Jamison Trumpets

The Penny Arcade Report

February 21st, 2012 by DanielRGT

Hey, it’s a new post!

I felt like it was necessary for me to make a post showcasing The Penny Arcade Report and why it is much cooler than you. You’re probably going over all the reasons that you’re incredibly cool, but I have to burst your cool bubble and show you why the Penny Arcade Report is one of the best things to happen to video game journalism in a long time.

I’ve had a big problem with the state of video game journalism for a long time. Being a former video game journalist myself (albeit not a very notable one), I know what it’s like to try and write news articles for a website. It’s very obviously different than writing for my personal blog.

Firstly, you have much less freedom when writing for a website. That’s sort of a natural realization though, isn’t it? The site has a certain image it’s trying to present, and if nine of the ten articles I’ve written are showcasing which video games have cocks hidden in them they are going to have trouble with me. Websites define how good an article is based on how many views, or “hits”, it gets. What type of articles does this produce? Well to be extremely blunt, it produces utter shit.

Ben Kuchera maps this out much more eloquently than me however. I’m not a weaver of words such as Ben or Tycho of Penny Arcade, but I try my best. Kuchera puts it as such:

“The super-blogs push content out at a furious pace, but the open secret is only a few interesting things happen each day in the world of video games. Everyone runs two or three interesting stories per day, and the rest is filler. The continual, relentless publication of stories that don’t say anything of worth, re-write an existing article, or exist only to grab page views with a few sexy images can be numbing. This is why so many people don’t take video game news seriously: there just isn’t enough out there to fill out a schedule that demands a story every twenty or thirty minutes.”

Wasn’t that a nice quote? He doesn’t even use any naughty words like I do! Truly this showcases the difference between a professional and an idiot, such as myself.

Back to the original topic which I brought up though (Remember what it was? It’s up there, where I said you have no freedom!). There’s a lot of rigidity involved in video game journalism. Articles end up being bland, mediocre, uneventful, and sometimes even completely nonsensical. Factual inaccuracies make frequent appearances in articles nowadays. This leads me to my second point.

Since articles are being shit out at an alarming rate, then the magic of “The Editorial” ends up becoming a dream rather than a reality. As a child, I have fond memories of reading video game magazines. The most notable in my memories would undoubtedly be the classic “EGM” (Electronic Gaming Monthly). It was my dream to write for this magazine, and it’s unfortunate but now that dream can never come true. EGM has since been out of print for several years now and it has everything to do with the internet.

Why have a subscription to a magazine that gives you month old news when you can get instant “gratification” from the internet news? I understand why magazines basically died out; even magazines like Game Informer need the endless bickering of a GameStop employee to shove their subscriptions down your throat.

Is that a good thing though? Obviously in magazines you had to wade through endless pages of advertisements, but what you got in return (at least in my opinion) were articles that seemed like they had actual content. Articles with some meat on their bones. Not every article was a winner, and of course even magazine journalism had its faults; however, I felt more comfortable reading those articles than the drivel that ends up on gaming websites nowadays.

Seeing an article with an outrageous headline to draw readers in isn’t gaming news. It isn’t even entertainment. It’s a poor attempt at drawing in readers that will eventually become enraged at the article as a whole. At that point, however, it’s too late. The person clicked on it, so the people running it count it as a win. “These types of articles interest people, look at all these hits!” The data ends up being read over the general response from the “crowd” as it were.

Gamers complain about all these types of articles, yet this is the norm; this is the standard of living we have become accustomed to. We read an article and go, “That article had no content,” then we are right back to the news feed to say the same thing about the 20 other articles being released. One could say it is an exercise in masochism how much gamers put up with this shit, but the reality is that there isn’t really an alternative. It ends up being “read this bad article” or “read no article.”

Why am I telling you this though? Chances are you aren’t a video game journalist, you’re a “consumer” such as myself. You’re one of the many readers who’s been victim to this type of poor writing and structure. You already know all this information. So what’s the point of me telling you, right? It’s sort of like me beckoning you over on the street and unveiling to you that yes, people tend to cry when they are sad.

I could lie and say that I have some sort of naive optimism that video game journalist will read this blog (which currently averages about 1 reader a month, usually myself) and change their ways. I could do that, or I could say that there are people making an effort to fix this type of shoddy journalism.

I mentioned it at the beginning of my post, Penny Arcade brought on board Ben Kuchera (the guy I quoted above) to present to you The Penny Arcade Report. They brought him on board awhile ago, but I suppose you could say that The Penny Arcade Report started up extremely recently, as early as yesterday or today.

What type of things can we expect from this endeavor? Well, if what they say is any truth at all (and I trust Penny Arcade’s backing, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the odds are high that it will be) then we will be seeing journalism that is respectable. Interesting articles about gaming? On the regular? How could this be possible?

So what is this blog post about anyway? Is it an advertisement? “Sure seems like it” you might be saying. You could be right, honestly. I’m trying my best to put this new thing out in the open. I don’t really see video game websites advertising this type of things to be honest. It’d be like if a new restaurant came out claiming to be way better than Red Robin and then Red Robin said, “That place is fucking banging check that shit out! Way better than us!” It just wouldn’t happen.

I want to see video game news that isn’t complete horse shit. I want to see articles with intelligent points and proper research done. I want to see news that gets my brain working. I’m tired of what video game journalism has turned into. I used to really want to be a video game journalist when I was younger perhaps out of some naive image I built up in my head. As I grew older, however, I soon realized that the field I wanted to join was turning into what it is now. There’s almost no part of me that wishes to be a part of video game journalism now, which is a shame because part of me thinks I would do okay in that field.

However, if journalists step their shit up and take a look at the type of things Penny Arcade is producing via The Penny Arcade Report I may be able to have that dream yet again. Is this about me? Not even a little bit, but everyone is a little selfish.

Best of luck to Ben Kuchera and The Penny Arcade Report. This is the first sign of hopefully better news; I’m hoping others will follow suit in whatever way they can.

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