Thursday, 7 May 2015

Deep Freeze: Load of Crap or Exactly What We Needed?

The GamerGate controversy rages on after a number of months that I've lost track of.  While I've not been keeping too close an eye on it due to most discussions devolving into gender politics and claims of harassment or whatever, something has popped out of the whole thing that has piqued my interest.

For a long time I've not been a fan of gaming media websites and press and I think there are quite a large number of people who feel the same way.  There's too much blatant bullshit going on behind the scenes and I hate how I can guess a games final score before I've even opened the web page.  In recent years it has been so bad that certain members of the gaming press have taken to just flat out insulting people who disagree with them.  The biggest example I can think of this was the whole "gamers are entitled" thing that came with DmC: Devil May Cry.  Hardcore fans of the first 4 games were upset with the new direction the game had taken, both stylistically and mechanically, but were completely dismissed by games media as "whiny entitled babies"

So very recently Deep Freeze pops up right out of fucking nowhere.  It's a database of people within games media, journalists and other writers and it keeps records with links to evidence of stuff they are doing wrong.  It also seems to host articles regarding GamerGate and the state of gaming media as well as providing links to sites that it deems ethical.

It's a strangely useful resource for two big reasons.  The first is that now that this exists, it's bound to keep a number of writers in check.  If they say something stupid or get caught doing something they shouldn't be, there is now a place on the internet where that shit will be documented and easily available for general viewing.  The second is that if you happen across an article that seems a little bullshitty then you can look up the writer or site and see if they are the kind of person or publication who deals in clickbait or may have some ulterior motives.

There are some arguments to be had about certain entries on the site.  The big argument against Deep Freeze that I've seen so far is that sometimes they are logging a writers opinion as an ethical breech.  For example, a number of writers have a "sensationalist" mark on their profile for docking points from Bayonetta 2 for it's "gross portrayal of women".  Given that misogyny is the big game controversy du jour it does seem, at least to me, that the writer is fishing for clicks from a certain crowed but there is an argument to be had that maybe the writer just genuinely does hold that opinion of the game.  Inserting gender politics into game reviews may be annoying and disrespectful but holding a dumb ass opinion is not unethical.

Still though, what Deep Freeze is NOT doing is telling you to flat out dislike anyone that it has a file on.  It is only presenting you with information so that you can form your own opinion and if you don't like what you see, where to go for your gaming news.

I'm still going to carry on not giving a shit about games media because I don't enjoy reading reviews.  I'll look up a trailer and some gameplay footage and make my own decisions.  But for those who do read reviews they now have a resource to make judgements on where to get their info from before they make a purchase, which seems like a good thing to me.  Depending on how it's handled from here it could mean an improvement for games writing. 

More actual and honest games writing and less bullshit seems like a good idea to me.

Don't listen to me though, check it out and make your own judgements on it

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