Wow. It looks like I left the country just in time. Seems there were quite a few Internet-game-journalism-related dust-ups in the past few weeks that I was fortunate enough to miss the major brunt of. Among them:
Matt Matthews directed me to this post on his blog accusing Gamespot of less than diligent rumor-checking in a recent Rumor Control column. Matthews says that Gamespot shirked its duties by not actively checking a mod file alleged to unlock a hidden sex game in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. “Maybe the mod contains a virus. Maybe it’s a cannoli. I don’t know. Do they? Did they even bother to try? You sure won’t find out by reading their article,” write Matthews.
I asked Tor Thorsen, the author of the Gamespot article in question, to respond. He said that the file in question was not available when the story was originally published, but a version available on GTAGarage.com shows up as being posted the day before the Gamespot article ran. Thorsen said that a few people at Gamespot have tried the mod out for themselves and found it to work, although Thorsen himself said he has not. The Rumor Control article has since been updated to say that evidence from the people who posted the mod seem to indicate the hack is real, and not a fan-made addition. But, Thorsen said, “seeing how it wasn’t 100% percent certain I didn’t want to say ‘ROCKSTAR ARE PORNMONGERS,’ so I said it existed and that it looked legit.”
Sounds like perfectly satisfactory explanation to me. When dealing with such a delicate issue, it’s best to err on the side of caution rather than risk libeling a company with statements you’re not totally sure of. That being said, the evidence and verdict could have been better explained in both the original and updated version of the article.
Look for more slightly outdated drama in this space soon.