The Games Media Awards are back. Last year’s awards were cloaked in scandal, but they say the event has been overhauled this year. I’ll still frown at it no matter what, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
First, I’ll say that I’m asking you to vote for Unlimited Hyperbole as Best Podcast. Anyone can vote and all you have to do is send an email, so vote for Unlimited Hyperbole here.
Why ask for votes? Because Harriet and I think the show is genuinely not awful and deserves a shot. Because it costs us money to run and this would be nice compensation for that. Because we’d like to prove not all games podcasts involve middle-aged men making tired jokes for one raw hour and that good journalism isn’t always the sort of hyperbole we started this podcast to oppose.
Because while one nomination is probably enough to win consideration, I’ve been doing this long enough to know that doesn’t mean any of the judges will listen to the show or even be aware it exists.
Anyway. Vote if you like what we do. In the meantime I’ll talk about the awards themselves…
I’ve never made it a secret that I’m not a big fan of the Games Media Awards. There’s a lot of reasons for that and most of them have been raked over before. The voting process is far from transparent and the involvement of PR judges casts a suspicious shade over everything at best, for starters. There’s also the ethical conundrum of taking drinks and a meal at such an event…but none of these are the big reason why I bristle at it. Much of that is just par for the course in games journalism and, while it’s certainly a bad influence, I think the vocal opposition does a good job of educating people to the problems, if not inuring us to the issues. Nobody worth their salt in the UK Game Journo circle really thinks much of the awards anyway.
And, to be clear, I certainly don’t think much of the awards either. But I’m the type of person who hates the cool kids at the same time as wanting to be one; hence hating the awards and asking for your votes.
Cool kids. That’s the big reason why I don’t like the GMAs. It’s not that there’s some big conspiracy to only reward the initiated, but it is that it feels that way. Professional UK games journalism is a small scene and cliques and gossip do matter – if only broadly. It’s a side effect of being known by who you write for that you’re also known by who you’re friends with. You can always see the same groups converge around the buffet table at every event and, honestly, you’d be surprised which GMA-winning writers I’ve caught gossiping and spreading lies about me in the past too.
You can see the worst of this in how the cliques turned on Lauren Wainwright so absolutely last year. I personally don’t agree with what she did and said (and was literally among the first to say so), but the permanency of her casting out is cruel by anyone’s standards. Cutting people out like that? It’s not fair and it’s basically adolescent.
Not that this should surprise anyone. The entire culture of UK games journalism is pure high school bullshit and the GMAs are little more than a formalised process for feeding off and perpetuating it. That’s why I don’t like them. It’s also why I got out of the business this year; because no matter how much you love games it’s still not worth staying in such a toxic environment for your whole career.
The GMAs are like a prom for UK games journalists – except without all the actual fun times and good stuff. And, as someone who has always been on the sidelines looking in, I’m really not interested in that.
But I’m still going to compete for an award, this time. That’s what you do when you hate the cool kids but also kind of want to be one.
Tell me what you think…