Toronto Thumbs, General Games Weigh In on the HUDpocrisy

By Paul Hunter

It seems that ever since Aboot Play wrote some rather scathing comments about the new Canadian gaming news site, it's notoriety has risen dramatically. However, I'm sure it's not in a way the creators would have liked, or intended.

You see, at the last IGDA Toronto event I overheard one of their members announce to a crowd of about 75 Toronto-based developers that they were launching Canada's "first" news source dedicated to gaming. I snickered, then raised my brow, and finally shook my head assuming I had misheard the comment. There was no way that someone would actually be claiming this, right? Well, as it turns out, I heard correct.

In a rare moment of solidarity, it seems that a number of high profile Canadian video game bloggers have bonded together to refute these outrageous claims made by the group.

Shaun Hatton, the head honcho at Toronto Thumbs posted an article yesterday where he expressed his opinion:

"[I]t’s hard not to appreciate that they consider themselves “a crackpot team of investigative journalists” when they didn’t bother to check to see if any other Canadian gaming news sites existed before stating their claim. And yes, that is the word “crackpot” up there."

He continues:

"I feel no guilt about bringing the site to the attention of my Twitter followers. In fact, it made people notice HUDisplay exists, and that’s what the site needed. Maybe they’ll be a little more careful with what they write now that they know there are people reading."

In response to this article, and the ones before it on Aboot Play and NextGen Player, the HUDisplay team posted an introspective news piece asking the question -- "R We n00bs?" In the apologetic article, Stephenson Price admits that site needs "proof-reading and a solid edit", and have since clarified their original About page.

First to react to the overtly atoning article was General Games founder Justin Amirkhani. In his response, he writes:

"Not to lambaste you more than the rest of the Canadian video game community already has, but I do think it is a great disrespect for a site run by neophyte journalists and web administrators to make such lofty claims about their importance to the gaming industry.

I don’t mean to chastise and I wish you all the best in your endeavors, but it’s important not to be so abrasive amongst the community. Take this slip-up as a lesson well learned about surviving in the blogging ecosystem."

Considering how fresh the HUDisplay site is, it's amazing how brass and self-aggrandizing the revised version of their About page still is. According to the the revised text, "The HUD will continue to be THE place where Canadians get their news and hear about the latest and greatest (or not so greatest) in gaming". Seems a little lofty to me, especially considering the great collection of Canadian-based news outlets that already exist, including Electric Playground, Gaming Excellence, GameFocus, Toronto Thumbs, General Games, Aboot Play, Sun Media, The Fan 590 -- I could go on.

I've been a little mum on the subject since it first aired this past Friday, and that's because I had the opportunity to talk at length to their News Editor, Stephenson Price. He's a really nice guy, I'll be the first to admit that. We had a great conversation that spanned two hours and ranged from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to 16-bit gaming, to the Canadian gaming scene. I gave him plenty of tips and recommendation, and I was happy to do so.

Perhaps my biggest advice for the guys at HUDisplay is to simply tone down the bigheadedness and position the site exactly what it is -- a fresh, new voice in the Canadian gaming scene. It's not a major news site, it barely looks like a portal to me, and at the end of the day it comes off to me as a flashy looking blog.

It's good to have aspirations (although single-handedly crushing IGN seems over-the-top to me), but they need to be kept in check by reality. Gaining credibility and a following takes a lot of effort; hell I've poured hundreds maybe thousands of hours into NextGen Player to make it what it is today. And I'll continue to do so until my dreams are realized.

Maybe one day HUDisplay will fulfill it's aspiration, and I hope they do. All the power to them. But please, and I mean this earnestly, if you're going to call yourself "investigative" then do your homework before you completely discredit the work of all these hard-working, talented Canadian video game writers.

[Pic] - Hypocrisy (death metal band)