The USS Quad Damage

A Hex on us all

See what I did there? Because her name is Stephanie...

What does this mean for a show about reviewing a medium which rakes in a huge amount of money?

In A Clockwork Orange “charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and later volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem” 1. During this therapy, he is made to (incidentally) listen to Beethoven’s ninth symphony, after which he feels suicidal whenever he listens to it. Calling Hex the ninth, and the viewers of Good Game Alex is about the nicest way I can describe her. Under different circumstances, she probably would’ve been welcomed as a host of good game, and seen as a positive step in having women on the show take the reins instead of doing segments off to the side, like Rei and Lux.

As it stands, however, the ABC is accused of reverse sexism, and while rational folk aren’t blaming Hex, a lot of the talk is vitriolic. I think even the rational folk who say out loud that they don’t blame her are still hating her in their irrational minds — she is the ninth, after all. I find myself having to work to see her as a victim in all this, true as it may be. Everything about her, from her demeanour to her turn of phrase to her delivery, seems vile and makes me uncomfortable, and I know for a fact that this is just me being angry.

I’m angry because the show wasn’t very good when it started, and I friggin' watched it. Luckily I only watched it, and didn’t contribute to the forums, or material, or competitions, or anything else. If I was a forum goer who invested his or her time and effort in making something for the gaming community grow with love and compassion, even though it wasn’t very good to start with, I’d be as up in arms as some of them are. This is effectively an investment in time for a lot of people which has gone to waste. Now that they’re no longer a “valuable demographic”, they’re being put out to pasture, effectively being told "Thanks, but this is no longer your show, we’re going for an audience which is a little less... niche...".

Bajo and Junglist had unique and competing perspectives. They catered for both sides of the gaming equation, even two sides of our gaming psyche. They were the David and Margaret, the Clarkson and Hammond. This is the way people talk about the duo. Bajo, the happy-go-lucky chap who pretty much likes everything but thinks from a casual (not meant as a slight on his gaming skills or rep.), single player, fun perspective, and Jung who looks at it from a competitive, hardcore gaming perspective. This was shaping up to be a great pair, and I appreciated the depth of the reviews, even though we got only a few reviews per episode.

I’m angry because of the ABC white-wash. While I cannot be certain that this is happening, and while the opinions of the members of the show appear genuine, there is evidence of people editing old posts to lessen the impact of what they were saying before Jung leaving. The posts are also mostly vacuous marketing speak with a liberal sprinkling of “trust us, we're the same guys who you hung out with before”. There are two alternatives for the fans to consider. The first is that Junglist was simply awful to work with — enough that a fair chunk of the team asked to get him fired, then hid behind corporate governance to say “you're still awesome Jung, just be awesome somewhere else” and “PS: We didn't make the decision, so don't hate us”.

Alternatively, the rest of the team weren’t privy or agreeable to the decisions or the reasoning behind Jung’s dismissal, and instead of backing up one of their own, went about systematically removing their opinions from various message boards and whitewashing their website, perhaps out of fear. What does this say to the fans but that the team’s opinions, and to some extent their fan’s mind-share and market-share, is up for sale by their masters?

What does this mean for a show about reviewing a medium which rakes in a huge amount of money? At the very least, you can say that Junglist put the best interests of the gaming community first. Perhaps before his own.

The second show with Hex is more telling than the first show. Not only is there no on-screen chemistry — the jokes are badly delivered, the banter doesn’t come off well, and the hilarious asides are missing, but both their opinions are the same. The scores they give to games are often wildly high, and far too similar (usually within a 0.5 mark in a score out of 10). To some extent, this is a new host who will require some time to settle in, but it may be the hallmark of the 10-hours to shoot and review a game strategy that the team now needs to endure. Either this won’t last or the show won’t have any real entertainment value left.

GG as a show needs to consider the market it’s trying to enter: It’s ultimately unprofitable to enter a game reviews market. It’s a market which has been commoditised through crowdsourced review sites where users submit their own reviews and scores and online review sites, where reviewers can review games quickly and with a minimum of work in addition to the writing. The most profitable course of action, and ultimately the most beneficial for the gaming community, is a discourse on gaming itself, and the culture it brings. Here, the personalities become the valued asset.

1 I believe this is the only real quote in this article. The rest is just inflammatory supposition and paraphrasing.