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New Games Journalism in the New York Times

April 3rd, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Today’s New York Times catches up to two months ago with a brief story about New Games Journalism. (registration required.)

There is not much new in the article. It rehashes the argument made by Kieron Gillen that NGJ is a new way to write about games, implies that it is a superior way, etc.

What surprised me though, was the reference to Tom Chick as “one of the field’s rare American practitioners.” I think Chick would be surprised to find himself considered a New Games Journalist, especially since he’s been writing stuff like Shoot Club for years before the term was coined. I think he would be more surprised to find himself considered a rarity in American gaming journalism based on how he writes. (The really rare thing about Chick is that he makes a living doing this as a freelancer.) He’s one of my favorite writers (and a killer in War: Age of Imperialism) but what he writes about isn’t as distinctive as the craft with which he writes about it.

In fact, his half of the “Bruce (Geryk) versus Tom” articles in Computer Gaming World is an excellent example of NGJ, which means that Geryk is a new games journalist, too. After all, these action reports are all about the experience of multiplayer games between friends. And Geryk always loses, it seems.

If you look the “unmissable examples” list, one is by Gillen and another by Shanahan – the coiner of the term and one of the seminal authors. It looks like NGJ is rare enough on the other side of the pond, too, if they had to include examples from these two fine authors. In fact, of the ten examples, three are from members of the jury (Gillen, Shanahan and Jim Rossignol.)

As I said in an earlier post on this subject, I don’t see the big break between NGJ and old games journalism. There have always been articles in gaming magazines that were not reviews/previews and interviews. A lot of columns and editorials could qualify as NGJ if they wrote about the experience of gaming.

What the Times mention means, though, is that we haven’t seen the last of this meme.


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