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5 Reasons Why I Love Being a Video Game Journalist

Work from bed, make money, forget about pants. The best reasons to be a games journalist.

by 3 months ago

There are plenty of careers out there that will really catch other people's attention - and not in the Skippy the Clown or Guy In a Hot Dog Suit Waving a Sign kind of way. They're the ones that you can really boast about, the ones that come with power, status, and really big cars. They come with tangible rewards that people understand - money, skinny blond women, and private jets where mile-high memberships are both expected and encouraged.

Video game journalists get none of these things. Sorry.

And it can be discouraging stuff. But nobody ever said living the dream was easy... especially not in this day and age, where everyone's got an opinion, and everyone wants an outlet to voice it.

It could be the start of a pretty interesting life. Here are five reasons why I love being a freelance video game journalist, even as a relative unknown.

1. MONEY!

All right, so I lied. You will remember what a greenback looks like - at least if you're lucky. (And I don't just mean after you smash your pimped-out grille through six cop cars and a heli in Need For Speed.)

Getting paid to do what you love doing? Greatest feeling in the world. Even if the dollar bills you get technically amount to your phone bill and a ham sandwich on the side, it is proof positive that all those hours spent wearing out the buttons on the PlayStation controller meant something. The time you spent hiding in a corner of your basement collecting all the Golden Skulltulas was merely a stepping stone, building yourself up to this crucial, world-defining moment where you realize the time you spent wasn't wasted, it was invested. You are making money doing something awesome.

(And you can tell your high school career counselor to shove it.)

2. Most of the time, your office looks like this.

All right, I lied again. I would never do that to my laptop. I have long learned the lesson to worship the internet gods at the foot of a decent cooling pad. Tables have been flipped over lost drafts and unsaved games in my path to wisdom.

But it doesn't change the fact that I live in Canada and it is cold outside, and all the insulation in my house appears to have boycotted my room. If any writing is going to get done, it is getting done while half of me is encased in blankets - as a bare minimum. It's nice to be lying down too.

3. This counts as your daily 3-piece suit.

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=33cmb2u&s=4#.UuiDCRD8Wpp

Okay, so I might be lying about that too. At least the part about looking like Elisha Cuthbert. But unless you've got a Skype meeting with the boss or a convention to cover, the majority of your workday stays right where you are - not belted in and properly buttoned up. 

What you wear (or don't wear) to bed is nobody's business but your own, but it definitely remains choice one for what you're allowed to wear to the office as well.

4. I'm a girl(y) gamer and that's okay.

Also a lie. I'm not Barbie. I'm a girl. I don't have dream house mansion or a pink unicorn for a steed, but I like how my legs look in 7-inch stilettos and I have an entire battle station devoted entirely to eyeshadow and nail polish. I've spent as much money on dresses as I have on Steam sales, and I haven't (usually) regretted a penny. I am an oddball, a goof, and a nerd of many interests.

And it shows. And I'm okay with that.

"Being yourself" might not sound like something to write home about, but after three or four years wearing a smile like a mask in the name of customer service, it is a godsend. I can like what I like, articulate why I do, and have fun doing it. You're allowed to have an opinion. In fact, it's often encouraged. 

Besides, no one is standing behind you trying to tell you that the customer who just tossed his drink in your face is always right.

5. Free stuff. 

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=33cmb2u&s=4#.UuiDCRD8Wpp

Let's be clear. I didn't win all that swag. That would be a lie. It wasn't lovingly hand-delivered to me on the backs of a thousand tiny Hobbit children either, alas.

But that doesn't mean the job is without at least a few nifty side perks. They don't even have to be big. The first time one tiny little indie dev offers up a Steam to you for review, even if it's currently on sale for $0.50, you are off-the-walls crazy with the thrill of glee. Someone wants your opinion on their work, and they're waiving their right to your money in order to get it.

Is that all?

There are more reasons, certainly more serious reasons for getting into the field. It is more hard work than it is hilarity, more grind than glamor, and noticeably lacking in skinny blond women with really big cars and private planes. But it is something I could love doing... and for a very long time.

The rest is just the icing on the delicious birthday cake.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Z2_j9v-BprE/T8rJwIfosbI/AAAAAAAACyw/TIpUwOSesv4/s1600/portal-cake.jpeg

Stay tuned for the follow-up to this piece... 5 reasons why I hate being a video game journalist!

Featured Columnist

Avid PC gamer and long-time console lover. I enjoy sneaking, stealing everything not nailed down, and shooting zombies in the face. I'm also a cat.



Comments
  • 60
    About 3 months ago,
    Fathoms_4209 (Featured Columnist) said:
    Oh, it's fun. It's great if it's what you love to do.

    Much better if you can be satisfied with doing it part-time or on a voluntary basis. When you start talking full-time as a career, it becomes something much more volatile and challenging...to the point where I'm always considering switching career paths.
  • 55
    About 3 months ago,
    Stephanie Tang (Featured Columnist) said:
    I think that's the rub. It's pretty cool now when it's not the only thing bringing in the bread, but "volatile" is a good way of putting it - I'm hardly an expert but it does not feel like the most secure employment I've ever gotten hooked up with.

    Is it just the one other site that you write on?
  • 60
    About 3 months ago,
    Fathoms_4209 (Featured Columnist) said:
    For now, yes. Been E.I.C. of PSXE since 2007, my history includes GamerWeb, Kikizo and AskMen, in addition to being a news, entertainment and feature journalist for three newspapers. I've also done copywriting for the marketing firm, Exclusive Concepts.

    Roles- Staff Writer, Features Writer, Reviews Editor, Copy Writer, Copy Editor, Deputy Editor, Community Manager, Editor-in-Chief.

    .....and yet, I may soon have to just abandon the whole thing and get a "real" job. It's just the way life is.
  • 53
    About 3 months ago,
    Rothalack (Staff Editor) said:
    "(And you can tell your high school career counselor to shove it.)"

    "world-defining moment where you realize the time you spent wasn't wasted, it was invested"

    "even if it's currently on sale for $0.50, you are off-the-walls crazy with the thrill of glee."

    Best quotes of the day, hands down haha. Love this article Steph.
  • 55
    About 3 months ago,
    Stephanie Tang (Featured Columnist) said:
    Haha, thanks! I'm quite partial to selling my soul for a ham sandwich myself. :D
  • 9
    About 3 months ago,
    TumsST (Contributor) said:
    Free stuff and a Ham sandwich, sign me up. I think the first time I had felt like people read/cared what I wrote was when I wrote an interview and one of the answers took off online. The fact that I got the interview was neat enough but then a lot of other sites ran with the story. Volunteering at the start isn't the best but you have to start somewhere am I right?
  • 55
    About 3 months ago,
    Stephanie Tang (Featured Columnist) said:
    Definitely. It can be a delicate balance to figure out whether or not you're still benefiting from the exchange as well, but overall it is a hard nut to crack right out of the box. It sounds like you've made an even bigger splash in the pond than I have. Nice job! ^.^ You should be writing one of these!
  • 36
    About 3 months ago,
    Ryan Kerns (Featured Columnist) said:
    ... and when certain writers aren't getting paid or benefiting... probably why you stop seeing content from them. ;)
  • 55
    About 2 months ago,
    Stephanie Tang (Featured Columnist) said:
    It is an unfortunate and scary thought all at once. :(