The tent stakes are coming up

Well it’s been an exciting and exhausting time, but I declare the Carnival of Gamers a success! A few stats for your digestion:

Total Carnival Entries: 20
Total unique visitors during first 48 hours: 3,279
Total number of pageviews first 48 hours: 5,621
Total number of unique visitors over Memorial Day Weekend: 4,477
Number of links to Carnival: 22 and counting

Links of Note:
InstaPundit (again, a great honor to be linked by the BlogFather)
Slashdot (albeit games.slashdot, but it counts)
Kotaku (I’m a Kotaku fan, thanks for the hat tip, Brian)
Craigslist (this was a weird one, never thought we’d show up here)
digg (thanks to Mike for this one)

There were some cheap shots taken at us in the slashdot comments, I tried to defend them however I could but it’s slashdot, so what can we expect. I did find this gem, though:

“Here you will find the best and brightest video game bloggers from around the world! Never before has such a group been assembled to bring to you the latest insights and observations from the gaming blogosphere. We’re a diverse group here, as you’ll see from the posts but we all have one thing in common — we are passionate about video games.”

Niether of them have a girlfriend either.

And someone who obviously participated but wished to remain anonymous replied:

“Niether of them have a girlfriend either.”

heh. Good thing too, or my wife would kill me.

Classic.

There was also this posted on Computer Games Online. (Deliciously titled “New Superblog Launches, Sticks Foot In Mouth Immediately”) It’s unfortunate, because Mr. Gallant sums up the Carnival by saying

If that’s what “Carnival of Gamers” is going to be about, they may as well not bother.

That’s a shame. If you’ve come here from Computer Games Online, please look around. While Mr. Gallant may not agree with one of the bloggers, don’t assume the rest are more of the same. I’ll be dropping Mr. Gallant a note when I get a chance to let him know he’s missed out on some good blogs. Funny thing is, The Big Corporate Website cgonline.com has only sent us a handful of referrals from his article. That’s not a very big audience they’re reaching. I’ve had more hits from some of the small-fry bloggers than him. Funny, but this is just another MSM vs. Blogger debate, something I didn’t think would happen with the Carnival. But that’s what blogging is all about.

So in conclusion, the feedback I’ve received has been positive, people have emailed me wishing they had known about the Carnival before the submission deadline, others wanting to get in on the next Carnival, and a lot of people thanking us for introducing them to new bloggers (the original purpose). So let’s keep this going! Thomas will be hosting the next one, so get on over there and email him your submissions. I’ve had a few people volunteer to host the next one, I’ll be in touch with you soon. This has been great! Thanks to everyone involved.

Game on!

Comments

  1. So your measure of success is your web traffic and linkage? That’s a pretty shallow measurement. The Hamster Dance got a lot of hits, too. The real question is whether or not your traffic is a result of the Carnival’s novelty or content.

  2. I thought it worked well.

  3. So your measure of success is your web traffic and linkage?

    No, I’m not saying that at all. It’s more than just the traffic and links but they are certainly the most tangible proof of its success. I could highlight other blogs mentioning an article included in the Carnival, with the “I wouldn’t have found this except for the Carnival” but those are exercises for the reader. I think the Carnival’s novelty helped drive people here and I feel that the content will keep them coming back.

    But in the end, I’m a stat freak, so stats like “unique visitors” make me feel tingly inside.

  4. Hey Tony, can you let me know where the next carnival will be posted? I want to be able to pitch it on the 9th.

  5. I have to admit that I didn’t read all of the submissions for theCarnival (lack of time), but those I read were interesting and fun.

  6. Matthew Gallant says:

    It’s true that CGonline.com doesn’t get a lot of hits. Up until very very recently, the webpage had been little more than an ad for the magazine content. It’s not promoted at all. Finally, I’ve only been working there for two weeks, and before that, the site hadn’t been updated in over a month. I don’t really care about how many hits the site is getting right now.

    And I really wouldn’t paint this as a mainstream media vs. the blogs fight. It’s a me vs. bad content fight. Saying that all the mainstream game media is corrupt is bad content, because it’s just not true; when it’s backed up by a facile analysis, even more so. If the article had been about how the vast majority of the mainstream media was incompetent, you’d have my attention– because that’s something that’s an actual problem. Though obviously that extends into the blogosphere too– I have some firsthand experience with that (and you do too, being an avid Kotaku reader) in addition to this fateful encounter with the Tea Leaves article.

    I’d welcome reading some good articles by bloggers, but if you show me something like that as your lead off, well then I’m not going to believe you when you say the other articles are good too. Some of them might be, but you’re just not qualified to be the judge of that.

  7. The negative reactions to this thing have been bizarro. I decided Matthew’s silly rant required a full response:

    http://cathodetan.blogspot.com/2005/06/try-again-matthew.html

    Slashdot’s just … slashdot these days. Tough crowd. But knocking someone for measuring whether something worked by counting hits? Of course it’s measured by the number of hits, the whole purpose was to gather articles from different blogs and make it easier to have people get exposure. People are acting like this was supposed to be Variety or something … it’s just a way for blogs to leverage off each other.

    Anyone who thinks that out of some twenty random blogs that they’ll love all twenty of them has no idea what blogs are really like.

    Damn, it’s hard enough to find decent blogs by trying to go through blogrolls … you’d think people would appreciate the occasional pooling together. Well, I still think it’s a jolly good idea even if all it does is help the gamebloggers look over each other’s shoulder from time to time. Tea Leaves isn’t on my normal crawl, so I never would have read it – and while I didn’t agree 100% with it, there were some very good points with it. Look forward to next week.

  8. I’d welcome reading some good articles by bloggers, but if you show me something like that as your lead off, well then I’m not going to believe you when you say the other articles are good too. Some of them might be, but you’re just not qualified to be the judge of that.

    Excuse me? I’m not qualified to tell other people what I think is good? I may be mistaken, but it appears that you’re telling me that my opinion is invalid. No matter, I just hope you do take the time to check a couple other blogs out. You might be surprised.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  9. Josh,

    Just read your post. Thanks for the defense of the Carnival, I’m glad you enjoyed it and I hope it continues to grow. Hopefully we’ll see something for CathodeTan in the next carnival!

  10. Matthew, respectfully, Peter’s article is not about being bought and sold in the gaming media. It’s about why you, as the gaming press, have no credibility–namely, poor editorial decisions. I might add that it is another poor editorial decision to bitch about the Carnival after reading only one article, just because you disagree with that article’s conclusions. Where I come from, we consider that pretty piss-poor journalism.

    And frankly, nobody cares if you like the individual articles here. I didn’t agree with all of them. But I love the idea of bringing this content together in one place, so that it can be a source of discussion and thought. This is about building a community and raising the level of the dialogue, not soothing your ego.

  11. And I could be wrong, but I thought “the first submission award” was a pretty clear indication that Tony put it first because he got it first. So this concept of an “exciting lead” is a fascinating – for TV news … but I didn’t get any indication it was going on here.

  12. “But knocking someone for measuring whether something worked by counting hits? Of course it’s measured by the number of hits, the whole purpose was to gather articles from different blogs and make it easier to have people get exposure.”

    Ah. I misunderstood your mandate. I thought you were trying to show the world how the quality, breadth and depth of unsung talent in your game blogosphere is countering the mundane, corrupt ubiquity of the Mainstream Game Media.

    If I understand correctly, you’re saying that the mandate was primarily to attract attention. Measuring that kind of success in web traffic is perfectly reasonable, and like I was saying, the Hamster Dance was particularly successful in this regard. Carry on.

  13. Hi there.

    I’d just like to point out that “The Big Corporate Website” cgonline.com consists of one person. Since we are incorporated, I suppose that it a “big corporate site” when compared to those with less than one person. Gamespot we ain’t.

    We’re a print magazine (Computer Games Magazine, we have quite the following of a dozen or so readers), so I guess we’re also a “Big Corporate Magazine,” except for the whole “we’re an indie with a staff of two people” thing. But there is that whole “incorporated” thing again, so I guess it’s accurate.

    As for the comment, “Matthew, respectfully, Peter’s article is not about being bought and sold in the gaming media. It’s about why you, as the gaming press, have no credibility–namely, poor editorial decisions.”

    The issue I have with this kind of comment is the blanket condemnation of “the gaming press,” as if we are all some monolithic entity of pure suck. I honestly believe that we suck less than our competitors.

    To put it another way, would bloggers enjoy a comment like, “Game bloggers show a fundamental lack of understanding of how the game industry works, and therefore are irrelevant?” Again, that may be true of a blogger, or some bloggers. But it’s not particularly fair or accurate to use those sort of blanket statements.

  14. Mandate? Jesus, nobody is running a corporation here. There is no mission statement. Countering the mundane, corrupt ubiquity of the Mainstream Game Media? Nobody is trying to mount revolution, they’re just trying to have some fun.

    Now explain to me how anyone is to show the talent of the blogosphere without attracting attention? This isn’t a peer review exercise, it’s just a gathering. One of the biggest problems blogs have is poor visibility. Hell, just a little while ago the MIT review didn’t think there were any of us out here.

    There’s two measures of success here. 1) did anyone come to the Carnival. 2) did anyone find any blogs that they might read again? #1 effects the quantity the likelihood of #2. Seriously, it’s not that difficult of a story problem here.

  15. Matthew Gallant says:

    I may be mistaken, but it appears that you’re telling me that my opinion is invalid.

    You are, in fact, mistaken. I am telling you that you yourself are an invalid, editorially speaking, for referring to the Tea Leaves article as a “blistering piece”, when a reasonable person would have used “blathering pile”.

  16. Apparently the Tea Leaves post was blistering enough to piss you off, Matthew. So I don’t see how Tony’s description would be inaccurate. Unless of course, you don’t understand the definition of “blistering”. Which would appear to be the case.

  17. The issue I have with this kind of comment is the blanket condemnation of “the gaming press,” as if we are all some monolithic entity of pure suck. I honestly believe that we suck less than our competitors.

    To put it another way, would bloggers enjoy a comment like, “Game bloggers show a fundamental lack of understanding of how the game industry works, and therefore are irrelevant?” Again, that may be true of a blogger, or some bloggers. But it’s not particularly fair or accurate to use those sort of blanket statements.

    Fair enough. I apologize for the generalization, and I’ll withdraw the comment. Since we’re already carrying on this discussion by e-mail, Steve, I don’t really want to duplicate threads here. But you might want to rein Matthew in–whether or not the gaming press as a monolith of suck is a justified stereotype or not, he’s not winning any subscribers by calling people invalids, and taking out his aggression on the Carnival instead of with Peter B, who seems to bear the brunt of his rage.

  18. Matthew Gallant says:

    Apparently the Tea Leaves post was blistering enough to piss you off, Matthew.

    Yes, because when I’m pissed off, my first instinct isn’t to relax, it’s to post on the internet. I think you might be projecting here, Josh. I am not angry with you, peterb, or Tony. I do not want to punch any of you, or even take delight in the notion of the statistical likelihood that you will sometime in the future take an unexpected hit to the nuts in the everyday course of your lives. I just think you don’t know much at all about the gaming press and are far too eager to show that off. I am, in fact, providing a service to you by disabusing you of your false notions. Why would I do that if I was angry at any of you?

    But you might want to rein Matthew in–whether or not the gaming press as a monolith of suck is a justified stereotype or not, he’s not winning any subscribers by calling people invalids, and taking out his aggression on the Carnival instead of with Peter B, who seems to bear the brunt of his rage.

    You know, Thomas, some number that is more than one of you has come forth and said I’ve misjudged the Carnival by virtue of not reading all the blogs, but exactly not one of you has stepped up and pointed to one that you’re willing to hold forth as a champion.

    And if Steve’s primary priority was “winning subscribers”, he’d the absolute worst editor-in-chief in the history of editing, and that even includes Tony. Luckily, it’s not. Why do you guys constantly wail about the quality of writing in the mainstream press and then express deep reverence for the size of audience out the other sides of your proverbial mouths? I have my own ideas, but I’d like you to answer first.

  19. Right, comparing people to school children and invalids is clearly the sign of someone who is writing from a cool, calm stance. The only real public service you’ve provided is giving Tea Leaves some more attention.

    And I think what we are championing Matthew is that someone actually read something completely before blabbering off about it. I know we don’t “understand teh biz” or anything, but I guess it just seems like that would rationally be part of your job. But what do we know?

    For the record, I rather liked Corvus’ take on Dungeon Lords rather interesting. Finster actually applied some research to certain XBox 360 claims … which seemed well done, but I know you aren’t into all that kind of stuff. And I found the idea of actually trying to role play in GTA:SA pretty funny.

    But I guess since none of those were a personal affront to the gaming media, they weren’t worthy of your scorn.

  20. And for the record, I’m certainly not wailing against the quality of writing in the mainstream press.

    I’m just wailing against the quality of Matthew’s writing.

  21. I personally very much enjoyed the Tea Leaves article, as well as the entries from Dubious Quality, loonyboi, Damned Machines, and Blackwood, among others.

    I’m perfectly willing to accept that you and Steve are interested in great writing instead of sales. But when you and he then bitch about how no-one buys your magazine, it makes it pretty clear that you do care about sales–and that’s fine.

    I may not know much about the gaming press, but I do know a bit about all the rest of the press, and you guys have yet to meet their standards, as far as I’m concerned. You have yet to provide me with a sample of writing that I’ve been much impressed with, although I’ll try to find the actual magazine at lunch today, and your thin-skinned responses to the slightest affront is laughable at best. I haven’t been disabused of any false notions until you give me a real argument–and I certainly haven’t seen that from you.

  22. I’m pretty sure we can all agree that everyone’s a little bit thin-skinned in this thread. I have a dozen or so e-mails in my inbox from people offended by Matt’s piece thanks to the link here, so you guys may be winning the thin-skinned contest. It’s like 4-1 in your favor.

    In case anyone’s curious, I’m only interested in sales inasmuch as it allows me to continue trying to produce a good magazine.

    Just for shits and giggles, I’ll just address a couple of things about the Tea Leaves piece, since it’s listed as one of the articles worth reading.

    It’s a valid topic, but it hardly qualifies as insight when a big point is, “There’s not a single game writer at the major sites with as much credibility as the lowliest newspaper movie reviewer (I, in my infinite sagacious wisdom, of course, have that credibility, but I don’t really kid myself that I have a significant audience. And I pay for most of my games, specifically to avoid this issue.)”

    If he really thinks a shill like Joel Siegel has more credibility than anything written on Gamespot, he has no fundamental grasp of the Hollywood marketing machine. Doesn’t anyone see all of those movie quotes: “A rollercoaster ride of excitement!”? These guys make IGN look like Consumer Reports.

    Roger Ebert has credibility, but it has nothing to do with whether he pays for his movies or not. Because he doesn’t. Because he does go on junkets. Because he hangs out with celebrities. Because he writes books about celebrities. Because he’s written screenplays for the studios. These are all things that are, in theory, black marks on his credibility.

    People think he’s credible because they agree with or enjoy his reviews. All of the other stuff is what people use when they can’t attack specific content. He’s credible because I liked his review of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He’s a shill because he liked Tomb Raider, and I hated it!

    In the case of games, one person hates a game, someone else likes it. Rather than look at the “why,” people attack the credibility of the messenger. It’s obvious that IGN is corrupt; they give higher scores! That’s easier than considering that they’re just less critical and more enthusiastic, which reflects a huge percentage of the game audience.

    Back to the piece. He says there’s no credible writers writing for Gamespy. How about Tom Chick? He writes for Gamespy, and was heralded as a “New Games Journalist” type by the New York Times. (He also writes a monthly column for my magazine, plus edits our console section, plus writes tons of reviews that get us in trouble with game publishers because he’s mean.)

    Then the author of the Tea Leaves piece goes on to talk more about how credible he is, and other bloggers are, and how everyone else isn’t. Which may be true, I guess.

  23. And just one more comment before I skulk off to finish an issue: I suppose I could reign in Matthew, though he’s not actually an employee. (He’s a freelancer.)

    But if his work reflects poorly on all of the content of Computer Games Magazine, I suppose I’m justified in having a negative feeling toward this site or Carnival of Games for promoting shoddy work like the Tea Leaves thing.

  24. Well, as a participant in both the Carnival of Gamers and the ever so corrupt mainstream gaming media, I find this conversation hilarious – but deja vu all over again. Every time a major review site screws up – and Gamespy’s big offense here was not contacting the original reviewer first – this type of argument gets made. I’d save my outrage for Driv3r reviews rather than an internal miscommunication snafu.

    I get most of the games I review for free, am reasonably critical of them and say mean things about some of them on my blog well after the review has been published. I still have pretty good relations with many publishers and developers, though, so maybe I’m not being mean enough.

    Considering how freelance dependent most big gaming media is, and how both print and websites use many of the same writers, it’s a little odd to single out Gamespy as as the bane of good gaming journalism.

  25. A couple of things (remember, we’re not gonna be thin-skinned about this. We all survived high school so we should have built up a rather thick skin):

    And I could be wrong, but I thought “the first submission award” was a pretty clear indication that Tony put it first because he got it first.

    Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner. Do you want the 6 foot blow-up Godzilla or the framed Pamela Anderson poster? (I was going to point this out, but I thought I sort of made it obvious why I lead with “The Piece”, as I like to call it.)

    I’d just like to point out that “The Big Corporate Website” cgonline.com consists of one person.

    Wow, colored me impressed (seriously). Your site looks very professional and looks like it’s a bear to maintain for just one person. I was caught up in the moment calling it the “BCW”.

    I do not want to punch any of you, or even take delight in the notion of the statistical likelihood that you will sometime in the future take an unexpected hit to the nuts in the everyday course of your lives.

    Next time I catch a swift one down there, I’m gonna come calling, Matt!

    but exactly not one of you has stepped up and pointed to one that you’re willing to hold forth as a champion.

    In addition to the ones already mentioned, I really got a kick out of Vanhemlock’s post. We never really claimed any of these as our “champion”. We just wanted to get them out of their proverbial corners of the blogosphere and out in a central place where everyone else can give them a try. I didn’t include any of my posts for the simple reason that my writing leaves much to be desired. But I certainly enjoy reading others.

    Okay, I need to go back to work now. Thanks to everyone for the lively discussion, and by all means continue.

  26. Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner. Do you want the 6 foot blow-up Godzilla or the framed Pamela Anderson poster? (I was going to point this out, but I thought I sort of made it obvious why I lead with “The Piece”, as I like to call it.)

    So I my assumption that Gallant’s reading skills are on par with his writing skills is solid. Check.

    Dang, so far from this ruckus I’m getting a hug, a 6 foot Godzilla and a Guiness. I should be cranky more often.

  27. I don’t want to spend too much time responding to every point people raise here, because I think that the Carnival has a lot of great articles, and if people want to talk in-depth about how I’m an insensitive jerk because I hurt the feeling of some game reviewers, they are welcome to do it at Tea Leaves.

    I stand by my article, hyperbole and all, although clearly I’m going to have to start adding little smiley faces everywhere whenever I talk about how ultra-credible I am, since at least some folks didn’t get the joke. We all know that there are reviewers whose opinions we disagree with. And we can find examples of credibility problems in other fields, as well — for example, in Pittsburgh about 15 years ago, there was a restaurant critic who was revealed to have been taking payola in return for positive reviews.

    But be honest with yourself. When was the last time you read a review at Gamespy, or Gamespot, or IGN, and simply said to yourself “Wow! I have no reservations at all that this review might bear no relation at all to reality.” Not to drag out an old example, but it’s too good to resist — we are talking about a group of people who universally lauded the bug-laden, unplayable, and execrable Black and White as the apotheosis of a superb gaming experience.

    And isn’t this the crux of the problem? Even a movie reviewer who I always disagree with has some value. I regularly read Salon, and say to myself “Oh look, Stephanie Zacharek liked that movie. I’d better avoid it, because it will be terrible.” Stephanie Zacharek, therefore, has more credibility (in a sense) than a reviewer who simply pimps the games with the pretty graphics and the big budgets. Because I can’t use that reviewer’s work to distinguish between Jade Empire and Gran Turismo 4. He’s just going to blather on about how great both of them are. Thanks, but no thanks.

    The other issue I raise directly in my critique that none of the apologists will touch with a 10 foot pole is that of independently produced games (be they commercial, shareware, or freeware). The issue of industry freebies determining what games you review is important, no matter how much you protest, because it means that you are letting the marketing departments of the games industry guide your editorial process.

    Spiderweb Software’s Geneforge 3 was just released. Did Gamespot review it? Did Gamespy? Did you review it, Matthew? No. Did you review any of the games in last year’s Interactive Fiction Competition? No. Any of Everett Kaser’s superb logic games? No. Let’s make it even easier. There were 78 entries in this year’s Independent Games Festival. What percentage of them did the major sites review? Half? 25%? Even that many? CGM did interviews with the makers of Gish, and N, and Lux, and a couple of the other more well-organized entrants. Hey, that’s a good start. But why aren’t you doing more?

    Let me back away from the criticism, and put this in completely practical terms that you might care about. Choosing a game that I enjoyed (and, to be fair, that I reviewed also) I don’t need you to tell me about Jade Empire. Everyone and his goddamn uncle is telling me about Jade Empire. Microsoft’s marketing department is going an excellent job of ensuring that I can’t even go to the bathroom without hearing about Jade Empire. What this means to you as a game magazine publisher, is that as long as your agenda is being set by the marketing departments of game developers, there is absolutely no difference between you, and Gamespy, and Gamespot, or IGN, that is worth mentioning. You have no brand identity. Which one of your reviews I read is probably more dependent on which site I happen to have bookmarked than on any desire to read your special, unique take on the game.

    Now imagine that Gamespy, Gamespot, and IGN have only cursory coverage of independent, shareware, and freeware games. And imagine that you have deep coverage. Imagine that people know that you have deep coverage. Sure, you’re still reviewing Jade Empire, but your readers know that every time they visit your home page, they’re not going to read about the same games every other major media site is covering, but about the ones they’re not covering. Every time I visit your homepage, I learn something new. Every time I visit your homepage, I learn about a game I hadn’t heard of before.

    Now that’s a site that has brand identity. And that’s what weblogs — even the lousy ones like mine — are bringing to the table.

    Absolutely nothing is stopping you from doing the same thing.

    Let me make an analogy that relates to another subject I care about, which is food. Imagine that you write restaurant reviews. If what I paint, admittedly with a very broad brush, as the “major game review magazines” were instead reviewing restaurants, we would have web sites and magazines filled with glowing (or critical) reviews of P.F. Chang’s, Bravo Italian Kitchen, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, and Starbuck’s. If I chose where to eat based solely on Gamespy Restaurant Reviews, I wouldn’t even know that little hole-in-the-wall Chinese places or quirky independent coffee shops existed.

    Look, I don’t determine your editorial policy, Matthew. You do. If you feel the most important contribution you can make is to focus on reviewing the big chain eateries, I can’t stop you. But don’t get mad at me for pointing out that in so doing, you aren’t as useful or as important as Zagat’s.

  28. Matthew Gallant says:

    Look, peterb, I am just one guy. A freelance writer. Of course, if you had looked on CGOnline, you’d see that still on the front page is my mini-review of Oberon Games’ Catan, because I love the board game. If you read the mag, you’d see that there’s a monthly section on indie games written by Gregory Micek, and Brett Todd does a monthly section on mods; but then again you can’t trust their views on them because they have zero credibility by virtue of working for an establishment.

    But since you just assume things because the only thing you know about me is that I’ve written reviews for GameSpot and GameSpy, here are some things I’ve written:

    Gish
    Strange Adventures in Infinite Space
    Kingdom of Loathing
    Bookworm
    Knizia’s Samurai
    Inspector Parker
    Wik and the Fable of Souls

    So whatever. What are you “bringing to the table” again? It looks to me like Tea Leaves is currently covering those indie unknowns NBA Street V3 and Forza Motorsport. I’m the one who had to take the flak from GameSpot readers for giving Cubivore an 8 for graphics just because I liked the the art style. And my editor allowed me to do it even though Atlus hadn’t given either of us any money, or presents, or even a copy of the game! Astonishing, I know.

    Yes, GameSpot and other big name sites don’t cover the vast majority of indie games. But that’s only because:

    -There are so goddamn many of them; like you said, 78 in the indie games festival this year– I haven’t done 78 reviews period in the 2.5 years I’ve been working.
    -So many of them are crap, like this year’s IGF winner for Technical Excellence, Rocket Bowl. Just like blogs, a game’s status as an independently produced labor of love doesn’t mean it’s any frigging good. Sturgeon’s Law applies just as much as it does to games from EA and THQ and Ubisoft.
    -The readers send you hate mail when you give the good ones an 8 for graphics.
    -When you do cover indie games, people like you say “why aren’t you doing more”, and more say “why are you talking about these pissant games no one has ever heard of”.

    Really, don’t tell me what I should be doing or how “useful” I am when you don’t even know what I am doing. And don’t presume that you’ve angered me just because I tell you where you are wrong. Which, I hope you see by now, is just about everywhere. The real reason I’m even here is, I’m a chronic procrastinator and this is more fun than sifting through the news looking for more crap like your article to make fun of.

  29. Matthew Gallant says:

    Look, peterb, I am just one guy. A freelance writer. Of course, if you had looked on CGOnline, you’d see that still on the front page is my mini-review of Oberon Games’ Catan, because I love the board game. If you read the mag, you’d see that there’s a monthly section on indie games written by Gregory Micek, and Brett Todd does a monthly section on mods; but then again you can’t trust their views on them because they have zero credibility by virtue of working for an establishment.

    But since you just assume things because the only thing you know about me is that I’ve written reviews for GameSpot and GameSpy, here are some things I’ve written:

    Gish
    Strange Adventures in Infinite Space
    Kingdom of Loathing
    Bookworm
    Knizia’s Samurai
    Inspector Parker
    Wik and the Fable of Souls

    So whatever. What are you “bringing to the table” again? It looks to me like Tea Leaves is currently covering those indie unknowns NBA Street V3 and Forza Motorsport. I’m the one who had to take the flak from GameSpot readers for giving Cubivore an 8 for graphics just because I liked the the art style. And my editor allowed me to do it even though Atlus hadn’t given either of us any money, or presents, or even a copy of the game! Astonishing, I know.

  30. Matthew Gallant says:

    My comments are being flagged by the spam filter?

  31. Matthew Gallant says:

    My reply is being filtered by the spam filter, which I assume I have been added to manually. Now who’s got a credibility problem?

  32. peterb, here’s your fatal flaw: you seem attribute to corruption that which can be better explained by incompetence.

    That your average review isn’t good sort of falls under, “Well duh.” And if they didn’t get so much traffic, they might get better.

    And if that’s what your article was about, that would be fine. I’d agree 100% But the main gist of your piece is that they’re bad because the writers are all corrupt because they get a $40 game. That’s just silly.

    (And if we didn’t get the jokes in your piece, it’s safe to say people missed the jokes in Matt’s piece.)

    For the record, I suppose I should point out that that my review of Black & White is the lowest on Game Rankings (I gave it a 3/5, praising it for its ambition and its first third but pointing out its bugs, and how pointless it gets later). I guess that means I’m extra super credible despite EA sending me the game for free.

    It’s funny to say the marketing departments are determining coverage by sending free games. Spiderweb sends me free games for review too, so do other indies (I just reviewed Oasis; they sent it to me for free!). We review some of them, we don’t review others. I don’t review every commercial game either. While I’d love to review every game in existence, it’s not feasible in print for space reasons, and it’s not feasible online for time and cost reasons. That’s the reality of operating a business.

    Why aren’t we doing more for indie games? You might even consider actually reading my magazine before going down that path. I’d think our current monthly 2-page column devoted to indies (written by Greg Micek from diygames) is a good start, and so are our regular previews of indies. We’ve reviewed every Spiderweb game, and even gave one of Jeff’s games “RPG of the year” one year. He also used to do a column for us. Other indies that have done pieces for us include Brad Wardell of Stardock (just did a 2-page preview of the next GalCiv game), I have Sparky from Octopus Motors doing stuff, we’ve done features on free MMOs from indies, etc. Let’s not forget our regular features on the indie scene, and a big article on the indie awards, blah blah blah.

    You can even ask Troy Goodfellow above; he pitches indie game reviews fairly frequently–mostly historical strategy games–and guess what? I pay him for them! We also review a lot of text-based sports games because one of my writers digs them.

    You think there’s no difference between our coverage of Jade Empire and everyone else’s? You may be right. But our review was considerably tougher, and didn’t gloss over its flaws. We gave it a 3/5, which again puts it at the bottom of Game Rankings (though it’s not listed there yet). And it’s by the ethically corrupt Matthew Gallant. So I guess we did have a unique take on the game. Matthew’s.

  33. Sorry about the comments – I use Spam Karma 2 which immediately puts comments with two or more hyperlinks in moderation. Once a couple comments from the same person have been flagged, the rest get flagged. It’s an unfortunate side-effect of having a blog. I delete hundreds of online poker spam and viagra spam every week. I’ve been busy all day and haven’t had a chance to moderate them. But here they are, in their glory. If you’d like, I’d be happy to remove the duplicates.

  34. As an aside, I’ve had good luck preventing comment-spam just by using Captcha. I’m using MT, but surely there’s some wordpress implementation of it.

  35. Matthew Gallant says:

    Sorry about that. Well, you can delete 29-31 if you want.

  36. Gah, I wrote a long post that pointed out how we all agree reviews suck, which is ultimately your beef. And then it pointed out all of our indie coverage, how we gave Black & White 2 and Jade Empire middling reviews, and wondered if peterb had even seen Computer Games Magazine, since he’s pretty much wrong about everything we do. Because he wouldn’t criticize something without having read it or something. (And for crying out loud, complaining about an indie magazine being some corporate shill is really out there. We have a handful of employees doing the work of 20-30. We try our best to put out something different, but no one cares or pays attention.)

    But the site ate my reply as spam.

  37. Good greif…this certainly got out of hand quickly.

    Why is everyone taking this out on Tony?

    I’m not sure the last time I saw Enthusiasm online, and this kind of thing is probably why. Obviously ‘Hits’ aren’t as important as ‘Nods of Agreement’, ‘Interested Contemplation’, ‘Enlarged Viewpoints’ and ‘Sighs of Satisfaction’, but although I’m not a Technical Person, I’m guessing his webserver and blogging tools don’t record those, so you have to work with the numbers you *do* have.

    As I understood it, there was no mention of his editing submissions, and frankly I’m glad or I’d have never have dared take part in this project, paranoia being my only friend, and all.

    As for this business with Tea Leaves and CGOnline, why is that even happening here? Peterb has his own comments thread – surely discussions on journalistic integrity, or otherwise, would be more relevant there? The rough and tumble of informed debate is a healthy thing of course, but it does rather seem as if Tony is being caught in the middle somewhat, which isn’t very fair.

    Come to my blog and tell me how **** I am, but lay off the Enthusiastic Guy…we might never see one again!

  38. “…you have to work with the numbers you *do* have.”

    Based on attendance alone, you don’t know if people entered the gates to see a Carnival or a Freak Show. Even if you knew they’d come just to experience the Carnival, you don’t know how many of them puked on the rides.

    The stats won’t be useful until the next Carnival. Then you have a basis of comparison. The more Carnivals, the more data, and then the numbers will actually mean something.

  39. The stats won’t be useful until the next Carnival. Then you have a basis of comparison. The more Carnivals, the more data, and then the numbers will actually mean something.

    And, no offense, but what will we do with them then? If the numbers go down, are we doomed? Or would that mean we’ve scared off the riffraff?

    I think the numbers debate is being blown way out of proportion. As Van Hemlock said, Tony did a great job with the idea and pulling this together, and now he’s happy to have seen so many visits–which seems to be the spirit with which he posted the numbers. That doesn’t mean the Carnival will go away if the hits change one way or another.

    My guess is that the second Carnival will see less traffic, but that the traffic in general for the event will trend upward from there over time. That’s how this kind of thing normally works. That’s fine by me. I’ve found some great new blogs to read through this Carnival, and trust me when I say that there’s also great material coming for the next edition. If the Carnival isn’t your cup of tea, then that’s fine too.

    I think there’s valid criticism of what we’re trying to do here. I think there’s a mature way to discuss the editing (a point I’ve raised in the past, and actually have changed my mind on) or what we’re trying to accomplish, exactly. I don’t think raising a straw man about the numbers will help anything.

    I’m curious, Tony Walsh. I get a weird kind of passive-aggressive vibe from your posts, but I’m willing to admit that I might just be reading them wrong amidst all the drama here. Do you have any lengthier thoughts on the Carnival? Will you be contributing at some point?

  40. Thomas-

    I think what I’ve been suggesting since my first post is that hits are a bad way to measure success, unless your definition of success is getting traffic. Other than this, I’ve responded to comments about the merits of traffic data. I can’t really control what kind of “vibes” you get from my postings, but I think if you wear a tinfoil hat it might help.

    Here are my lengthier thoughts at this time:
    I get the impression that perfecting your craft seems to play second fiddle to getting attention. I think that’s a shame. The Carnival doesn’t even have a quality filter, which means any baboon with a keyboard can contribute. How can you complain about the standards of the so-called “mainstream” games media when the Carnival has no standards of its own? I feel that the Carnival isn’t helping indie games journalism. On the contrary, I think it’s painting a pretty poor picture. There is so much more to games writing than what the Carnival offers. My contribution to the Carnival is inviting you to take a step back and breathe.

  41. And who, Tony W, would you suppose we elect as our filter of quality? It’s called a Carnival because it’s travelling sideshow. It keeps one person from having to be responsible, shares the workload, and offers a convenient grouping of game bloggers to ty and showcase their work. The proper quality filter is the same as any blog – the reader. Don’t like something? Don’t read it. Don’t add it to your RSS.

    You seem to be full of critique but lacking completely in solutions. Oh dear, so buttonmashing actually tracked the traffic. You act like that’s a totally useless statistic, which is just completely seperate from the reality of running any kind of website. Oh, so the Carnival doesn’t “weed out undesirables”. Well, so what. If people submit to the CoG and don’t see any real uptick to their traffic or new responses, they’ll probably stop after a while. And if some “baboon with a keyboard” actually ended up being entertaining to people, then it works out. Nobody had to be the judge or editor-in-chief who decided for the reader what they should or shouldn’t read.

    And let me repeat this clearly, because you, Gallant, et al just can’t seem to get it through your skulls. The Carnival didn’t make any statement on the mainstream media. The Carnival is not out to start a revolution, or overthrow the man, or spark anyone’s career. If some of the blogs made statements about the MSM – go discuss it with them. That was, after all, the point you guys seem to fail to understand. Instead you bitch about stats and “lead articles” and mandates and whatever.

    Your contribution is for us to step back and breathe? Take your own advice, because you are taking this whole thing way too seriously. If you have a post to contribute, offer it up. If you reallly didn’t like any of the posts mentioned, then well … sorry. I’ll see if we can get you a full refund. If you did, you might follow the Carnival next week to see what those blogs contribute again.

    Otherwise, I don’t really see what you have to contribute, other than complaining needlessly. And if you think that’s what game blogs need, you won’t be missed. If Gallant had just went to Tea Leaves and took his complaints there, then he could have actually debated it with the blogger. Instead he and you seem determined to focus elsewhere.

    I’ll tell what isn’t “helping indie games journalism”, and it’s bickering and bitching like that.

  42. Oh yeah, and if you really feel you can do it better – I don’t see anyone stopping you. Stop wasting your time here and go out and do it.

  43. Tony,

    Part of the whole point of the Internet is that any baboon with a keyboard can contribute. I get the feeling that even if this were edited, you’d still be complaining, because the editor wouldn’t necessarily have any credentials, nonsensical as that may be. I think there’s plenty of room for indie games journalism to improve in multiple ways. Some of us may choose the Carnival, and others may choose more established outlets.

    But let’s look at those established outlets. If I were to write for “indie game writing,” where would I go? I could certainly write for Insert Credit or one of the webmags, but couldn’t we level the same criticism at them? I like IC, but there’s no denying that it can be uneven and rambling, and what I want to say may not fit its style. Wherever you go on the Internet, it’ll always be baboons with keyboards. For that matter, according to your own website you’ve done all right being a baboon with a keyboard–you’re an art school dropout who decided to strike out and become a cartoonist. You’ve done a lot of writing for online magazines. Good for you! Seriously! …what’s the point? How does that relate to a collection of amateur writings that were clearly marked as unedited? And why is it that this concept is so offensive? Can you tell us what REAL harm it’s doing to indie journalism, or are you just making it up?

    Okay, there is more to games writing than what the Carnival is providing. Like what? Do you have any concrete examples, or are you just pointing to the nebulous sky and crying for the gods to fill the void? I’m not understand what the problem is here. You have a real beef with the lack of editing, but you won’t actually give us any examples.

    Just because something is not being written in an edited environment does not make it automatically invalid. I’ve done both, and clearly so have you. Are your opinions on your blog worthless, just because you didn’t have to work them through an editorial desk? I wouldn’t accuse you of that, personally. I think it’d be rude, and it would miss the point.

    And likewise, just because we’re not writing for an establishment publication, it doesn’t make our criticisms of these publications less valid. We’re (theoretically) the people who are reading those magazines–or not, whatever the case may be. Some of us are trying to point out WHY we don’t read them. Meanwhile, editors and writers for those media outlets are whining about how no-one understands, and no-one is buying, and why don’t they get any respect? There’s a fundamental communication mismatch here, and I think it’s coming from the fact that you feel like you’re under attack.

    Well, you may be. But that’s not our problem. We’re not here to make you feel better about yourself.

    I started a blog because I need to write–it’s part of who I am. Speaking for myself, I may write badly or I may write well. Clearly, you think I need to improve, and I really would like to take that advice to heart. But saying that I’m more interested in attention than improving, well, that’s not good feedback. What would you have me do instead? We think this is a cool idea. Would you consider it “more indy” if we just left it in a tiny corner of the Internet, instead of letting other people know about it? What’s the point of writing if nobody reads? Tell me, did you become a freelance jack of all trades by remaining quietly off in the middle of no-where?

    I’m breathing deeply, Tony. I won’t claim that I’m necessarily calm, because I think this is a frustrating discussion, and I’m passionate about it. But I’m trying my best to figure out just what it is you’d rather us do, because as far as I can tell you just want us to be docile little readers for your content. I’m not willing to do that.

    As I’ve said, I’d genuinely like to listen to some good feedback on improving the Carnival. When do we get to hear it?

  44. Josh,

    Thanks. You might just be a baboon with a keyboard, but both your comments and your blog have been added to my daily reading material. And to think, I found you through the Carnival.

    Thomas

  45. Thomas, I had the impression you were the most sensible one here, until you started with the poorly-researched personal attacks. As much as it truly pains me not to get further involved, particularly now that you’ve made it personal, the sensible thing to do is bite my tongue completely off and walk away. The questions you and Josh have presented me with are hardly show-stoppers, and if you invest half the effort in exploring them as you put into skimming my web site, you’ll have your answers in short order.

  46. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, Tony. I don’t believe paraphrasing your own About page, in reaction to being called a baboon with a keyboard, or being told that my writing is clearly more about attention than skill, is stepping particularly far over the line.

    The problem with answering your questions isn’t that I can’t find answers. It’s that I don’t consider the questions themselves to be valid. It’s a straw man, Tony.

Trackbacks

  1. […] One: In which PeterB offers up some commentary on the state of gaming *cough* journalism. Episode Two: In which PeterB’s post is included in the Carnival of Gamer […]

  2. […] In the blogosphere, everyone is a someone. Look at me! I’m a someone! I’m the buttonMasher! Alright, so some of us are less than others. I love that some of the blogs I read are written by some really talented people. Bill from The Blog for the Sportsgamer has a new book coming out, the Gamer’s Almanac. I’ll be picking up a copy of the Almanac, as should you! Of course, I’d never turn down to a copy to review (wink wink). Crecente at Kotaku is now the video games guy for the Rocky Mountain News. Peterb at Tea Leaves has joined the ranks of “professional reviewers.” (let’s not forget the “controversy” Peter’s entry into the inaugural Carnival started. Ahh, good times! I wonder how ol’ Matt is doing). Of course there’s more. These are just a few that have happened recently. […]