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A Journey Inside Video Game Journalism

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You’re a reader, well you should be. If you’re a writer from this site or a writer from another site, you may be aware of some of the pros and cons of writing in video-games. Not actually writing the dialogue and such, but actually writing as a journalist. I’ve been in this business for a while now and I can tell any aspiring gaming journo, there’s going to be a lot of problems. I know first hand on how hard it is to bust into this writing industry, and I also know how easy it is to just lose commitment. This is going to be a little piece on how video-game journalism works, and also some of my own personal stories to flavour the whole piece.

So lets start with some of the good things about writing for video-games. The big plus is the fact that you play video-games, as basically, for a living. It’s just about every teenage boy’s wet dream, or maybe your uncle’s wet dream… I don’t know your uncle so I couldn’t tell: I’m just taking a guess. Another big fat plus is the pay, when you obviously crack into it, it’s a delicious salary which is almost equal to that of working for a top-line newspaper. But that does actually depend where you work. Another gigantic pro to writing for video-games, is the fact you have some sort of freedom and opinion.

I’m not a Yahtzite (Yahtzee worshipper), but I do respect his opinions. At his heart he himself is a video-games journalist, except he voices his opinions differently. It’s a brilliant thing in this industry that every opinion is not the same, for instance, I generally hate many of the modern titles today but appreciate some aspects of it. Some other bloke could hate modern titles completely and be on a quest to fire them into the sun, or at least Superman 64. It’s a beauty of a thing to have your opinions credited and respected, and unless you really go off the scale, you’re going to make a lot of friends.

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It’s not all glitz and glamour, and you’ll quickly find that out. Writing for video-games can oftenly feel restricted, you’ll want to go on about the whole franchise of the game you’re reviewing or delve deep into the heart of respected developer. But at its heart, you’re not creating stories like real journalists. You’re not piecing together pieces of information to make a headline, all you’re really doing is playing video-games all day and giving your opinion on them. I don’t mean that in an offending manner, but at its heart, that’s what it is. Which actually leads me to a high point.

If you’re the type of gaming journalistic guy who hates writing news, reviews, previews, interviews etc. then there’s a surge of ‘New Game Journalism’. It’s the concept that video-games are respected cultural figures in society, and most of the pieces from ‘New Game Journalists’ are more focused on entire genres, the cultural impact of video games and also looking deep into the heart of them. If you want the most freedom with your work, then choose to do these sort of things. I think all of this is now going to take me into the ‘writing polar shift’ and gaming magazines.

Video-game magazines, basically a printed version of one week old news and some reviews, have been around for centuries (just 2 decades). More than likely, you’ve come across one or at least read one, and inside you’ll find a wealth of deep journalistic content. Instead of strict reviews, letters and news that you’re used to on some online sites, (definitely not here on Platform Nation, we’re a lovely bunch) you’ll find a heap of ‘features’. They’re deep analysis, experiments and general mucking about by the magazine writers and editors. It’s somewhat detached from video-game journalism, but it still retains a slight charm and opinion.

I think this is all becoming quite long, and I’m not going to be able to explain the ‘writing polar shit’… Join me next week then for another quest into the heart of this industry, some explanations and my general opinion on it. Tallo ho.

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