Blogger Recognition Award from AK of Everything Is Bad for You

Thanks to AK from Everything Is Bad for You for this new tag! This is the Blogger Recognition Award, and it differs from most tags you see floating around in that the questions are set in stone. With that established, let’s jump right in.

The rules are as follows:

1. Say thanks to who nominated you and leave a link back to that person’s blog.

Thank you very much for the tag! Comparatively speaking, AK is one of my more recent followers, but he is definitely fun to speak with on an intellectual level, and hearing what he has to say about my pieces is something I look forward to every time. His blog is great as well, picking up the slack of professional journalists by highlighting efforts they often overlook. He talks about a variety of things too, so I think regardless of what medium you prefer, you will find his is a blog worth checking out.

2. Give the story or history of your blog.

2013 may have been a great year for me personally, but I stand firm that it is one of the absolute worst years in gaming. The AAA industry had lost a lot of goodwill the previous year when the highly anticipated Mass Effect 3 turned out to be a turkey, but they managed to sink to new lows in 2013 with several high-profile disasters such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and Ride to Hell: Retribution. When I’ve mentioned what I think of 2013 as a year for gaming, many people were quick to point out that it was the year The Last of Us was released, but I see that as further evidence for my position. Between its bland gameplay and a story poorly optimized for its medium I still consider it one of the most disappointing games I’ve ever played, which isn’t to say it’s bad, but like Naughty Dog’s other fare, it comes across as way too safe and unambitious for what is supposed to be a game-changer.

Now, as disappointed as I was in The Last of Us, it was a significant inspiration for me to begin critiquing games in 2014. Indeed, another part of what made 2013 such a bad year for gaming was that the games critics were praising weren’t that much better. The Last of Us is almost always the worst game on any given “best of” list, and if it isn’t, chances are good that it’s because Gone Home is also on the list. Even BioShock Infinite, which was more ambitious than The Last of Us, paled in comparison to Virtue’s Last Reward, touching upon many similar themes less skillfully. Being unsatisfied with the sheer amount of unprofessionalism and lack of strong voices surrounding gaming critique, I therefore decided that a change was in order and that I should lead by example.

I also don’t especially care for how unhelpful review scores were given that many people hand out 10/10s like penny candy, hence my signature tough rating scale. Under my scrutiny, a work needs to earn every single point. It doesn’t matter how much of a sacred cow it is, how much goodwill the series or creator had beforehand, or how much it lines up with my beliefs; if a creator wants a passing grade, they need to work for it.

It is somewhat regrettable that what got me into reviewing games was a negative experience, but I did turn it around and shaped it into something positive. While my piece on The Last of Us along with its revision I posted three years later was my longest review for quite some time, all seven of my reviews to exceed 10,000 words have been positive with none of them scoring fewer than eight points. Those games in question are: Ace Attorney Investigations: Prosecutor’s Path, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Persona 4, Dark Souls, and Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom.

3. Give two or more pieces of advice for new bloggers.

To take a page out of AK’s book, I’ll just say to make sure you actually care about whatever your chosen subject happens to be. This does indeed sound stupidly obvious, but there are so many content creators, critics, and journalists who disregard this simple rule.

“Can you believe those people who actually care about making their stories logically consistent? Frickin’ tryhards!”

The worst offenders include people such as Jonathan McIntosh, Patrick (H) Willems, Bob Chipman, and Owen Gleiberman. Between assuming people who don’t enjoy a piece of media are morally deficient louts and telling people that glaring contradictions in a film’s plot don’t matter, reading/watching pieces from those four and people of their ilk reveals a distinct lack of passion. Instead, they tend to go into a given work already having made up their minds about how they’re going to feel about it, and praise/criticize a work purely based on whether it lines up with their viewpoints or not. That can get you the support of people already dedicated to your causes, but good luck trying to convince anyone outside of that circle that you’re anything other than a snobbish hipster.

A good critic needs to be an apt persuasive writer. When you read what a good critic has to say, you don’t necessarily have to agree with them to find their pieces interesting. With those four, I find myself shaking my head even when I do technically agree with them. That and their insufferable amounts of snobbery and stubborn refusal to consider alternate viewpoints really shoots holes in their credibility. I feel a similar principle applies to blogging; if you care about your chosen subject, that passion will be felt by your readers.

Not pictured: Maturity

The other piece of advice I have is learn to roll with the punches. People aren’t always going to agree with your position, and you need to accept differing viewpoints. Opinions can be challenged, and you’re not always going to be 100% correct in your articles – even if you’re always checking your facts. Whether it’s a differing viewpoint or someone bringing up legitimate problem with your piece, you are obligated to respond in a mature fashion. Naturally, this assumes the person in question was at least somewhat civil. At the same time, don’t automatically conclude that someone is wrong just because they’re not nice about how they choose to criticize your work; a stopped clock is right twice a day, after all.

Not pictured: Self-control

Indeed, the likes of Rian Johnson and Phil Fish stand out as prime examples of how badly one’s reputation can sour when one approaches detractors with a hostile attitude. As a result of their social media shenanigans, they have become highly controversial figures.  In both cases, I’m positive that if they had the self-respect to tone down their vitriol, they would have spared themselves a lot of grief. Many people rushing to their defense claim that the internet would have hated on them regardless of their own level of civility. I can’t deny that possibility, but we’ll never know for sure because that isn’t what happened.

Not pictured: Self-confidence

In short, don’t be afraid to challenge your readers, but take dissenting opinions gracefully. If you’re to the point where you mock people for having a differing opinion, using your fans to make dissenters uncomfortable, or slavishly latching onto those who blindly hang on to your every word, you are a bully with a serious lack of conviction. If you lack conviction, then you will never grow, and nobody will have any reason to follow your blog in the long term.

4. Nominate 10 other bloggers and link their blogs.

This is going to be a bit more difficult with the static questions, but I’ll just pick these ten and hope I didn’t double tag anyone.

Have fun!

28 thoughts on “Blogger Recognition Award from AK of Everything Is Bad for You

    • Thanks!

      Actually, one of them (Phil Fish) is a game creator. To be completely fair, he was relatively young (late 20s/early 30s) when he went off the deep end, so as cringeworthy as his Twitter meltdown (or “TWITTER METLDOWN” as he would put it) managed to be, it was more bemusing than anything else. Rian Johnson, however, was in his forties when he posted those Tweets – something a normal person would have outgrown after leaving high school. That is a man who cannot take any kind of criticism whatsoever (a trait he demonstrated in Knives Out, by the way). Plus, after that display, he has forfeited his right to call anyone a manbaby.

      Personally, I think it’s pretty telling that those two are considered merely controversial; the only reason they’re not pariahs is because, as immature as they are, they have historically and vocally supported liberal causes. I am positive that if they were hardcore conservatives, most of their supporters would’ve hung them out to dry. Also, is it just me or is the prospect of someone in their mid-forties saying “I love you” to a random person on the internet rather creepy and off-putting (even if it was in response to a prominent critic’s compliment of their work)?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gotcha. Sorry about that. It shows how out of touch I can be with games. However, my point stands with creators in general can be really thin-skinned. Thanks for informing me about Phil Fish. Yeah, Rian Johnson really has no excuse and certainly can’t use his age to avoid his attitude. That is beyond childish of him. He certainly has no right to call anyone a manbaby.

        Interesting points. I was unaware of that about them. I never thought about how that could prevent them from being fully ostracized that way. That is creepy of Johnson tweeting that to a sycophant.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Haha- you really hate my favorite game don’t you? The second one is coming out- I hope some day. Will you play it or skip it?

    And thanks as always for the tag! I have some serious tags to catch up on if I ever find the time. Haven’t been blogging as much as I was. Finding it hard to focus.


    • Be sure to thank Naughty Dog for making this all possible! After all, The Last of Us is responsible for this site existing in the first place, so I can’t really hate it too much. Although in the interest of fairness, I will say that Mother 3, another title I felt was vastly overrated, was at least equally responsible for me beginning to critique games, so The Last of Us wasn’t really the only reason. As it stands, I feel both were misguided attempts at elevating the medium. A lot of people were trying to do that in the late 2000s/early 2010s and it just made the narratives feel inorganic and a nightmare to parse diegetically (and I will admit Mother 3 was actually worse in that regard).

      Unfortunately, it looks like the pandemic caused the sequel to be delayed yet again. I probably will end up playing it anyway so I can take part in the conversation (and so I can finally get to review a 2020s game). I make it a point to not talk about work at length unless I myself have experienced it.

      You’re welcome and I hope you enjoy doing this tag!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Im super irritated with Naughty Dog for delaying it. We are all stuck at home with nothing to do and they want to push it back? It makes no sense. Now is the perfect time to release it. I needed something to look forward to. There are very few games I play anymore and this was going to be one of them.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Honestly, even as a non-fan, I’m pretty irritated with them as well. I’m so used to games coming out when they’re scheduled to do so that I often forget what it’s like to look forward to something only to be told “Sorry, you have to wait another six months; get hosed”. And this was after having delayed it a ridiculous amount of times already. At this rate, it’s going to become this generation’s Duke Nukem Forever. They could’ve at least released it digitally if they were worried about people going out and buying physical copies.

          Liked by 1 person

          • That’s what I mean. They have literally no excuse. We’re all here. We’re all home. In today’s age there is no need for us to go to a physical place to pick it up. It doesn’t make any sense.

            If naughty dog were a human I’d shake ‘em by their shoulders. I’m hopeful if enough people complain they will change their minds.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I thought this one was interesting considering that the questions were fixed this time around. The story of how I started this site is one I’ve told a few times before, but I find it interesting how the context ends up being slightly different with each retelling due to have a greater amount of context to worth with.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Phil Fish seems like he might have some real issues to work out, but Rian Johnson just comes off as extremely thin-skinned. Certainly, both have made complete fools of themselves, and it’s a wonder that they still have supporters. I’ve never understood that mentality that anyone who criticizes you is just a “hater” or whatever term they’re using for it now — it shows the creator to be pathetically weak and unconfident in their own work. Why even try to be an artist if you’re not willing to take criticism?

    The kneejerk “if you don’t like _ work you’re clearly an evil regressive jerk” attitude you bring up is really ridiculous as well. It doesn’t stand up to logical examination at all, but who cares about that? As long as you have the right political/social views, it doesn’t matter what kind of garbage you throw out to the public, apparently.

    Anyway, thanks again for putting up with my tags and for your interesting responses. Hoping you stay safe out there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can agree with that. There is likely something more at play than just an inflated ego. Granted, I find I don’t have much sympathy for Phil Fish after he infamously declared that Japanese games suck to an aspiring Japanese programmer during a panel, though his peers were equally bad – not reprimanding him or apologizing for his behavior (even worse, Jonathan Blow ended up agreeing with him). That’s why I am extremely grateful the indie gaming scene’s ego era is well and truly dead. Granted, it arguably came at the cost of journalists electing not to talk about them at all (implying the only reason they cared about indies was to basically become a poor man’s tabloid), but it is the lesser of two evils.

      And “thin-skinned” doesn’t even begin to describe Rian Johnson. In Knives Out, he ended up creating an alt-right troll character. While the character’s belief system does have a diegetic reason for existing, it’s nigh-impossible to dismiss the venture that he was created as a middle finger to the people who disliked The Last Jedi. As I said, I think it’s possible that the internet would have exploded at The Last Jedi without him provoking the hornet’s nest, but his sheer dedication to doing so caused him to fuel his own backlash. His sycophancy towards the people who have written positive reviews or try to debunk his detractors is just plain sad. If he had even the slightest bit of conviction, he wouldn’t need to do that.

      I think Phil Fish ended up worse off because he is in a profession that isn’t taken as seriously. While that may sound like the stereotypical “games are inferior to films” attitude, it does come with the upside that game developers generally can’t get away with the same prima donna behavior Rian Johnson and his ilk exhibit. Consequently, while Phil Fish does have defenders, he doesn’t quite have that cult of personality Mr. Johnson enjoys. In both cases, I am positive that if they didn’t regularly pay lip service to progressive causes, fans deservedly would have deservedly run them out of town. Confirmation bias is a dangerous thing.

      And you’re welcome! I’m flattered that you’d tag me this often. I’m doing well so far in the face of this mini-apocalypse. Fortunately, I don’t live in a particularly large city, so as long as I play it safe, I think I will be good.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, I don’t have much sympathy for Fish either. Both he and Blow just seem kind of like assholes. And FEZ was great and everything, but it’s not like there aren’t other innovative indie games out there, both now and then, and many of them made by developers who seem to be mature, reasonable people. As you say, the game industry doesn’t tolerate prima donnas to the extent the film industry does.

        I haven’t seen Knives Out, but that sounds ridiculous. It’s not the first time a director has done something like that, either. They do know we can see what they’re doing, right?

        Good to hear you’re staying safe. I’m in the suburbs of a big city, so I have to be a bit careful out here. I’m honestly pissed off at how many people around seem to still not be taking it seriously, but what can you do? Just let them see what happens in a week or two.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for the nomination! Looking forward to answering these.

    Until reading an article about Gearbox Software the other day(due to more Randy Pitchford…news), I had completely forgotten Aliens: Colonial Marines even existed.

    Also, Matt Zoller-Seitz…the movie critic for several publications including the current Editor-in-Chief of Roger Ebert’s site stirring up animosity on Twitter by professing The Last Jedi as “a classic” only to receive a reply of “I love you” from Rian Johnson is rather…strange and does nothing to dispel the notion of creators and journalists(both film and gaming) having to defend “classics” like TLJ against the angry un-enlightened masses online.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome!

      In a normal year, Aliens: Colonial Marines would’ve been the clear low point. In 2013, it has tough competition. I seem to recall that various companies were passing the buck to avoid claiming credit for having made it. Rather immature, but I can’t say I blame them – I wouldn’t want that game attached to my resume either.

      I have to admit I didn’t realize that Matt Zoller-Seitz was an actual film critic when I posted that screencap; I assumed it was some random fan. That just makes this whole fiasco even more depressing. Even if Mr. Zoller-Seitz is a big name in the critical circle, I still find it a little creepy that Mr. Johnson would write “I love you” to a person he presumably barely knows. If nothing else, it absolutely reeks of desperation. It’s almost as though these un-enlightened masses refuse to humor bad storytellers or something. Shocking concept, no?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the shoutout! Hope you’re doing well during these trying times. Still a bit sad to hear, again, about your disappointment in TLoU. As a die-hard Naughty Dogs fan, TLoU 2 remains my most anticipated game right now. But I am however glad to see Dark Souls being mentioned as a winner in your books. The whole Soul franchise is top-tier gaming material for me and I, honestly, can’t wait for their next project, Elden Ring, with the implication of GRRM!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! I’m doing well so far.

      I will say that compared to the previous two decades’ biggest personal disappointments (Sonic Heroes and Yoshi’s Story), The Last of Us was by far the most competently made. The problem is that by the time I got ahold of The Last of Us, I had already experienced much heavier hitters in terms of story-heavy experiences such as Planescape: Torment, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, and Virtue’s Last Reward. Compared to them, The Last of Us wasn’t terribly impressive, and its lack of innovation stuck out like a sore thumb. It doesn’t help that in the next few years, games such as Undertale and OneShot would weave narratives that bent the medium in extremely creative ways, making the AAA industry’s reliance on the Hollywood formula seem even less impressive.

      Regardless, I intend to give The Last of Us: Part II a try… when it actually comes out. Apparently, it got delayed yet again.

      Part of the reason I tend not to think highly of The Last of Us is because of Dark Souls. It weaves a narrative that is far more optimized for its medium on top of providing highly innovative gameplay that spawned several imitators. Even Nintendo seemed to take a page out of FromSoftware’s book when they made Breath of the Wild (another one of my all-time favorites). I definitely have an eye out for Elden Ring myself; I’m still amazed they got George R. R. Martin involved.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Definitely have to agree here. Not being able to have your opinions challenged, and deciding based on first impressions rather than actually taking a look through things, both really betray a lack of confidence. And, as you mentioned, persuasive writing is vital for a critic, and without that confidence, it’s really hard to be persuasive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, when you fail to truly consider others’ viewpoints, it creates mental blind spots. Those blind spots shoot holes in these creators’ credibility, making them less persuasive. A critic who can’t influence their audience to experience what they like or argue for a work’s quality seriously needs to rethink their profession. They talk a big game when they participate in this egotistical posturing, but their constant need for validation does indeed betray a severe lack of self-confidence.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! 2013 may have been a bad year for gaming, but it at least indirectly resulted in the creation of this site, so it couldn’t have been all bad, huh? I suppose that does make it slightly better than 2014 wherein nothing really stood out at all, but the worst games of 2013 were worse, so that’s the point I would use.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! It’s a bit of a shame that those who get paid to pen their opinions or create their art have a real lack of conviction, isn’t it? I would assume being placed in such a position would require a prerequisite level of confidence, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. The current wave of artists and critics really need to learn to break the mold, I’d say.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I’m surprised how even acclaimed directors suffer from a lack of passion and such thin skin. One would think getting that far would cause that person to develop those traits naturally, but apparently not. Rian Johnson is incapable of accepting criticism and he, along with anyone like him, will remain mid-tier talents for the rest of their careers going on like that. The thing that is holding back the current wave of indie filmmakers is the same egotistical posturing game creators abandoned midway through the 2010s, and while they can still command the critics’ attention, they’ll never rise above the medium’s current state of creative stagnation going on the way they are. One needs to truly challenge themselves in order to grow and become better, and it is impossible to do that if you’re just surrounding yourself with yes-men/women.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: April 2020 in Summary: The Exterminating Red Metal | Extra Life

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