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'I'm a fucking hero. A real one': New Games Journalism, the state of play...
October 16, 2005 3:25 AM   Subscribe

New Games Journalism (a Wikipedia definition for the uninitiated), appeared on MetaFilter last December with a link to the now legendary 'Bow, Nigger' article. In the first quarter of 2005 the buzz surrounding the phenomenon grew. Articles like This is Why Your Game Magazine Sucks got the attention of the Guardian, who examined the role of NGJ in a February article. In March, they linked to ten unmissable examples. At about the same time, the movement got its very own publication, The Gamer's Quarter; and in June PC Gamer wrote an open letter to the gaming community requesting articles about, well, anything really.
posted by nthdegx (17 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is fascinating. I'm not a gamer but I love a good story - turns out I had read some of those "unmissable 10", which I had individually loved, so I'm over the moon at the discovery that there's an entire movement devoted to that kind of thing. Excellent!
posted by Marquis at 4:22 AM on October 16, 2005


I can't stand New Games Journalism, the whole concept seems to have stemmed from the stagnation of games. I also think that NGJ couldn't have risen at any other point in games history; and rather than start hunting games down that are being created by talented developers, writers have decided to add to the malaise by creating articles that make the games more interesting than they actually are by describing the experience of the character rather than, the admittedly duller, experience of playing.
posted by Navek Rednam at 6:10 AM on October 16, 2005


the whole concept seems to have stemmed from the stagnation of games

Nah-ah. Au contraire. It's more to do with the fact that the age of gamers is steadily rising, alongside the increasingly sophisticated narratives and experiences possible within games themselves. I mean, I guess you could have an NGJ article involving Pong, but it'd be a bit of a stretch.
The thing is, articles like this have been around for years, appearing in the op-ed columns of gaming mags. It's only now that the median age of gamers is sufficiently high that there are enough pundits outside the industry to recognise a certain style of article and christen it with a spurious title.
posted by RokkitNite at 7:38 AM on October 16, 2005


(kick ass post, btw)
posted by RokkitNite at 7:39 AM on October 16, 2005


The Escapist seems to have answered that call, it's intelligent writing about all sorts of games, not just computer ones. It's a lot more intelligent than most writing about games I see.
posted by invisible_al at 8:20 AM on October 16, 2005


the whole concept seems to have stemmed from the stagnation of games maturation of gamers.

There, fixed it for ya.

Good writinig is good writing. Good games are good games.

What better way to play good games all the time than doing some good writing?
posted by wah at 9:33 AM on October 16, 2005


"It's more to do with the fact that the age of gamers is steadily rising, alongside the increasingly sophisticated narratives and experiences possible within games themselves."

For me narrative story-telling has been at around the same level for much of my gaming life, and the technology has offered the same potential to tell a sophisticated story since the advent of the text adventure. But very few games can and do take the opportunity.

I don't think games and gamers have become more advanced, maybe more numerous; I think journalists who have been gaming most of their lives just became bored and want to unleash their inner artiste.

Not that I'm completely anti these articles, I've liked reading some of them. I just think their use is limited and in some cases provide startling dull revelations, like 'Bow, Nigger' and there are dicks on the internet theme.
posted by Navek Rednam at 10:06 AM on October 16, 2005


Good writinig is good writing.

Except that all that I've read has been bad writing.

Don't get me wrong though. I love this stuff. It's fascinating to me, a non-gamer.
posted by recurve at 12:39 PM on October 16, 2005


Self Indulgent Pap.
posted by delmoi at 2:21 PM on October 16, 2005


I was hoping for something, you know, less sympathetic. First page looks nice, but the second page, the "annotated EGM" bit... ugh. It certainly ridicules some parts that are in severe need of shame, and at the end seems to think it's said something condemning, but it's not nearly enough. If any game magazine deserves a direct trip to the waste bin, it's always been Electronic Gaming Monthly.

But in particular in this article, any place where an EGM feature is described as being a "puff piece" makes me laugh aloud.

I wrote off game magazine as being interesting, in any way, shape or form, long ago. Trying to fix the problem in this way betrays an inability to see how bad the problem it is.
posted by JHarris at 7:12 PM on October 16, 2005


I'd say that Old Man Murray was the gold standard for writing about games, but that implies it was something that could be emulated. (Won't someone write a good OldManMurray emulator?!?)

.
posted by straight at 8:13 PM on October 16, 2005


Man, some of those "ten unmissable examples" are terrible.
posted by jimmy at 11:37 PM on October 16, 2005


Yeah, a couple of them were brilliant, though.
posted by joedan at 1:35 AM on October 17, 2005


Has no-one heard of Edge?
posted by anagrama at 2:55 AM on October 17, 2005


Hmm. That Edge one was good, joedan. I'll have to check them out one of these days.
posted by jimmy at 6:25 AM on October 17, 2005


Ugh, if I never hear about the Mr. Bungle incident and its shocking consequences for Internet identity again it'll be too soon.
posted by darukaru at 7:33 AM on October 17, 2005


This is nice - game magazines used to just focus on pictures and explanations of the game play, which in turn ending up with games with unlockable this or intresting use for an x button that, but now that there is a movement for explaining gameplay itself then if it ever gets enough sway to influence game makers then we'll see games with more thought out gameplay.

It kind of reminds me of early days of film, when there started being movie critics is around when the glory days of film started, before that it was just slapstick.
posted by klik99 at 12:40 PM on October 17, 2005


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