Today marks what I hope will be a new-found relationship between myself and this blog. The plan is to update it daily with some new gaming topic I’ve been pondering, or at least multiple times a week. Nothing too heavy, mind – just short points of discussion.
I want to start off with a bang, so let’s discuss a taboo subject – the standard practice of game reviewing, or rather, the bits we’re not allowed to talk about. Actually, it’s not that we’re not allowed to, but rather that no-one dares to.
Certain questions cannot be asked, mainly because no-one else is asking them, and no-one wants to be the first one in. I was discussing this with a couple of my fellow game reviewers last week (behind closed doors, of course), and it’s interesting to see the flood gates open once one person has asked one of these taboo questions.
Questions like ‘how much should you get paid for a review?’, ‘who pays the most?’, ‘do you need to play the entire game all the way through before you can review it properly?’, and other such hush-hushes. I’m not going to answer these questions for the very same reason that others won’t – you don’t want to tick any current (or potential) employers off.
Of course, the other reason why people might not want to discuss money is because no-one wants to find out that they’re earning pennies compared to others.
But when someone does finally ask one of these questions in a public place – such as the Games Press forums, for example – there’s this odd balancing act between jumping in to discuss a topic that is rarely brought up, and keeping your answers safe.
Of course, this situation is found in most jobs. When I worked in a shop, there were plenty of questions that you wanted to ask, but just couldn’t. Yet I still feel like games journalism is one area where reviewers need to start being more open with each other. That way, employers would be forced to start providing better rates and a more healthy career.