Thursday, 25 October 2012

Lost Lost Humanity

So, if you follow gaming news, or games journalists on Twitter, or have had to listen to me talk in the last 24 hours, you'll know all about the GMA hashtag fiasco. For those that don't know, because they have misaligned priorities or social lives, a brief recap.

The Games Media Awards, an industry event where games PRs and journalists give each other awards and hugs, happened last week. At the awards, a competition was run - retweet a promotional hashtag and win a PS3. Many games journalists did so, retweeting a promotional hashtag on their personal Twitter feeds to people who folllow them for their opinions on games, for personal gain. Astonishingly, not everyone can see that this can been viewed as somewhat ethically compromising.

Fortunately, there are games journalists who did see that, and were prepared to call it out as such. John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun was one. He was met with scorn and mockery for complaining, and told to "get off his pedestal". Frankly, I'd rather be on the pedestal than in my own filth.

Rab Florence was another. His column Lost Humanity for Eurogamer was as brilliant as his work on Consolevania and VideoGaiden. Go and read them, if you haven't already. It's a heady mix of experimentation and searing comment, equal parts scorn and passion for games, games media and the wider industry.

And now it's gone.

His column on the GMA affair drew the threat of legal action from someone who was named in the article. I'm not sure how libellous directly quoting someone can be, but that's by the by. Rab will no longer be writing the column.

Acres of words have already been written on the rights and wrongs of everyone involved in this affair, from the journalists who first tweeted the offending hashtag to Florence himself for his naming and shaming. My opinions in this regard are probably fairly obvious.

But for me, the saddest part about this whole affair is that now we have lost one of the best written, most outspoken and forward thinking columns on gaming anywhere, by anyone. Maybe we didn't deserve it.

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