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BASH 103: Gaming Media
Written by jockyitch   
Sunday, 05 April 2009

This week, we are very fortunate to have on the guys from MODSonair: Foyleman, Stryder, Welshy and Jynx!



In addition to celebrating the four years that MODSonline has been on the internet, on today's cast we bring up the topic of the media’s role in gaming.

How does the commercial gaming media shape the debate on games?

What is the difference between a game “review” and “critique”. Why can’t we find the latter in the gaming media? Is the lack of critique killing game originality?

Are commercial gaming sites in bed with game producers?

Are the gaming media’s standards and practices ethical? Do they purchase the news they report?

What media sites do you listen to? Can they be trusted?

Do community sites act as watchdogs against biased reporting or do we simply contribute to the hype?

These are just some of the topics we discuss on today’s show. Have a listen!

Ladies and Gentlemen boys and girls welcome to BASH, I am Jock the host of this Call of Duty webcast.

As you may have heard, last week I was cudgeled to the back of the head, placed unconcious into the trunk of a '98 Cadillac, driven to upstate New Jersey where someone,  who introduced himself to me as Don Guido, made me an offer I could not refuse to appear on the hit gaming podcast Modsonair for episode 173 ...an offer which I was only glad to take.

Well this week after recovering from that event, I have asked the crew of Modsonair, on this the day of my daughter's wedding, to return the favour by appearing on BASH.

And here they are, from modsonair.com, I am honored to introduce:

Jynx from the U.S. of A.
Stryder (Jeff) a fellow Canadian, eh? From Alberta no less...
Welshy (from Wales in the UK)

and of course...the face in the big window of the multi-windowed modsonair streaming video feed, it's none other than ...

Foyleman (from the Garden State)


Taking advantage of all the high tech we have here on this show, we dial the BASH time machine back to 2005: George Bush  is officially sworn in for his second term as president - i wonder how he did? Hurricane Katrina wreaks havoc and catastrophic damage on the Gulf coast...and on July the 15th,  folks around the gaming globe tune their primitive, tube-powered, iTunes apps to a signal emanating from the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Modsonair was born.


1. Foyleman:

a) Do you recall that first podcast?
b) Did you think back then that four years later you would still be doing this cast, except now the technology allows you to stream it live, around the world, in color with multiple screens and picture in picture overlays and it can be both rebroadcast and available for later playback and download?

2. Introduce the other members of the show (Welshy, Jynx, Jeff). Gaming bios all around.

What games do you guys play
Where do you folks know each other from?
Why are you all willing to volunatrily give up hours of your time to do a podcast...what do you get from the experience?

3.

a) Talk about the format of the show (roundtable format). How hard was it to convince others to help you out with the cast?

b) How has the show format morphed over time? Explain the tech of the show.

4. Tell me a bit about modsonline.com, what is the relationship between modsonline and modsonair?

5. I've had many people tell me they don't want to get their news from a video or audio podcast, they'd rather read about it. Does podcasting have a future for telling the stories that gamers want to hear?

I wanted you folks to come on this show not to just talk to us about your own foray into gaming journalism, but to comment about the commercial industry as a whole.


6. Is there anyone in the media you feel you can trust at giving the unbiased truth?

a) What do you read?

My "big-4" are:

IGN:  7M viewers per month
Gamespot: 5 1/2 M viewers per month
1UP:   2M viewers per month
Kotaku: ~1M viewers per month

I also read:

Greg Costikyan <---- indie developer 

For the MODSonair guys, they get their news from:

Gamegurumania

b) What do you listen to (tv, podcasts?)

Do Who do What media outlets do you guys read in preparation to do the show?

For me:

G4TV Adam Sessler...check him out here.


7. How does the commercial gaming media shape the debate on games

Greg Costikyan, in his February 24, 2008th article "Game Criticism, Why We Need It, and Why Reviews Aren't It" said this:

"There's virtually nothing we can point to today as "game criticism." And we badly need it.", G. Costikyan.

What he meant by this short statement was that most gaming media these days, I'm talking about the 1Up's and Gamespots and the Kotaku's of the world, is about reviewing games not critiquing them.

Media outlets provide reviews...that is, a buyer's guide. Do you buy the game or not.

Criticism, is informed discussion it's not meant to help the listener or reader decide whether to buy the game, but whether or not the game has any merit or importance.

a) Do you care whether a game is "important" or adds to our culture, or is artistic? or do you simply want to know whether or not you should buy the game?

b) Do you think the average person buying the game wants a critique of the game?

c) Are we losing out on game originality by not demanding critiques from media companies?

8. How do you separate information from spin?

It is difficult to separate hype from the news.

a) Do we as gamers like this hype? Do we like being fed little tid bits and crumbs of information? Teased all the way until we buy the game?

b) What responisibility do we have in the community media, like you folks at MODSonair and this cast, have in all this?

c) Are we part of the hysteria machine?

d) Is there a difference between a "fanboy site" and a legitimate "community site"? What is the responsibility of one relative to the other?


9. I don't mean to impugn mainstream media or suggest they lack integrity ...however, 

a) They come off sounding like they are talking to us at the "street" level, but aren't they really representing similar interests - interests that are not necessarily the same as their readers?

b) Are mainstream sites are totally in bed with game producers.

c) What do  you think of the unspoken policy of media outlets essentially purchasing rights to air information first. Is this ethical? Is it done in the world of real journalism?

d) What does this practice (money in return for exclusivity) do to the reputation of this type of media? Does anyone care that it really isn't pure journalism...

e) Why don't gamers revolt against these large "news" organizations and accuse companies like Gamespot of bias when they are obviously buying exclusives - like the CoD:WW DLC announcement?

f) if anything its like the professional wrestling of journalism. It looks like real news but behind the scenes the outcome is predetermined.

How do you I tell what's real and what isn't?

10. What do you think of the community manager as a liaison between the corporate developers and producers and the player?

In CoD of course we have:

 

Fourzerotwo
JD_2020

EA has Matthew Pruitt and apic now,

Microsoft has sixokay
a) Do these guys help us get the word from the producer/developer to the player - are they filters, or worse, are they just spin masters?

b) Are they blurring the line between corporate spokesperson and your fellow buddy gamer?


11. Do PC gamers still wield the power to outspin the spinners?

12. What do you see as the future for community news sites? Will they ever almagamate into one entity - perhaps sharing information - so as to come out from under the spin machine?

13. Where are you going to take Modsonair in the future?

Before I bid you guys farewell, thanks to _MaTtKs_ , sam at omnilinkit.com and of course MODSonline and foyleman for spreading the word on BASH this week. Thank you!


And foyleman, jynx, Stryder and welshy thanks for coming on!

 
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