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Reloading... Our Future Plays Games

Posted Mon, Sep 26, 2011 by Boomjack

In today's Reloading... Boomjack returns... from the future! How does the future consume the gaming industry? Here's some insight.

Welcome back to the 85th edition of Reloading...!

Welcome back!  

This is my 85th attempt at this column.  Degree of difficulty today is 1.3.  /wave to the Russian judge.

I’m John Hoskin and I will be taking the leap today.   Thanks to Jeff, Bill and the other writers who covered for me while I was away.  

“By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorances of the community.” – Oscar Wilde

Everyone can use a feel good moment to start the day.   Let’s go with this…





Thanks for taking some time out of your day to read this column.  I truly appreciate it.    If you happen to use Twitter, you can follow me @BoomjackTTH.   I rarely use Facebook, but I do occasionally post gaming related tidbits on Google+ where you can find me under my real moniker John Hoskin.  

The release date for SWTOR is set as December 20th in North American and the 22nd in Europe.   We like our games on Tuesdays here in the West and Europeans apparently prefer a Thursday grand opening.   Whatever the case, there will be plenty of “SWEATERS” under Christmas trees this year.  

It seems everyone with access to the Internet and any means with which to post upon it has an opinion about games.   There is nothing to stop uninformed miscreant “A” from posting blather about a game in a public medium that will be read by as many people as informed journalist “B” who writes for a reputable website or publication.  

Frankly, some of the most popular game websites on the Internet are filled with writers who don’t have a clue about the games that they are writing about.   Opinion is thrown at the reader as if it were fact, dressed up beside a nice cartoon caricature of the writer.   Topics are chosen based on a scale of flammability rather than relevance.   Inciting a riot gets more traffic than informing the community.   

Here is the world that I live in.   There are no cartoon characters roaming around with me.


 
I’m the coach in the back, second from the right; the handsome devil with the short dark hair.  Those are living, breathing, smiling kids who through hard work and teamwork won a pretty cool hockey tournament. Those other coaches are real too and happen to be some of the nicest people you will ever meet.  There are no cartoon animals, profanity or other related noise to throw any sleight-of-hand at the reader.  It is what it is; fun and true.  

I also happen to play video games, as does every single player in that picture.   Our future plays games.  There’s a quote for you.   Our future, the kids in that picture and millions just like them, play games and know more about games than the vast majority of the people who are writing about them for online gaming publications and websites.  

The stereotype of children knowing more about any electronic gadget than an adult has come true for video game journalism.   The young reader now knows much more about the subject than the so-called expert.  

Our future plays games and at a recent dinner after a hockey game I got to talk to our future about what I do for a living.   I was sitting with my wife and daughter when five players left their “long table”, walked over and plunked themselves down in our booth, making for a crowded, but very enjoyable experience.  They asked incredibly astute questions about a wide variety of gaming topics, but what struck me was that they were so well informed.   I don’t want to pick on any websites or companies in particular, but one popular site was referred to as “a joke”.  

“All they do is complain.  They should just call their site Complaints and what’s with all the lousy freebie game ads? Do people actually click on those? ” – 12 year old gamer

If you knew the site that they were referring to it would likely make you laugh out loud.  The young man hit the nail squarely on the head.  I went to the site this morning and guess what… It’s one long series of moaning sessions by so-called “industry insiders”.   Playing a game doesn’t make you an insider, except on the aforementioned site and many like it.  

Our future plays games and they can see through the white noise that most game “journalists” are passing off as fact.  They don’t care about your opinion on Star Wars: Galaxies or your adventures in Rift or why you believe that Asian games are good or bad.  They don’t care because your opinion is worthless to them.  They know more than you do and more so, they don’t need 400 words to get their point across, nor do they need a publisher’s OK to post those few poignant words.  They have grown up in the age of text messages, 15 second commercials on TV (remember when ads were a minute long?) and online learning.  They are higher thinkers than our generation will ever be and yet, in general as an industry we treat them like idiots.  The funny thing is that they feel the same way about us and they aren’t afraid to say it.  

Our future plays games and they are laughing at most of the current crop of online game magazines.   If your homepage has 12 advertisements on it then who are you writing for?  I’m going to suggest that is it is not “our future”.  

Publishers hold enormous clout in this industry.  An article reflecting a game in a bad light can mean gargantuan monetary losses for a website. Likewise, a few glowing articles with jabs at competitors can results in windfalls. It’s a long, tough haul for any site that is willing to fight the good fight. Let’s face it, it’s a long and tough haul for sites that are simply selling out for the cash.   

Thank goodness that our future plays games and that at least the ones that I am fortunate enough to chat with can see through the smoke and the mirrors that have become gaming journalism.  

I consider myself very fortunate to be able to interact with our future nearly every day of the week. It helps keep me in touch with what is important and what is intrinsically good about this industry. It keeps me in touch with fun.  

Hats off to our future and here’s hoping that one day soon they will be writing the columns, injecting their insight into the industry and entertaining you with their short, to the point views on the hobby that we all love.  

What’s your take?  Why do you frequent some sites more than others and do you believe what you read?

That’s it for today.  Thanks again for reading and as always, may your dreams be big and your worries be small.

As always, you can contact me a number of ways:
  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Website
  • Telepathy (Just make sure it’s during business hours.  I hate to be woken by this stuff)
Until we meet again,

John "Boomjack" Hoskin
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