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The Game Press: The Sinkering

A few disclaimers:

First off I stole that title from the Qt3 forum.

I’m not a huge Mass Effect guy. I’ve played both games. I enjoyed them. In fact, I played ME2 twice which something I rarely do with RPGs. When ME3 drops I will eventually play it but I’m not going to be chomping at the proverbial bit to fire it up day one. I’ll read about some stuff here as I know most of the NHS team will be in Shep-Land soon enough. I’ll get there eventually. I usually do.

I also don’t care about voice casting. Martin Sheen. Cool. The dude from Platoon. Cool. That guy from the Wing Commander movie. How can you go wrong there?

I must admit that I had no clue who Jessica Chobot was until a few days ago. Savvy game press guy that I am, I’m sure most of you know more names of the people in the game media than I do.  That pic up there? That’s her.  Giant Bomb writes this about her in its database:

During this time, she had started modeling to support her gaming and anime habit, and coincidentally had a photoshoot on release day for the PSP. She picked up her PSP on the way, and during the shoot took her now infamous photo. She jokingly sent it to a friend who worked in video game product placement, who encouraged her to send it to Kotaku. She did, but expected nothing of it. Kotaku posted it however, and was deluged by emails asking about her. Encouraged by the photo’s success, she accepted an offer from the Kotaku’s editor to write game reviews for a partner site.

That year, she used her EB Games employment to get into E3, where she coincidentally stayed in the same hotel as Kotaku. She accompanied them to the IGN E3 party, where she met an IGN representative who encouraged her to talk to their entertainment editor as a potential booth model. Impressed with her gaming experience and fascination with Japanese culture, the editor instead offered her freelance work for their insider channel. So she left her old life, including her husband, to move to California to take her dream job.

I am kicking myself for not trying this. My career path might have been very different had I decided to get kinky with a Rock Band microphone.

She’s done work for IGN as well as G4. In fact, just last month, G4 posted a video preview of the Kinect tools for Mass Effect 3 with Jessica as the reporter on the scene, interviewing team members and showing gamers how the Kinect features work. By no fault of her own, the preview made the Kinect version of M3 look about as absurd as it sounds. You can watch that here:

A couple of days ago we linked a Cast Announcement Trailer for ME3. But then a funny thing happend on the way to the cast party. Jessica Chobot was revealed as a member of the voice casting team.

Wait, what?

Jessica Chobot of the game press? She’s previewing ME3 a couple of weeks ago and now is …IN the game?

Yep. Here’s an article ON G4 talking about it.

“It’s a dream come true. I’m excited, stoked and honored. I’m seriously in 7th heaven,” Chobot said. “It’s cool just because it’s in a video game, but it’s also for one of my favorite companies of all time, Bioware, and in one of the most epic series of all time, Mass Effect 3.”

“Last I heard, I am one of the ‘romanceable’ characters in the game,” Chobot said. “I think you can bring me on the Normandy, I think you have the option of kicking me off too. I’m not sure if that’s before or after you romance me, so we might have a Jersey Shore moment. I think you can romance me with a man or a woman. We’ll see when the game comes out,” Chobot added.

When asked whether she planned to “romance” herself, Chobot said, “Oh, I’m gonna give it to me so hard.”


It’s good to know that Maxim has finally infiltrated the game press and BioWare continues to fuel the repressed sexual angst of both teenagers and lonely adults.  Never fear, now you’ll get a chance to nail a virtual Jessica Chobot! Maybe she’ll even do a Fem-Shep scene! Dream come true, indeed. All of this is so slimy, so juvenile, and so…profitable.

Truth is, I don’t care if Jessica Chobot is in Mass Effect 3 or not. I mean look, if I don’t care that Martin Sheen is in it I really don’t care that someone who licks PSPs makes a cameo.

G4 should care, though.

They should care a lot.

We have discussed the “close” relationship between the media and game publishers before here on NHS — not as much of late but we have driven down that road a few times. It frustrates me to see stuff like this because it goes against the very heart of what we should be trying to do as members of the media. If BioWare/EA want to pay this woman good coin for appearing in a role-playing game and shaking her money maker, godspeed. But how can anyone really expect her to be taken seriously as a game reporter? Is she just a pretty face? Is she just a gaming “personality”?

It seems somewhat difficult to look at G4’s coverage of Mass Effect 3 in any other light other than “compromised”. (Not sure if light can be compromised but you get what I mean.)

Jessica loves ME3. She totally loves BioWare. She’s told you as much. She’s also in the game—and on the EA payroll. Part of me feels sort of bad for her. She’s clearly stepped into something that perhaps she didn’t anticipate, as I’m hardly the only person to feel a bit perturbed about this. Then again, Jessica has used her sex appeal from the get go. She doesn’t get a job via Kotaku if she licks a PSP but looks like Ernest Borgnine.

I’m not a terribly naive person. I know that this sort of thing only matters inside a small vacuum occupied by an even smaller number of people. Mass Effect 3 will come out, people will play it, the galaxy will be saved and all will be right with the world. No one is really going to care if she’s in the game or not or if she shilled for EA while working for G4.

But this is just one more example of how we’re supposed to all be under the same umbrella — the enthusiast press.

We Heart Games.

No matter what.