So, as usual, I’m in the middle of editing the Fancast as I write this (update, Audacity just crashed. I lost four hours of editing or so. Fuck). This week, we had tremendous recording difficulties. One of our merry band, you’ll find out whom once the show is uploaded, had his internets destroyed by a vicious snowstorm. As you might expect, this had something of an effect on his Skype connection. This resulted in some hilariously glitchy audio. You’ll hear plenty of that in our outtakes. So, fun to listen to, not so fun to edit.
The guitar quest is going apace. The fingertips on my left hand are beginning to develop the thick carapace prized by guitar players the world over. Said carapace has advantages and disadvantages. Advantage: holding down guitar strings doesn’t hurt like hell. Disadvantage: in addition to dulling pain, all sensation is deadened. I guess I’ll get over it.
Someone asked me about my opinion of the whole GameSpot / Jeff Gerstmann issue. If you’ve been living in an internet-proof shelter for the last few days, GameSpot fired its Editorial Director under some curious circumstances. Essentially, he trashed Kane & Lynch. GameSpot, as it happens, had loads and loads of Kane & Lynch ads plastered all over the site. There are other pieces to the puzzle — feel free to sift through them at the link above — but I’ve given you all you need to put together where “the story” began.
Anyway, do I think he was fired because of a negative review? I honestly don’t know. What I do know, is that it looks damned shady. CNET and GameSpot have done very little to assuage the fears of gamers and game journalists everywhere. The fact that plenty of former and current GameSpot employees have spoken about the issue says volumes as well.
I’ve seen a range of comments on the subject, one of the perks of running a site about such things. I’ve seen comments against GameSpot and I’ve also seen plenty of blasť comments from people asking why we should care. So someone got fired, who cares, right? Happens all the time. Comments like that are really missing the point. It’s not that he was fired, it’s why. Granted, we don’t have any proof, and it’s likely we never will, but if the story is true, it puts a mighty black eye on game journalism. Then again, it’s not like all critical fields aren’t fraught with problems anyway. Websites are given bribes (i.e. games, swag, etc) by the companies they write about, they’re whisked away to exotic locations to play fucking Dead or Alive Extreme 2, and so on and so forth. It’s the same in the movie industry, and probably every entertainment industry. Don’t misunderstand me, companies give stuff to X3F, but we turn around and give it to the community. We also get offers for junkets, but refuse them out of policy.
Frankly, I never visit GameSpot anyway, apart from finding the occasional news story. Most of my need for reviews is more than satisfied by Metacritc (update: I’ve learned Metacritic is also a CNET company. Small world.).
Anyway, rambling a bit. The point is that the critical field is crooked. Blogs are a little less crooked (especially the fine establishments found on the Joystiq network), but they’re susceptible to the same temptations. This GameSpot issue really just throws the whole problem into sharp relief, with the possibility of bringing it into the public eye. If GameSpot does go down because of this, don’t go thinking that any other site is any better (again, except for the integrity-ridden blogs on the Joystiq network). Finally, the fact that the industry is crooked isn’t exactly news, but someone actually getting fired because of it … that’s bad.