Week 669

What’s this? I’m blogging about my work on a weekly basis – a simple way to track and archive whatever it is I spend my time on.

Last week, my monthly media column was published at Gamer.nl. As you probably know, I spend a lot of time thinking, writing and talking about games journalism: what the status quo is and where things should go. A recurring topic: the entanglement with corporate PR that is not helping the quality of our writing and, in effect, the trust that readers have in our writing.

So it should not have come as a surprise that I critiqued the role that well-known Dutch games journalist Jan Meijroos had in the promotion of Uncharted 3. He both edited a sponsored magazine commemorating the release of the game, and wrote a review of it, which doesn’t exactly scream objectiveness. My point was: have another guy do the review. It’s easy and it makes you look better.

I’m surprised that Meijroos (or the people he works for) didn’t feel the need to offer some kind of (serious) statement. They could’ve explained how they feel they can, against all odds, preserve their integrity. Or they could’ve explained how they will avoid this kind of thing in the future. But they didn’t. So how should Meijroos’s readers interpret the fact that all he said publicly is that the “free publicity” for his sponsored magazine was “nice”?

In other news, the column I wrote about the playful future of driving was published in nrc.next.

Also in the paper: a dialogue between David Nieborg and Rogier Kahlmann about Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I spent some effort making sure we wrote about these games at all, and served as an extra pair of eyes overseeing the writing and editing of this complex and broad subject into just a couple hundred words.

One commenter at Bashers.nl reminded me that David and I did something similar two years ago. That was so much easier: we wrote about Modern Warfare 2 only, gave ourselves months to do it, and used more than 4000 words!

For nrc.next I also interviewed two experts on The Legend of Zelda last week: games journalist and longtime friend Jurjen Tiersma and games researcher Joris Dormans (whom I did a podcast with). As the game that started all this for me, Zelda has a special place in my heart. And though I sometimes feel I know everything there is to know about this series, Jurjen and Joris of course have a lot of new stuff to add.

The resulting story will hopefully appear in the paper later this week, with Zelda: Skyward Sword coming out on Friday. (I’m not doing the review, as I’m playing the game together with my wife. With two young kids, it’ll probably be a while before we finish it.)

Other than that, it was a pretty quiet week. That did enable me to get on top of my email again, for the first time in a while, and allowed me to do other wordly stuff. Like going to see Tintin with my dad.

Over at Bashers.nl, there’s lots of stuff going on behind the scenes, working towards a future publication that might have something to do with the iPad.

Beyond that, I continued brainstorming a new magazine about games, printed on paper. It’ll be of the literary, artistic kind, and it’s probably quite far off. To be continued!