The Colin Campbell GMA 11 Legend award speech

By Patrick Garratt, Thursday, 27 October 2011 15:22 GMT

IGN news and features boss Colin Campbell won the Games Media Legend award at the GMAs last night, an event marred by behaviour from main sponsor Grainger Games. Read the presentation speech in full inside.

I gave the following speech the Games Media Awards in London last night, handing over the Games Media Legend trophy to Colin Campbell, a journalist of 25 years.

Unfortunately, representatives of the event’s main sponsor, retailer Grainger Games, disgraced themselves at the ceremony, heckling compere Greg Davies and booing and slow-clapping through my speech. Intent Media boss Stuart Dinsey has banned them from any future events. If you want a fuller take on how the night panned out, take a look at Gizmodo.

Grainger Games has apologised on its site today.

I’m aware the speech is pretty long. That’s because the Legend award isn’t given to just anyone, and I felt it was important to make sure everyone was aware of how much Colin had contributed to both the British and American games journalism industries. The heckling from the sponsors and others at the back of the room honestly made delivering this a humiliating experience, and I’m sad I couldn’t just honour my colleague with the praise he deserves without having to shout over people. C’est la vie, I guess.

Anyway. Here it is. Congratulations, Colin.

It’s a great honor to be asked to present this award for the second year running. Stuart invited me to do it this year because he wanted to make sure you all knew just why this person is so deserving of the title of Games Media Legend. This person has been active in the games journalism industry for 25 years, and, as he’s been management for much of it, the chances are there are plenty of people in this room tonight that simply won’t know who he is.

A lot of you are young, and have only been in the trade for a few years. You’re probably working through your first or second job at the moment, learning on your shifts how to write, and looking forward to an exciting career covering the most progressive entertainment field on the planet.

If only it were so. The reality, of course, is that starting off in games journalism is an horrific, awful experience, a period which you will inevitably look back from the future as the lowest of low points. Staff writers in the games trade are routinely humiliated, exploited to the limits of legality, paid starvation wages and forced, as such, to live in second world conditions where the only comfort is pity. It is a revolting time. When you landed your first job in games writing, I’m sure you experienced a great thrill that you’d got your break; how terrible it should be, then, that that joy should so quickly rot to the most putrid sea of dogshit black.

Unfortunately for you, though, you are now “in”. There is no “out”. But you’ll ignore the fact there’s no return, blinded by the possibility of z-list success. You will suffer so much. And just to see your pathetic, instantly forgettable, stupid fucking name in tiny letters on some fuck-handed website, or, even worse, to see it on some toilet-grade paper published by some illegal fucking publishing sweatshop, you will be willing to take even the most gigantic cock right in the ass.

The winner of this year’s legend award was my first boss in video games journalism.

My first job was on FGN Online, a games news blog, funnily enough, based just outside Manchester. We worked in this guy’s freezing bedroom while he went to America to launch another magazine for Future. We worked on 26k modems that barely worked at all. We were paid minimum wage and lived off sausage rolls. I slept in a cupboard. It was a desperate time. I left after a year to go to CVG at EMAP.

Despite the horror, though, that period, and working with tonight’s winner, had a huge impact on my career. FGN eventually closed, but it wasn’t till later on that I realized this man was a legend well before my first meeting with him 12 years ago.

He began working as a staff writer on CTW in 1986 before becoming employee number 47 at Future, working on magazines like Commodore Format and Amiga Power. He went on to become publisher of Future’s console mags, including Edge, Sega Power and GamesMaster, and was the launch publisher of the first Official PlayStation magazine.

He then moved to San Francisco in 1995 to work on web properties for Future US. He was editor-in-chief of Next Generation Online and IGN. After returning to launch FGN as part of Interactive News Central, he went back to America to head up a trade publication called Games Business.

On returning to the UK, he moved to London in 2000 to launch Official Xbox magazine, then went freelance for a few years before moving permanently to California in 2008, initially as a stringer for Intent Media, before setting up a marketing venture called Brand Narrative. He got back into games journalism this year with a quick stint and UMB’s Gamasutra before moving into his current position of head of news and features at IGN in San Francisco.

It is inarguable that this year’s winner is deserving of the prize. Without his influence, sites like VG247, Eurogamer and CVG simply would not exist in the form they do today. The whole concept of treating games news in the British tabloid style came from this man. He was the man behind the launches of both the original official PlayStation and Xbox magazines in the UK. His work, now matter how well you know it, has shaped the British games media over decades, both in print and online, and he is one of very few British journalists to have enjoyed a high profile in both the UK and US. There is no doubt that this man is a games media legend.

Ladies and gentleman, it gives me huge pleasure to announce that the winner of 2011’s Games Media Legend award is Colin Campbell.

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