In the wake of the Filip Miucin saga that’s unfolded over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself thinking about the broader implications of what he’s done and the effect it has on everyone in and around the games coverage industry.
In case you missed it, Miucin was an editor at IGN who published a review for Dead Cells that was found to be almost entirely plagiarized from a YouTuber named Boomstick Gaming. In response, IGN acted swiftly and fired him as well as removed his review. After posting a now removed “apology” video on his personal YouTube channel, he essentially challenged people to try and find more examples of his plagiarism, confident that there was nothing more to uncover. Much to the surprise of nobody, the internet found plenty of it.
So here we are, a few weeks after the impact of this bombshell and there’s been no shortage of opinions about the incident itself. The majority of the response to it has been in agreement that IGN did the right thing and that Miucin deserved to be fired. While I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment, there is one thing that Miucin mentioned in his former “apology” video that still sits with me.
In essence, he asserted that all reviewers basically talk to each other about their opinions on the game they’re reviewing. Overwhelmingly I’ve heard reviewers say they don’t do that because it defeats the purpose of writing a review, which is to get the writer’s opinion on the product. They do their best to remove themselves from the conversations around a game so they can provide their own opinions on it, free from any external influences. A reviewer is supposed to relay their experience with the game to their audience in an effort to arm them with the information necessary to decide if a game is worth their time and money.
That kind of insight is great for consumers, but tough when you’re trying to build your own outlet that serves similar functions. I have to be conscious and make sure that what I’m writing is my opinion and not the one I heard on a podcast or in a video. Because if I’m just aping a review from someone else, then what’s the point of me doing this at all? It’s important to me to make sure that everything I write is in my own voice. Because if I want to show that I’m worth a damn as a writer, I have to be able to compartmentalize what the discourse around a game is and be honest about the experience that I’m having.
There is no excuse for plagiarism, but it’s easy for me to see how just following a reviewer or streamer can color your experience before you even have a chance to play the game. That isn’t what happened with Miucin and that isn’t an excuse to justify plagiarism. Instead, it’s a reminder to be more thoughtful about what you’re writing and being more aware of your actions.