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Crossing the Line: The Changing Face of Gaming Journalism and Online Communities

logo apg blueWe here at the APGNation have made it our mission to provide you, our audience of devoted readers, with accurate and unbiased reporting free from corruption or outside influence. The mere fact that we have to make such a statement is troubling in itself. Over the last month or so the gaming websphere has been flooded with news of people like Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian being harassed for the perceived injustices that they have dealt to the gaming community as a whole. They in turn have received a barrage of hateful and downright rude comments online that are unacceptable regardless of whom they are targeted at.

Because of the current climate and in light of recent events, this is what I’d like to talk about today; what we as video game journalists can learn from the situation, what it can teach us about the gaming community as a whole, and what we need to change about our subculture in the future to better prevent situations like this from arising in the future.

To begin, those of us in the gaming journalism game need to be more transparent in what our connection to the industry at large is. If we are nothing but an outlet to spit forth an endless series of talking points, media kits, and press releases, then that is not journalism; it’s marketing and we are nothing but the shills that place trailers and promo art before gamers. This is why earnest reviews and other original content is so important, as it is one of the ways we can actually contribute something to the gaming community. Again, no one likes a shill, and those within the gaming journalism community are not doing their job if they artificially inflate review scores to please publishers and ensure future review copies. People rely upon websites like APGNation to help determine what games they will spend their hard-earned dollars on. Journalists are doing these people a disservice if reviews are based on anything besides the quality of the game itself.

Gamergate journalisum

The case of Zoe Quinn, or more so the outrage that arose around it about transparency in gaming journalism, shows that there is a call from the gaming community to unravel the tangled web that gaming news sites often have with the industry. It also shows that journalists need to be more open and unwilling to trade anything, be it review copies (or anything else for that matter), for positive press. It stands to reason that there is something that can be done about the situation in the first place. I’m fairly new to the game, but as far as I can see it, the best thing we all can do as gamers is to support good, honest reporting in the industry and only visit sites we feel support this brand of journalism. If you don’t want this cycle to continue, don’t visit their blogs, don’t click on all of the sensational headlines; just don’t do it! You’re only feeding the very thing you dislike in the first place.

At APGNation, we pride ourselves on being an outlet run by Gamers for Gamers. Every writer, editor, and everyone else behind the scenes working here is a fan of video games. We write about video games because we love them, not because of any obligation or for personal gain. This is why we can say that we will do our best to keep our reporting clean and clear as crystal. This is our promise to you, the reader and if we ever break that promise, then call us on it! If we mess up, then we want you guys to tell us about it so we can fix the problem and get back to business.

GamerGate Woman in Journalism

To all of you at home (to call up an overused cliché), be the change you want to see in the industry. Don’t support those who are dishonest and don’t play games they think are terrible or problematic; these things will only stop once people stop buying into them. We’ll try to do the same on our end by providing fresh news and reviews that you guys want to hear about. We’ll still be covering all of those press releases and promos too, but we’re just as excited to tell you guys about new games as you are about to play them. Part of the job is getting the word about new stuff out there, but that can’t be our only job. I think that is the most important thing to take away from all of this. At the end of the day, gaming journalists have to be more than a marketing outlet for the products we are trying to cover.

If you have any comments or concerns, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line in the comments or on our Twitter @APGNation and we’ll do our best to answer each and every missive you may have for us! And if your a gamer and want to make a difference, come and write for us! Send an E-Mail @ info@apgnation.com and you could join our team.

PS: As for the other thing regarding the abusive comments thrown against some people in the controversy that inspired this article. Just remember, don’t be a jerk. These individuals only detract from the gaming community when they post profanities, sexist comments, and other comments that can be classified as trolling. 

About The Author
Nicole Seraphita
Nicole Seraphita
My name is Nicole Seraphita and I’m 27. I’ve been gaming since the days of the NES and have owned at least one system from each generation since then. My favorite type of games if most definitely RPGs, with my favorites being titles like Chrono Cross, Persona 4, and Tales of Xillia, though I also sometimes dabble in platforming games, fighting games, and visual novels. When I’m not writing for APGNation or playing games, I enjoy table top and card games, watch anime, and write fiction that I occasionally publish online. I tend to write a lot of Sci-fi and the occasional bit of fantasy, with the often overlooked sub-genre of Biopunk being my favorite. I’ve also written a few visual novels, though only one of them has made it all the way to completion thus far. My current dream is to be able to bring the Monster Girl genre to a western audience.