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You take games too seriously.

Ropeburned: You Have to Beat the Horse

beating a dead horse

In stand up, there’s an unspoken rule: don’t joke about another stand-up’s set. Sam’s post, Ropeburned by Games Journalism, brought a lot of attention to Hardcasual, but it was only recently that I had put these two thoughts together. Originally, I planned to let Sam’s opinions and his apology stand on their own, but since both articles have attracted a good portion of our new readership, I’ve decided to offer my brief opinion—after all, we share the damn blog. There’s no sense beating a dead horse, but I’m going to ignore that rule, beat it, then say there’s no sense in beating a dead horse… anymore.

Game journalism has a big white elephant: there’s no definitive way for any of us to discuss games – not for the Kotakus the 1Ups the Newsweeks the forums the IRC rooms or the personal blogs.

There’s no Strunk & White’s Elements of Style for the designers or the journalists. In fact, the IGDA’s currently having an entire conversation about this dilemna over a round-robin e-mail. Is videogame one word or two? Do I use AP or MLA? Are online games all games online or just PC games online? With such an unclear style how do we maintain consistency?

Watch me further beat the horse and dissect the elephant after the jump…

There’s no Pauline Kael or Lester Bangs. We don’t have models to praise or admonish. Sometimes, I feel we need a couple lone wolfs to step away from the pack, to give contrary opinions. Or maybe they already do. These might be the Brian Crecentes or N’Gai Croals, the Stephen Totilos or Maggie Smiths, the Leigh Alexanders or Michael Erards. It’s too early to tell.

And as Sam said, we have no Citizen Kanes. Nor should we, according to the film industry time line. Right about now we’re at an historical equivalent to the work of Oskar Fischinger. We definitely have the space marines to draw that comparison.

I think, and many commenters made this point, bloggers and journalists alike must be careful not to discourage the creation process. We shouldn’t criticize, but lead by an example of what we believe’s the right way, the right method. If we can’t have a consistent method, we must make a method of our best efforts.

We’re at an exciting time for gamers and game critics. In an effort to do our part, Sam, and myself in many ways, were quick to vocalize our thoughts on other writers, but we forgot the unspoken rule: Never joke about the other guy’s set.

From now on, we hope to promote our own voices and thoughts. For example, Sam’s thoughts are usually little smarter than mine, but ladies usually think I’m more handsome. So that’s OK.

Enough with that horse. Bring on the next one! (Man, did this get way off the topic (YHTBTR) of the original post.)

-Chris

NOTE: Hardcasual does not support any brutality to animals. They are not automatons, but beautiful creatures and members of our global community. For more information on horses and other domesticated mammals, click here.

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Filed under: Commentary

One Response

  1. […] [UPDATE 4/20: Chris’ take] […]

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this is a blog about video games by chris plante, sam ryan and chris littler.


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"BEST OF HUMOUR... Hardcasual is the magic mirror for gamers who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves, and each other."
- Gaz Deaves, Video Games Records Manager, Guinness Book of World Records

"I liked Hardcasual when it was serious. Then they made a joke about me and turned into a comedy site. Now I like them even more... These guys are like The Onion of video games."
- Stephen Totilo, MTV Multiplayer Blog
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