Home > 'Journalistic' Malpractice, Video Games > Breaking News: Prostitution now legal in UK!

Breaking News: Prostitution now legal in UK!

Notice anything wrong with this picture?1

How do they put it in merry olde England? I’m gobsmacked? Is that the word I’m hunting for from the, alleged2, originators of the language?

Well whatever I am–taken aback, stunned…gobsmacked–I’m damn sure that I didn’t expect to be watching a trio of game ‘journalists’ perform oral gymnastics on the designer of Red Steel 2 and, by extension of course, Ubi’s marketing department. (And I’ve already seen some pretty f***ed up things today.)

This of course begs a question: what do these ‘journalists’ get out of this deal? I mean, they’ve literally flushed their credibility down the toilet in exchange for some face-time in an UbiSoft commercial on…YouTube, something your bloody3 cat can manage. (And if you’re going to sell your soul, you should probably do it for more than a $1.25 and a handjob…actually, that’s not quite right…you get a $1.25 and Satan gets your soul….and a handjob.)

So what do our contestants really get for being willing arms of the French PR dynamo? Fortune? Not unless you count free4 copies of every game in the publisher’s library. Fame? Not unless their goal is to be more popular than your cat. Actually, as it turns out, this is a trick question! They actually get nothing! Why? Because this is the sort of thing that game ‘journalists’ do every day and never think twice about! Well, not quite “nothing”, they do get one thing…

See, it isn’t about you, the reader, and whether or not the information you’re being fed is vetted before it’s spun out across the Internet, but a little something called “access.” As in: you have to play ball if you want to keep being invited to swank hotels w/ free booze, food and all sorts of other amenities. In other words, it isn’t about you, the people that make their jobs possible, but them and the game publisher’s PR department who lead the ‘journalists’ around by the nose.

The killer, of course, is that I am actually anticipating Red Steel 2 a great deal, but I think it’s safe to say that putting any stock in the previews/reviews/anything from Edwin Evans-Thirwell (videogamesdaily.com), Martin Gaston (play.tm), Andy Robinson (cvg.co.uk), and Kam Bianco (cubed3.com)5 and their ability to bring its designer to climax, on camera (his words, not mine), is probably not the wisest course of action now or ever.

And to UbiSoft: wtg co-opting the ‘journalists’ to do your little commercial–next time just skip the pretense of “turning the tables”, hand them $100, and see what kind of effusive praise you can milk6 from them with cold, hard, cash.


1 Hint: it’s not the extra-pasty white dudes–they’re English, that’s what they look like. (And we can be extra-grateful about the lack of tight head shots.)
2 Cousin Avi: “Blagged”? Speak English to me, Tony. I thought this country spawned the f***ing language, and so far nobody seems to speak it.
3 Limey for f***ing.
4 Dirty game journo secret #38: once you get on the comp list at a publisher (about as difficult as posting a YouTube vid), you get free copies of every game they publish into perpetuity or until you quit/get fired/die…so it’s not quite as good as being a voter in Philadelphia. (Btw, these are not “review”, i.e. gold disc, copies: these are final, boxed, copies of games, gratis, that they can do whatever they wish, including selling to shops to buttress their income, giving them to family for Christmas gifts or even donating them to the local children’s hospital. (That last one’s a joke; that never happens.)
5 The only downside to this video is that we have no idea who else was ‘reverse-interviewed’, and simply didn’t have their knee pads handy (or had too much dental work recently) to keep up with the big boys featured.
6 And by milk I mean, of course, give them a handjob–you know, “to turn the tables”.

Advertisements
  1. 03/18/2010 at 06:56

    “See, it isn’t about you, the reader, and whether or not the information you’re being fed is vetted before it’s spun out across the Internet, but a little something called “access.” As in: you have to play ball if you want to keep being invited to swank hotels w/ free booze, food and all sorts of other amenities.”

    Sounds about right, but it didn’t stop me observing that Red Steel 2 had rudimentary level design, a silly plot, ill-advised QTEs and a barrel/cardboard box obsession in my preview, among other things. Nor does it make my comments (on the ‘waggle’ problem and Red Steel 2’s answer to it) in the video any less apt, however creatively edited. Or creatively glossed.

    Don’t worry though. You go right ahead with your cliched little marvel-at-my-apostrophes, wrath-of-cwedibility circus act. I’m sure you’re enjoying yourself. Fanks.

    • ECM
      03/18/2010 at 07:28

      Quite right, indeed I am enjoying myself, all the more in knowing you took time out of your day to…um…deflect?

      The problem, of course, isn’t that you, pointed out its foibles in a non-linked or noted review (‘oddly’ enough these comments didn’t make it into Ubi’s narrative!), but that a ‘journalist’, starred in a commercial for a company you’re supposed to keep at arm’s length! (A review that, in all likelihood, far, far fewer people will see than the commercial in question.)

      Do you not see the obvious problem? You are shilling for Ubisoft whether or not you knew it going in and you damn well should have if you fancy yourself a journalist or, if not that ‘lofty’ goal, at least someone w/ an interest in preserving their credibility. (But dammit, that cat had to go down in the YouTube rankings!)

      But instead of simply acknowledging this obvious truth (or wisely ignoring it) and promising not to do it again, you attempt to spin and deflect w/ ad hominem and non sequitur! Well-played, sir, well-played indeed!

      If I may be so bold, I am currently reading an engaging book on the use and abuse of logic: you can find it right here on Amazon.co.uk–I’m sure it will be a terrific help in your overcoming some logical deficiencies and, if I may be so hopeful, you might come ’round to seeing things in the correct light. (Probably not, though.)

      Tip: Don’t add fuel to the fire when the site you’re posting on gets meager traffic–it tends to draw more readers to the flame! (But thanks!)

      Edit: here’s Edwin’s review preview (unlike Ubi, I decided to link to it, for fairness’ sake) of Red Steel 2. Nice and balanced, right? Too bad the ad is going to be more popular w/ YouTube types than Kikizo.

  2. 03/18/2010 at 07:46

    Well, I thought an ad hominem response was only appropriate to your ad hominem attack 🙂 but sure, let’s play nice. Please accept my apologies. Perhaps you’ll spare me the hackneyed prostitution/selling-your-soul metaphors in return?

    Every journalist “plays ball” to an extent. As you lucidly observed, it’s difficult to get access without it. But that “playing ball”, “shilling” or whatever you prefer to call it doesn’t equate to my or any other writer’s every word, thought and deed smacking of duplicity, as appears to be your conclusion from the video.

    Here’s the preview. All feedback appreciated.

    http://videogamesdaily.com/previews/201003/red-steel-2-hands-on-preview/

    • 03/18/2010 at 07:59

      Much appreciated 🙂

  3. ECM
    03/18/2010 at 07:55

    The last word is yours, sir.

    Edit: I stealth-edited in the Red Steel 2 preview (had to find it, first) as he was posting his reply, if there’s some confusion.

    • 03/18/2010 at 08:12

      Oops, that “much appreciated” should have been directed at this post.

      I don’t have a problem with increasing your traffic, by the way 🙂 I was more interested in registering my opinion than surpressing yours. Fair point as regards Kikizo and Youtube’s respective hit counts, though I’d counter that the game deserves the positive buzz.

  4. Justinzero
    03/18/2010 at 12:11

    Edwin :
    Every journalist “plays ball” to an extent. As you lucidly observed, it’s difficult to get access without it. But that “playing ball”, “shilling” or whatever you prefer to call it doesn’t equate to my or any other writer’s every word, thought and deed smacking of duplicity, as appears to be your conclusion from the video.

    I don’t really understand the need to “play ball” though. Sure it is hard to get work and opportunities from these companies, but isn’t credibility as a writer more important? No, the “shilling” doesn’t make up the entirety of your opinions, but it does come off like some of them. Knowing that, how are we, the reader, supposed to trust what is written? If Ubi’s game was good in the first place, it wouldn’t need to dangle fame and spotlights in journalist’s faces. It is the same situation as when a company picks “nice” sentence fragments for box quotes. The intention is overblown, and it is totally to the developers benefit. Now I understand this is an Ubisoft dev video, which is obviously going to be edited by them. It just seems weird when you have these reporters blabbering all these nice comments, and only a few of them seem genuine. I mean, one of them blows so much smoke up the games ass, he gets a welcoming hug from Mr. Ubisoft, accompanied by “You’re my new favorite friend!”. This is how you guys are supposed to get ahead? I understand business is business, and times have changed. Still, it just doesn’t seem right, and I have a really hard time placing credible trust where it is apparently due.

  5. 03/23/2010 at 06:21

    “I don’t really understand the need to “play ball” though. Sure it is hard to get work and opportunities from these companies, but isn’t credibility as a writer more important? No, the “shilling” doesn’t make up the entirety of your opinions, but it does come off like some of them.”

    At the risk of sounding like a goddamn equivocator, it depends what you mean by “playing ball”. I mean, what have I really done in this instance, exactly? I’ve said something tangibly true about a game in the context of an edit-heavy PR video. ECM’s “concern”, if I may put it lightly, is understandable – and I agree that some of the other journo comments are a bit “adjectival” – but I don’t feel I’ve compromised myself as a source. Perhaps I would if I pulled a stunt like this on a daily basis, as asserted, but I don’t! First time for me…

    Journalism is about relationships, building trust and other unpleasant but accurate corporate phrases, not mounting an ivory tower of idealistic cynicism and peering into the industry’s trash cans with a magic telescope. If you want to review or preview games and interview the people who make them, you’re going to have to get to know those people, and getting to know people is about give and take. That give and take needn’t amount to falsifying an opinion, though, and in my experience never has: it’s more a question of the intensity of reportage, what you put on the frontpage and whatnot, how much coverage you give a particular title and so on. I wouldn’t say we come under much pressure from publishers on this count, either, as most readers assume. Publishers don’t gain, after all, from being associated with obviously partial editorial outfits – makes it all too easy for viperish bloggers to kick mud at ’em 😉

    Incidentally, just reading the post back – the point about review copy is bollocks, I’m afraid. Around 70-80% of the code we’re sent is digitally watermarked debug, and the rest is labelled-as-such “not for resale” promo. So yeah, the children’s hospitals round these parts don’t get a cut 🙂

  6. 03/23/2010 at 06:27

    Also, check out Jason’s blog (he’s the chap who interviewed me) – http://www.darklord.com/blog/

    Funny and interesting reading.

  1. 06/14/2010 at 17:37

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: