Kotaku, Regular People, and Knowing When To Shut Up

8 Jul

I suppose there’s no harm in tossing in an extra comment on this. I do read (and, God help me, occasionally enjoy) Kotaku, so I’d rather it matured and improved rather than burnt out – even as a result of an internet-wide criticism bombardment. That said, this is a particularly inflamed scrote-wart of a news article, and listing all the ways in which the pus is seeping out would be a waste of everybody’s time, particularly when much deeper and more heartfelt rebuttals can be found elsewhere. I will, however, summarise my main two issues with it:

1) The use of ‘regular people’ as an umbrella term for people who aren’t normally into e-sports was a mistake, but it wasn’t Schiller’s to begin with. Bizarrely, though, instead of challenging or even ignoring the interviewee’s use of the term, she ran with it – thus twisting the mildly unfortunate choice of words (which even then had self-deprecating, rather than outwardly insulting, undertones) into something that felt snobbish and condescending. This was a chance to say “Hey, come on now, we’re all game fans here” and she blew it.

2) There’s a time and a place for first-person stuff, and this ain’t it. Why someone who boasts about their lack of interest in a community has been assigned to cover it is beyond me, but Schiller’s sheer determination to insert herself into a news piece, consisting mostly of someone else’s interview, is anecdotal writing at its worst – arrogant, narcissistic, but worst of all, irrelevant.

To be clear, I love what people like to call New Games Journalism. Done right, it’s funny, dramatic, haunting, incredulous, exciting, vivid and a great way to demonstrate a game’s strengths or weaknesses. Done badly, it’s a waste of good typeface. Some people are all too aware of that, and there’s nothing these puritans – who think their archaic, stony-faced, back-of-the-box style is the only way games writing can ever be – like to see more a piece like this. I’m still learning, to be perfectly honest, but it seems like the best thing to do when writing in the first-person is knowing when to shut the hell up and get back to the information you’re meant to be conveying. Jen Schiller crossed that line, mouth still moving. Both her and the quality of her article have suffered for it.


One Response to “Kotaku, Regular People, and Knowing When To Shut Up”


  1. Torchwud « The Talking Stove - August 6, 2011

    […] few months ago I had an epiphany (briefly manifested here) that, in short, the world would be better if everything bad (particularly in the creative […]

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