Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blacklists and Bullshit in the Games Industry

Come get some? No thanks.
When your PR plan is to review "who gets games next time and who doesn't based on" negative reviews of what is, in most critics' opinions, a shit title, makes mainstream news, your PR venture - in this case Redner Group - is a massive slab of fail. Having survived being an ancillary player in the gaming industry for 14 years plus, I blacklists are bullshit for cowardly, sniveling vermin.

Remember that big stink about how Ubisoft denied getting Jeff Gerstmann fired from Gamespot for daring to give Kane and Lynch: Dead Men a mediocre review? Not too long after, when I worked for Ziff Davis'  Extremetech, I called my Ubisoft PR person (no names here) and had an awkward conversation. I was looking for a game that the team felt would be useful in benchmarking hardware. The extremely uncomfortable PR guy refused to send me a copy, not, he said, because the company didn't want the publicity, but because evidently someone in Ziff Davis Media also crapped on Dead Men and - as being part of that company - I was effectively cut off from receiving Ubisoft games. At all.

The PR dude's hands were tied; he was overly apologetic but rules were rules, even if they're conjured up in seedy backroom meetings among demons, golems and executives. Not only did I not, at the time, give my opinion on games very often, I was offering the title in particular display on what was once a very popular tech site.

Guess what, I say, shouting up toward the public relations gods beyond the clouds, and thus to every gaming megacorporation and every panderer to them, which together has ruined my hobby. Guess what? You can suck up that "blacklist" shit and stow it in your enormous, distended rectums. And fuck you while you're at it.

The real punishment the reviewers continually take on the chin isn't the threat of passive aggressive retaliation from the industry at large; it's having to suffer through playing the cookie-cutter crap games it churns out. With creativity in gaming at an all-time low (indie developers excepted) and dollar-worship in the stratosphere, the gaming industry is muddled in the same sort of mediocrity that's sweeping Hollywood and the music industry.

If the medium is the message, then blacklist me. I'm not listening anymore.

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