"Is That Jimquisition?"

"You’re Jim Sterling from the Escapist" is still a very weird thing for me to be told, as I’ve spent so long being so closely associated with Destructoid, and still 100% consider myself intrinsically linked to the Red & Green. Destructoid’s my livelihood, and in many ways my purpose. It certainly became my calling.

That said, it blows me away how well known the Jimquisition is getting, to where I can be talking to an industry person about reviews for Dtoid itself, and have them lose their shit when they find out I’m the “Jimquisition guy.” It also still amuses me no-end that, following my cameo on Jonathan Holmes’ Teenage Pokemon cartoon, half the comments were, “Is that Jimquisition playing Ditto?”

It should be noted that, like everything else in my career, Jimquisition owes a major debt to Destructoid. The personality for the show evolved during E3 2010, when I’d just gotten back from Microsoft’s despicable Cirque du Soleil Kinect reveal. Dehydrated, furious, and feeling like I’d been exploited to take part in a gigantic advertisement, I let loose on camera in an interview with then-Dtoid video guy Rey Gutierrez. Wearing aviator shades (which I’d begun wearing on-camera as a kind of crutch for potential nerves), I let loose in a way that got a lot of people talking during the rest of the event. It proved popular enough that I tried it as a weekly show — just me in the kitchen, stood in front of a camera and rambling script-less on whatever I felt annoyed about. 

After a while, I decided to try and branch out and ended up talking to Russ Pitts at the Escapist, who I was sure hated me. I told him I was sure he hated me but I’d like to see if he’s interested in my video content anyway. He said he probably did, but admired the balls, and eventually the show was picked up. Just celebrated 100 main episodes of the show since then, and am hoping to show continues the slow but steady growth it’s enjoyed so far. 

It’s my hope that its growth also benefits Destructoid as well as The Escapist. I always want for Niero and his team to enjoy a share of my success, because any success I have can always be traced back there. It’s why I’ve stuck by the site through its ups and downs, why I’ve turned down some damn tempting offers in the past, and why anybody who wants to contract my services has to understand I’m a package deal, and my services, while available, can never be exclusive in totality. 

I owe Dtoid and Escapist a lot, as well as everybody who’s been so nice enough to continue enjoying my work. Viva la You All. 

On reviews and sentences

One of the best conclusions I ever arrived at was that arguing over my own reviews paid a disservice to the reviews themselves. In almost every case where someone demanded I back up my conclusions in a review, I’ve found I could only ever do that by repeating what I’d already written in the review itself. At that point, it becomes clear the other person either didn’t read the review, or is willfully ignoring vast swathes of it. There’s really nothing I can do for them in either case. 

This was most obvious to me in the fallout of my Mario Kart 7 and Modern Warfare 3 reviews. It’s very popular in some groups to compare these two reviews as evidence of my hypocrisy or lack of professionalism. The hilarious thing is it’s assumed I totally didn’t expect a backlash to either review — of course I did. I don’t like backlashes, but after half a decade writing about games professionally, you know when they’re coming. With that in mind, I was very careful to write each review with what I felt was the most rock-solid backing up of opinion possible. If you read both reviews, it’s explained in adequate detail why I felt one game’s repeated content was acceptable and another’s was not. I knew what the arguments against my reviews would be as I wrote them, and answered those arguments. 

But of course … that didn’t stop people ignoring all that to reduce both reviews to a couple sentences. So it is that, years after the fact, I am still having people asking me to explain my conclusions about the games, insistently simplifying my argument to an incredibly basic structure and trying to make me answer to charges that were already preemptively answered in the very reviews they’re copying and pasting minuscule sentences from. 

After being mad at the reviews for so long, you’d think they’d take the time to finally read them properly. Oh well. 

I love discussing reviews and am always happy to answer questions about my own or others. But if the questions asked of me are questions already answered in the review, I cannot help but feel frustrated, and dismiss you as someone who didn’t read all that I had to say. If reviews could be so easily reduced to single sentences or memes, that’s what they’d be. In fact, it’d make my job a heck of a lot quicker to do!

I stick by my MK7 and MW3 reviews fully, and remain confident in my assessment that one formula was already tired and surpassed by others in the genre, while one was still in peak condition and the leading example. I still remain confident that they work in tandem without one contradicting the other, and you may disagree with either conclusion, and that is fine — but if your disagreement stems from reading one sentence from each review, stripped of all nuance and backup, I have nothing to offer you in terms of rebuttal except one other single sentence:

Read the bloody reviews. 

Rubbish I Did This Week

Not really done any personal blogging this week as it was quite a busy period, what with most of the Destructoid staff at GDC. Seems like it was quite an event this year. I might go next time, if I can get the time to travel. 

Anyway, I did some bullshit on the Internet, as per usual. 

By far the most extensive work I did involved my extensive coverage of Blades of Time. All the posts are tagged, so you can read them right here. This is an action game, a spiritual successor to the unremarkable X-Blades. From those who have played it, it’s actually not a bad game, which makes Konami’s silence all the more confusing. As you’ll see from my posts, Konami completely screwed this game up. Barely any marketing, retailers confused over release dates, and the producer not even being able to find the thing in stores. 

I’m having fun with the coverage, trying to highlight Konami’s behavior in a satirical way, but I am genuinely disappointed in the company. It has gone off the deep end with several of its games lately, and to the outside observer, Konami looks like it doesn’t know what it’s doing anymore. It’s exasperating to see, as someone who counts himself as a diehard fan of several Konami franchises. 

I’ve thus far been unable to find a copy to purchase, and Konami has not responded to a review copy request. Yeah … fucking ridiculous. 

This week’s Jimquisition was a more serious followup to my previous episode on gay romance options in Mass Effect 3. Erotic fanfiction was deemed too subtle for some viewers, so I put all my gay cards on the gay table this time. I think the message was received. 

I continued my Mass Effect 3 observations on GameFront, with an examination of the insane nerd rage that accompanied BioWare’s latest release. This accompanied a post on Destructoid, where I looked at the Metacritic user review backlash. 

Also, we put out perhaps my favorite Podtoid in a long, long time. On this past week’s episode, I planned Jonathan Holmes’ funeral and we talked about running our very own hibachi restaurant. I think the show’s kept up the pace quite nicely, despite the sad loss of Max as co-host. Should be even more interesting once we get some guests on (currently chatting with Irrational about a Ken Levine appearance!)

That was the most notable junk I did, though of course keep reading Dtoid and GameFront for further garbage from me. 

Rubbish I Did This Week

For the past two weeks I’ve been trying to alter how I work a little bit, especially at Destructoid. I’ve made an effort to write less daily news posts, and do more original work. No hard-hitting journalism (pfft), but interesting observations, things to get people talking, and that sort of shit. I’ve been trying to see opportunities for articles that people wouldn’t ordinarily think of, and I feel it’s been paying off. 

This week, I’ve written about a few diverse subjects. The big one was that whole fighting game community sexual harassment deal. It’s interesting how many FGC members saw it as an attack, which it certainly wasn’t supposed to be. I still maintain that I was impressed by how many FGC members stood up and said, “This behavior isn’t what we’re into.” Still, there were many others trying to push the stereotype that the FGC is into that, which was quite sad. In any case, interesting discussions were had, I think.

Although many people challenged me to write more about the FGC, the amount of people who quite venomously don’t want any mainstream coverage puts me quite off. 

I had more fun writing about Blades of Time, a game that’s releasing next week and that Konami has almost entirely refused to promote. When you find out some of the game’s details, and just how little the title’s been acknowledged, it’s quite amazing. Speaking of which, I also responded to the astounding level of backlash Konami’s getting for Silent Hill: Book of Memories. People are viciously dogpiling on that, and I can’t say I’m totally shocked. It’s a weird departure for the series, though I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a good game. Finally, I poked fun at myself and fellow reviewers for using the word “experience” way too much when writing. 

That’s an example of the kind of thing I want to start bringing more of to Destructoid. Not news posts, and not exactly features. Just interesting things I’ve noticed, be they humorous or serious. It’s certainly been rewarding bringing more individual content to the site. 

That’s not all I did at Dtoid this week. Reviews went up for Binary Domain and Journey. Liked ‘em both! It’s been a long time since I’ve had a “review controversy,” and I am rather enjoying the respite. Even my negative reviews lately have only had one or two lunatics throwing around accusations. I wonder how long the calm will last. 

Oh, and then there’s Podtoid, of course. 

I won’t go through everything I did for GameFront, as there’s a lot, but I did a nice thing about Facebook gaming this week. I have a really passionate article prepared but it’s not been published yet. Hoping it goes up today. 

Let’s round things out with this week’s Jimquisition, which proved to be quite the tongue-wagger. It was a simple reading of the Mass Effect 3 erotic fan fiction I wrote, parodying the drama over gay romance options in the game. I didn’t quite expect discussion to explode so readily, and I didn’t expect to be so shocked by some of the responses. The next Jimquisition will continue the discussion, and it’s going to be quite spirited. 

So that’ll be fun!

Rubbish I Did This Week

Another week has passed and I’ve spilled more sticky garbage onto the Internet. Here’s the most notable stuff I did this week. 

I kicked off Monday with a Jimquisition about the digital age. I used to fear an era of digital videogame distribution, but now I relish the idea of such a time. I think major publishers won’t find it’s the all-your-can-eat buffet they believe it to be. 

Over on GameFront, I continued the digital sentiment by telling you why Double Fine’s Kickstarter success is so exciting, even if you’re cynical about Kickstarter’s potential influence. There’s a lot more at play than just Kickstarter, and we need to look at the bigger picture. 

This week, Destructoid went apeshit with PS Vita coverage, and I spunked up quite a few reviews alongside editor-in-chief Dale North. A compilation post contains handy links to all our reviews. There are even more reviews coming, so be excited for that! I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get a great Vita game, as I seem to have drawn the short straw and gotten most of the shit ones. Such is the life of a reviewer of the videogames!

You can also check out ten whining little nitpicks concerning the Vita. I really like the system, but nothing is perfect. 

Still with Dtoid, I did a couple of mini features/rants this week. First up, I spoke about this obsession gamers have with replay value and length. I then took Ubisoft to task for trying to swindle PS Vita users. All this was before I exposed ALL Sony fans as scumbags, with scientific evidence. 

Finally, there was not one, but TWO Podtoids this week. The first was a romantic episode with Jonathan Holmes. The second was a special bonus episode in which I chatted to David Jaffe about the used game market. It’s a pretty awesome little debate, and well worth hearing for anyone who cares about game consumer issues. 

That’s all the interesting stuff I did. Hooray!

I love responding to moronic commenters in a variety of saucy ways. This is my new favorite. 

I love responding to moronic commenters in a variety of saucy ways. This is my new favorite. 

Rubbish I Did This Week

Every week, I shit out a load of guff onto the Internet and some people are silly enough to look at it. I figured I’d round up all my trash on a Friday so you can look at it with the eyes in your ridiculous head. 

The week kicked off, as it often does, with The Jimquisition. This was a conclusion of my examination of videogame piracy, and concluded that although piracy isn’t theft, there’s a certain type of piracy that should be called theft anyway, because illegally downloading indie games is rubbish. 

I had quite a few reviews on Destructoid this week — Kingdoms of Amalur, Resident Evil: Revelations and NeverDead. The latter article is worth reading if you want to see what I think about lazy, incompetent game design. 

Speaking of Amalur, I wrote about how every Western RPG needs a re-spec option like the one found in 38 Games’ freshly released RPG. 

I wrote one of the dumbest features that’s ever been spewed from my brain this week — a collection of Kenner Aliens toys holding videogames. Y’know, because videogames. 

Finally, you can listen to Jonathan Holmes, Samit Skrungen, and Max Scoville alongside my own chatting voice in Podtoid. That’s a podcast I do. I try to have sex with Jonathan on it. Sex. 

That’s all the notable bullshit I did, anyway. 

I don’t know you, but you should care that I hate you!

It never ceases to amaze me just how much some people want me to care about how much they don’t care about me. There’s a supreme, astounding arrogance in a person engaging me on a personal level, with nothing to tell me outside of the fact they they don’t like me and don’t read my work. 

If all you have for me is “I don’t like you,” what exactly do you expect me to do with that information? What, pray tell, is the best you expect to happen when you tell that to someone who doesn’t know who the fuck you are? When someone I don’t know says they’re a fan, or that they liked something I wrote, at least that’s a nice positive thing. I don’t know you, but hey, thanks! If I don’t know you and you say you don’t like anything I do … what am I supposed to do about it? I can’t change that, you can’t change that, so why in the fuck do you think I care about you? You could live forever or die of an infection after a dog mutilates your erect penis, and it wouldn’t matter to me at all. 

As I say, it is pure arrogance of the highest order to assume that a stranger should give a flying fuck that you dislike them. I don’t expect Jeff Dunham to care that I think he’s a piece of shit, so I don’t seek him out and tell him. If I decide to stop reading somebody’s writing because I’ve gone off them, I do it quietly. I don’t feel the need to broadcast my decision because why the fuck should it matter to them? What makes me so important that I think their life will change whether I follow their work or not? I’m an egotistical son of a bitch, but I am not so utterly, contemptibly self-centered and narcissistic that I think my telling a stranger that I hate what they do will impact their life.

When a guy says, “I don’t read Destructoid and I don’t like you,” I am given no reason to change my ways, take stock of criticism, or regard any admonishment seriously. If you tell me that, you’re not a friend, not family, and not even a reader of mine. Yet you think I am somehow going to have a life-changing experience due to your one basic statement that didn’t even include any constructive criticism. Do you think I am going to alter the way I do something for someone who admits to not even reading what I write? Am I really supposed to alter the way I write for a publication you don’t read? What’s your damn end game here?

I realize that this post inherently indicates that I do care about such people, but my concern isn’t for their opinion of me. My concern is for their opinion of themselves. I am not compelled to mend my ways, and I am not hurt or upset by their scorn. If that was their goal, then they failed. If their ambition was instead to disgust me with an appalling display of unwarranted self importance, then mission complete. 

Let’s face facts — I review videogames for a rather large site. If you don’t like me, you’re nothing special. In fact, not liking me renders you pretty fucking mundane in my book. You can swing by Reddit, N4G, GameFAQs, Giant Bomb, and find hundreds of people exactly like you. Just loosen the brickwork and watch them crawl out. All typing the same things, flinging the same insults, using the same armchair psychology to diagnose me with some kind of personality disorder. There’s no skill involved in hating me. No great intellect required. You don’t even have to be a good speller. You are not a unique little snowflake, and whatever you have to say to me is something I’ve heard before. 

I just don’t quite comprehend the mentality at play here. Either you like someone and follow them, or you dislike them and don’t. Should be that simple. The last thing anybody should be doing is actively seeking an audience with somebody they don’t care for, finding them and attempting to engage them. What kind of lunatic willingly interacts with people they hate?

Oh wait, I already know that. I deal with such lunatics on a weekly clitting basis.  

Doing The Thing With Things

I felt it was high time I started one of these. I’ve got too many things to say and not enough people who care, which I believe satisfies the remit for operating a Tumblings Blog. Literally anybody reading this knows who I am, but talking about myself is too good to pass up. 

So I am Jim Sterling. I review videogames and pen editorial for Destructoid.com. I also host a weekly video show on The Escapist, called Jimquisition, where I ramble about various videogame issues, mostly from a pro-consumer perspective. I host Podtoid, a Destructoid-related podcast that you can hear on iTunes for free, which is still too expensive, and I contribute weekly opinion pieces to GameFront, a growing sector of Break Media’s many interesting things. 

As a freelancer (which I still do from time to time), I’ve written for IGN, GamesRadar, GamePro, and a few other places. I occasionally produce The Videogame Show What I’ve Done, a comedy video series that started a reboot on Machinima recently. You can catch me all around the Internet, upsetting and/or amusing people, depending on your preferences. 

That is what I do, and most of my interesting stuff happens on those places or on my stupid Twitter account. I probably won’t be writing stuff here everyday, but I’ll share the occasional bit of literature or blogs related to reviewing that is too self-centered to justify posting on Destructoid — yes, there’s shit too self indulgent that I won’t post there, despite what my productivity on Dtoid would have you believe. 

I used to use G+ for long-form bloggery, but let’s face it … what’s the cunting point of that now?