There’s been another round of discussion over the last few weeks about where video game journalism is headed, and the consensus seems to be something along the lines of “straight down the crapper.” Many of the correspondents accuse the enthusiast press (magazines like EGM, PSM, etc.) of being glib, puerile, and generally out of touch with what gamers really need and want to read.

I’m inclined to agree with Kat Hunter, who, in the comments of the Game Girl Advance entry on the topic contends that these magazines know exactly who their audience is and are reaching it just fine, thank you very much. That’s okay with me: I’d rather spend less time deconstructing PSM and more time talking about what we’d like to read instead.

What a lot of people are clamoring for is more of what Kieron Gillen calls the “New Games Journalism,” a sort of gonzo games journalism epitomized by the essay “Bow Nigger,” a reflective, personal account of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. Veering away from the typical buyer’s-guide sort of writing that constitutes the vast majority of game reviews (and movie reviews, and music reviews), the New Games Journalism calls for more subjective, emotionally honest writing.

The Guardian’s Keith Stuart wrote a very nice response to Gillen’s essay, but, like Hunter, isn’t convinced that there’s really a sizable audience for this sort of writing; at least, not enough to support an entire magazine. I’m not so sure about that: if Retro Gamer can make it, why not a middlebrow or — dare we dream? — highbrow video game magazine?

That’s what I (and the other multimedia reviewers) have been trying to achieve at PopMatters: to write reviews that reach an audience beyond the typical “hardcore gamer,” that take games and players seriously as a part of the broader media environment. There are a ton of other web sites and weblogs doing similar things. The question is whether you can get all this writing moved off the web and into print, and if you do, whether anyone will buy it.

I think they will. The people who are calling for this sort of writing are — well, actually, they’re mostly other writers. But beyond them, the people calling for this sort of writing are passionate, savvy, and probably willing to shell out a few bucks for a magazine that speaks to them. I think there’s an audience for good games writing that includes New Games Journalism as well as conventional content that speaks to an audience beyond 17-year-old boys. The hurdle that needs to be jumped is finding the backing to get a magazine like this off the ground. Anyone have the number of a publisher handy?