Polygon writer Colin Campbell published a preview of game developer Harmonix’s new game Rock Band 4 that did not offer much detail about the game, but instead communicated a general distaste for the genre that the game represented.
In his preview of Harmonix’s game, Campbell stated, “I’m standing at a safe distance [from the game]… I don’t care about rock music. I dislike crowds and I dislike loud noises,” before saying that “sometimes in this job you gotta cover games you don’t really give a stuff about.” Some took issue with the writer’s focus on himself instead of the game, including CVG and ONM former video game journalist Chris Scullion.
Scullion said, “it has always been my opinion that when a journalist makes themselves the story instead of the game they’re supposed to be covering, they’ve failed at doing their job.” He stated that journalists can write about games personally, citing an article by Christian Donlan that explained how video games help him with multiple sclerosis. However, in Donlan’s article, “the overriding message is still ‘games are amazing’. When you finish reading it you’re more in love with this wonderful hobby than ever.”
Scullion recounted how he turned down covering strategy games for CVG because he wasn’t interested in them to demonstrate how the Rock Band 4 article wasn’t just a failure on the part of the writer but also Polygon’s editorial process. His editor understood “that sending someone who isn’t even remotely interested in a game is essentially a waste of time… if you don’t send a specialist who knows the genre enough to not only report on a game but also analyse it and comment on it, you might as well just ask for a press release.”
Perhaps responding to Campbell’s statement of “all video games are stupid, of course,” Scullion says that “there are likely tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of people around the world who would kill to be a professional games journalist,” lamenting that people who love writing about games are unpaid while those who are “show a complete disregard for this dream job so many are desperate to get just a taste of.”
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