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Game Journalism Of Thrones (The Jimquisition)

Game Journalism Of Thrones (The Jimquisition)

– Jewels. Jewels. (laughs) jewels. (energetic rock music) ♪ Born different ♪ ♪ We’re born innocent ♪ ♪ We’re born perfect I’m not like you ♪ ♪ I’m a born lover ♪ ♪ Born living and I
know I’m not like you ♪ ♪ I was born clever ♪ ♪ Born knowledgeable ♪ ♪ Born better than your best ♪ – The market has spoken, and the market demands
Game of Thrones content, from video game platforms. With that in mind, we are going to pivot The Jimquisition to focus entirely on Game of Thrones hot takes, and how disappointing the finale was. In that regard, I thought
it was really interesting how Tyrion– Milk shake? Milkshake! (police siren) Back on the bus! Back on the bus! Fuckin’ hell Polygon, are
you games journalists, or Game of Thrones journalists? (laughs) Game of Thrones has, at long last, wrapped up its final season. Ending with a decapitated Ned Stark, shoving Daenerys Targaryen
down his neck hole, until just a head pokes
out, so he can rule Westeros as the queen-headed gurgle man. With its controversial finale,
the internet is drowling in hot-takes, and backlash,
and backlash, two backlashes, as everyone with even a passing interest in HBO’s 2010’s cash cow wants a piece of the discourse pie. Video game journalists are no different. And game blogs are filled to the brim with dissections, and discussion. Game web sites have been talking about Game of Thrones pretty
much since it began. Bringing distinctly non-video game content to web sites about video games. The morning after the finale aired, I made a joke about this,
asking what video game websites will do for content, now that Game of Thrones is over. The GIF did not land particularly well with those who work in games journalism. Some of whom took it
pretty damn personally, from the looks of things. But here’s the rub. While what I said could
be perceived as an attack, against which the wagons must be circled, and while some of you
watching have already salivated at the thought
of a video dunking on games journalists, as
if we don’t have plenty of those already, I want to say, I get it. Look, I get it. We are, all of us, ultimately, just trying to keep the lights on right? And few sectors fight
harder for the maintenance of their illumination, than
traditional journalism. The sometimes tenuous link between video games and wider
pop culture phenomena, has been exploited pretty
shamelessly in the past. The first time it took
real notice of this was, fittingly enough, almost 10 years ago. And involved the disappointing
finale to another culturally phenomenal T.V show. Indeed, Kotaku wasted no
time in churning out our beds about the T.V event of
the 2000’s, ABC’s Lost. The response to Lost was pretty much the same response we see
to Game of Thrones today. With game blogs trying to
find any strange connection between Lost and video
games, hell, sometimes not even bothering with the connection. And sharing their hot-takes
on the final episode, long before the term
“hot-take” was even a thing. In May of 2010, there were
no less than three articles about Lost on this video
game blog, only one of which definitively linked Lost to video games, and that article was, I shit you not, less than a paragraph long, and linked to somebody else’s far more
robust article on the topic. Hey, no major judgment. We were all churning out
paragraph long articles back then. Oh wait, no look, no no
no, we found another. One article, which I can
no longer find a trace of, asked what Lost meant to video games? The answer being, mostly, nothing, If you were there for
actual video game content. And with total honesty,
I can say I was a lot more offended about this kind
of thing, back in the day. Especially when Kotaku ran a story on the then-recent death of
actor Pete Postlethwaite, with a glib “how is this news?” Tag. That felt a little bit
like feeding on carrion. The situation goes on even
longer than that, however, with my former stomping ground Destructoid once publishing an article in 2006 titled “Ding dong, Saddam is dead;
here play a game or something.” By far, one of the most
nakedly transparent attempts at glomming onto a wider
discussion I’ve ever seen, even after all this time. Yes, that was a real article. And no, it contained no
substance what so ever. Before I became an independent pundit, what we hip young kids nebulously call a content creator, I
was a game journalist. I used to pretentiously claim I wasn’t, but I pretty much did
the exact same thing. If not in label, certainly in practice for most of the time I was. I know as well as anyone else, how much of a struggle
it is for any publication to maintain a sense of
editorial integrity, while also trying to make money. When I first got into the business, traditional print media
was suffering badly. The vast majority of video game magazines were closing their doors,
and those that remained were desperately trying
to remain relevant, as online blogging offered more immediate, and updated content. There is some irony that game blogs, once the hot new action that supplanted traditional media, is
itself now facing that same supplantation from video
producers and live streamers becoming the new traditional. And there’s every possibility
that content creators of today will one day
find themselves staring down the barrel of replacement. I was in gamer journalism
when the YouTubers began to rise, and video
content began to take over. Many of you will have heard the phrase, “Pivot to video!” which describes how print media makes sweeping resource cuts to written content, and dumps all its efforts
into audio visual work. It’s often cited as the sign
of a desperate industry, and criticized as
half-baked trend chasing. This term, “pivot to video!” is dated to 2015, but the attitude, the pivot itself, is far older than that. It was around 2009 when
Destructoid attempted its first major pivot to video. The phrase, “Video is the future!” was repeated to the point of mantra, and every writer on
board was pressured into at least thinking about
audio visual content. Destructoid had an early
presence on, then at the time known as, and mandated video reviews, and other
original programming. – Oh, have we got a video? – Yes, we got a video. – By the by, just to
demonstrate that I’m far from right all the time, I
found this all quite offensive. Arguing I was a writer, not
a video producer, dammit! Oh my, how things change. Because I pivoted, lets
be honest, in the end. I changed with the
times, and it turns out, I loved making videos. So it all worked out for me. Not so much for a number of
websites that pivoted to video, and got bloody nowhere with it. Struggling to keep up with
a new breed of creator, laser focused on providing
what people wanted at the time. This was compounded by
the fact that anyone who worked at these blogs
who were charismatic, and good at putting out videos, inevitably struck out on
there own, after learning that they could do a lot better, outside of a companies shadow. Game blogs have tried it all, and I’ve been around for most of it. Sponsored content, writing editorials for pretty much any company that’ll pay. I’ve seen it. Subscription fees for premium content, regardless of whether
or not there’s a plan for said content, or a
guarantee that said content won’t be awful? Oh boy, I’ve seen it. Emphasizing key words, and
glomming on to non-game content, just because it’s popular? Obviously I’ve seen it. Pivoting towards anything,
absolutely anything, that might have a
glimmer of success to it? All damn day, I’ve seen it. The jargonistic among those
in the technology industry, have a name for many of these tactics. They call it, Link Juice. I used to see it called SEO Juice, but I see they have
something far catchier. But they still call it Link Juice, which makes me think of
a certain Highlian Hero, just spraying his lon-lon
milk up against a tree. More like Cockarina of Slime, am I right? See, not that’s game journalism. Ha! I’ve worked with a number of
publications over the years, a number of which went
defunct as they struggled to stay relevant in the modern world. And the story is always the same. They will try anything
to keep their audience, and in many ways, I respect that. We’re all hustling, and we’re all sharing a struggle for eyes on the page. Fighting tooth-and-nail
to stay in the game. Well, that attitude has
kept many of them playing. Search engine optimization
is the biggest way blogs keep fighting, since
traffic is everything, and SEO is the practice of ensuring as much traffic as possible, by exploiting search engine algorithms. At it’s most basic, a
game blog may use SEO to see what people are searching for, and then provide exactly that. So, Game of Thrones is
naturally one of the most Googled aspects of modern pop-culture, and therefor game blogs
will wanna talk about it. It’s pretty simple, really. You don’t need to be a tech wizard, or a life-long industry
analyst to work it out. Game of Thrones is relevant,
so if you talk about it, you are relevant as well. In a way, it’s a sort
of professional version of FOMO, fear of missing out. You want to be part of the conversation, because if you’re not, no
one’s listening to you. Now, this issue is so much
older than game blogs. I will now ask a question
that many Gen-xers, and early millennials, like myself, will be intimately familiar with. Some of you may have
already guessed exactly what this question is, so here we go. Here’s the question. (long inhale) Remember when MTV used to play music? (upbeat rock music) – MTV is, by far, the most renowned victim of the content niche dead end. Once upon a time, MTV was called MTV because it stood for Music Television. When it launched in 1981,
it was a channel for music videos, and that was
at the core of its output. Good old fashioned music videos. Even as it offered original shows, music was still a key
part of the programming. Such as the cartoon Beavis and Butthead, breaking up it’s episodes with the titular characters
ripping on music videos. Because it was music television. But, it was fitting that
the very first video MTV ever played was Video
Killed The Radio Star, by the Buggles. A song about old media being
supplanted by new media. The subject of this topic, and a harbinger of what MTV, and other
niche television channels would face in the years to come. Nowadays, MTV is mostly
known for reality TV shows, just like the history channel
is less about actual history, and is mostly known for reality TV shows. Just like TLC is no longer
The Learning Channel, and is mostly known for
disturbingly exploitative, and straight up tasteless,
reality TV shows. Because television can not
survive being niche forever. In the ’90’s, for a time,
cable was an exotic land of diversity, where you could indeed have an entire TV station dedicated
to learning about history, or watching music videos. But as entertainment grew ever bigger, and audiences spread more thinly, as new media encroached online, to threaten their dominance, TV stations had to jump on what ever was
popular, at any given time. This why every god
damned channel had a show about antiques, or pawn
shops, or whatever else involved old crap being sold for a profit. Because that was popular in the 2000’s. It had Link Juice, so why not jump on it? The 2010’s saw a lot of them
hop on board reality shows, and I can only guess, a
lot of them want their own medieval themed dramas, now a days, but I don’t watch cable anymore. They drove me away,
because these channels, in a bid to diversify their output, ending up making television
as a whole, more generic. TV station names became legacy names, no longer descriptive of their content. But those channels have
survived as a result. Even if it costs them
their very own identity. To their credit, however,
some of the blogs are more notorious for their
Link Juice squeeze-ins, also produce some of the finest
journalism in the business. Shut up, they do! As much as people want to hate on Kotaku, and Polygon, for a bevy of slights, both real and imagined, one can not deny that when they churn out good work, it’s damned good. It is thanks to Kotaku
that we know of the abuses and mismanagement in
BioWare, that dealt damage to the mental health of its employees, and twisted Anthem into a
confused mess of a known game. It is thanks to Polygon that
we know of Epics abuses, making voluntary overtime
mandatory through an implied threat to jobs. Both seedy Project Red,
and NetherRealm studios have pledged to cut
down on abusive crunch, thanks, in no small part, to the light traditional media shone
on their practices. Good journalism can still
happen in traditional games media, and when it’s
good, it’s fuckin’ valuable. For all my jokes, and my saltiness, if the cost of that
work happens to be a few desperate articles, jumping
on the Game of Thrones gravy train, it’s certainly not the worst exchange I’ve ever seen. Games media, like so much media before it, has seen its audience
spread out as a result of freshly emerging
content, while adblocks popularity ensures that
even those who stick around may not be viewing the
advertising from which most of these publications
derive their revenue. And when they try to combat adblock with premium subscriptions,
or sponsored content, they piss off their regular readers for paywalling, or shilling. I think it’s tacky when a game blog contrives a reason to talk about something outside of games,
just because it’s popular. It’s nakedly transparent when it happens, especially when the contents itself is vapid, and has nothing to offer. But, I get it. And it would be remiss
of me to not acknowledge that a lot of the people producing these Game of Thrones hot-takes, do genuinely really like Game of Thrones,
and will gladly take an excuse to chat about it. Lord knows, I’m always
sneaking in references to professional wrestling
wherever I can get away with it on this show. I would love to dedicate
the entire Jimquisition today, to talking about how amazing all the league wrestling Double or Nothing event was this weekend. But, I can’t. Some game journalists do have the luxury to talk about any other part
of nerd phantom they like, and I totally understand them taking that opportunity, and
one must also acknowledge that a lot of people who play video games, are also interested in
stuff like Game of Thrones. So it’s not like these game
blogs are serving content that their viewers don’t necessarily want. I still reserve my
right to take pot-shots, especially when game
blogs end up saturated with non-game content,
but I can’t begrudge any individual writer
for taking their chance to geek out about something that isn’t strictly game related. And ultimately, as is
the theme of this years Jimquisition output, if
I’m mad about any of it, I’m mad at the wider system. At how, on an industry level, those who provide specific niche
content, are too often forced to water themselves down,
or blink out of existence. And that seems baked into out culture, and the cycle of the
emerging technology in media. The inevitability of video
killing the radio star. There’s no easy fix for that. Hell, there’s no easy fix at all. So despite the shade being thrown, I do understand the compromise. I do not, however, understand
it when sites like these put spoilers in their headlines, and had the rummages the day after a show airs. And I’ve seen you do that, Polygon. And for that, you can go get fucked. Jewels. Jewels. Sweet sweet jewels. Interestingly enough, for
YouTube as a media platform has the opposite problem. Where, too much diversity of content could severely impact your
channel, in a negative way. And there were studies
that show that channels focusing on one video game,
like a Fortnite channel, or a Minecraft channel, actually
performs better overall, than channels that
focus on a lot of games. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to support all of this as well. I can provide my own, um, you know. I try and do unique
and interesting things, and people don’t bloody watch them. I’ve talked before about positive videos. How people don’t watch those
as much as the negative ones. The shittiest game of the year awards I do always perform almost
exactly twice as better. Twice as good as the positive one. As The Jimquisition Awards. So, I don’t know what to tell– I don’t know what point I’m making there. Just that, I guess media
is a game of extremes. Either there’s too much diversity, or there’s not enough
diversity when it comes to the actual content being published. Mm-mm. I don’t have an answer. No, I genuinely don’t. Thank god for me, I guess. But for what? For what? Anyway, I thought it was
really interesting how Tyrion– (energetic guitar music) ♪ Everybody’s thinkin’ bout me ♪ (trumpet music) (police sirens) – [Jim] The sirens are perfect! – [Camera Man] That was
the most perfect timing.

100 thoughts on “Game Journalism Of Thrones (The Jimquisition)”

  1. I'd feel for them but… they haven't exactly been nice enough for me to care. When you sell out and constantly rate poor games with high ratings just to stay in good graces? Why should I keep reading you when I can come to places like YouTube instead.

    Edit: That said you are right in that it is baked into our culture sadly. Honestly the only way to get rid of it would be to pay subscriptions again and not rely on random ads. These days people are unlikely to do that though as they will literally give away any information asked of them for free content. It.. is a problem to be sure.

  2. People should stick to what they're good at. If it has nothing to do with what you're known for writing for, don't put it on that platform, put it somewhere else where it won't seem out of left field. Game journalists should only talk about politics if it has something to do with *games*. If you want to talk about non-game politics then…like I said, write it for a non-game journal or website, otherwise it looks like you're sticking your nose where you don't belong.

  3. I subscribe to you, Jim, but I honestly hesitated to do so because you produce SO much content. You're like a third of my sub page by yourself. And before I subbed, I'd of course only see your more popular videos pop up unless I went all the way to your page. Your volume of output might not be the main reason your videos get such uneven attention, but it could be one of them!

  4. This is exactly why i don't take ign, polygon or kotaku seriously. They might have been about video games before; but now it's about anything that gets them clicks.

  5. Thank you for the little bit at the end of the episode! For what it's worth I appreciate the positive videos you make too.

  6. So they actually have some genuine journalistic content once a month or so. Not worth me going there and reading thier social political take on the world, a hundred other sites do it better. So when they actually stumble onto genuine game journalism I find out and get all the relevant information on the article from utube content providers like you. You guys arent killing them though, they are killing themselves by making actual journalism an exception not the rule. If everyone chases the search engine then they are like everyone else but not as good. They actually need to go the niche route and actually try to be just game journalists. What do they have to lose? They are dying out as is.

  7. that's interesting. i always look forward to your best of the year video because sometimes you talk about games that you've never mentioned before, then i go look them up and maybe play them. your worst of the year is just you rehashing very vocal complaints that you've already made…which is still fun…

  8. Oh fuck me, you actually put in B-roll from the videogame Game of Thrones. That game is so awful. I can't understand why some people like it. The writing was terrible and the gameplay is boring and menial

  9. In a way, Jim is describing how paradigms shift, right? Video killed the radio star. That's a basic paradigm shift. (And those who accurately predict the shifts usually have more money than the rest of us.) Regardless–and I know the question is too simplistic–but all of this talk makes me seriously wonder: What will kill the video game?

  10. Tell me, If Jason shriar left kotaku would they still be making hard hitting jornalisim?

    Jason shriar is a prick and I don't like him as a person, but he's a damn good investigator, if he left kotaku they would have nothing but click bait.

  11. This is unrelated but do you think you’ll ever bring back uncivil war with yahtzee on one of your personal channels? Would love to see that make a comeback I thought it was a great series

  12. The only people who don't think you're right all the time, were the people that remember your first series attempt on the Escapist.

  13. Games journalism has gone down the toilet in recent years. Also kotaku has always been a shit stirring hovel

  14. It's kind of weird there isn't a big sexy AAA GoT game, isn't it? Like, basically make Mount and Blade but with nudity and more snow and you're there.

  15. I don't like how Jim glosses over the fact that these websites publish, poorly cited, extremist, rage baity, idedinterian, woke garbage, and their lunatic writers engage aggressively with people online, and frequently react to criticism in a very abhorrent, unwarranted manner, display double standards often, and victimize themselves beyond any reasonable measure. I think the above contribute heavily to the downfall of these sites. Not to worry though, Jim. It is not like I don't expect you to sweep uncomfortable matters under the rug.

  16. Blogs and Vlogs … the trash of editorials. Don't get me wrong. There are good ones, however, the reality is that most of it is trash.

  17. Wasn't Jason Schreier that guy that said Dragon's Crown was for pedophiles and didn't know what words meant? What a journalist worthy of my respect.

  18. Can anyone tell me what game is being shown in the footage starting at 14:24? Looks pretty good

  19. You know Anthem is kind of trying to put forward a effort to exist in between Destiny and Warframe. The only real difference is that Anthem is people that are making parts of a game that are filled out on a work order. It's just a different way to make games that happens in big studios. Personally I've never even played anything on Frostbite, but I do love watching all the games that have used it as that engine continues to grow. I just watched though, for free.

  20. The thing with Kotaku is that if Schrier leaves it's dead. All the quality content that have has Jason's name tagged to it

  21. Fair enough, but that reaction tweet you showed was a gross overreaction to what you said. You chided them for one little thing they sometimes do but did not shit on their core work/business. In respond, s/he shit all over your entire channel. So they can go fuck right off. I, more than the average I am sure, take issue with something Jim says or thinks and share this issue in the comments, sometimes not so nicely. However, I dont pretend that the channel as a whole is not a net good/great for gaming. How many times has Jim talked about publisher BS that basically no one else is talking about? So again, that person who responded all pissy (but I am so totally entirely 100% sure is a "joke") can fuck right off (this too, is clearly entirely 100% a joke, OF COURSE!).


  22. The American Heroes Channel (formerly the Military Channel) seems to be doing fine showing actual historical content, even outside the realm of the military. The History Channel producers just got cynical and lazy.

  23. If game journalists want to talk about GOT there's a mobile app and a PC game ripe for the reviewing. Maybe they can leap off that and talk about how to adapt the series into a halfway decent game. They have no excuse to talk about the show in and of itself though.

  24. No, Polygon is not games journalism. It never was. That was the whole point 6 years ago, But you were too busy whining about "muh sexism".

  25. >the response to lost was same response we have with GoT

    Thats because in both cases the finaly was a giant fuck you to fans?

  26. In today's age, if someone hasn't thrown a milkshake at you and you have an opinion, you probably have the wrong opinion. It's like…. a coming of age ritual every person with any brain power must go through. EMBRACE THE SHAKE.

  27. Does anyone know where i can find actual videos of Jim wrestling? Do they exist? Or have they just been a fever dream of mine showing up in random parts of his videos?

  28. Game of thrones is a terrible show. So boring even the cast, crew, editors, director, etc. didn't notice coffee cups and water bottles in the scene.

  29. Jim spending 17 minutes telling others what content they should and shouldn't make on their site. Wow bravo, so impressive Jim….

  30. Thanks Jim, having Link blowing his funky custard over the The Great Deku Trees face, is certainly a visual experience. Pretty sure I will need therapy in the near future for this jarring image.

    Press f to pay respects for MTV

    Never knew TLC meant, The Learning Channel, how things change. Now that channel just gives you full blown aids, if watched beyond the first minute.

  31. Youtube recommended the Shittiest Video Games of the Year awards to me but I didn't know about the existence of Jimquisition awards up until now. Going to search and watch that.

  32. Thought you were going to talk about that God Awful GOT mobile game that is constantly showing up on ads all over Youtube…but those games are all turds with golden bows tie on it.

  33. The algorithm is looking for a constant in your videos, the more things that stay the same, the more confident it can be that it can recommend the video to someone and successfully get the click.

  34. Maybe the future is to merge with other content creators in a package deal like cable TV? The Viasat History Channel airs 18 hours a day history documentaries and they got Jeremy Irons to do narration for the upcoming documentaries. But the channel is in a package deal. Maybe that's something for the future? You get a subscription for a package of websites of different content. And the reality show websites will get traffic and thusly revenue will allow package distributors to finance gaming journalism or other niche websites even though they don't generate as much traffic.

  35. I feel like Jason Schrier's articles are some of the only decent content on Kotaku, and his work by itself has generated weeks worth of video content for dozens if not hundreds of YT content "creators." That guy is the only real games journalist left in the entire wasteland of the industry

  36. Jim, I need your positive stuff. There's only so much of your regular stuff I can binge on before I just turn into a ball of hayted and loathing for the entire species. I need your positive stuff as a palette ckeanser.

  37. Wow is that Milkshake Joke aging baaaadly now that people are getting injured and hospitalized. But I guess its worth it so long as Nigel gets a face full of lactose aye?

  38. Huh? I knew that this was also the case with Cyberpunk 2077, but its really interesting to hear it explained in full, about why there has been a strange amount of oddly-placed criticism against Mike Pondsmith's collaborative piece with CD Projekt Red from select outlets. Cheers for the clarification Jim!

  39. Yup. Thats what happens when your entire specie's survival is based on trade… on competition on each other.
    Imagine having "Professional integrity" as a person tilling your own land to grow whatever grows that season so you can have SOMETHING to eat
    now imagine land doesn't grow food , but gems… and each gem has its own value. And you deposit gems to get money. Which you can use to buy food

    and some fuck… who hasn't grown up , and plays all day , and someone else provides food for them , comes to you and says "you have no integrity as a farmer of Ruby , how dare you grow jade , even if ruby doesn't grow , you must always plant ruby in hopes that YOU ARE THE RUBY FARMER , you must stick to it" …. sounds cheap , but also kinda true . But it doesn't make any sense survival wise.

    Ruby is game journalism and Jade is popular content. That WORKS!

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