In the meantime, I'm just a guy who writes about videogame theory and how the medium can achieve better cinematic emulation (while keeping its own indentity). Though, if that's too boring, you can always find something delightfully fluffy in the following:
"God, internet videogame critics! Ooh, don’t get me started on their brand of non-journalism and the lack of a benchmark that hasn’t existed before and after The Watergate Scandal. Now shut up while I talk about my rent woes and complain about journalists posting personal problems without irony!"
Well, that’s what I would assume Ben Paddon, writer of GJAIF, to say if he ever got back to me.
When I first started blogging, I wrote about videogameshows and how the internet ended the televised era. One had hoped that bedroom amateurs would pick up the mantle and create exciting new ideas on shoe-string budgets. Unfortunately, these self-proclaimed critics have stagnated in their computer chairs or imploded on Twitter with self-parody.
Recently, Channel Awesome - home of just about every amateur bedroom critic/donations beggar outside YouTube - launched Blistered Thumbs. It’s a new website aimed solely at an established fanbase familiar with the network of entertainers trading in retro videogames and bad movies. Plenty do a better job of criticisingit, but there’s something worrisome about the way it uses (non)celebrity characters as a promotional leg-up in an oversaturated market.
If Destructoid’s successful creation is reminiscent of fanzine culture and the understanding communities it sustained in the 90’s, then what of Blistered Thumbs relying on its reviewers and subsequent fans’ understanding of edutainment?
Geoff Keighley knows the absurdity of amateur critics using pseudonyms and characteristically one-sided arguments for entertainment purposes and defensively called ‘Angry’ Joe Vargas out in an interview at the admittedly vacuous VGAs.
It can only be best described as a live action forum bust-up.
He might be a human smorgasbord of cheese, but at least Keighley’s trying to be a positive force for this mainstream malarkey, whether you agree with it or not. Plus, he uses his real name, unlike Vargas, whose critiques require him to be negative simply because he calls himself “Angry Joe”. Well, it wouldn’t be much of a website otherwise.
This tweet by Noah ‘The Spoony Experiment’ Antwiler concerning the Keighley interview summed up my negativity towards clique critics:
"Well, I admit @AngryJoeShow, I sold you short at first but you approached that interview professionally and got totally disrespected” Dec 14th
That’s not far removed from Bart Simpson telling Krusty that his stand-up was bad because of the terrible acoustics and not his racist material.
Speaking of Antwiler, it’s tough knowing where to begin with a man who once made enjoyable MST3K-style commentary to FMVnightmares. While not a character per se, I find his exaggerated rants about current videogames and movies incredulous to sit through. They're all created with a technique that’s essentially someone telling you the plot, complete with spoilers, for forty-plus minutes.
That’s not reviewing. That’s called recapping the synopsis.
Oh, and being paid through Blip TV advertisement revenue does not render anybody a “professional” either.
I naively believed that someone like Noah Antwiler could move from the bedroom and into a more professional territory over time; especially with his attendance of E3 2010, where he would cover the lesser known videogames that bigger websites would overlook. Instead, all I saw was someone acting like a misinformed child who had too many E-additives in his squash.
That’s even before we saw the meltdown response to a sarcastic message by Deadliest Warrior developers Spike. That’s where the difference between entertainer and critic becomes apparent. Retro games are an easy target, yet with present day games, there needs to be restraint and integrity.
You have to feel some sympathy for James Rolfe and what his AVGN character popularised. He has other interests that are largely ignored and it’s telling of how fed up he is, with recent episodes trading entertainment for edutainment. Yet, it’s not entirely successful and the formulaic critics don’t follow suit.
Amateur bedroom critics could have learned a modicum of interactive journalism and integrity, thus moving away from safe revisionist history and obvious bear-baiting. Instead, within the past year, they’ve opted for the same “sit in my room and tape myself shouting” style, with opinions that are instantly uploaded to Wikipedia pages and TV Tropes, thus making it all temporary fact.
It’s all about being a narcissist in a ‘biscuit game’ popularity contest.
So why put so much faith in them?
Well, I still believe in the idea of a decent videogame show in the vein of videoGaiden, Gameswipe and BITS appearing on the internet.
I’m a big fan of Sundays With Sagat because underneath the surrealism, Jonathan Holmes was trying to make a point. You could either walk away being amused at Albert Whiskers or you could actually delve deeper for the commentary on maturity and racial stereotypes. HAWP does something similar on occasion and despite the Burch siblings’ obvious hammering of their points, it does an admirable job. Let’s not forget the brilliant creation of Keith Apicary and Talking Classics, reminiscent of acerbic reporter Dennis Pennis.
That’s what I really want to see if you still want to make The Inane Scarf Critic Show.
Just be interesting, use your own name and if you’re uncomfortable in front of the camera, then don’t do it because nobody cares about your clichéd reactions. A bunch of plebs already destroyed your future credibility when they bulldozed a path to cult glory, so don’t worry about it. You can always join up with a money pinching organisation if you get lazy.
Now if you’ll excuse me, presenter/contributor Lisa Foiles is telling me about videogame motorcycles. Oh wait; it’s just another article about how she really does have an exciting life post-Nickelodeon.
At least Dana Plato went out with more dignity after the fame dried up.