5 Reasons Why I Love Being a Video Game Journalist
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.
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.
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.
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.