#1 Posted by xiggy1234 (12 posts) -

Hey Guys, Kinda new here. I wanted to gain some insight from anybody if they know what it takes to be a video game journalist. Currently, i have written a couple of essays on video game character development, story based concepts, and character dissections. I think some of these are steered into the direction of new game journalism, but i want to broaden my horizons. I think i have done enough research and played a different amount of different styled games to write a decent review. I know the ins and outs of a "good" game, dating all the way back to the 80's of games. Anybody have any thoughts of where i should start? Im already a senior in high school and im looking to go into journalism in college.

#2 Posted by EarlessShrimp (1639 posts) -

Well, start writing reviews, and keep at it. Look to the community for feedback, hone your skills and see what happens. But, most importantly keep writing reviews. Hell, start up a blog or something, Just KEEP FUCKING WRITING!

#3 Posted by Little_Socrates (5677 posts) -

Start with this book.

The most imperative thing is to keep writing. Also, you should practice proper grammar, capitalization, spelling, and formatting as much as possible, even on Facebook or in chats.

#4 Edited by RIDEBIRD (1232 posts) -

Capitalize, use proper grammar and be actually good at writing. Interest in games is secondary. Expect failure. Have a backup career and only go for journalism if you're already quite good at writing. If you can't get published in anything local, ditch your dream. Expect to not get paid. Have rich parents.

After the harsh reality -- write for your school paper or a local newspaper. This is where you need to start. You need experience and critique and you seriously do not have to write about games to get good at writing about games. You need to get good at writing.

Regards,

former Eurogamer Sweden writer man thing (quit because there was no money and it took too much time from my non-journalism studies. Fun ride tho)

#5 Posted by hanktherapper (378 posts) -
#6 Posted by RIDEBIRD (1232 posts) -

And I'd recommend reading The elements of style and On writing.

#7 Posted by xiggy1234 (12 posts) -

@EarlessShrimp: theres the hard thing though...where would i post a review for feedback?

#8 Posted by PerryVandell (2103 posts) -

Right now your best bet is to just keep writing, Review any new games that find themselves in your grasp, and then read your reviews. Ask yourself questions like "Did I leave out anything?" or "Was this sentence or phrase really necessary?" Like most things, writing should become easier the more you do it, though college grammar classes will be a big help as well (they were for me at least). I'm actually pretty bad when it comes to pushing myself to write something because I'd rather move on to the next game rather than writing a review. It can be a pain, but try to review a game you've just beaten before moving on to the next one.

Next try to find some kind of a writing internship. I used to intern here, but any internship that involves some sort of writing will make your resume much more attractive to employers-video game-related or not. It shows that you have experience in the field and that you're more than just a professional student. Do some searching yourself, and check in to your future college's career center if you run into any trouble. Once you have an internship or two under your belt, it'll be that much easier to have a chance at obtaining your dream job.

Lastly, I recommend keeping your options open. I remember willing to do almost anything to review video games for a living when I was 18, but it's important to note that video game journalism is an extremely volatile industry. There are a lot of 18-25 year olds who are willing to write for scraps just to make a name for themselves, and it doesn't always work out. Positions come and go, and any type of job security is a rarity. That's why it's best to keep an open mind. I hate traditional news journalism but am open to trying jobs in PR or general communications. The cool thing about journalism is that it applies to a wide range of fields that aren't restricted to your local traffic reports. The skill to convey information in a clear, entertaining and articulate manner is invaluable. The key is to always be sure that you enjoy what you write about, otherwise what's the point? And if you want even more information by someone who's probably more qualified than I, then give this book a read. I haven't read it personally, but I've only heard good things about it. Good luck!

#9 Posted by Dagbiker (6976 posts) -

Write, a lot.

#10 Posted by EarlessShrimp (1639 posts) -

@xiggy1234: I mean, here could work, gamespot too. I mean, you could always start a blog here and post it on the forums at various intervals, there are a few prominent folks who do!

#11 Posted by believer258 (11898 posts) -

@xiggy1234 said:

@EarlessShrimp: theres the hard thing though...where would i post a review for feedback?

We have user reviews sections of games. You could also do a blog that just reviews games, though that's kind of frowned upon unless you're .

#12 Posted by mandude (2669 posts) -

1. Accept cash lump sum from publisher (preferably in a dollar-sign adorned sack).

2. Five stars!

But seriously, I have no advice but to just write the fuck out of everything.

#13 Posted by marlow83 (239 posts) -

You sound a hell of a lot like me, xiggy. My advice is largely the same, the most important thing is to write. I got started writing reviews and op-ed pieces on a tumblr blog with a friend of mine, and after about a year we made our own fully-fledged website. Over the course of that experience I became a much better writer, and it gave me a nice resume of pieces I could send in to a publication that could potentially look for new writers. And besides that, keep an eye out for small jobs. For example, I saw an ad on phandroid calling out for writers for a new sister site completely about games. I applied and they accepted me. It doesn't pay, since the site is extremely new, but it's been a positive experience and it is yet another thing to add to my resume. And as for receiving feedback, I would repost any reviews on my initial site on giantbomb.

Essentially, just find an outlet, never stop practicing, keep an eye out for potential jobs/internships, and make sure your love for the medium and enthusiasm come through. Make someone take notice.

#14 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Sufficient proficiency & talent & will. Blowsjobs always help to pave a way for your ambitions. #Blowhard

#15 Posted by pyromagnestir (4324 posts) -

Start a blog.

Write about games.

Be interesting.

Keep being interesting.

Don't give up.

And the last tip: Good luck!

#16 Posted by ShaggE (6452 posts) -

Don't be afraid to do a LOT of volunteer grunt work for smaller sites. It's all about building that resume, improving your skill and finding your voice. Take the games that nobody else wants to cover. That shows that you aren't just one of those "Hey, free games!" guys that jump ship the second they have to struggle through a shit title.

And for the love of Gerstmann, stay away from writing top ten lists.

#17 Posted by NTM (7377 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

Start with this book.

The most imperative thing is to keep writing. Also, you should practice proper grammar, capitalization, spelling, and formatting as much as possible, even on Facebook or in chats.

And even as you text.

#18 Posted by Fallen189 (5005 posts) -

Try to find a real job

#19 Posted by NTM (7377 posts) -

@xiggy1234 said:

Hey Guys, Kinda new here. I wanted to gain some insight from anybody if they know what it takes to be a video game journalist. Currently, i have written a couple of essays on video game character development, story based concepts, and character dissections. I think some of these are steered into the direction of new game journalism, but i want to broaden my horizons. I think i have done enough research and played a different amount of different styled games to write a decent review. I know the ins and outs of a "good" game, dating all the way back to the 80's of games. Anybody have any thoughts of where i should start? Im already a senior in high school and im looking to go into journalism in college.

First off, read exactly what you just wrote and tell me, is it worthy of being a writer? If not, fix what you have there.

#20 Posted by EarlessShrimp (1639 posts) -

@believer258: Oh that's true... I guess those review ones were more gaming experiences and the likes. But, even that kind of thing still helps. Writing about video games and that.

#21 Posted by infinite_fear (1 posts) -

There are lots of video game sites looking for volunteer writers. I know the up and coming hardcoreshooter.com is looking for writers to cover shooters. Good luck.

#22 Posted by michaelfossbakk (236 posts) -

I'm glad I found this thread, but a lot of the advice I'm seeing, while good advice, I've seen a thousand times before. Every writer probably knows that writing is the best thing they can do as a writer to better their craft, but finding a job (or in my case, an internship) is something in which I lack expertise. Should I stop hunting only once I've actually found a videogame journalism outlet looking for interns or should I find something a little more unrelated, but journalism nonetheless, and pursue that just as well?

#23 Posted by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

encourage fanboy arguments in the comments of your articles for more page views. CoD vs. Halo vs. battlefield vs. Gears, that kinda stuff. but dont take one side too much or you'll lose people. also, review games and give them ONLY extremes in scores. THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND, everything is either amazing or its shit, theres no just "good" games.

unless like, you're one of those people with....integrity

#24 Posted by Everyones_A_Critic (6298 posts) -

Look at the typical avenues for success in that field: podcasts, a website (obviously), blogs, etc. BUT don't just go from there. There's quite literally a billion people doing the same thing as we speak. What you want to do is figure out a system that sets you apart from everyone else. Innovate. That's the best advice I can give you. Not because I'm a game journalist or want to be one, but because it's one of those jobs everyone wants but no one can get. And believe me, I know how that works.

#25 Posted by Apparatus_Unearth (3149 posts) -

Blog like crazy.