Recently, Moviebob opined on Twitter that "The sad fact of the world is that good journalism can only thrive if there's a readership worthy of it. I thought gaming might get there, may have been wrong. Video games should have been THE art-form of the 21st century, but Westernization, bro-ficiation and XBL culture have ruined and debased it. Genuinely heartbreaking." Do you believe there is any merit to what he is saying? Are we in some way responsible for modern gaming journalism?
'XBL culture' has 'ruined and debased' gaming's potential as an artistically-expressive medium… in the same way that a braindead Hollywood action film has 'ruined and debased' motion pictures as an artistic vehicle. Being released in the same year as 'Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla' didn't appear to squelch the artistic potential of 1974's 'ChinaTown', so why would that be a viable argument to explain away gaming's lack of 'art' credentials? I must have missed the meeting where we all decided that because a given art form can produce the banal in equal or greater measure to the genuinely artistic… it somehow defaults on its 'art form' credentials.
Is photography shunned as an art form simply because fat, sweaty snake-oil salesmen in the San Fernando Valley take sleazy pictures of women being railed by strangers and sell them for currency in print and on the internet?
The fact is, ‘Bro-fication’ (MovieBlob is considered a wordsmith? Really?) is one of the manifestations of commercial success. Nothing - including the Popped-Collar Platoon - is precluding the video game industry from realizing its artistic ambition…
…the fact that the industry often has no artistic ambition to speak of does, however. The Death of the Middle Market has a fair bit to do with that, as well. Which ‘XBL culture’ and heineken-swilling Fratfucks had flat-zero to do with, either. Skyrocketing game budgets and publisher consolidation did.
Gaming Journalism is merely a reflection of that.
By the time the film press really got rolling (‘Photoplay’ was established in 1911), movies had already begun to traverse the desert of disposable entertainment and be taken seriously as an art form. While coverage of the time often revolved around the personal lives of stars, unwittingly creating the ‘celebrity gossip’ subgenre… it also featured lengthy articles about the production and criticism of films themselves.
Gaming? Complete opposite.
When magazines like GamePro or Electronic Gaming Monthly were first published, the most sincere artistic expression on offer from gaming involved an 8-bit plumber breaking blocks with his fucking head! Due to the more complicated method used to produce them, gaming simply took longer to get to a place where the technology was sufficient to even attempt a more artistic product. And early, fumbling attempts, in retrospect, were far less ‘artistic’ than our hype-fueled gaming press credited them with being at the time. Who doesn’t read articles from 1997, purporting that the random conglomeration of anime and action film cliché known as Final Fantasy 7 ‘is art’… and positively cringe? The longer the gaming press falsely claims disposable dogshit like The Last of Us and Final Fantasy 7 are ‘art’… the longer gaming will occupy the cultural basement. All in service to hype. Some of which, MovieBob has been a party (unwittingly or otherwise) to cultivating and enhancing.
Gaming Journalism was established as an unofficial advertising wing of its own industry… and sadly, it has remained that way in perpetuity.
'Frat Bros', Call of Duty Kill-streaks, and Xbox Live had flat-nothing to do with that.