Jim Sterling: The Best/Worst Thing to Happen to Video Games?

Is Jim Sterling the premier voice of a generation, or is he...something else?

Is Jim Sterling the premier voice of a generation, or is he…something else?

As you might’ve guessed, we at VGRHQ are in the business of video game reviews. As such, we’re interested in anything concerning this integral part of the industry.

We seek to recognize those who work so hard, and produce quality, reliable reviews. One of the reasons we started VGRHQ is because most critics go completely unsung; even most avid gamers can’t name more than a few premier game critics. That seems wrong to us.

However, we go deeper with the former Destructoid critic, Jim Sterling. Now with The Escapist (and doing some stuff of his own), Sterling made a name for himself by producing extremely blunt, some might even say offensive, reviews for certain high-profile titles.

Is this the face of a pioneer? We're split on the issue...

Is this the face of a pioneer? We’re split on the issue…

Any critic who can become a major personality and subsequently shine a light on this industry should be appreciated. It’s what gaming needs, right?

Well, as we sat down to discuss, it immediately became evident that we were split on the verdict: Half of us rolled our eyes at the mention of his name, while the other half nodded vigorously. Here’s part of our ensuing conversation:

“He’s just a bloated, egotistical windbag,” said one.  “Got big only by bashing great games, not by producing reliable reviews.”

“That isn’t true,” replied another. “The industry needed a distinctive personality, someone who stood out from the crowd and also stood up for his own opinions, as unpopular as they may be.”

“Yeah, we did need a persona for the gaming community to latch onto. I’m just not sure what it says about our industry that they’d latch onto him.”

“It just says we were starving for a charismatic reviewer who bucks the trends, that’s all. He did a great service to gaming.”

He got very big very fast, so that has to mean something...right?

He got very big very fast, so that has to mean something…right?

“If you think so. I just can’t stand him.”

“But you have heard of him.”

Perhaps it’s the latter point that we need to embrace. VGRHQ exists to bring hard-working, dedicated critics into the limelight, for their brief five minutes of fame. Nobody else is willing to acknowledge them and for the most part, they all work for little or no money.

We want some of our best critics to become household names. It’s only fair that we should strive to find our Roger Ebert. The only problem is that we may be a ways from having an Ebert; we don’t see any of our top critics winning a Pulitzer Prize any time soon. That includes Sterling.

In the end, is someone like Sterling good or bad for the gaming industry?

In the end, is someone like Sterling good or bad for the gaming industry?

Therefore, we remain split on the issue of the rise of Jim Sterling. Some say his rise is merely due to the unfortunate obsession gamers have with bashing everything and in general, acting like immature a-holes. These people say Sterling would never have been noticed in any other industry. “Professionalism” wasn’t his guiding star.

Other people say Sterling gave this industry precisely what it needed and delivered a personality into the abyss of faceless reviewers. We finally got someone we can name and that person is never afraid to defend his stance on anything. The final question is, does that denote confidence and strength or egotism and immaturity?

You decide.

16 thoughts on “Jim Sterling: The Best/Worst Thing to Happen to Video Games?”

I always hated this guy. Never bothered reading his reviews after I realized that he existed only to bash everything in sight, and that’s how he’d make a name for himself.

You should’ve read more of his reviews because they’re really fun to read. If you’re looking for something DIFFERENT and someone who actually has new ideas, you would at least appreciate Sterling’s stuff.

I don’t agree with him all the time. Hell, there are times when I think he’s lost his marbles. But the other times, he’s a breath of fresh air.

I did read more of his reviews. He never came across as anything but an egotistical windbag to me.

As a female gamer, I can’t say I was ever impressed with this guy.

Just seemed like someone who thought gaming deserved to be mired in the days of immature little boys. He’s only holding the industry back, as far as I’m concerned.

I can definitely see how Sterling would rub girl gamers the wrong way.

But I think you’re letting your gender get in the way of an objective analysis…..just saying…

Maybe I am. But I’m still allowed to call him a jackass. 😉

In recent times though, he has done a 180 basically and made many excuses of his “early Jim” behavior. As an example, ha made this video, which is now one of the videos he is the most known for. I suggest yo watch it, it may change your view, if not just a little bit. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/7044-The-Creepy-Cull-of-Female-Protagonists

I did notice his change, and I think it’s because he wanted to advance his career and come across as more of a professional.

I seriously doubt he’d be with The Escapist now if he was still acting as he did at the start…

Depends on your definition of “immature.”

I’ve always thought of Jim as sort of an anomaly: A game critic with a personality. That persona may seem immature to some but to me, a lot of times, it seemed like an honest, charismatic approach to reviewing.

I think Sterling is the epitome of “immature,” going by my definition.

I admit that may have been more accurate with the “early” Jim Sterling but even so, you have a point.

Never liked him. Couldn’t figure out how he got big in the first place.


I have no clue how he suddenly got big in his early years, but lately, it has been the fact that he makes a lot of videos where he speaks for the gamers (some of them atleast). His videos about the early Xbox One and EA’s horrible “free to pay” industry, have been shared and watched by a lot of people, including some of the big guys like Boogie and AngryJoe

Yeah, well, even when he’s “speaking for the gamers,” I still don’t agree with a lot of what he says.

I’m not trying to explain why you should like him, but why a lot of people do like him.

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