camera on a strap around your neck.
Triple bonus if you proceed to immediately throw yourself off a bridge.
5. Make sure everyone knows you play indie games
We both know you’re too cool to talk about mainstream games. You need everyone to know how eclectic your refined videogame tastes are. Make sure you regularly tell the world through your site and through Twitter about the indie games you’ve been playing. Keep it nonchalant, mind – just a casual comment about how amazing you found that top-down 16-bit game about collecting pineapples.
On the same point, if you ever want to play a game like Call of Duty, you’ll probably want to make a second Xbox live account to play it with. Perish the thought that anyone suspects you have the same interests as the general population!
I don’t know what started this. I don’t know when this meeting was held or when these instructions where circulated, but can we please fucking stop it all now. Call of Duty is a fun game. Deal with it or fuck off.Nintendo are dying and irrelevant, and a massive disappointment when compared to what they could be. Deal with it or fuck off. Stop pointing out why everything is shit in a desperate attempt to get as many retweets as you can, for no other reason than to wave your e-willy in everyones faces.
And brimmed hats are for bellends.