Early last year, I decided that merely playing videogames wasn’t enough. I wanted to write about them too.
I flew interstate for a big gaming expo and attended my first gaming press conference. I interviewed one of gaming’s great pioneers, and met a nice freelancer in the hallway. I wrote many articles on the same story – tweeking them slightly for each publication. But then the polite rejection emails started arriving. I got “stuffed around” by an Aussie editor who ran hot ‘n’ cold. Things weren’t looking good.
Just when we reach a predictably low trough in the story, Retro Gamer answered my emails, and something that I wrote appeared in a real magazine! I started a blog, and 2009 was looking up.
I started a meme, and got a bazillion visitors. I scooped the “big boys” on ASCIIPortal, I covered C64 reincarnations, and Sydney’s silverball festivities. I helped people spot classic characters, introduced them to the loveliest little fella in the world and showed people a vision of the future.
So, why have I been doing a sudden “this is your life”?
I was reading RockPaperShotgun’s Sunday Papers today, and read a linked piece by Kieron Gillen which had no title – so I’ll gleefully invent one.
THE JOY OF VIDEOGAMES JOURNALISM
This piece says exactly what I’ve been struggling to explain to people. It’s… well… it’s bloody brilliant. And that’s why I wanted to share it with you.
Here’s an cut-down version of what Kieron wrote:
Let’s go with the first professional review I wrote. I was approached in a nightclub by the DJ, who was also a staff writer for the immortal Amiga Power.
Forward a month, the morning after another nightclub trip, but 200 miles away. Grabbing a copy from the shelves and flicking through and seeing myself immortalised in ink.
I’ve never quite got over that buzz. The moment of creation, the moment of contact, the moment when you realise that stuff you loved – and I loved games journalism like I loved few things – IS NOW BEING DONE BY YOU. You are becoming what you desired, stepping over into the mirror. You know there’s a chance you’re doing to other people’s brains what other people did to yours.
You know it’s pointless. You know it’s the most important thing in the world. It’s all you’ve ever wanted. It’s amazing. I recommend it to anyone who’s functionally insane.
Don’t be satisfied with my Readers Digest butchering of Kieron’s words! Scroll down to number 6 here.
*CC “Lego computer” picture thanks to Repoort.