I want to go over to Gawker media, and hug Max Read, and Stephen Totilo, and the rest of that weird bro-cadre that resides in their dimly lit New York office. Why? Because they allow their journalists (and I use that term loosely) to write inflammatory stories that have almost no journalistic credibility other than their own opinion. Opinion pieces are wonderful things that can add some value and perspective to a traditional outlet of news, but it seems like it’s far too often that Kotaku blurs the line between objectivity and objective. When they just outright trample this line, they write wonderfully stupid things that often make me smile because I then get to call them out on it. So what did I mean by objectivity VS objective?
Well their objective is page views of course; and if I were to hazard a guess, I would say that articles with headlines like “The Gay Joke In Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Harmless. Or Is It?” definitely get more views than something like “Why I Think the Gay Joke In Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Isn’t Harmless.” The reasons are pretty simple here too. Controversy sells, and it’s the readers that consume it and regurgitate it. By and large Gawker media has made this their chief operating principle across the spread of their network. Without diluting this too much, it is this writers opinion that their contributions to the ecology of their respective fields are often absurd, and sometimes poisonous. In this case Patricia Hernandez is attempting to take Dean Evans to task for the inclusion of an offensive one liner in a video game; an Xbox Live Arcade release at that.
More puzzling is that Hernandez is at odds with her own assertions or values in even opening this box of silliness. In a previous piece for Kotaku Hernandez wrote
That’s as clear an indictment you could write, honestly. A condemnation like that implies that she has a desire for modern shooter games to be less about the grim and dark tone so prevalent in modern FPS design in exchange for some good ole’ fashioned all American light hearted fun. Her own playing habits even seem to support this as she name-drops Bulletstorm in a previous article.
Patricia…did you play the same Bulletstorm I did? It is a game that my gaming clan affectionately refers to as “Dick Joke: The Game.” and it is exceptionally offensive. The game is full of racial slurs, misogynistic dialogue that is disparaging to women and homosexuals, and to top it off, it’s just not very good. Yet, it is a game that she cites for another article decrying the banality and tedium of videogame challenges. As if that were the most important aspect of Bulletstorm that needed to be taken to task.
Patricia, and Kotaku at large, are missing the forest for the trees by running sensationalist things like this. At best, it’s a short term shot in the arm for their traffic, and shows that they have an ability to be edgy and on the pulse. At worst, however, as time marches on there will continue to be more and more examples of conflicting hypocrisy born and bred by the site’s own writers and community. There is seemingly no concern on their part to correct the trend anytime soon; but this gaming journalist can’t help but wonder how long Kotaku’s goodwill can hold out in the face of lazy journalism.