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How To Be A Real Game Journalist

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the lots-of-booze dept.


InsertCredit and some of the other game-journo sites out there took issue with the Game Career Guide's How to Be a Game Journalist feature. So, they've responded with their own opinions. There are 12 entries in total, each with a refreshingly cynical approach to what they do. From Tim Edwards' post: "So what do I do? I'm deputy editor of PC Gamer. Half my day is spent on the phone — talking to the PR reps that act as the gatekeepers to games industry and talking to our freelancers who write up to half of the magazine. With them, I'll commission copy, talk through their work, chase up any late text or missing elements. Meanwhile, I'll talk through pages with our art team — because magazine journalism is 50% writing, 50% making the words look pretty. 50% more of my time is spent talking through mag strategy: what's to be our next big review, how the flat-plan is shaping up, what we should put in the next issue. And my final 50% is spent working on copy — writing or re-writing. And yes, I'm well aware that there are many halves to a whole."

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Tip No. 1 (0, Offtopic)

corychristison (951993) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693249)

Don't post on Slashdot.

Wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16693421)

The first thing you have to do is divest yourself of every last shred of ethics you may have. Once done you can then shamelessly shill for whichever game publisher pays you the most.

This is actually quite easy because few people wishing to be game "reviewers" have even heard of the word "ethics".

The above also applies to on-line business associates of Roland Piquepaille.

The Steps (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693295)

Step 1: Cut & Paste Press Release
Step 2: Profit!
Step 3: ...There's no step 3. There's no step 3!

Re:The Steps (1)

Crasty (1019258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693385)

You forgot about repackaging the press release in a witty header. That's so basic man!

Re:The Steps (1)

gt_mattex (1016103) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693561)

Step 1: Spend many years of your life perfecting your writing skills.
Step 2: With a lot of work and a little luck find a job.
Step 3: Poverty!

Re:The Steps (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693953)

Future stories:

How to be a real; vampire, elf, Smurf(tm), fair and balanced pair of talking boobs on Fox News (I've got nothing against boobs, I just think they should shut the hell up).


Re:The Steps (1)

Satorian (902590) | more than 7 years ago | (#16695637)

3. Mourn the general cut & paste skills of the industry.

You know... (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693353)

My interpretation of this article:
Me: "I want to get into the gaming indus..."
Journalist: "Don't! ITSATRAP."

Re:You know... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693615)

Also known as QA. Been there, done that. For six years. These days I spend 40 hours a week on a help desk making the same amount of money when I was working 60 to 80 hours a week in the video game industry. I have enough time to work out at the gym, finish an associate degree in computer programming and write the next American novel. It's nice to have a life.

Next week... (1)

Funkcikle (630170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693377)

How To Be A Game Industry Lawyer, by Jack Thompson.

Good grammar, less nitpicking, less hype (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693425)

the thing I hate most about some game reviews and previews is the often terrible grammar. Now i'm not nazi when it comes to this, but quite often its just really terrible.

additionally some reviewers/previewers tend to repeatedly nitpick/hype certain game elements that really didn't need more than a single mention of that piece of info.

I suppose the only thing left for me to complain about is reviews that either say too much, or say too little about a game. The depth and scope of a game should tell how long a review should be, not how popular it may be before the game was released due to hype.

Re:Good grammar, less nitpicking, less hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16695111)

... but quite often its just really terrible.

Is it?

Perhaps you should first hold yourself to the same standard to which you hold others.

Re:Good grammar, less nitpicking, less hype (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16696201)

I hope Tim Edwards grammar is up to scratch, cause his maths skills are clearly well short of the mark.

Fox News game journalism? (0, Offtopic)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693427)

Are those ghosts in Pacman to be referred to as "Terrorists", or is it just OK to occasionally say that they hate America?

Re:Fox News game journalism? (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16694003)

The preferred term is "enemy combatants".

Screw Gaming Journalism... (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693597)

I want to be a gaming critic! Like a Literary Critic, but more contemporary elements and less kiss-ass, because it'll only be appreciated a decade from now anyway.

Re:Screw Gaming Journalism... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693647)

But won't you get tiring saying, "This sucks, that sucks, you sucks!" A game journalist does a lot of ass kissing, but a game critic does a lot of sucking.

Re:Screw Gaming Journalism... (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693813)

No, see, that's the beauty of it. I can make allegorical references to why the massive suckage of this particular game is indicative and reminiscent of "Brave New World" and how the creators of this game clearly added in the homosexual references and obvious use of phallic weapondry to make up for their own lack of sexual prowess.

In short, I can get really mean with it while sounding smart. ;)

Hey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16693611)

Maybe now Zonk will realize why he's always going to be a poser when it comes to game journalism. Oh, wait, this is slashdot, it's too much to expect that the mods actually read the posts

Steps 1, 2, 3... (1)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693693)

1. Buy kneepads.
2. Felate nearest game company executive/PR drone.
3. Publish article in game magazine word for word from press release.
4. Congratulatory phone call from game company on job well done.
5. Repeat step one.

Re:Steps 1, 2, 3... (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693769)

Wouldn't you repeat from step 2? I mean.. why buy all new knee pads :p

Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16694049)

Because no one wants to re-use kneepads after you've gone down on some slick-up hair cheap suit rep in them.

Re:Steps 1, 2, 3... (1)

WickedClean (230550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16695397)

This is silly. There's no need to buy new kneepads every time. One pair will suffice at least for the first few times, provided that you get a decent pair.

90%! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16693849)

Give every game an 85%->90% when it first comes out to keep getting advertisment funding from game companies and pre-release copies of games. Then later you can talk about how much it sucked when the market for that game has dried up. That's how the real game journalists do it.

Real Tips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16693923)

1. Have Rich Parents
2. Have no Life except living for Mario or Zelda
3. Have #1 buy all systems and games for you
4. Have a blog
5. Post lame reviews.
6. Rinse/Repeat Profit!

article text (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 7 years ago | (#16693939)

How to Be a Game Journalist
by InsertCredit staff writer

Don't be like those hacks at Game Career Guide.

Re:article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16694459)

How to Be a Game Journalist
by Logic

Don't be like those hacks at Insert Credit, such as Tim Rogers [] .

Advice (2, Insightful)

SamSim (630795) | more than 7 years ago | (#16694941)

What I've gleaned from, well, reading gaming magazines over the years is that you just need to get a single fact through your skull before joining this career: being a videogame journalist isn't playing videogames for a living, and being particularly good at videogames will not make you a better videogame journalist, or make the job more enjoyable. This not a fun gaming job. The majority of games are mediocre, and when you get home at night playing videogames will become the last thing you want to do. This is a *journalism* job - you should go for it only if you like the idea of journalism. You are *writing* for a living. Writing hard and fast and to deadlines.

Obviously there are people out there who love that idea, and I wish you the very best. I think it was Amiga Power whose policy towards hiring was that it was easier to teach a writer to play games than to teach a gamer to write? And they went down in history.

Re:Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16697803)

it was easier to teach a writer to play games than to teach a gamer to write

It would be easier to teach a tortoise how to juggle than it would be to teach the average gamer how to write properly.


not already in use (972294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16695607)

Game Journalist - oxymoron?

Nothing to see here (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16695719)

Just a bunch of New Games Journalists whining about how someone else had the gall to suggest that people want to read game reviews that talk about the game, as opposed to ones that talk about what the author had for lunch. (Which makes all of the whining about how "self-important" the author of the original article is all the funnier.) The article that started all of this isn't very good, to be sure, but neither is this depressing response.


Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16696773)


Silly hacks like Tim Rogers, who spend an entire review talking about someone he was talking to on IRC, and what he was having for dinner, in his SWINGIN BACHELOR PAD IN TOKYO CAUSE HE WORKS FOR SONY AND HES SUCH A FAWKIN ROCK STAR OMG, need to stfu, cause nobody wants to read the equivalent of "The New Yorker" when it comes to video games.

We want to know if the game is shit or not, and why it is or is not shit.

Pretentious nerds who spend 10+ pages on a game "review" and barely talk about the actual game, have no business reviewing games.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16698561)

The best part about how pathetic these guys are is how incongruous it is with how they view themselves. For example, look at the barely hidden disgust that "The Triforce" exhibits not only for video games, but for their fans. See, because their writing is so much better than anyone else's, and they only write about video games because that just happens to be what they feel like writing about, not because they'd be complete failures at any other form of criticism.


You are right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16700935)

Darn right, people bitch about review scores & paid off reviewers, but I would rather read them then these stupid "essays" or what ever these so called "enlightened" people call them.

At least with score systems I can take read a few reviews and a glance at what a game gets across the board, instead of having to read through several essays trying to see if I would like it or not. The standard reviews usually let me know what kind of stuff I might like, and what ever problems the game might have. I don't want to read some long winded piece that doesn't cover the flaws or just glosses over & sugarcoats them. And then there is the subject the review is covering, who wants to read 2+ pages on something like a puzzle game?

Quite frankly, I think these alterative review stuff is mainly being pushed by people who didn't like the fact that their probably obscure, overrated, quirky game didn't get the recognition that they think it deserves. So to accommodate for the game's lack of rave reviews and attention, they find the current system to be flawed and propose "review" formats like these....

While I do read sites like Insert Credit for their news and "obscure" game coverage(Shoot em ups, fighters, old game collections, misc Japanese games & stuff I might import), I sure wouldn't get my reviews from them. Heck, even their stupid news stories can be just as pointless & rambling..... Then again, they don't constantly engage in trash talking(ZOMG SUENY IS EVIL), egotism(well, sort of), and hype-for-page-hits crap that passes for "New Gaming Journalism" these days.

Hey, neat! (1)

MortimerV (896247) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701159)

Sounds like some good advice! Did anybody forward this to IGN?

Ye Gods (1)

Buskaatt (124333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16705525)

It's one thing to choose to be a journalist. You're already heading down the slippery slope to ignonimy because of the state of that industry. But to want to be a game journalist ... *shudder* I mean think of the future man! 50 years from now you're sitting around telling your grandkids about that great review of Evil Chainsaw you did back in 2006?!? Is that how you want to go down in life?
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