I'm only speaking for myself here but I expect my gaming media to come from people that, you know, actually have an interest in games. Polygon doesn't seem to care about it at all though. Whoever does the hiring at Polygon seems to be looking for pseudo-intellectual hipsters who walk around acting like their flatulence doesn't produce noxious fumes that would incapacitate Krillin from Dragonball, and he doesn't even have a nose.
What am I talking about? I'm talking about Rock Band 4 and how Harmonix paid good money to host members of the gaming press at an expensive hotel, members that included one Colin Campbell of Polygon, so that said members would preview and discuss Rock Band 4. Was Colin interested in doing so? Have a read.
https://archive.is/IHnPL (archived for those who don't want to reward Polygon with clicks)
That article is approx. 15 paragraphs, give or take, of almost complete disinterest. Let's examine. Some paragraphs will be combined because mere sentences follow after them.
"A few of my more effervescent, more gregarious, more alive colleagues in game journalism are on stage "rocking out" to The Killers. We are on the rooftop of a pricey hotel in Santa Monica, at a press event organized by Rock Band 4's developer and publisher Harmonix. I'm standing at a safe distance, drinking fizzy water, eating puff pastry canapes and chatting to another colleague about politics in the Philippines. I'm having an OK time."
Right away we see the pompous attitude of the author. He's been invited to an event which he didn't have to pay for (and likely couldn't afford) and has established that he is completely disinterested in being there to cover the game. He'd rather eat canapes and talk about politics in the Philippines (such a random topic) like a snob than do his actual job. (Aside: I can totally see why some people view white men as elitist douchebags if they see examples like this all over the place)
"I'm supposed to be focusing my attention on Rock Band 4, but there's more chance of Ferdinand Marcos leaping onto that stage than there is of me mounting the boards, swinging a guitar strap around my neck and yelling "whooooooo." I don't care about rock music. I dislike crowds and I dislike loud noises. I don't do public performances, excepting "Toastmasters" which I enjoy from time-to-time, along with half a dozen accountants, schoolteachers and self-improvement nutters."
Yes, yes you ARE supposed to be focusing your attention on Rock Band 4. You write for Polygon. Polygon is ALLEGEDLY a video game media website that covers news, recent events, previews, and reviews of games. You were hired to do just that, and instead of that you're telling all of your readers, with symbolism that appears to paint you as someone with waxed eyebrows/moustache, a cocktail glass in hand, and a snooty upturned nose that you would rather be dead in the street than at an event that offers you free refreshements, and free entertainment, with the only thing you're expected to do is take notes about an upcoming new game. You obviously knew what game you were going to be taking a look at, and you obviously knew you don't like Rock Music, crowds, or loud noises, so why didn't you suggest that someone else take your place instead? Oh wait, I know why, BECAUSE HARMONIX FOOTED THE BILL FOR THE FOOD AND EVENT AND YOU DECIDED TO TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE! Right?
Author's Note: We have just seen the first quarter of the article, and we know nothing about the game. We do, however, know how much of a snob Colin is and that he thinks writing for Polygon means we care about what he's interested in or not.
"Look, sometimes in this job you gotta cover games you don't really give a stuff about. I played some Guitar Hero ten years ago and I thought it was kinda stupid. This is not because rock star sims are stupid. It's a perfectly valid fantasy. It's just not my fantasy. But I can tell from the people on stage, the fact that they are having fun and coming back for more, that Rock Band 4 has something to offer people who get together and enjoy each other and music and the whole rock-'n'-roll ethos. I'm jealous of their ability to enjoy this product."
(Aside: Before I begin, I understand my writing is not always grammatically perfect, but Polygon writers are paid journalists who allegedly went to school for it, and Colin began a sentence with "But." In actuality, he started a new paragraph with "But" I just joined them together because his format seems to split everything up so that each paragraph is at times just a sentence long up to a maximum of about 3. Probably thinks it's easier to read, but also shows many mistakes)
Really all I have to say about this paragraph is "if you knew you didn't like it, why did you accept the assignment?" More to the point, why did Polygon assign this to someone who already had a bias against these kinds of games? Doing so would immediately tarnish the game, sending the message that Polygon doesn't like Rock Band games and thinks they're a waste of time. Before anyone tries to say "no, only this one guy thinks that way" you have to remember that these journalists are representatives of the site they work for, and so their opinions extend to being the site's opinion until otherwise stated. Colin makes Polygon look disinterested with his attitude. BTW, I hate the word ethos. In my experience most people who use it are doing so just to show that they know it.
"If my grandmother, who does enjoy a good party, were here on this windswept hotel roof — instead of sitting in an old people's home in Manchester, watching Britain's Got Talent — she'd be up on stage, singing and yelling into the mic, mocking me for being a "boring old fart." Some of the journos on stage are as old as I am and, frankly, no more rock-star-ish than a bag of spuds. This is a game for everyone. Except me."
Polygon should hire your grandmother because she proves that age has nothing to do with being able to have a good time. Your grandmother would be right about you if you have such disdain for something because you think your age group should place enjoyment of such a thing beneath you. Get off your high horse you insufferably entitled dilettante.
Author's Note: We have now just read 50% of the article, and not a single mention of any aspect of the game was written. Half of the article has gone by and all we know is that we hate Colin Campbell because he comes off as a smug erudite that sees games like Rock Band as being completely beneath him. Will he ever actually do his job and cover the game?
"All video games are stupid, of course. That whole thing of, 'you're not really shooting terrorists or winning the World Cup, you're just pressing buttons' is patronizing and simplistic but every now and again you come across a game that has so little emotional connection to who you are that you end up standing there, gazing at the screen and saying "I'm just pressing buttons and my life has no meaning," to a slightly bemused PR person."
And there it is. This is the single reason why Polygon Dun Goofed. A writer for a gaming journalism site just said that all video games are stupid. His reasoning is because you're not actually doing whatever it is you're doing in the game and games like Rock Band don't speak to him as a person, they don't offer him an emotional connection. Good god I wonder how he feels about film, television, literature, and art knowing that in those you are never part of the story, you simply observe it. Why in the blue hell is someone like this employed to write about anything? How does Colin still have a job after saying "All games are stupid?"
Now the rest of the article is where Colin actually discusses the game. We've made it through 66% of the article before he actually started talking about the game while everything preceding that was filled with his entitlement and disdain for his own job.
This is what "enlightened" gaming journalism is supposed to represent? This is diversity of thought, artistic criticism, and equality at work? This is trash! We just read an article in which a gaming journalist said "all video games are stupid." This is coming from a large, well-known site that most of the world uses to get gaming information alongside the other big sites like IGN.
So when outside eyes come in to see how gaming media feels about games, maybe because said eyes are attached to a person who is having a growing interest in games, they get to see a pompous entitled "journalist" flat out say that all video games are stupid with little to no emotional connection that leave you questioning what the hell you're doing with your life. And these are the same journalists that say that it's we gamers that are preventing gaming from being considered a mature art form? That's borderline blasphemous!
In any other industry, one could NEVER get away with portraying their job in such a way. You'd be fired immediately. At the very least I hope that Colin Campbell is blacklisted from attending any events, lest publishers want their games smeared as being completely uninteresting and not worth anyone's time even before the game is finished.
But who am I kidding, he writes for Polygon. He's not even going to be reprimanded for this. If anything, Colin Campbell will probably receive a raise for this article.
Heaven help us if this is what people mean when they say gaming media should be free to be artistically critical of games, that games should be viewed and critiqued as art. If this is an example of that kind of criticism, if we get to be told that what we enjoy is stupid and that we should be questioning what we are doing with our lives for enjoying it, I'd rather go back to the days where everyone thought gamers were social outcasts and nerds.
Tell me what you think in the comments while I go waste my life playing games.