If you had brought up the term “video game journalist” ten or fifteen years ago, few people would have even understood what that was. If you had brought up the term “video game blogger” you may also have been met with a blank stare.
When I initially shared with a friend that I wanted to pursue video game journalism he quite literally erupted into hysterical laughter. I recall saying something profound to him like, “Seriously. I want to write about games.” I was met with a completely perplexed expression. And that was from someone who also loves games.
It’s a blank stare I’ve received from more than one face.
What brought me around to thinking about the reasons why we (the royal “we”) want to write (or read) about games, was due to a recent conversation I had. In it, a friend said to me, “Well, you love to write about games.” I replied, “I’m not sure if I love it. But I am compelled to do it.”
I am passionate about games; I enjoy writing about them. I now write nearly every day, and I post pieces to my site three days a week. I post some of those same pieces to Game Informer within the community blog section. And when I see the fluctuations in how many people are actually reading what I’m writing, I’m occasionally (on the lower days) reminded of that faux motivational poster that brings me so much amusement:
“BLOG: Never have so many said so much to so few.”
I understand it’s a joke, but it’s also the plight of the writer trying to get their work seen. The internet is bursting at the seams with content. How can we make ours original and interesting? How can we get people engaged and into discussion?
I started asking myself why I wanted to start writing about games to begin with, and I was met with a bit of a puzzle.
If you were to ask me why I got into musical theatre, I could answer that question precisely.
However I still can’t quite pinpoint why I wanted to write about games (and gaming related experiences) so badly.
Perhaps it simply stemmed from my love of games and my love of engaging discussion. Perhaps it is partially because it is easy to glorify the editors of our favorite publications (they are all such solid people with amazing knowledge). Perhaps it is to prove our own knowledge or insight. Perhaps it is to show off or be liked. Perhaps it is because gaming turns out to be a unique experience for each of us and we can’t wait to share it. Perhaps we are just trying to connect.
Perhaps it is an amalgam of all these.
I’ve seen the claims that video game journalists are over-glorified PR agents, but I find this explanation to be too simplistic. Yes, sometimes they are relaying direct information, but more often than not, they are making sense out of it for a larger audience.
Writing is a unique medium (especially on the internet) as it allows the writer to be heard (and who does not want to be heard?), but it also opens up the content for discussion.
I’m not going to lie: it’s hard as heck to find an audience. It is quite something to write, to put yourself out there, and to see what you are met with. It’s hard to build a readership. But you know what? I’m so entirely grateful for each and every person who has ever read anything I’ve written, whether they’ve enjoyed it or not. I especially enjoy when people take the time to comment, and a discussion (however brief) ensues.
For me, that’s what it’s all about. Sharing, connecting, and discussing.
It’s also why I read about games. I love to learn, to soak all the information in that I can, and to connect with others about it. Sometimes gaming can be a solitary endeavor, and sometimes it’s very much the opposite.
I may write alone at my computer, but I’m shoving these words through my keyboard in hopes of connecting with you (yes, you!). Games have a way of doing this. And I love that.
So while I am compelled to write about games (with more and more frequency, it seems), yes, I think I love it, too.
Cheers, friends. Thank you for being here.
Why do you read or write about games? How do you feel about video game journalism? Please confess in the comments below and let’s have a grand ol’ time of it.