A comedic article satirizing the worst habits of the mainstream video games press has deeply offended a number of video games journalists, many of whom believe its publication to be an unwarranted attack on their esteemed profession.
The outrage began on May 29th, 2021 when Hard Drive, a satirical news site in the vein of The Onion or The Babylon Bee whose content focuses exclusively on video games, tweeted a link to their article, “IGN Writer Excited to Start Playing Game He Just Finished Reviewing” from their official Twitter account.
Originally written in 2018, Hard Drives’ article satirized a number of the unprofessional and well-documented habits which have plagued the industry of video games journalism in recent years.
Such satirized habits included plagiarism, professional critics’ growing inability to finish games before reviewing them (due in some part to the increased scheduling demands of remaining ‘internet relevant’), and how readers “will gloss over [a reviewer’s] writing to get to the score and forget about it entirely a few minutes later.”
“I could probably write anything I want in there, because nobody is really going to read it,” said Austin Rivera, the fictitious reviewer presented as the subject of the article. “I basically have a bachelor’s degree in garbage. Oh my god… I think I’ve made a huge mistake.”
Clearly hitting too close to home for many, the article’s sharing as part of nothing more than routine instance of content promotion soon led to The Hard Times being inundated with a storm of outraged tweets from real-world members of the video games press who felt that the satirical piece of writing was an outright harassment and attack campaign against their profession.
Gameranx Video Producer Andrew Gebbia asserted, “Y’all rarely miss but this is a big miss. Yikes.”
“I don’t think you realize the damage a goof like this does,” said Gebbia. “Reviewers/creators have it hard enough dealing with clowns in the comments. Just make our jobs harder why don’t ya”.
“This ain’t it,” similarly declared former IGN writer Janet Garcia, adding, “At the time it was a very specific dig but bringing this out in 2021 just perpetuates a harmful view of critics and with all the stuff going on at IGN it feels especially inappropriate”.
According to Dauntless programmer and former Proving Grounds contributor Chris Pollock, “if games journalism ceased to exist tomorrow, three things would happen: the number of new studios would fall, the number of paid influencer campaigns would rise, [and] the cost of making games would increase due to needing a significantly larger ad spend.”
CG Mag Online contributor Mary Guthrie asserted, “This is in poor taste and bad timing.”
“I know this is supposed to be funny but it’s not right now,” she continued. “Game journalists deal with so much hate/harassment and this just propitiates this and the stereotype of ‘game journalists don’t play games’, ‘they are paid off'”.
What do you make of Hard Drive’s satirical article? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!