Home > 'Journalistic' Malpractice, Video Games > Trust Me: I’m a Game ‘Journalist’

Trust Me: I’m a Game ‘Journalist’

uh huh for 'reviewing'
A DSiXL for keeping reviewing and a sandwich just for being a nice guy

Some days they just make it too easy: today it’s (surprise!) Kotaku1 again, boasting about their awesome payola in the form of a 5′ submarine sandwich…oh, and a shiny, new, DSiXL2:

A delivery man just brought this to my door. Inside, a DSi XL for reviewing. But what he left in his truck was more interesting.

“I’ve got a five-foot sub for ya,” he said smiling.

For me???

You know how I love my sandwiches, especially when they are subs delivered to my home. Was this guy angling for an internship at Kotaku? No, turns out that Nintendo wanted to include an XL sandwich with their DSi XL.

The note said something about sharing with friends and colleagues, but when it comes to over-sized subs I have neither. Besides, Totilo is off today and Mike and Mike are on opposites of the continent.

I know what I’ll be eating this week.

Nintendo’s knob, for starters?

For the main course, though, we get this interesting bit of verbal sleight of hand:

Inside, a DSi XL for reviewing.

Yes…for reviewing. Of course what’s omitted is that the XL is also, no doubt, for keeping.

See, as I’ve mentioned a number of times now, game ‘journalists’ get all the software (and hardware) free, gratis, you scratch my back, err, what I mean is, uh, hey, look, a dragon!

Whether you think this is appropriate or not, well, look: it doesn’t really matter what you think because this is how business is conducted in the totally above-board world of gaming ‘journalism’. Clearly there couldn’t be the least bit of impropriety in handing over thousands of dollars, a year, in free software to the same people that are supposed to be holding these companies to account for your benefit. (And that’s without mentioning the booze-fueled junkets to places like Vegas or, in more than a few cases, Japan.)

Nope, nothing to see here, just some “ball playing” which is, like, totally necessary to grease the wheels and bring home the bacon. (Not to mention crafting cumbersome mixed metaphors).

H/T: Jack Loftus at i aim to misbehave



1 Normal no link for Kotaku policy suspended today so you can see with your own eyes how brazen this sort of thing really is.
2 Even better, they provided photographic evidence: thanks guys, digging your grave is tiring work so it’s nice of you to chip in.

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  1. 03/24/2010 at 01:40

    This just in: Kotaku reporter has passed away due to Salmonella poisoning. Nintendo was not able to be reached for comment.

    • ECM
      03/24/2010 at 10:49

      Oh man, that sucks for Nintendo: you do *NOT* want to kill your shill!

  2. 03/24/2010 at 13:08

    “I know what I’ll be eating today!”
    “Well, Nintendo’s knob, for starters.”

    Oh lord, that’s hilarious! I tip my hat to you, good sir. I don’t think this is really a conflict of interest, however… if you were going to pay someone off, you’d probably want to think bigger than a novelty sub and Nintendo’s next semi-upgrade. Hell, if you were working for Rockstar, you could just bully reviewers into giving all your games great reviews, and keep the mammoth hoagie for yourself.

    • ECM
      03/24/2010 at 13:13

      Hey! Mr. GRB! How is your vacation going?

      And, yeah, I think the larger message is: they get *everything* from publishers–it isn’t just a one-off DSiXL (or a tasty sub), but the entire library (plus hardware), each year, with lots of other swag, trips, etc., which does tend to add up. (And if you worked for, say, the New York Times, that shiny DSiXL would have to be returned after the review is completed and, God help you if you took a company paid-for ‘junket’/marketing event because it’s clearly unethical to take gifts from those you are supposed to be covering since it all adds up to being pretty unethical.)

      Hell, if you scroll down the page, you’ll find game journos starring in commercials for publishers and the like—it really is every bit as bad as I say. (Or maybe not even bad enough 😉

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