Kieron Gillen's workblog




"People ask, 'Where's the Lester Bangs of video-game criticism?'" he says. "And I'm starting to think that might be the wrong question. Video games are a different kind of medium, and they need to be covered in a different way. We can't just borrow all of its idiom from film and rock criticism. But it should aspire to the same kind of quality that critics like Pauline Kael and Robert Christgau established.

Denver Westworld writes about Serious Videogame Journalism. Its heart is in the right place, but bits grate. I'd imagine it's because I'm too close to the subject matter and having a wood/trees problem, but still.

Everyone does always mentions Where's Game's Lester Bangs? in these debates. My standard answer's "We don't need a second Lester Bangs. We need a first someone whose name we don't even know yet".

It annoys that Bangs always turns up in these debates. This is because he was good, and died young - in the same way Bill Hicks got canonised. But what people should remember is that you get the nagging feeling that Bangs (and Hicks, for that matter) would have despised half the sentimental bollocks that is said about them. What they did has become less important than who they were. And as much as I like symbols, that annoys.

What most grates is that no-one has ever had to write an official "Style Guide" for music journalism, except in a magazine by magazine basis. Lester Bangs didn't go to school to learn how to be a Music Journalist. He learnt to be a Music Journalist by staring at records until his eyes bled and his brains started to leak from his ears.

This is warped by my general perspective on the world - a lot of the people quoted are trained journalists trying to apply their skills to games. I'm an untrained journalist from a Fanzine background, with an inbuilt dislike of Authority.

But I don't think what Games Journalism needs can be taught in a class.

Except - in my case - Grammar and Spelling.




Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.