Reviewer reageert op corruptiebeschuldiging
Deze week lekte de allereerste review van Batman: Arkham City en het was een 10/10, vanwege Official PlayStation Magazine Australia. Meteen na de review werd er dan ook al snel negatief gereageerd door een heleboel mensen. Een voorbeel daarvan is NeoGaf, een forum waarop vele mensen hun ergernis uitten over hoe deze "journalist" van een Official-magazine zich waarschijnlijk had laten omkopen of dat hij commerciële motieven had laten spreken in zijn review. De verwijten en opmerkingen zaten de reviewer blijkbaar behoorlijk hoog, want hij besloot in een blog stevig terug te snauwen.
Before I begin, I want to make it clear that the following is me speaking for myself and does not reflect the views of Official PlayStation Magazine Australia or any other publication.
So. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a world exclusive review of Batman: Arkham City for Official PlayStation Magazine Australia. We worked hard for that review: because of reasons, I had two days to play the game and produce copy in time for deadline. And before you ask: no, I didn't play it the whole way through before writing the review. That’s just the reality of publishing – sometimes you don’t get to do reviews in ideal circumstances.
Did my opinion change after playing it to completion? It sure did – for the better. Here’s a text I sent to my editor after I finished it:
Just finished Arkham’s story. Holy SHIT. Fuck 10 – this thing should’ve got 11.
In any case, the review has leaked onto the internet – as reviews are wont to do sometimes – and from what I can tell the reaction has been largely negative. As soon as they see the source, the game, and the exclusivity, people do the math:
Official Magazine + Big Fucking Game x World Exclusive = obvious corruption.
And look, I can understand why you’d be cynical. Games journalism doesn’t have a sterling record of quality and integrity, and – to be perfectly honest – neither do I. I’ve written enthusiastic previews for games that turned out terrible, I’ve been taken on junkets and plied with free booze and t-shirts. But one thing I have never done, and never will do, is let PR dictate my opinions.
Warner Bros. didn’t give me money to give their game a positive review. The only time I even interacted with Warner Bros. was when their PR rep handed me the disc. There was no editorial or managerial pressure to write a favourable review. I wrote a favourable review – a very favourable review – because I fucking love the shit out of that game.
I’ll admit that the text is a bit hyperbolic in places, but it isn’t engineered hyperbole – it’s the natural sort of hyperbole that occurs when you experience something incredible and want to share it with somebody. I wrote that review to convince you motherfuckers to buy the damn game. I want you to buy the damn game because the damn game is rad as balls.
And really – do you think that Warner Bros. and Rocksteady don’t know that? Do you think they’re ignorant of the fact that their game is totally brilliant? Because I don’t think they are. I think they know very well how good the game is, and I think they know what sort of response it’s likely to receive. Given that, why on Earth would they bother wasting time and money trying to BUY good reviews when they know they’re going to get them for FREE?
It’s important in magazine publishing to write for your readers, and I’m certain that at least 90 percent of mine are going to love Arkham City. Which is great! As a critic, there are few things I love more than being told that my work has encouraged someone to try a great game. I know there are people out there (not a lot, but they’re there) who trust my opinions, who trust me to be honest, and I work fucking hard to make sure that I am. There are some games journalists who couldn’t say the same, but personally-? I don’t know any.
So fuck you guys. Fuck you for your constant sneering derision, for your endless unfunny “journalist in quotation marks” jokes, for your automatic assumptions of corruption, for all the times you sent someone an email full of vile personal insults because they gave some game you like a bad score, and for all the other toxic, squalid, and puerile bullshit that defines your contribution to videogame culture. Grow the fuck up for Christ’s sake. Or if you can’t do that, at least have the decency to keep your mouth shut once in a while.
Again: it’s right to be sceptical of games journalists. It’s right to be sceptical of big exclusive reviews that give massive scores to blockbuster titles. But if you’re going to accuse (or even insinuate) that a review is the product of corruption, that the journalist must have accepted cash for comment or anything like that, then here’s a tip: get some proof. Hell, not even that: get some evidence. Even the tiniest little shred will do. Get some evidence and use it to support your assertions. Otherwise, what are you even doing? I’ll tell you what you’re doing: you’re being a jerk.
Stop being a jerk.
Oh, and guys? The suggestion that I wrote the review the way I did so that I could get a quote on the box is… absolutely right. You got me! Ever since I was a child, I have longed – YEARNED – for a chance to get something I wrote printed on a videogame box. Truly it is my one great ambition, my one driving passion, and to this day it remains painfully unfulfilled. I don’t know if Arkham City will be my salvation, but I can assure you that I did everything in my power to make it so.
Nu hij zijn kant van het verhaal heeft kunnen vertellen en zijn frustraties heeft kunnen uiten, hoe staan jullie tegenover deze situatie?