Herein I shall discuss the topic of transparency with respect to journalism in games and games reporting. These are the thoughts and feelings of myself and no one else connected to me, hence I am typing this on my own blog.
My Part in #GamerGate
Whether we admit it or not, GamerGate is a convoluted issue that touches many lives in gaming. The whole thing upset a lot of people and many peoples’ lives, careers etc continue to be destroyed. I published two articles detailing my thoughts and feelings on the topic. Here I will put the main points, as I see them, and outline what I think are my goals in participation with GamerGate and my hopes for its results.
1. Journalistic Transparency – Whether it is the conspiracy of indiedev rockstars close to the major games reporting sites, or something as simple as watching where money is placed in games, I want higher levels of transparency in gaming journalism. We want a reliable news source that provides unbiased and informative articles and reviews about gaming and its culture.
2. Journalistic Integrity – During this whole battle (and yes it has been a battle) the major games media have earned the disdain of their own fans by assaulting them with articles of anger and hate. just because they are reporters, doesn’t mean they cannot hate. I have chosen to boycott many of these sites because of the lack of journalistic integrity and lack of professional deceny they employed in their approach. To note: both sides devolved into screaming, angry mobs. The validity of major games media would have been better served by forming a united, professional front, not screaming insults and making fun of their fans.
3. Degradation of the Depiction of Gamers – This more or less falls under industry harassment of their readers, but it goes beyond that. The industry subscribes to this belief that gamers are all fat nerds talking about games from the 90s and some “Golden Age” of gaming, when it really doesn’t work that way. We are not some marginalized and increasingly irrelevant subgroup of a fast-moving culture, we are the culture. Women, children, men, black, white, gay, straight, asian, latino, British, American, polynesian, etc. We come from many places, play many games and have many valid points of view. Calling us all straight white misogynistic neckbearded males is just digusting. Grow up and stop creating monsters to justify your theories and make a relevance for yourselves. How about we celebrate the diversity that exists in our culture and the acceptance that is in our culture rather than exaggerating issues and symbols for an extremist agenda? you will gain more followers and my undying respect for that.
4. Harassment – I put this last because both sides of the discussion agree here (two petitions having been signed against harassment), and it seems to be the most common ground: NOT DUE TO IMPORTANCE. Stop harassment. Bullying, doxxing and other practices that affect people in real life negatively and make internet life harder should be reported and eliminated. Whether it is the proselytizing of “SJW’s” or the destructive influence of Trolls, harassment needs to end if any progress is to be made in either direction.
Considering all this, I will provide information on which Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns I have supported. I don’t support Patreon campaigns, although I have considered creating one myself since I do this purely as a hobby and I have no greater parent company to pay my bills, and permit me time to play & write about it. Juggling time has been the biggest obstacle to this, since I recently took on a full-time position at my regular job and will have to find a way to post on weekends. I feel that making contributions to crowdfund campaigns for me shouldn’t be a problem because I am not contributing a result-altering amount, and I am receiving a fair exchange for the contribution via a contribution reward. Whatever publicity I receive from covering a site in an article would be expected as any developer is normally happy about the press and support they receive. Where this issues would really get hairy is if I made regular, considerable contributions that helped to progress the agendas of someone where it would be mutually professionally beneficial. An example would be if I reviewed a game for a developer that could then get me a job in a major writing outlet. Fans making fan-sized contributions and receiving fan-sized rewards the same as everyone else shouldn’t be a problem. Patreon contributions should be served with scrutiny. I avoid them, personally. There has also been mention of review keys as inherently indecent. Personally, I have received review keys and downloads for the purpose of writing about a game. I can see how this might seem indecent, but if I had to buy those I would be unable to do this blog. I would review the few games I could a month, exhaust my library and then trickle out articles every week or so. I do not let it cloud my judgement of a game. If something sucks it sucks for a reason beyond just “I had to pay for it”. Besides, if someone lavishes me with free keys beyond what I need, I will share them with readers and fans first. On this page I shall regularly updated the campaigns I have backed just to maintain transparency of reporting. I will also mention contributions in articles written about them.
Elysian Shadows – I funded them worth 50$ and wrote an article about their game.
Goblin Quest – I funded them worth about 50$, but it is based in the UK, so I really gave them 30£. I haven’t written an article on the tabletop yet, but I am considering doing so once I get my hardback copy of the book.
Beguile – I funded them worth 59$, which was about 65$ Canadian after shipping outside Canada and exchange rates applied.
Redneck Assassin – I funded them worth 15$ since I was really poor at the time. I haven’t reviewed the game, but I plan to once it is finished.
The Fine Young Capitalists – I funded them worth 25$ and haven’t done an article on them. I probably won’t write an article, but I think what they are trying to do is noble and pretty freaking cool.
The Secret Cove – This was a game I originally wasn’t going to fund, but my wife insisted. We tossed in 20£ at some point before I wrote a preview for the game. I also help propagate about them with a few people I know through Twitter to help them get to their goal.
SlaughterBall – I funded them worth 480$, taking the Hall of Fame reward and 2 teams worth of cheerleaders models! I am sure my wife will kill me when she finds out, but I won’t be doing this again any time soon, backing in general included in that statement. I didn’t contribute to it until I realized just how much fun it was and how much my friends and I would be into the game. I wrote an article about them, which I used a reviewer’s copy of the game to do. I intend to return this copy of the game to Frog the What Games so that other reviewers can play it and write about it!