Being a games journalist is often a thankless task. You can, for example, play a turgid, repetitive RPG for around thirty hours, slap an actually-pretty-generous 5/10 on it, and be told by the members of a game forum – purely based on the score, and not the accompanying text – that you’re either on crack, don’t understand the genre, didn’t play the game, or all three. And yes, that really did happen to me.
So the Games Media Awards is a really rather lovely idea, celebrating the best writers and publications in the UK. It’s particularly gratifying as a lot of gamers don’t seem to be awfully familiar with the people that are writing their reviews. It’s not such a problem in America, where certain journalists are practically afforded celebrity status. Geoff Keighley, Jeff Gerstmann, Chris Kohler, Jeremy Parish, Adam Sessler are all routinely name-checked by American gamers who read, enjoy and recognise their work. Over here, you’d struggle to get someone to name their favourite British journalist, while across the pond I’d wager most NeoGAF users could easily list a top five.
It’s not as if UK journalism is in any way worse – far from it, in fact. Perhaps it’s because we’re relatively small fish in a big old journalistic pond. Perhaps it’s because the US tends to get big news, reviews and exclusives of all kinds before the British sites and mags do. One thing which the US has certainly done better is to foster a sense of community around its biggest sites. There’s only Eurogamer that can really compare with the IGNs and 1Ups of this world, while Giant Bomb’s podcast is a big reason for that site’s success. We were a bit slow on the uptake when it came to the internet, and we’re suffering for it.
But I digress: this is about the best of British journalism, and if last year’s event is anything to go by, it should be one hell of a fun night. I distinctly recall shouting “MARIO DIES!” at the top of my lungs to a slightly bemused Kieron Gillen as I attempted to explain the ending of Super Mario Galaxy. Of course, the reason I was so roaringly drunk was because I was somehow nominated for the award of Best Specialist Writer (Online). I vividly remember the morning I found out I was nominated. I found out via Twitter that the list had been announced when one mag congratulated one of its writers for a nomination, and I visited MCV just to see who was on there, in no way expecting my name to be there. As I scrolled down the list I was genuinely shocked to see my name among such luminaries as Pat Garratt and Simon Parkin, and while Pat won the award on the night, I was just pleased to be in such great company.
So to this year’s awards. I’ve not been writing quite so regularly for anyone bar Megaton (up until a month or so ago, anyway) and The Observer, so I’m pretty sure I won’t be on the list this time, though I’ll be sending my votes tomorrow. As ever, the nominations and winners will be voted for by members of the media and industry PRs, so if you fall into either category feel free to vote by clicking this here link and sending your nominations for the categories shown to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This absolutely isn’t a cheap plea for votes, more a suggestion that you do vote for someone (Matthew Castle and Christian Donlan would be particularly wise choices, if you ask me), as it’s the one night the forum jibes and the parental nagging – like “why don’t you get a proper job?” – are forgotten about, even if merely through the haze of alcohol.
(Though if you genuinely do rate my writing, then you know how to show your appreciation, wink wink.)