Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I wrote a letter to Game Informer Magazine

Not being able to sleep is a bitch. That being said, let's get on with it.

*Note: Definitely read issue 167 (issue with Darth Vader on the cover), or much of this stuff won't make much sense. It's some pretty doggone fine reporting, for two pages.

Re: Regarding "A Continuing Controversy"

I just got my copy of issue 167, and rather than go on about the whole "banning games vs. freedom of speech" debate (which I'm sure you'll get quite enough of), I'm compelled to commend you guys on a superbly impartial bit of reporting there.

It's refreshing to read that article, especially in these days of internet "journalism" (i.e. the days of "uber," "leet," and "woot," whatever the hell those things mean) and kneejerk partisan pandering on issues. Danny Ledonne's Columbine tragedy-based game spent probably twenty seconds, if that, on the drawing board before someone must have said to themselves, "Oh crap, this'll get us some notice." Positive, negative, both - who knows? But I'm convinced if he's intelligent enough to program a videogame, he's smart enough to see at least that far into the future.

And independent production of entertainment hasn't been as fun as it used to be, here lately. The "Hounddog" controversy at the Sundance Film Festival1 - Slamdance's distant cousin - probably did more to hurt this game than the content. From the article, I'm left with a sense that, following all of the "Hounddog" press, Peter Baxter saw fit to pull the Columbine tragedy RPG to avoid exactly what they couldn't afford. However, for Ledonne, that was perhaps a case of unexpected bad timing; kinda like making fun of your friend's Uncle Angus with the limp, only to find out after the joke that Uncle Angus died a few days ago with tuberculosis.

I read the cover again, after reading the article. "INDIE GAME DEVELOPMENT FINDS A CHAMPION" - but I was left with a feeling of who the "champion" was supposed to be. Leddone? Slamdance? Baxter? But I read the article several times, because I was impressed with the report of the facts and the quotes from the parties involved, and I was especially impressed with the fact that there were no clear answers after the article.2 And that's how I think reporting should be. And again I send kudos for you guys taking a neutral stance in what must no doubt have been a hard line to tow, being a staff of perhaps some of the hardest of hardcore gamers. Good job.

[city, state]

1"Hounddog" is a film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, which featured 12yo Dakota Fanning in a scene where her character is raped. Imagine how the press treated that ... now, do that same exercise again and try to avoid any judgments reeking of pedophilia ... much harder the second time around, eh? And I want to go on record as saying that I'm enamored with the British Proper way of spelling it "paedophilia."

2I'm a dumbass, because the cover title actually alludes to a story about Gamecock, an independent game developer which garners a four page article ... and a piece of reporting that is just as good. The cover even refers to the Gamecock story, upon closer inspection ... it just looked like the "INDIE GAME ..." reference and the story it referred to might have been two completely unrelated topics. But I didn't catch that until after I sent my email. Lesson is: Reading for comprehension is fun & profitable! "The More You Know ..."

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