A little more than a week ago, Giant Bomb released its final E3 podcast, in which the regular crew chatted with Visceral’s Dino Ignacio, game designerÂ Paul Barnett, Gamasutra’sÂ Leigh Alexander and others. Unfortunately, while I and many others tuned in expecting an informative closing show, we were instead greeted with Alexander’s profanity-laden comments regarding Bostonians and claims that Activision’s party cost “$775 million.” Clearly, she had a bit too much to drink before the recording, and yet her colleagues decided it was OK to upload the show anyway. I’d guess (or at least would hope)Â that by this point, everyone involved is still a bit embarrassed.
Why bring this up when most of the gaming community was probably unaware it even happened? Certainly, I’m not writing this post to single out Leigh Alexander. We’ve discussed her work in our Rumble Reader show, and will likely do so again, seeing as Nick and I are huge fans. Her appearance was ill-advised, but I’m a forgive/forget kind of guy. I also don’t want to bash Giant Bomb, as I discovered after this fateful episode that I liked the rest of their shows. They’re funny, talented guys, and I’m glad to see that Gerstmann’s post-Gamespot project found legs.
No, the last E3 podcastÂ has been buggingÂ me because I’ve heard all of this before. Tipsy hosts, incoherent discussions and a general lack of professionalism from sites that I otherwiseÂ respect. I’m not so naive to believe that a lot of the industry rumor-mongering comes from loose lips at parties and events. That’s true of journalism in general, honestly. But ideally, even entertainment journalists – and no, I don’t think we need to feel guilty for using that term – should tone down the partying just a bit when presenting to their reading/listening audience.
And yeah, this is coming from a member of The Rumble Pack, the podcast that brings you fart jokes and “Mr. Show” references every week. But Ms. Alexander works for Gamasutra, arguably our most dependable and professional industry news site. At a time when all eyes are focused on games, it seems likeÂ nowÂ should beÂ when everyone buckles down, rather than cutting loose. At this time, more than any other, casual fans might seek out podcasts for a bit more information. That first impressions could be the last if the booze is flowing in the recording booth.
This is also a time when the Giant Bomb guys and their colleagues are probably the most burnt out. ‘Round the clock coverage and tons of meetings are undoubtedly exhausting. But that podcast was an exercise in self-indulgence, a reunion of friends for them, but a bit alienating for those of us listening at home.
Once again, I’d like to make it clear that while this podcast episode was particularly egregious,Â I think that E3 tends to bring out both the best and the worst of the gaming press. I think this incident would fit very well in Dan Hsu’s editorial from EGM 238, “The Case Against the Gaming Press.” (Ditto for this BitMob post from Mitchell Dyer.) I think that we need guys like these to help keepÂ the pressÂ honest, especially as we experience the growing pains of digital media. Podcasts and video presentations have only been around for a handful of years, and game journalists need to adjust accordingly if they’re going to be behind the mic or in front of the camera.
As a closing aside, I think it’s also important that the audience shows a little patience here.Â There’s no authoritative podcasting manual. We’re making this up as we go along, and mistakes will be made along the way. If you see someone shirking on his or her duties, or perhaps not representing the industry in a positive manner, speak up, but please keep the vitriol (and in this instance, misogyny) out of it.