Ok sure - well what specifically do you think is the problem?
"Too much corruption, not enough transparency, media keep trying to silence our complaints."
Oof, that’s a tricky one. I mean you’re sort of suggesting a number of things there, first of all that corruption has been proven to…
Awesome stuff from Matt Lees here.
This said, I definitely think there’s something not being acknowledged which I’d like to see mentioned more in retrospect. There’s a reason - not a good, justified reason, or a reason which demanded a reaction of this size, but a reason - that these people take it as read that there is corruption in the games journalism world and that the debate is about fixing it versus not fixing it as opposed to proving definitively that it exists in the first place.
It’s that they think, on some level, that Gone Home, Depression Quest and their ilk somehow objectively don’t deserve the coverage they get.
It’s just accepted - any major publicity for avant-garde video games, or at least this degree of publicity, is because of collusion and corruption, because to a certain mind, these games are somewhere between worthless and out-and-out Not-Games. There’s a reason the devs under suspicion are the indies.
It is at this point worth mentioning that, for quite a lot of people, the reasoning behind calling these games worthless is that they are made by women or GSM folk and thus aren’t for real gamers (or worse, are actively pushing the Ess-Jay-Dubbleyu agenda!) but for many it’s more broadly that they don’t get the appeal, that the things these games try and do aren’t what, in their mind, games are for, and thus don’t get why these games are so often praised or brought up, with many of them afraid that this kind of game will overtake real games.
To which I can only say, of course games journalists never shut up about games like those. If you evaluated and analysed hundreds of games a year professionally you’d be screaming out for interesting auteur curios as well. I mean, to me, I’d almost understand why someone would go the absolute other way and accuse Depression Quest ofa cynically designed machine engineered to get publicity, but it’s unimaginable to me that it was so unlikely to get coverage that it would rely on its writer banging people for reviews.
Critics always value the avant-garde of media because it’s a more interesting, worthwhile field to talk and think about than whatever shit you want them to discuss. Like, if these people had a broader scope than just video games they’d know that the term “indie darling” is in the lexicon of every sphere of mass media critics. Film critics aren’t all colluding to promote the career of their close personal buddy Leos Carax, they’re just sick of the same urban destruction blockbuster they’ve been watching since Independence Day. Likewise, Gone Home is obviously a welcome release from “Kill aliens! Kill goblins! Kill soldiers! Come see videogames, where anything is possible!”. Because one day, you’ll be bored of those things too, and when you are, you’re going to have a whole load of great writing about other avenues games have been exploring waiting for you.
It’s the same with developers. They play many games every year, just to expand their library of ideas. Hence why journalists and developers do not understand where these supposedly bulletproof accusations of corruption are coming from. To them, of course these games would naturally earn every piece of media they got. They’re interesting. They’re aspiring to something greater. They’re the forward guard, pushing the limits of the medium. To someone whose investment is in the evolution of a medium, rather than in the consumption, that’s the kind of work most worth talking about.
So you have one group who take it as given that these works wouldn’t get discussed without an ulterior motive, and another group who don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to talk about them as a matter of course. So they talk past one another for about two weeks until it dies down, as is fortunately happening now.