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The 10 most influential games journalists in Britain today

Wednesday, 11 June 2008 11:37 GMT By Patrick Garratt

tombramwell.jpg

Lists are brilliant. Channel 4 built a business out of them, so we’re not ashamed. Here are the ten most respected, influential games journalists working the UK trade today. These are the people PR want to kiss, the people you don’t leave alone in a room with your CEO, the people who’ll make you money if you give them power. Your opinion and that of other journalists, both in the UK and abroad, is formed by the names you’ll see below. These are the people that choose what you see.

Didn’t make it? Try harder.

  1. Tom Bramwell (Editor, Eurogamer.net)

    It’s hard to argue against this. Eurogamer.net is by far the most read independent videogames publication in Britain, and is growing fast. Tom took over as editor from long-term boss Kristan Reed at the end of last year after eight years as deputy and is seen in British editorial as the “journalists’ journalist”. Bramwell was picked by the UK games trade as the best writer in the business at last year’s Game Media Awards for good reason: no one else in the post-NGJ generation is moulding videogames coverage in the United Kingdom in a more violent or high-profile manner. His scores and opinions matter financially, making his words and top placement on his website a must for any “serious” publisher-side campaign on any format. End of. Number one.

  2. Tim Clark (Editor, Official PlayStation Magazine)

    It’s not so much for his writing skills as for his management of the UK’s Official PS Magazine that Clark takes second place in this list. British PR is forced to go cap in hand to OPS with cover requests and Clark’s the man they have to woo. Any PlayStation game launching in the UK vies for place here, and front-page placement is gold. Clark is the door to without doubt the most sought after paper space in the UK, and has worked his way up to boss from online editor over many years. His decisions affect sales uniquely in games journalism, but it would be tough to say he’s driving aesthetic coverage of games in Britain in any meaningful way. Hence, number two.

  3. Stuart Dinsey (Managing director, Intent Media)

    Is he a journalist? Not in his day job, but Dinsey’s fast to come out of “retirement” with his hair-dryer editorial when need be. While insiders readily admit the MCV-owner has passed over to the “dark side” of business development, Dinsey still regularly writes for the omnipresent British business journal, and it would be fair to say that very few share either his contact-base or iron influence on the UK trade. Dinsey enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a ferocious back-room operator and is nigh on impossible to compete against in “his space”. A list of “influential British games journalists” would be ridiculous without him highly placed.

  4. Johnny Minkley (Editor, Eurogamer TV)

    Minkley’s long-time position as games commentator on Radio 1′s Jo Whiley Show and a lengthy career in British games journalism make him an enviable target for any website or paper publisher. As full-time editor of Eurogamer TV, Minkley has managed to procure major exclusives combining the mainstream coverage of Radio and the core demographic reach of Eurogamer, most recently securing a global first with Guitar Hero: World Tour. Further, Minkley’s time as editor of MCV under Stuart Dinsey and Lisa Foster make him a formidable trade journalist, a skill well utilized on Eurogamer Network’s B2B pub, GamesIndustry.biz. We can’t think of any other journalist in the UK able to hit such a wide audience with quality coverage. And his dress sense is amazing.

  5. Kieron Gillen (Freelancer, RockPaperShotgun co-owner)

    Gillen’s name will be carved forever in the term “new games journalism” and his influence on British games writers – floor to ceiling – should not be underestimated. Everyone – and we mean everyone – in games journalism has heard of Kieron. He changed the way people write about games forever, formalizing a personal approach to play experience in games editorial, and the affect of journalists suddenly realizing it was OK to say “I” was profound. Kieron is the only person we know to ever get his name in the New York Times, put it that way.

  6. Dan Dawkins (Editor, PSM3)

    Dan is highly-liked and manages to keep PSM3 relevant in an increasingly nightmarish environment for print. His dogma of creating endlessly exclusive content for his magazine makes PSM3 one of the best paper products in Britain, PS-based or otherwise. Widely quoted – and scanned – on the web, Dan’s work has heavily influenced the formation of the current games publication landscape in the UK with a ceaseless commitment to quality, flourish and uniqueness. He was a dogged competitor to Computec and PSW earlier this decade, and has more than proved his worth as a fighter. He easily makes this list.

  7. Tony Mott (Editor, Edge)

    Say what you want about print, Mott continues to prove it has a place in games journalism. Edge is known the world over, and for good reason. Tony edited the magazine many moons ago, left for a career in development then returned after the previous team had an “altercation” with management and walked. Edge’s readership fluctuates only marginally every ABC and has a loyal, cultish fan-base. Edge may lack some of the lustre it had back in the day, but Mott is the perfect caretaker for the most famous games magazine in the world, and has a trade reputation to match.

  8. Ellie Gibson (Deputy editor, Eurogamer.net)

    Gibson has demonstrated heavy editorial management skills on both the consumer and trade sides of games journalism, and has a reputation among UK PR as being one of the toughest UK journalists in terms of both interviewing and content deal brokerage. Ellie is able to walk the line between editorial reach and “independence”, and never pulls punches in one-on-ones. Gibson’s seen as a lynchpin staffer at Eurogamer Network and carries off a full-time role as back-up to Tom Bramwell’s Eurogamer.net with ease. A heavyweight, and a must for this list.

  9. Gavin Ogden (Editor, ComputerAndVideogames.com)

    Ogden is the games journalistic equivalent of the A-Team, and a Future staple. He has a solid reputation for taking on tough jobs, managing big teams and getting things done. CVG is fast and popular, the jewel in Future London’s crown and has achieved great financial success under his editorship. Backed up by the entire Future machine, Ogden is experienced enough to navigate what can be a “testing” commercial environment at the publisher and has never failed to produce long-term results when high-ups find themselves in tough spots. One of the best trouble-shooters in the business, and a name near the top of any self-respecting PRs contact list.

  10. Colin Campbell (Freelancer)

    “The Campbell” taught Gavin Ogden everything he knows. Colin has an eye-watering CV and a track-record for launching some of the biggest names in games journalism. He was the launch publisher for the Official Xbox Magazine in the UK, a group-publisher at Future in the 90s and most recently took Next-Gen.biz from zero to hero. His unmatchable contacts at Future US enable him to bridge the divide between Europe and America, making him a soft target for UK PR trying to get noticed Stateside. He appears to have now taken a backseat on Next-Gen, but he’ll be back. He always is. One of the best known names in British games editorial.

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73 Comments

  1. Blerk

    Who compiled the list? Eurogamer.net? :-D

    #1 7 years ago
  2. patlike

    I did. There are more people from Future on there, tbh ;)

    I should point out that VG247 is, in part, a Eurogamer Network venture but is entirely independent. Also, I was Eurogamer Network publisher before launching this site. That said, I completely stand by these choices, which were made because I know what I’m fucking talking about, frankly.

    #2 7 years ago
  3. Psychotext

    patlol

    #3 7 years ago
  4. goon

    That’s like asking a United fan who the best players in the premiership are…..

    #4 7 years ago
  5. patlike

    I should have been top, obviously.

    #5 7 years ago
  6. Lurks

    Heh, Eurogamer man says Eurogamer man is most influential journalist of Eurogamer site that is most influential games site in country that Eurogamer web site is based.

    Righty oh Pat :-)

    #6 7 years ago
  7. Blerk

    I think you just wanted to use that picture of Tom. Admit it!

    I think I’d be top of the “grumpy opinionated gaming forumites who can actually string a sentence together” list. Close, anyway.

    #7 7 years ago
  8. patlike

    Lurks: Who do you think should have been top?

    #8 7 years ago
  9. patlike

    Blerk: You and Psychotext are joint top.

    #9 7 years ago
  10. Psychotext

    Don’t drag me into this!

    #10 7 years ago
  11. Bertie

    Will you put yourself in the list next year, Pat?

    ;)

    #11 7 years ago
  12. patlike

    That wouldn’t be fair, Bert. I’d win every time, obviously.

    #12 7 years ago
  13. morriss

    Where am I? :(

    My influence knows no bounds.

    #13 7 years ago
  14. evilashchris

    Who is the bloke that runs game central on teletext? I’m sure he has a fair few views each day, i know i can’t eat brekkie without it.

    #14 7 years ago
  15. kasai

    Is it ok for me to say I don’t know any of those people as I never look at who writes the reviews in the first place :).
    Eurogamer in my opinion is a great site and one of the best out there for reviews and previews.

    #15 7 years ago
  16. Mugwum

    Oh dear god.

    #16 7 years ago
  17. Lurks

    John Bye, ex editor of Eurogamer and best journalist in the world ever!

    #17 7 years ago
  18. morriss

    Don’t feign humility, Mugwum. I bet you’re running around the office yelling “IN YOUR FACE!” at everyone as we speak! ;)

    #18 7 years ago
  19. Truk

    Seems reasonable to me. I’m just glad the Rev. is nowhere near it. ;-)

    #19 7 years ago
  20. Newbie101

    what about Dave McCarthy? Isn’t he some IGN UK guy or something..?

    *shurgs, doesnt know much about this kind of thing, I’ll admit*

    #20 7 years ago
  21. patlike

    Dave’s a freelancer, I think. There are loads of people that almost made it (Gary Cutlack, Matt Martin, Phil Eliott, etc) but it came down to those ten.

    #21 7 years ago
  22. morriss

    Matt Martin should’ve been there because of his unrivalled street knowledge.

    #22 7 years ago
  23. kingofspain

    Where’s Ann from One Life Left?

    #23 7 years ago
  24. patlike

    She’s not really a “journalist”, innit.

    #24 7 years ago
  25. mart

    /looks forward to Top 10 Ginger Bearded Guys Who Live In Brighton Who Design British Videogame Websites list

    #25 7 years ago
  26. deftangel

    Who would be on your US lists then Pat? I’ve always had time for Stephen Totilio, N-Gai Croal and Geoff Keighley. Used to read Dean Takahashi quite a bit but he’s moved on now…

    #26 7 years ago
  27. patlike

    I’m going to do a US list next week, I think and yeah, those names will be on it, I’m sure.

    #27 7 years ago
  28. Blerk

    Ben Croshaw, of course. Yahtzee, to you n’ me.

    Edit: I know he’s British, but he works for a US site. Kind of. Now that I mention it, I’ve no idea if The Escapist is American or not. lol!

    #28 7 years ago
  29. patlike

    He lives in Australia, doesn’t he?

    #29 7 years ago
  30. Blerk

    Yes. But someone has to.

    #30 7 years ago
  31. kingofspain

    I know Ann isn’t really a journolist but you could have used her photo – she is better looking that Tom!!

    #31 7 years ago
  32. TheDifficult3rdAlbum

    US list – would be interested to see that Pat, especially see where Gerstmann rates in your eyes after “the 6.0 firing” and subsequently how fast Giant Bomb is taking off.

    #32 7 years ago
  33. patlike

    Difficult: He’s got to be on it, innit. To say he’s “well-liked” is a bit of an understatement.

    #33 7 years ago
  34. patlike

    KOS: I don’t think I’ve ever met her, to be honest. Or if I did I was drunk and it was years ago. Being more attractive than Tom’s not really that hard though, is it? :)

    #34 7 years ago
  35. Whizzo

    Slow news day huh?

    #35 7 years ago
  36. morriss

    Yes, Whizzo. Really slow.

    #36 7 years ago
  37. patlike

    I just did it to give you something to read, Whizzo.

    #37 7 years ago
  38. Lurks

    I think this should turn into full blown awards. Gaudy fake-metal trophies and shit. Pat could present. I’d buy a t-shirt!

    #38 7 years ago
  39. patlike

    We could call it INFLUENCE08. I could wear a badly fitting suit. It’s all coming together.

    #39 7 years ago
  40. Whizzo

    I’m sure you could get Jimmy Carr to host it. ;-)

    #40 7 years ago
  41. pjmaybe

    This list is rubbish! Where the smeg is Stevas!

    #41 7 years ago
  42. El_MUERkO

    toms balls, pats mouth?

    i jest

    i jest

    i give this list 8 out of 10

    #42 7 years ago
  43. patlike

    Tom and I have never had sex. I say this in all honesty.

    #43 7 years ago
  44. El_MUERkO

    yes … you just cleaned his golf balls with your mouth and winked seductively

    you’re a filthy man pat

    #44 7 years ago
  45. patlike

    Jesus wept :D

    #45 7 years ago
  46. morriss

    He still is.

    #46 7 years ago
  47. nick

    Where’s Dave “Gamesanimal” Perry?! ;)

    #47 7 years ago
  48. patlike

    Too busy adjusting his bandana to write any more, innit.

    #48 7 years ago
  49. fj

    All the best games journalists have got proper jobs these days.

    #49 7 years ago
  50. patlike

    God bless those proper jobs, eh? ;)

    #50 7 years ago
  51. OrphanageExplosion

    Ironic that the top ten most influential games journos actually write for what is basically a niche audience. Where is the Jeremy Clarkson of the gaming world – the popular face of gaming?

    Back in the 90s – when gaming was only just breaking out and was hardly a mainstream pastime – there was Rignall and Perry. On prime time TV.

    It seems to me that as gaming has become more mainstream, the journos seem to be worlds apart from the vast majority of the audience.

    Also, who is this top ten supposed to be actually influencing? Surely the sheer reach of IGN UK must be influencing more people than Campbell and all the print people on the list? What’s the Official PlayStation Mag’s ABC again?

    #51 7 years ago
  52. RAM Raider

    You mistyped “My Top 10 Journalist Friends” as “10 Most Influential Games Journalists”.

    I know a thing or two about throwing together arbitrary lists that have no basis in reality, but this one is in danger of feeding my delusion that I do quite a good job.

    The editors of two PS mags? The ed of CVG? Come on…

    #52 7 years ago
  53. patlike

    Ram: Well, I’m sure you know me to some degree – or maybe not: I have no idea who you are – and you should know that there are few “friends” of mine on that list. Also, I think it’s right to say the people in charge of the big Future PS mags’ editorial are influential. They literally are. Gavin, also, is certainly “influential”. CVG’s one of the biggest commercial games sites in Britain, a lot of which is down to the fact he edits it. How can he not be classed as an influential journalist?

    OE: The term “influential” here could have meant a lot of things, and I think I’ve been clear enough in my reasoning. I meant more in terms of trade influence, or “power”, as it were. I genuinely don’t believe that individuals within the IGN UK or Gamespot UK teams are as powerful as the people on this list.

    #53 7 years ago
  54. RAM Raider

    I probably could have worded that better. What I’m really getting at is some of the choices seem totally random. The PS3 is the least influential console out there, so that by proxy makes the eds of PS3 mags less relevant.

    Nobody would argue with the likes of Bramwell, Minkley and Gillen being praised, but they’re influential to other games journos because they’re great journos themselves.

    To cut a long story short, everyone I know could name at least twenty other journos who should be on that list above practically everyone but the three I’ve mentioned.

    Still, I was only saying to an editor colleague of mine – only yesterday, in fact – how good this website is. I guess I’m just a bit disappointed that a silly list like this has appeared when I know you can do so much better. And like I said, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to silly lists…

    #54 7 years ago
  55. patlike

    Opinion’s always arbitrary, innit. I’m just going on what I know. Obviously, there are others that are very deserving, but 10 is as 10 does.

    And I’ll take that as a compliment. Thanks. I’ll try to be better :)

    #55 7 years ago
  56. botherer

    Someone told me once that a review I wrote influenced them to buy a game. I’m sure this should qualify me for at least 9th.

    #56 7 years ago
  57. patlike

    Top 20, definitely.

    #57 7 years ago
  58. morriss

    RAM Raider, you’re right. This site is very good, yeah.

    #58 7 years ago
  59. wz

    The only thing I always wonder is: Who are you people?
    I’m not in your business and probably should care more about girls, football or beer, but still: Can’t you have profile pages or at least some team page? :D

    #59 7 years ago
  60. frazmacaz

    Only about three of the people on this list qualify in my book (Gillen, Mott and Campbell) but the rest leave me baffled.

    With all due respect, Ellie Gibson, Eurogamer deputy editor? Come on! I am sure she is very good at her job and a great writer but one of the UK’s most influential? I think not.

    Also saying something to the effect of ‘this list is correct because I know what I am fucking talking about frankly’ in the comments is pretty much the kiss of death. How can anyone take an article like this seriously if the author takes that tone? And please don’t bother pretending that was sarcasm, it’s clear that wasn’t the intention of the comment.

    As for who I would include, what about people like Margret Robertson, first female editor of Edge and currently a consultant who has the ear of the BBC and the Guardian, both of which are read by far more people in one day than a months total for Eurogamer, or any PS3 magazine you could care to mention.

    There are countless others. What about Owain Bennallack or even just anyone from Develop or Gamasutra for that matter. Those sites may not be consumer facing, but they have a pretty profound influence on the industry at large I would say.

    #60 7 years ago
  61. patlike

    fraz: I do know what I’m talking about. I’ve worked in British games editorial for 10 years. It was half-jokey remark, but I have certainly been “through the mill”, as it were. I’ve worked for INC, EMAP, Dennis, Computec, Future and Eurogamer, as a journalist, editor and publisher on both websites and magazines. It’d be pretty ridiculous if I didn’t know about this stuff, don’t you think?

    I did consider Margaret, but I wouldn’t really describe her as a “journalist” any more. There’s no doubt that she’s very well respected, but she appears to have moved off into the “media circuit” as opposed to reporting on games as such. So she wasn’t included.

    Gama’s American: it’s based in San Francisco. Develop? Well I don’t agree with you, clearly. Owain left PocketGamer recently and I’m not entirely sure what he’s up to at the moment, so as to whether or not he currently has “influence” is debatable. Don’t get me wrong: I love the guy. But I’m not sure he belongs on this list.

    As for Ellie. She certainly does have influence, and that’s why she was included. I have no idea if you work in the trade or not, but I worked with her for about three years and she’s both currently active as a UK journalist and very “involved” as to what happens on Eurogamer.

    As I said to Mr Raider, opinion’s always arbitrary. you can argue the toss indefinitely. I do, however, stand by this list.

    #61 7 years ago
  62. morriss

    I met Ellie and was immediately humbled by her influence and elegance, and I bow to no one.

    #62 7 years ago
  63. morriss

    Seriously though, I was at an event a while back with Ellie and around 300 journalists from around the world. Now I couldn’t have been better placed than I was standing and talking to Ellie Gibson: everyone knew her, everyone wanted to know her. Through her I met just about everyone who’s important in the British and European Games Industry.

    Now I know anecdotal evidence is pithy at best, but Ellie really was ‘the’ person to know and I’m glad she let me tag along for most of the 2 day event as I met a lot of people whom I would otherwise had missed.

    To top it off, she’s down to earth, funny and … wait … I’m in love!
    :)

    #63 7 years ago
  64. Blerk

    morriss loves Ellie! morriss loves Ellie!

    #64 7 years ago
  65. patlike

    haha :D

    #65 7 years ago
  66. morriss

    *blushes*

    #66 7 years ago
  67. pjmaybe

    “I met Ellie and was immediately humbled by her influence and elegance, and I bow to no one.”

    That’s not what Kristan told us.

    Slightly less embarrasing fawning over Ellie than running up to Tom at the Wii Launch event, completely hyper on sugar and saying “Wow, you’ve grown! I remember you when you were this high!” like an embarrasing uncle.

    #67 7 years ago
  68. frazmacaz

    I am sure you have been through the mill Patlike and fair enough, you probably do have a pretty well informed perspective on this topic. The comment I referred to just put my back up – it just doesn’t sit well when someone makes a comment like that and then goes on to say something like ‘opinions are always arbitrary’ (which I wouldn’t debate) in the next breath. But hey, bygones and all that.

    I do work in the trade (check my profile for my bias;)), though I don’t have nearly the same amount of experience you do. I’m a baby in this industry with less than two years full time under my belt.

    Did you omit writers that are UK based but work chiefly on publications abroad (US etc)? I suppose, as mentioned elsewhere on this thread, Croshaw is another I would like to have seen. He may not be very up on formal journalistic statutes but he sure as hell has influence.

    Point taken about Owain and Margaret – this conversation is wetting my appetite for a retrospective list…

    #68 7 years ago
  69. patlike

    Didn’t mean to rile anyone with the remark :)

    It was for people working in the UK, really. Colin’s a good example. He spends a lot of time in the US and Next-Gen’s an American site, really, but he’s still a UK journo as far as I’m concerned.

    A good case in point is someone like Simon Carless, who heads up Gama and Game Developer in the US. He’s British, but I’d put him in an American list, as he’s based out there.

    This list was for people working in the UK industry.

    #69 7 years ago
  70. that_happy_cat

    Dear Pat

    Next time just stick to “my top 10 favourite pie fillings”

    It’ll save you a lot of bother

    #70 7 years ago
  71. patlike

    Heh. I’ve got a good one for next week.

    #71 7 years ago
  72. mart

    I for one am very interested in pie fillings.

    #72 7 years ago
  73. frazmacaz

    Mmmmmm, lemon merangue…

    #73 7 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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