To move on from the Gamergate saga mentioned in the previous posts, even if the topic is tangentially related, I just remembered something about an old habit I used to do in years past: collecting and reading game magazines.
As a Manila kid growing up in the 1990s-early 2000s, one got whiff of the latest videogames, usually by word of mouth or whatever was being displayed in stores or on pirated stalls. If one was willing to spend a bit of cash however, an alternative existed through magazines all about videogames; and even if one couldn't afford the latest issue or a subscription package, there were always the back-issues. Back then, there was a large selection to choose from, including PC gaming, consoles and even magazine issues dedicated to cheat codes. By and large these magazines, like Nintendo Power, Computer Gaming World or Gamepro, were imported from North America, which meant that readers were exposed to a US-centric focus (including coverage on the infamous Jack Thompson and the videogame violence scare in America at the time). Personally, I was fond of getting my young gaming fix from PC Gamer and Electronic Gaming Monthly.
Anyway, this highly foreign bias in the magazines on display may have in part encouraged some local publishers to try their hand at making their own gaming publications catering to Filipinos (especially given that the other option required a working knowledge of Japanese or Korean). Things like GamesMaster Philippines and Playground popped up for a time, which were much more affordable and at least superficially focused on the local gaming community. By the early 2000s however, Internet access in the country was no longer confined to dial-up modems and online cafes. As "game journalism" increasingly moved to the web with sites like IGN and Gamespot, the number of hard-copy magazines soon dwindled. Before long, even the homegrown gaming publications began closing shop. By 2014, you'd be lucky to find any game magazines on sale in the local National Bookstore or Fully Booked.
By that point however, I wasn't as avid a gamer as a kid though I still enjoy playing games. It's been years since I've bought game magazines on a regular basis; at most, I'd get a copy of EGM or PC Gamer once or twice a year, tops. When one could look up news and gamer channels online, it seems redundant these days. But one thought has come to mind that, in hindsight, was foreshadowing to more recent *ahem* events that I may stop buying those magazines altogether.
It was 2006. GamesMaster PH released a review of a locally-developed game called TerraWars: New York Invasion, a shooter "based on" War of the Worlds which was touted as the first internationally-released "Pinoy" game. To say that it wasn't good and didn't do justice to Filipino programmers is an understatement. Yet the reviewers lapped praise after praise on it as if it were the second coming of Counter Strike (yes, that game and its Source variants are still popular here). Not many, it seemed, were convinced that it was anything but a legitimate article. Come to think of it, however well-intentioned that magazine was in trying to promote my country's gaming community, there were moments where the editors were more interested in what they wanted vs. their audience, even if it meant a cheap, ultimately failed shot at gaming nationalism.
That case may have been a minor blip compared to the major gaming press. But nearly a decade on, perhaps that should have been a warning sign for me back then not to rely on such magazines. Or perhaps find outlets that have more of a connection to gamers, or at least some shred of integrity.
*sigh* The more things change...