Where it all began, and why I left my gig writing about video games

Man, this site is a bittersweet memory for me.  This is where I seriously started writing about video games roughly three years ago, and where my dreams of making a magazine had to be put in the deep freezer.

After starting this blog, I won a contest with my favorite of all the articles I’ve written, and was invited to a lot of small fan enthusiast sites as a contributor. Most of them have long since died, which has resulted in some of my best works being scrubbed from the web. It sucked, but eventually I got a reliable, paid freelance job at Game Zone, and that was awesome.

Over time things changed: My bosses changed, my colleagues changed, my pay changed, the gaming community changed, everything changed. It was frustrating for the most part, but I muscled through and took long breaks (one of the best parts of being freelance), but eventually my frustration boiled over.

There had been some dirt in GZ’s history, and the staff I worked with had to struggle to build the site up after their predecessors f*%ked it up royally. I’d never had any real issues with how the site was run since I’d been there, but that all started to change recently.

I’m not going to burn those guys to the ground in a vicious, one-sided tell all, because some of the good people there are genuinely happy and enjoy video games. I’d consider the staff friends. None of them agree with the word on high, but they’re better able to stomach the disgusting acts of their higher ups than I am.

After an incident I found particularly egregious, I was on the edge of walking. Then, there was a personal letdown, and a conflict over my creative freedoms: Previously, I had been given carte blanche to post news articles laced with my own sense of satire/humor, so I used the chance to make fun of a former coworker/pal of mine and his penchant for nabbing review copies, despite never doing any of the coverage on those games.

I’m just going to post a copy of the (now removed) article below:

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polygonreviewnioh

Title: Gamers mock Polygon for delaying their Nioh review due to difficulty

Subhead: Getting paid to make fun of Polygon and take swipes at coworkers? I’m livin’ da dream.

 

polygon1

Polygon has a reputation for being bad at all aspects of video games. No one’s really going to dispute this, as it’s essentially a harsh reality of life at this point: Rabbits eat grass, wolves eat rabbits, and Polygon sucks at games. That’s just the way it is.

The delay of Polygon’s Nioh review is doing nothing to help their reputation either.

This poor reputation really started to gain traction last May, when the staff of Polygon, in all their infinite wisdom, thought this video was good enough to be uploaded as a proper preview of what to expect in DOOM:

The viewers were quick to latch onto the skill, or lack thereof, on display. Say what you will about not all gamers being equal, but this person is employed to play and review video games, and it’s part of their job to give an accurate representation of how a game looks in motion. This clearly wasn’t the case here, and one has to wonder what the editors at Polygon were thinking to clear this travesty.

As per usual, the comments became septic, the dislikes poured in, and Polygon went into full damage control. Some members of the media even tried to chastise the “git gud” mentality of most core gamers, white knighting Polygon’s terrible footage. Never mind that getting good is the purpose of skill based games, or that professionals should work inside their scope of practice and put out professional tier content.

Now it has happened once again. Arthur Gies, the man that couldn’t grasp the subtle, nuanced complexity of DOOM’s run and shoot gameplay, has allegedly been put on the review of Nioh. This has resulted in the aforementioned delay of Polygon’s review, as completing the game in time for the embargo was beyond his level of skill, and has earned the media outlet a slew of derision and mockery from gamers:

Even our own Mike Splechta, that review copy hoarding D-bag extraordinaire, managed to get his Nioh review done, and he’s busy playing all the review copies of new games that he hoards. (The salt is real.)

Now for the swerve: I applaud Polygon’s decision to put off the review. Delaying a review instead of faking it for the embargo rat-race is a responsible decision, one worthy of respect. Even if I think they should try hiring some gamers to do reviews in a timely manner.

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The article was fairly well written, if I do say so myself. It opens by illustrating the public’s current opinion of Polygon (They suck at games), makes a self-deprecating and friendly jostle at my buddy for a legit character flaw (I’m salty because he’s a review copy hoarding D-bag), and ends on a swerve by showing support for Polygon’s delay (A responsible decision).

That article is one catch phrase and some sexual attention away from being the next summer blockbuster.

People thought it was pretty funny and laughed at me calling out Mike. Then the resident brown-noser said he didn’t think people would get it was a joke and that it was a sign of internal struggle that would push readers away. (As if the impenetrable ads that made it so even I wouldn’t look at the site on mobile weren’t doing that already.) I pointed out that his view was f*%king retarded and readers would have to be autistic to think it was some massive attack on Mike. Not like insulting autistic, I mean literally have trouble with human interactions, proper use autistic.

Did I got too far? Probably. Was anything I did today necessary? Not in the least. Am I sorry? No.

I had made my peace that GZ was on its last legs or at very least a dead end for me. The only thing that really kept me around was the freedom to make articles the way I wanted on a larger platform than I had on my own, as the pay had long since dried up. Once GZ lost that, it literally had nothing left for me. So I didn’t hold back and aired my frustrations to the group.

Even after all was said and done, I wasn’t in any particular trouble, and they offered to repost the article if I changed two or three sentences. I didn’t want that, so I left.

My frustration at behind-the-scenes dirt in company owned media has made me want to back off from writing about games. I’ll probably take this weekend off, and decide whether or not I want to continue the Sisyphean struggle to make a name for myself on Monday.

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