The sorry state of Videogame Journalism in Ireland

Spare me ten minutes or so while I rant at you about “Videogame Journalism” in Ireland and its sorry state. It’s something that has been bothering me for a time now and it’s not getting any better anytime soon.

You see… Ireland and its gamers are amazing. We’re great fun and are always up for a bit of shenanigans no matter what. I have fond memories of playing Halo 3 online (has it really been six years?!) only to run into some other Irish players, forming a party, and roaming through matchmaking wreaking havok on unsuspecting Americans who would be completely baffled by our unique humour.

Not only that, but we’re a very talented island when it comes to videogames. And I’m not talking about playing them. I’m talking about creating them. Back when many of you reading this had to be back home when the street lights came on, Ireland was already on the map creating games such as Speed Freaks on the PlayStation. Many people don’t know, but that game was designed and developed by Funcom’s (now-defunct) Dublin division. And that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Ireland is home to a plethora of very talented individuals and companies hell-bent on making some beautiful and amazing games. And they’re not getting the coverage they absolutely need and deserve from videogame journalists in this country.

There’s a huge problem with the websites in this country that have placed themselves in the position of responsibility for covering videogame news in Ireland; none of them sufficiently cover Irish Gaming News. And it begs the question: If none of them sufficiently cover any Irish Gaming news, what’s the point in them at all?

As it stands, I can list about six or seven Irish sites off the top of my head, and each of them are clamouring to get to the top of the pile to be the “top dog” of Irish gaming news, which leads to a very narrow-minded “me, me, me” approach when it comes to each of them. Add to that the inherit God Complex that seems to befall people when given even a modicum of power or exposure, and we get situations like when ThePlayer.ie foolishly used the word “Retarded” to describe something.

But I think the worst thing about all of this is that out of all these sites, I can only comfortably say that two or three of them cover any Irish news at all. And that’s being generous with my estimations. At best, they’re all just rehashes of more popular sites such as Polygon, or GameSpot but with less content. It’s actually very rare that one of these sites will cover any gaming news from smaller Irish developers. And the times they do actually cover anything to do with them are few and far between.

It’s ridiculous, and it’s entirely unacceptable for a group of sites whose goal is to bring news to their Irish fanbase. Being an Irish gaming news website should be more than just covering the global games market. The global market has already been covered and is being milked dry by every single gaming site out there. Many of which have larger followings and more sway in the Irish community than these Irish sites could ever achieve at the moment.

These sites should instead be working together to promote healthy news about what’s happening in the Irish gaming scene, they should be helping Irish developers get their games out there, and they should be helping Irish gamers make the most of the Irish community.

There are, literally, hundreds of studios out there trying to make a great game and failing miserably. Not because the product is bad, but because the exposure is bad. And they’re not getting it where it counts: at home.

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