They may take our freedom, but they\'ll never take our CHUNGUS!
Let it be said from the off that, if you are a person with any level of passion for the video game industry... love his rhetoric or hate it (but seriously, do the first one), James M. F. Sterlingson is on your side. Whether you're one of the enlightened ones who praise Final Fantasy X for the indisputably singular masterpiece it is, or one of the awkward, stuttering unfortunates that like Final Fantasy VII because idk claude is cool I guess he has a big sword that's bigger than he is and I find that cool also sephiroth and aeris cause she dies and i like the hair what's in it a lot, he represents you and has your best interests at heart at any and all times. Jim Sterling may not be the hero gamers (a consumer base that accommodatingly allows an increasingly avaricious industry to blatantly exploit, hornswoggle, and forcibly insert their greedy money-sucking tentacles into every orifice within range, due to their own lack of integrity and complacency) deserve, but certainly one we need right now. An incorruptible force of nature who will face potentially debilitating (but—to be fair—only if he were a lesser man) legal action in the name of truth and justice. A man to respect; a man to fear. A man hundredfold as stubbornly opinionated as I could ever hope to be, yet steadfastedly unbiased and level-headed in his carefully chosen critical strikes at the festering, rotten heart of the bloated Megalodon that is the modern video game industrial complex. Though I fear it may well turn out to be his Moby-Dick, instead. There is no true Messiah without a noble sacrifice for others to follow, after all. A Messiah, and a very naughty boy. Even beyond the relatively inconsequential significance video games have to the world at large, Jim Sterling's labors are a sobering and constant reminder that companies don't give a shit about you or any of your opinions. All they want is your money. They don't care about you or about being your "friend," and anyone who says differently is either na´ve, a liar, or inevitably bound to compromise in this belief. Such are the wiles of capitalism, this uncaring Elder God that will consume the planet and everything in it unless we do something about it. It's the consumers that have the power; everything else is a constructivist fantasy with all the inherent force of a slightly dusty banana peel. For persisting in a battle worth fighting with wit, verve, and humor (and a fuckton of spandex, cereal, and greasepaint), Jim Sterling has my full respect. And believe me, that there's some respect that is worth having. Yes, he almost makes me want to thank some possibly non-existent deity for his decidedly existent... existence.
Got Me To Care
This is just a review of the Jimquisition, by the way. I agree that aspects of Jim Sterling the man and Jim Sterling the character are mixed up in one another, but I generally have no trouble telling when he's acting and when he's not. And, as one major point of criticism, Jim will not let a bad running gag die until he's beaten the dead horse's bones into pulverized dust. The first season of the show, as he himself has admitted on multiple occasions, was laughably bad. The topics were badly-handled, the visual design and structure was borked, and in general I would just avoid them. But, as time went by, he found his footing. He turned into a voice for consumer advocacy and, ironically, sanity. Before I started watching Jim Sterling's videos, I didn't pay too much attention to dire critics on the internet predicting the downfall of the game industry. His ex-colleagues on the Escapist, for instance, were (and are) largely a bunch of nostalgia-addled grognards who regularly hate on and victim-blame fans of modern games in disgusting and disingenuous fashion. But Jim got me to care. He helped me to understand what was wrong with the game industry and why. He helped me to see what I, personally, could do to make it better. And he did it without ever insulting the gamers, the customers, the ordinary people who just like games and don't see why all these people won't shut up about an imaginary golden age that never actually existed. And he does it in short, to-the-point videos that keep on task without wandering off-track, as some other personalities I like sometimes do. He is, in short, the best pundit of his kind that I'm aware of. He's angry, but I've never felt he was angry at me. Jim once said that the problem with gaming's angry, toxic community wasn't that there was too much anger, but that gamers channel it in the wrong places, focusing it at women and minorities and imaginary boogeymen coming to take away their porn, rather than the dumb corporate assholes running the medium into the ground because they're the sorts of people who can't hold a puppy for five seconds without killing it in a mixture of stupidity and malice. And it was a great point. If you're in the know about the state of the industry, it's still a great rage fix, and if you're not, it's very educational.
As a gaming "journalist", he's about as good as the title allows. I find him to be a good barometer for what the consensus is in game publishing, and—at his best—an amusing guy to listen to. As a reviewer...alright, if we're being brutally honest: he is average at best. A prop comedian, late to the TGWTG party from five years ago. I avoided his reviews for four years, and the Jimqusition is the reason why. Critics and reporters do not need props. The gimmick of a bratty, foulmouthed journalist who talks in hyperbole (how is that different from Piers Morgan?) is groanworthy and at cross-purposes with Jim's goal of representing casual gamers. It's trolling for ad revenue, it's a dead horse, it marginalizes him, and he doesn't do it very well. As a let's player, he is again average, but I find his LPs oddly addictive. He's not as whiny as others on YouTube (which is nice), and it's fun to contrast his pallbearer tone of voice with Markiplier, who showers praise on these hopeless indie devs. All in all, contrary to what he says, the "character" definitely bleeds into Jim's personality and affects his responses to outside critique. He's a good critic but could have been great.