August 18, 2008 8:00 AM |
['Quiz Me Quik' is a weekly GameSetWatch column by journalist Alistair Wallis, in which he picks offbeat subjects in the game business and interviews them about their business, their perspective, and their unique view of life. This time - some opinions and an interview with controversial indie game creator Luc Bernard.]
I pretty freely admit that I laughed quite loudly when I first saw Pitchfork's review of the second album from immensely average Australian rock band Jet. You know, the one where instead of text, they just had that YouTube video of a monkey drinking its own urine?
So, I'm not sure how I can really be about to say that I find the following quote, from Destructoid's review of indie platformer Eternity's Child, to be utterly repugnant. Possibly it's an issue I have with Jet, having had the displeasure of seeing them play “before they were big”. But here we go anyway:
“Whatever you do, don't buy this game. In fact, don't even say its name, for that might give its already unholy form power.”
That's repugnant. Utterly abhorrent. I've done my fair share of criticism, for both games and music, and that's a level I've never stooped to. That's the point where it jumps from taking your responsibilities as a writer in the public sphere seriously, to attention-seeking. 'Look at how funny I am!' It's pretty much everything I find repellent about the world of video game blogging in one sentence. There's a time and place for humour writing. Not every single post needs to contain a joke. Is the audience's attention span really that infinitesimal?
To be fair, the rest of the review isn't actually badly done, per se. It raises fair points in terms of the issues the writer has with the game, but jeez. That conclusion? Just...don't. Show some respect – both for the game, and for yourself, as a writer.
Here's the problem with it – it's trivializing the work of the game's creator, Luc Bernard, and turning him into a joke in the eyes of the readers. And the readers, for the most part, want to be the bloggers. They want to be as Oscar-Wilde-witty and fabulously scathing as the people whose work they read each and every day. That's why comments exist. That's where they try and prove that they can compete.
And, here lies the level of responsibility, which seems to be completely misunderstood. Anyone can laugh, and say that they're not responsible for the comments of the community, but that's not true. You can't play the 'do as I say, not as I do' game. Especially not on the Internet, where the much reposted Penny Arcade rule of anonymity stands so true. To wit:
“Luc,” read one comment, “Go fuck yourself.”
“GO FUCK YOURSELF LUC!!” Read another. “YEAHHHH!!!”
So: the thing. Eternity's Child might not be a good game. I wouldn't know – I haven't actually played it, yet. But I respect its creator, Luc Bernard.
Respect's a good word, I think. It means, according to the first online definition I managed to wrangle up, “To recognize the worth, quality, importance, or magnitude of”.
I think Bernard's reaction to this whole thing in the aforementioned comments section could have been handled with a higher degree of professionalism. In fact, I think even taking part was a bad move.
I think placing the blame on his co-developer, Joseph, was unnecessary. I think his recent – somewhat retracted – comments in regards to quitting video games smack of over-reaction.
But, he's 22. I did some pretty stupid things, and said some pretty stupid stuff at that age. Hell, I tried to steal a pine tree once. And at least he attempted it - putting the game out, I mean, not stealing a pine tree, because that only leads to legal threats and multi-hundred dollar bills. He put something out there commercially - putting a value on his work - and you have to respect that.
'Course, I'm not saying that you have to create something of your own to be able to engage in criticism, because that's just silly. But at least show a little respect, please - at least respect the effort that went into his work.
The following is a discussion with Bernard about his work, and his behavior.
Categories: Column: Quiz Me Qwik