So, in between the Brianna Wu media tour and the emergence of #StopGamerGate2014, #GamerGate for the first time in weeks actually attempted to bring up something that was almost something something kinda like Journalistic Ethics. As you may know, #Gamergate declares that journalistic ethics and integrity is what this is all really about (although that’s built on a total sham, is ignorant of actual problems and allergic to actual journalistic ethics). But hey, maybe they got it better this time!
For fuck’s sake, do you know how ethics work? How about a blog post:
saying something like ” Bayonetta 2 could have been a fantastic game but it’s need to provide fanservice holds itself and it’s audience back” because then you are attacking your readership indirectly, you’re implying that there is something wrong with them for enjoying/purchasing a game like this since it offends your moral compass…don’t do that.
Christ. Okay, let’s just get a few things clear:
1) It’s not an ethics problem. There are probably a million op-eds, reviews, and blogs printed daily that you disagree with. Reviews are, at their core, opinions. It’s not unethical, it’s what makes you a unique and beautiful snowflake. And it’s definitely not ‘corruption’. It’s just a media outlet with a different point of view. Lord knows, I hate Fox News, but I’d never say they have no right to exist for having people with different opinions. Judging from the reviews, there are at least 10 major games sites who represent the standard ‘sex and violence is awesome!’ viewpoint, so lets just call that point of view covered.
2) I’m amused at how it’s like the opposite of collusion. Remember that word? Remember how Ben Kuchera and Polygon were evil for forcing everyone to print the same story (allegedly – this is also bullshit) Now, some people are mad at them for being the only ones who didn’t freely fellate PlatinumGames with their review. In fact, they’ve got a lot of integrity for going against the grain and saying what they believe.
3) He’s probably not talking to you. If you’re in #Gamergate, there’s a good chance you’re not in Polygon’s target audience, because Polygon believes in talking about social and progressive issues in video games, and most of #gamergate doesn’t seem to give a rats ass about that. Which is fine! But here’s the thing – the goal of a review is not whether or not the reviewer is representing the opinions of anyone on reddit. The goal of a review is to represent the concerns of their audience. If you review “Atlas Shrugged”, you’re going to write a very different review if you review it for Daily Kos vs. whether you review it for Breitbart.
Polygon has a slant on how they report games -that more cultural/progressive angle, and they have an audience. That audience appears to be one of the fastest growing audiences in the games press right now, and appears to still be perfectly health despite gamergate. Whether or not this review bugs THOSE readers, I don’t know. But THOSE are the people who Polygon is trying to satisfy with their reviews.
4) Talking about whether or not the sexuality is ‘over the line’ is pretty crucial to ANY review of Bayonetta 2. There are a lot of people who like sex in their games, and there are a lot of people who don’t. There are also a lot of people who like it ‘up to a point’ – Soul Caliber is fine, but Dragons’ Crown is not. I found Taki’s outfit awesome in Soul Caliber 2, and awful in Soul Caliber 4. An open and frank discussion about how far the game goes is in fact CRUCIAL to a customer making a purchasing decision. And if Polygon’s audience cares about that, it definitely merits discussion and factoring into the score.
5) Bayonetta 2’s overall coverage is fine. Their Metacritic is still a sterling 91. I mean, that’s awesomely good. Oh, and by the way, getting a review that says ‘this game is pretty awesome but the sex might be TOO FUCKING MUCH FOR YOU’ is actually going to sell a few copies. In fact, that’s exactly the sort of line that PlatinumGames’ marketing is HOPING will hit the press, because that sort of controversy sells games. Seriously, do you think Dragon’s Crown would have gotten more than cursory coverage and sales if it wasn’t for the Sorceress character Boobs McTits?
6) Suggesting that Nintendo blacklist or give less preferential treatment to sites that give them critical review IS an ethics problem. I mean, seriously, this is exactly the sort of stuff that people like me say #Gamergate SHOULD be investigating as insidious ways that the AAA publishers completely blanket the press with feverishly positively deceptive press, and instead you’re suggesting it as a solution? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? The fact that anyone suggests this shows they are utterly non-serious about the issue of ethics in reviews.
So yeah. This little ‘scandal’ pretty much establishes further that #Gamergate has not a clue about what journalistic integrity actually means, and that at the end of the day, the movement is about silencing opinions that happens to differ from theirs. I continue to find this one of the most insidious and odious part of the movements.
And I say this as someone who may buy a Wii U solely for this game, because God Damn do I love me some Bayonetta.