Been a bit since I was able to get over here, but with good excuses!
Lots of work, that’s what. In fact, I don’t really have time to write a whole lot here, but what I can do is dump a bunch of the stuff I’ve been working on that’s keeping me from complaining about video games or discussing writing tips I make up. Here’s a big rundown of everything I’ve been writing lately.
The relevant portions of the Internet blew up a little bit today over an article that pointed to noted games journalist Geoff Keighley, using an out-of-context photo of him speaking next to a big ad for Halo 4 on one side, a pile of Mountain Dew and Doritos on the other.
The purpose of Rab Florence’s article in Eurogamer, which can be read here, was to point out the troubling relationship much of the gaming press has with the gaming industry. Journalists and PR folks are friends, he notes, and there are plenty in our industry that look like shills for their’s. And this is fundamentally at odds with what your job is supposed to be whenever you practice journalism. It’s akin to fraternizing with the enemy.
I can’t say Florence is wrong, and there was a time when I would have argued just as vehemently the points that he presents in his article. Having worked in this industry for a while, however, I’ve come to be a little more lax in my position on the matter. Much of what makes up the “games journalism industry” isn’t journalism, and to treat it as such, to judge it as such, and to wring your hands over it as such, is a waste of time.
It’s not as much fun as you think.
Inevitably, readers on the Internet always seem to subscribe some incredible attributes to games journalists. Usually these have to do with the exorbitant checks we must be receiving from publishers and developers to sway public opinion. I figured today I’d take a minute and clear up a few misconceptions about the glamorous life of playing games for a living, for your edification.
Something you learn quickly when working at a small video gaming website like the one for which I work, GameFront.com, is that access of any kind is really hard to come by.
Quickly, it becomes really difficult to execute what you might call “journalism” in other circles. Doing research and getting interviews with the people who actually make the games you’re writing about is notoriously difficult, and the entire industry is under tight controls by public relations companies. The game-making industry controls the message as best as it can, whenever it can, regardless of what the message is. Innocuous questions go unanswered all the time because information control is power in this industry, and publishers wield it. It’s hard to blame them, really.
Six a.m. on a Sunday. That’s what it takes this week – and this is the first week.
I feel like I’m going to puke.
Make a coffee run. Return home. Send the girlfriend off for her 10k this morning, which I’m unable to attend because apparently runners are not expected to have people who would like to be there to see them run. Come home; avoid waking up sleeping guests in the living room. Headphones. iTunes. Facebook. Twitter. Twitter. Twitter. Facebook game I ashamedly play.
Aaand finally: Chapter 2, about 4,000 words in. This being the first new chapter of The Book. The Book for which, you last read, we were shopping around the Great Book Proposal. The Book which Nick Hurwitch and I are now being paid to write. By a publisher, which is real.
Allow me to pimp my latest Top 10 list for FileFront: the 10 Greatest Game Power-Ups to Have in Real Life.
I’m extremely proud of the list – I think it’s the funniest thing I’ve yet written as a freelancer for the video game website. So you should go read it, especially because it took me almost two weeks to make it happen. And it almost didn’t.