You know the old saying, “Everyone’s got one” and all that.
I know you don’t come here to read my content and be influenced by what I have to say. It’s just my opinion after all, and who the hell am I in relation to you?
I am a complete stranger and you have such little working knowledge of me, there is absolutely no way you should listen to what I have to say (at least not in your right mind). So why are you here?
Well maybe you’re part of the super tiny audience of people that regularly reads this column, and well – you never actually know why you’re here, because there is no discernable method to my madness. You’re aware of that. You find it amusing and so you check in on me once in a while.
Maybe you read the title and clicked through merely to confirm your suspicion of a click-bait phrase geared to maximize page-views and rack-up continuously dwindling CPM revenue and the fractions of a cent they actually produce. (Which to be perfectly blunt and straightforward – is in no way going to seriously impact the cost for the time and effort I’m spending to write this installment.)
The reality is...
TenTonHammer is Dying
Most games media outlets are. Unless of course they’re in bed with (and thus the wallets of) big money studios and are manufacturing biased content to get return favors and/or funding to offset their costs and stay afloat.
The meager income from dwindling ad revenue can’t afford me, and not because I’m particularly good at what I do. In fact, how outstanding or terribly unremarkable a writer I am has absolutely nothing to do with my market viability anymore.
Social media platforms and the rise of direct games journalism have changed everything.
The fact of the matter is… there are people out there creating content on personal blogs, YouTube videos, and Live-stream media that are more or less 100% free of charge. If those creators are business savvy (and genuinely interesting or good at what they do), all of them are running ads – the very same ads, to be exact, as those draped around this very article you’re reading right now.
Anything I can cover, they can cover – theoretically.
Depending on how successful their platform is (whether that’s a blog or a video channel), they may have just as much opportunity to preview and analyze games as an established website like TenTonHammer. They can get review copies of games, have open dialogue with developers and provide all the same essential feedback that I can.
In the grand scheme of gaming, we’re all equal, unessential middle-men that the gaming industry doesn’t require to survive.
That Awkward Moment When You Find Out You No Longer Matter
So long as there are developers creating games and gamers with money that want to buy them (and I suppose some medium or market where they can be purchased), that is all the gaming industry needs to maintain and effective economy.
So why do we exist exactly? And why are some streamers, bloggers, and YouTubers able to earn a living off of analyzing or even simply playing games? Because you want to be an informed gamer.
Most people value their money and would prefer not to waste it fruitlessly. In the gaming market today, sometimes buying a game without first doing any research or evaluation on a product is worse than flushing it down the toilet. Additionally, when you consider how many games are actually on the market (99% of people can’t buy them all, let alone play them all), getting an idea of what you’re purchasing is critical.
This is the point where my title comes full-circle and you realize that you too in fact, have an asshole.
You need an opinion before you make your purchase and you will come here…
(If only I was a Jedi Master, right?)
…or you will go elsewhere to get it.
Unfortunately, I’ve already done my research, and I know that this game is cruelly rigged. You do actually go elsewhere to build your opinions on potential games – and I have the data to prove it:
Yet Still, Hope Remains
The one silver lining to that informative graphic above is that the majority of so called games “journalists” at major review websites are self-indulgent opinionists.
Most of them care more about the sound of their own elitist voice, worry about how their elitist peers will view them, or dread how an affiliate publisher will rebuke them to give you an honest, no-bullshit review of a game product. For those things (and a multitude of others I won’t list here), the vast majority of game-review outlets are filled with assholes.
Assholes that don’t really give a shit about the one party they’re actually supposed to satisfy: you the consumer.
That doesn’t mean a game journalist should be catering and agreeing with the majority of gamers either.
Far from it.
Review, opinion, and editorial outlets shouldn’t seek to agree with anyone at all. When it comes to games journalism, the primary motivation behind anything we do should be providing game consumers with a completely unbiased review of a game related topic, subject or product. Period.
Bias vs. Subjectivity
And before anyone tries to say that “no review can be unbiased”, I completely, whole-heartedly, and 100% disagree; at least if you’re going by the dictionary definition:
Bias: “Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.”
No review, editorial, opinion, or any truly ethical piece of journalism should contain any bias, at all. Ever.
Now it may contain some “subjectivity” – which is of course unavoidable if you’re a human being trying to remain honest and forthright…
Subjective: “Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.”
Some subjectivity is, believe it or not, essential; particularly in the realm of games journalism.
If you refer to the above graphic one more time and consider that the most influential element to a consumer’s decision whether or not to purchase a game (outside of their own opinion and the bottom-line price of the product) is the “word-of-mouth” influence they get from people they relate to and trust.
I know that unless you can personally identify with me as a fellow gamer, you won’t really care about anything I have to say about games you’re evaluating or have any interest in. If you don’t respect me as a person (whether you share my opinions or not), I’ll never be a “word-of-mouth” reference that can provide insightful opinions and advice about game-related products (or anything else, for that matter). And if I’m not valuable to you as a reference, I certainly won’t be valuable to your family, friends, or anyone you could potentially share my articles and editorials with either.
All I’d be is just another elitist, self-indulgent, opinionist asshole that’s spinning up click-bait titles to prolong my inevitable drift into irrelevant obscurity; an asshole that offers no real insight or value to you personally, aside from passing amusement at my own narcissistic demise.
So The Questions Loom:
How can I make myself valuable to you, as a fellow gamer, and avoid falling among the growing ranks of falsely proclaimed “journalists” that don’t deserve your time, effort, nor support?
How can I (or anyone else), in a dying middle-man industry provide you with content you couldn’t otherwise get elsewhere?
I’ve come to realize (through analyzing my own internal game-hunting tendencies) the potential power of providing niche content.
I know you don’t really need me to use this platform to regurgitate gaming news you can already get directly from original sources.
Probably you couldn’t care less about any official review I might write about an upcoming game.
More likely you just want to see it first hand and make that decision for yourself.
In fact, I am certain you aren’t as stupid and ignorant as the average games journalism outlet assumes that you are. You’re an intelligent human being, with your own asshole, who can make an opinion all on your own.
I guess the only thing I really can do is share my own gaming experiences - hopefully giving you inside looks, insight, and information in such a way that you might not find it anywhere else.
By streaming previews, hands-on early-access, and talking about the deeper game-design topics that superficial sites have no interest whatsoever in covering.
Because they don’t really care about informing you on game-related topics without their many external biases, because you aren’t how they make their money. They get it directly from game-publishers or they get it from generating as many page-views as possible, either by baiting you with misleading titles or stringing out their top-ten lists on nineteen, slow-loading ad-laden pages.
For now, I can assure you that TenTonHammer doesn’t operate that way, and as long as I am a contributor here you can always count on my content putting your interests (which hopefully aren’t dramatically different from my interests), first.
Consider Supporting Me at TenTonHammer
Of course, you’ll have to be willing to accept that I’m a bit unpredictable, unorthodox, and occasionally a bit of an elitest, opinionated asshole myself. Truth is, the only real difference between me and those other so-called games “journalists” is that I’m not writing for anyone except you the above-average gamer (and hoping you’ll find my content valuable enough to contribute in some small way – even if it’s only $1 a month).
Hell, you probably tip your favorite barista, cab-driver, or local bartender that much every week! Show some love to honest, unbiased games journalism, and see just how well this monkey and sing and dance for your pleasure.
[Disclaimer, that last statement was a flat-out lie. I sing and dance for only one person’s pleasure. That person is my wife, assuming she can get me tipsy enough!]
Have a good week everyone and if you are financially capable of supporting good, faithful games journalism – know that any contribution to TenTonHammer’s patreon campaign (no matter how small) directly enables my ability to keep creating unique and interesting content for you here!
I’m also more than happy to take suggestions for what kind of content you would prefer to see more of (articles, streaming, even exclusive content made first-available to you via our Patreon page!)
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Miscellaneous Game Page.