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A table of Doritos and the state of the gaming media

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Showing 1-25 of 51 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 25, 2012, 5:58:27 PM PDT
You really need to see that picture of Geoff Keighley. It's so blatant it's comical.

There is an image doing the rounds on the internet this week. It is an image of Geoff Keighley, a Canadian games journalist, sitting dead-eyed beside a garish Halo 4 poster and a table of Mountain Dew and Doritos. It is a tragic, vulgar image. But I think that it is the most important image in games journalism today. I think we should all find it and study it. It is important.

Geoff Keighley is often described as an industry leader. A games expert. He is one of the most prominent games journalists in the world. And there he sits, right there, beside a table of snacks. He will be sitting there forever, in our minds. That's what he is now. And in a sense, it is what he always was. As Executive Producer of the mindless, horrifying spectacle that is the Spike TV Video Game Awards he oversees the delivery of a televisual table full of junk, an entire festival of cultural Doritos.

How many games journalists are sitting beside that table?

Recently, the Games Media Awards rolled around again, and games journos turned up to a thing to party with their friends in games PR. Games PR people and games journos voted for their favourite friends, and friends gave awards to friends, and everyone had a good night out. Eurogamer won an award. Kieron Gillen was named an industry legend (and if anyone is a legend in games writing, he is) but he deserves a better platform for recognition than those GMAs. The GMAs shouldn't exist. By rights, that room should be full of people who feel uncomfortable in each other's company. PR people should be looking at games journos and thinking, "That person makes my job very challenging." Why are they all best buddies? What the hell is going on?

Whenever you criticise the GMAs, as I've done in the past, you face the accusation of being "bitter". I've removed myself from those accusations somewhat by consistently making it clear that I'm not a games journalist. I'm a writer who regularly writes about games, that's all. And I've been happy for people who have been nominated for GMAs in the past, because I've known how much they wanted to be accepted by that circle. There is nothing wrong with wanting to belong, or wanting to be recognised by your peers. But it's important to ask yourself who your peers are, and exactly what it is you feel a need to belong to.

Just today, as I sat down to write this piece, I saw that there were games journalists winning PS3s on Twitter. There was a competition at those GMAs - tweet about our game and win a PS3. One of those stupid, crass things. And some games journos took part. All piling in, opening a sharing bag of Doritos, tweeting the hashtag as instructed. And today the winners were announced. Then a whole big argument happened, and other people who claim to be journalists claimed to see nothing wrong with what those so-called journalists had done. I think the winners are now giving away their PS3s, but it's too late. It's too late.

I want to make a confession. I stalk games journalists. It's something I've always done. I keep an eye on people. I have a mental list of games journos who are the very worst of the bunch. The ones who are at every PR launch event, the ones who tweet about all the freebies they get. I am fascinated by them. I won't name them here, because it's a horrible thing to do, but I'm sure some of you will know who they are. I'm fascinated by these creatures because they are living one of the most strange existences - they are playing at being a thing that they don't understand. And if they don't understand it, how can they love it? And if they don't love it, why are they playing at being it?

This club, this weird club of pals and buddies that make up a fair proportion of games media, needs to be broken up somehow. They have a powerful bond, though - held together by the pressures of playing to the same audience. Games publishers and games press sources are all trying to keep you happy, and it's much easier to do that if they work together. Publishers are well aware that some of you go crazy if a new AAA title gets a crappy review score on a website, and they use that knowledge to keep the boat from rocking. Everyone has a nice easy ride if the review scores stay decent and the content of the games are never challenged. Websites get their exclusives. Ad revenue keeps rolling in. The information is controlled. Everyone stays friendly. It's a steady flow of Mountain Dew pouring from the hills of the money men, down through the fingers of the weary journos, down into your mouths. At some point you will have to stop drinking that stuff and demand something better.

Ed i t or 's No te

Following receipt of a complaint from Lauren Wainwright, Eurogamer has removed part of this article (but without admission of any liability). Eurogamer apologises for any distress caused to Ms Wainwright by the references to her. The article otherwise remains as originally published.

Standards are important. They are hard to live up to, sure, but that's the point of them. The trouble with games journalism is that there are no standards. We expect to see Geoff Keighley sitting beside a table of s***. We expect to see the flurry of excitement when the GMAs get announced, instead of a chuckle and a roll of the eyes. We expect to see our games journos failing to get what journalistic integrity means. The brilliant writers, like John Walker for example, don't get the credit they deserve simply because they don't play the game. Indeed, John Walker gets told to get off his pedestal because he has high standards and is pointing out a worrying problem.

Geoff Keighley, meanwhile, is sitting beside a table of snacks. A table of delicious Doritos and refreshing Mountain Dew. He is, as you'll see on Wikipedia, "only one of two journalists, the other being 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace, profiled in the Harvard Business School press book 'Geeks and Geezers' by noted leadership expert Warren Bennis." Geoff Keighley is important. He is a leader in his field. He once said, "There's such a lack of investigative journalism. I wish I had more time to do more, sort of, investigation." And yet there he sits, glassy-eyed, beside a table heaving with sickly Doritos and Mountain Dew.

It's an important image. Study it.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 6:09:13 PM PDT
DVvM says:
I can't stop laughing at that image. It's the funniest thing I've seen all day.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012, 6:12:09 PM PDT
It's like the old Winston ads using Flintstones characters. They are shameless.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 6:16:02 PM PDT
Here is the part of the article that Eurogamer removed:

One games journalist, Lauren Wainwright, tweeted: "Urm... Trion were giving away PS3s to journalists at the GMAs. Not sure why that's a bad thing?"

Now, a few tweets earlier, she also tweeted this: "Lara header, two TR pix in the gallery and a very subtle TR background. #obsessed @tombraider"

And instantly I am suspicious. I am suspicious of this journalist's apparent love for Tomb Raider. I am asking myself whether she's in the pocket of the Tomb Raider PR team. I'm sure she isn't, but the doubt is there. After all, she sees nothing wrong with journalists promoting a game to win a PS3, right?

Another journalist, one of the winners of the PS3 competition, tweeted this at disgusted RPS writer John Walker: "It was a hashtag, not an advert. Get off the pedestal." Now, this was Dave Cook, a guy I've met before. A good guy, as far as I could tell. But I don't believe for one second that Dave doesn't understand that in this time of social media madness a hashtag is just as powerful as an advert. Either he's on the defensive or he doesn't get what being a journalist is actually about.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 6:33:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 25, 2012, 9:33:55 PM PDT
If you scroll down the comments Dave Cook apologizes or something and says he is giving up the PS3 that he won.

Edit: Here it is...

Hi guys, Dave Cook here, I have to clarify that at the time I didn't see the hashtag thing as an issue, but earlier on when it was called into question I saw what people were driving at.

I also earlier today pledged my PS3 to the Sick Kids Save Point charity, which means it's going to a children's hospital instead. I amn't keeping it.

Thanks all,


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012, 6:37:41 PM PDT
Thanks for adding that. A point in his favor.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012, 7:07:25 PM PDT
No problem.

It is a interesting read. Geoff looks like he is ready to go off the deep end.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 8:46:54 PM PDT
StriderNeo15 says:
How do these nerds not already have PS3s?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012, 8:52:53 PM PDT
It must have been a good article judging by the backlash. The writer separated himself from Eurogamer after they cut that section out. Here's an interesting tweet from the author:

I'm a "piece of shit", an "arrogant troll" and will have to be wary of "enemies" if I attend any games PR events. A disappointing 24 hours.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012, 9:05:35 PM PDT
DVvM says:
Everybody likes getting free stuff they can sell, right?

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 9:51:08 PM PDT
Modern Bear says:
That was a great article. Stuff like what is mentioned in this article is part of the reason why I don't read reviews from so called professional game journalists. Besides the fact that many of them seem incompetent, such as how they don't bother to play much of the games they review, being on the take makes their opinions suspect to begin with.

Gaming journalists needs to clean up their act and learn what journalism is all about. It would be nice to see all other forms of journalism learn that lesson too, especially political journalists. Hobnobbing with politicians and cheerleading for their politician/issue of choice in articles is not journalism, it's propaganda.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012, 10:07:36 PM PDT
Did you look at the picture? It's hysterical that somebody actually approved that shot.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012, 10:10:31 PM PDT
Modern Bear says:
Of course. It would be kind of hard to miss since I read the article. It sums up the whole article in one perfect picture. By the way that will be the look on my face if the VGAs get any worse this year.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012, 10:12:27 PM PDT
This is my favorite from the section that was cut: One games journalist, Lauren Wainwright, tweeted: "Urm... Trion were giving away PS3s to journalists at the GMAs. Not sure why that's a bad thing?"

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012, 10:18:30 PM PDT
Modern Bear says:
Oh yeah, that right there shows why she isn't a real journalist. If she isn't sure why it's a bad thing, she need to find something else to do. A lot of these people really are clueless.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012, 10:34:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2012, 2:53:54 AM PDT
Nicos says:
To be fair Geoff Keighley looks pretty glassy-eyed in ALL the images that came up for him on google. Maybe the yellow-5 vapor and doritos dust inhalation has damaged his central nervous system.

Posted on Oct 26, 2012, 2:30:37 AM PDT
R. says:
As it turns out, Lauren Wainwright probably IS in the pocket of Tomb Raider's PR team.

Posted on Oct 26, 2012, 11:42:37 AM PDT
Doritos taste like hobo vomit. I don't understand why so many BroD00ds are into doritos taco bell. It's like the lowest quality beef you can legally sell, on top of doritos, which should only be eaten when drunk

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012, 11:49:52 AM PDT
article summed up
bought off

Posted on Oct 26, 2012, 11:50:21 AM PDT
Video game journalists have their own awards night?
What? Pulitzer hasn't considered anyone from IGN yet?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012, 11:54:37 AM PDT
DVvM says:
"The cover-up is always worse than the crime".

Nobody really cared that she unthinkingly tweeted something which made her look like a shill.

Trying to hide the fact that you are, deep down, a shill? Well, that's different.

Posted on Oct 26, 2012, 11:54:47 AM PDT
Carlito says:
Greg Miller had the best response to this article by reviewing Oreos this week

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012, 11:56:52 AM PDT
that image is hypnotic, still staring at it (hope I typed this in the right spot)

Posted on Oct 26, 2012, 11:58:08 AM PDT
I can't comprehend why anyone likes Greg Miller's stuff.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012, 11:59:09 AM PDT
Carlito says:
I never asked if you could nor do I care.
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Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  22
Total posts:  51
Initial post:  Oct 25, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 27, 2012

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