[ Blog ] Why Being a Gaming Journalist Can Be Difficult, Sometimes

I’ve long since deleted the article outlining the event but, as I’m sure some of you may remember, I was fired, once. I’m not going to get into huge details or anything but it goes a little something like this, in summary: me and the acting editor-in-chief of Gaming Precision – a site that’s still mostly broken and, when it does let me in, it still sets off all kinds of warnings in just about every antivirus I’ve ever tested it on – were talking about administrative stuff such as views, SEO, and readership and how to work on such things and we got to, as a result, joking about this apparent seven million unique hits the site’s owner claims the site gets in a year’s time because it was very clear that his claims were not founded in any sort of fact whatsoever. My highest ranked articles with the site were between 10k-20k hits for the year and they were two of the highest counts for unique hits in that year and even if the stats were taken absolutely seriously that would have only put us at about 250k for the year, maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less, but nowhere near seven million or whatever that guy insisted on. We had been doing a podcast and in the last episode of my tenure with the site, I made a very out-of-context crack at our little inside joke that really made no sense to anyone outside of our little group so I figured it was safe to make; it turns out the owner of the site saw it and took it very personally. So much so that he basically disowned myself and the editor-in-chief for simply making those remarks as those were the only reasons that made sense and no other reasons were given: the typical PR bullshit response of “we just no longer need your services at this time” was the only gist I could get from it. More or less, our owner as being a complete butthurt baby over the whole thing and he didn’t take well to a few shots fired and instead of firing back like a good natured and humorous human would, he just… fired us. Like, deleted our logins, removed us from mention, everything, without so much as a “get the fuck out.” He just disavowed us over a personal insult that could have had nothing to do with him – it was obvious between the three of us but to anyone else it could have been about anything.

 

You see, we now live in a day of political correctness where hurt feelings are more important than action against hurting those feelings, where showing you support a cause is more important than actually helping said cause, where people are so desperate to be individual that they will actually make things up to support that individuality and fight until their dying breath for that so they don’t have to change their inherent nature. People are so wound up about how apparently hurt, oppressed, threatened, and afraid we are, in our own minds, that we’ve lost perspective of the world around us and the people in it. As a result, we can’t vent our angers, our frustrations, our sadness, anymore; we become more and more wound up before everyone starts coming apart at the seams, offended by everything and looking for the first thing they can attach to so they can vent all that they are unable to.

You can’t just tell people how you feel, anymore, without someone latching onto it as an opportunity for them to show the world how hurt and angry they are. It’s created an atmosphere, especially as a freelance gaming journalist, myself – especially since this GamerGate nonsense which is actively doing nobody any fucking good right now – where it is a calculated risk every time you say or do something that can even slightly be perceived as a threat, as an insult, as an offense, of any sort, even to unreasonable people. Funny thing about this part is that, somehow, having hurt feelings seems to justify being a complete dickhead to someone to those around them, because you started it by doing the thing that hurt their feelings in the first place.

Now that I’m back in the writing business for a gaming website I’m being reminded of what brought me here in the first place and how insensitive I was. However, the question has to be asked: was I being insensitive or was the owner of that site too sensitive? Will I ever have the true answer to that? It’s doubtful. I was rather notorious and actually kind of valued for my rash and honest opinion and even got my own periodical due to it. Everybody, at the very least, didn’t seem to mind having me around until I got fired over that single incident. No real warning, either. In this world of hypersensitivity, is the real issue how I am? That’s something I really struggle with, especially as a writer. I like getting praise but I don’t like it when it comes at the cost of my integrity.

So… that brings me to my point, as to why it’s kind of hard to be a gaming journalist these days, because it seems one of three things happen: you either do what everyone expects of you in casting aside all of your standards and honest thoughts and get all the praise you could ever think of; you have an opinion that doesn’t align with the sensitive and the status quo and then you redact it when things get too intense, sacrificing both your integrity and public image; or you become someone who stands up for their opinions that don’t align with the popular stance and someone ends up getting hurt over it.

However, there is a positive side to it all: this development may cull some of the fanatics and the terrible career men in this industry. It’ll be a long process but it’s coming and it’ll make way for guys like me and that’s a little exciting. I don’t know. I approach these days with a lot of uncertainty as a writer but, as always, there’s a sense of confidence that, through it all, no matter what I do, it will be me that shines through and that’s what I need to focus on.