How to Become a Game Journalist

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How to Become a Game Journalist

Yahtzee offers some helpful advice about how to get into videogame journalism.

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Amazing advice. I'm taking it to heart. Every last bit.

Grade A stuff. I hope everyone really takes it to heart :)

I think you just gave Steve Butts a heart attack.

Well, that seems like very sound & honest advice. Maybe i'll give it a try, I need a new career anyway.

I certainly don't see what you did there, Yahtzee. Har har wink wink.

Plus also I have this idea for a game too. Its like a FPS but wait! When you shoot the player becomes the bullet and you can steer it to hit the target or other stuff! It will also has RPG elements so you can level up you're bullets with more speed or hats or sounds. It could even be an MMO!

Job, please!

Yahtzee, you forgot to mention that you should never wear cool hats.

LTK_70:
I think you just gave Steve Butts a heart attack.

I thought it was Susan who handled the pitches and new submissions. Which explains her highly-practiced ability to say "Aw, hell no!"

I was wondering if the article was going to take this tack or go for the more delightfully brutal 'You'll spend 10x-40x the time on the source material that a movie reviewer does and get 1/10th to 1/40th of the respect because "You just play games all day."' Alternately a "playing games:reviewing games::sex:porn sex" angle, which would leave an excellent opening for calling the audience a bunch of tragic virgins.

Um... Not to poke holes in your advice, but if you have about four people claiming that your writing is perfect, doesn't that mean that your writing isn't terrible enough?

Very informative article. I will refer to it frequently when putting together the portfolio of work I will be submitting to The Escapist.

Well, time to find the nearest pond.

At last I know what I've been doing wrong all these years. My old man was right, you don't get anywhere in life being an intelligent and nice person.

lacktheknack:
Um... Not to poke holes in your advice, but if you have about four people claiming that your writing is perfect, doesn't that mean that your writing isn't terrible enough?

He means perfect for games journalism of course... like perfectly awful. Not totally ineligible but still devoid of quality. PERFECT!

That should have been a video in and of itself...

Formica Archonis:

LTK_70:
I think you just gave Steve Butts a heart attack.

I thought it was Susan who handled the pitches and new submissions. Which explains her highly-practiced ability to say "Aw, hell no!"

Ayuh. Though the skill it's developed is more of an open-mouthed stare, followed by "You have got to be kidding me."

In truth, the vast majority of the pitches I get are fairly ordinary. I reject about 96% of pitches I receive, but usually for very mundane reasons - it's not a good fit for the audience, it's something that's been done to death, we've already run something along those lines fairly recently, or the writer just isn't all that good. The jaw droppers are relatively few and far between, but they do certainly leave an impression.

Imho the curve to the "No, this is just hilarious anti-advice." appearance is too flat. Takes too long for quite a bunch of people (yes, I've had two people believe this was legit until they were 3/4 through the text already) to realize it's not taken to be by the letter ...
Not that I disagree with the advice of course. :D

Ragsnstitches:

lacktheknack:
Um... Not to poke holes in your advice, but if you have about four people claiming that your writing is perfect, doesn't that mean that your writing isn't terrible enough?

He means perfect for games journalism of course... like perfectly awful. Not totally ineligible but still devoid of quality. PERFECT!

OH! That makes sense.

So, the best reference one can use for the required writing style is "My Immortal", the infamous Harry Potter fanfic?

Can I get a confirmation on that, Susan?

FEichinger:
Takes too long for quite a bunch of people (yes, I've had two people believe this was legit until they were 3/4 through the text already) to realize it's not taken to be by the letter ...

Not to be insulting but those people need to learn how to engage their ability to think critically. The first thing Yahtzee says after giving the 'not bad advice' assurance is "So, the first thing you need to know about video game journalism is that don't, whatever you do, be good at writing." I'm sorry, but if Richard Petty told me "So, the first thing you need to know about NASCAR is that don't, whatever you do, be good at driving." or C. Everett Koop said "So, the first thing you need to know about surgery is that don't, whatever you do, have a steady hand." my BS meter would peg.

Dastardly:
Plus also I have this idea for a game too. Its like a FPS but wait! When you shoot the player becomes the bullet and you can steer it to hit the target or other stuff! It will also has RPG elements so you can level up you're bullets with more speed or hats or sounds. It could even be an MMO!

Job, please!

Sounds like a perfect match for the "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" liscence which is still rocking the box office. That whole little gag with the Yosemite Sam gun needs it's own game. You should probably submit this idea to Disney ASAP.... :)

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Here's one last piece of advice to tide you over: statistics have shown that you're more likely to get published if you drown yourself in a pond.

This one is totally true. If you do drown yourself in a pond, it means that people are more likely to read your work, purely for the "tortured artist" aspect.

Weird. I can't seem to find any sarcasm in this article.

That's a total lie, I have drowned at least 13 kids and an old lady and no one has ever published any of the threat notes I've send.

Well that settles it; I'm quitting my Physiology major and becoming a highly paid and respected game journalist instead!

I knew there was never any money in dentistry anyway.

I see Yahtzee's point about "I want to be a Game Reviewer" being similar to PnP gamers all wanting to work full time in the RPG industry back in the day, with similar chances of it happening, for very similar reasons. HOWEVER, I do think that game journalism suffers from a lack of new blood, much like I think it hurt the PnP RPG industry where you had a bunch of proven veterans, jealously defending their jobs (for obvious reasons) more or less recycling the same material again and again. I think a lot of professional game publications (print or digital) have gotten stuck in a rut, and when they do bring in new blood, it's almost exactly the same as the old blood in the way it goes about things.

Yahtzee himself became popular by breaking the mould, and stood out a lot for that reason. Of course to be honest as time goes on it seems like for all of his snark, I think he's starting to lose it. As odd as it sounds, as time goes on he's taste in games and game content is beginning to seem like someone's grand dad. Too violent, too sexy, too extreme? At one point he make jokes about that kind of thing, but now at times I'm starting to wonder if he's prematurely aging and dottering to and from work at "The Mana Bar" with a walker, waving his cane at "kids" playing games that are 'too much' on the machines. :)

lacktheknack:
So, the best reference one can use for the required writing style is "My Immortal", the infamous Harry Potter fanfic?

Can I get a confirmation on that, Susan?

No, no. The definitive reference text is almost certainly The Eye of Argon.

BTW, the most interesting piece of writing advice I got was from Marion Zimmer Bradley: "Never take writing advice from anyone who can't sign a check."

Hmm. Well, I'm sure following this advice when (if) I get into the business! I might even pass along the information. You know, while claiming that I MADE IT UP MYSELF!!! *Trollface*

... I'M-JUST-JOKING-PLEASE-DON'T-SUE-ME!

But, still. If you get the point about what he's saying, he's got some really good... points. Wow, redundant much? *facepalm*

Susan Arendt:

Formica Archonis:

LTK_70:
I think you just gave Steve Butts a heart attack.

I thought it was Susan who handled the pitches and new submissions. Which explains her highly-practiced ability to say "Aw, hell no!"

Ayuh. Though the skill it's developed is more of an open-mouthed stare, followed by "You have got to be kidding me."

In truth, the vast majority of the pitches I get are fairly ordinary. I reject about 96% of pitches I receive, but usually for very mundane reasons - it's not a good fit for the audience, it's something that's been done to death, we've already run something along those lines fairly recently, or the writer just isn't all that good. The jaw droppers are relatively few and far between, but they do certainly leave an impression.

Good thing you're a heavy drinker then, eh?

Now to be fair, I don't think all of that was incorrect advice. Specifically, I think drowning yourself in a pond might actually help you get something published.

Susan Arendt:

Ayuh. Though the skill it's developed is more of an open-mouthed stare, followed by "You have got to be kidding me."

In truth, the vast majority of the pitches I get are fairly ordinary. I reject about 96% of pitches I receive, but usually for very mundane reasons - it's not a good fit for the audience, it's something that's been done to death, we've already run something along those lines fairly recently, or the writer just isn't all that good. The jaw droppers are relatively few and far between, but they do certainly leave an impression.

That's actually just reminded me. I figured when I turned 18 I might drop a submission and see what happens. And I was lying in bed being an insomniac, and just as I finally started to feel really tired, I had an epiphany. I was like "holy shit, this could actually be it! They'll LOVE this!"

Then came the arduous decision of whether to roll out of bed (and probably forfeit that night's two hours of sleep) and jot it down. I thought "nah, no need. This stands out so much there's no way I could forget it!"

Two days later, I was sat in my Psychology class, when I looked up in realization and remembrance. Then the entire class jumped out of their feet as I shouted "FUCK!"

Edit: jumped out of their feet.... the hell? Damn sentence melding. Jumped out of their seats/jumped to their feet. Take your pick.

ewhac:

lacktheknack:
So, the best reference one can use for the required writing style is "My Immortal", the infamous Harry Potter fanfic?

Can I get a confirmation on that, Susan?

No, no. The definitive reference text is almost certainly The Eye of Argon.

BTW, the most interesting piece of writing advice I got was from Marion Zimmer Bradley: "Never take writing advice from anyone who can't sign a check."

A sweeping blade of flashing steel riveted from the massive
barbarians hide enameled shield as his rippling right arm thrust
forth, sending a steel shod blade to the hilt into the soldiers
vital organs. The disemboweled mercenary crumpled from his
saddle and sank to the clouded sward, sprinkling the parched dust
with crimson droplets of escaping life fluid.
The enthused barbarian swilveled about, his shock of fiery
red hair tossing robustly in the humid air currents as he faced
the attack of the defeated soldier's fellow in arms.
"Damn you, barbarian" Shrieked the soldier as he observed
his comrade in death.

All my million Escapist submissions shall be in the style as seen above.

Invadergray:
Weird. I can't seem to find any sarcasm in this article.

I think for once Yahtzee is being sincere about how to write or get in to game journalism.

Aureliano:
Now to be fair, I don't think all of that was incorrect advice. Specifically, I think drowning yourself in a pond might actually help you get something published.

Obituaries don't count, I'm afraid. I should know, I've faked my death several times to such an end.

Signed, Jack Binns. Formerly known as Frank Sharpe, formerly known as Damon Wright, formerly known as Marilyn Monroe.

lacktheknack:

ewhac:

lacktheknack:
So, the best reference one can use for the required writing style is "My Immortal", the infamous Harry Potter fanfic?

Can I get a confirmation on that, Susan?

No, no. The definitive reference text is almost certainly The Eye of Argon.

BTW, the most interesting piece of writing advice I got was from Marion Zimmer Bradley: "Never take writing advice from anyone who can't sign a check."

A sweeping blade of flashing steel riveted from the massive
barbarians hide enameled shield as his rippling right arm thrust
forth, sending a steel shod blade to the hilt into the soldiers
vital organs. The disemboweled mercenary crumpled from his
saddle and sank to the clouded sward, sprinkling the parched dust
with crimson droplets of escaping life fluid.
The enthused barbarian swilveled about, his shock of fiery
red hair tossing robustly in the humid air currents as he faced
the attack of the defeated soldier's fellow in arms.
"Damn you, barbarian" Shrieked the soldier as he observed
his comrade in death.

All my million Escapist submissions shall be in the style as seen above.

That was glorious. Truly, men such as George R.R. Martin, John Green and whoever wrote that totally awesome Hungry Caterpillar book should learn from this!

In all seriousness, it turns out adjectives are not your bread and butter. And... a steel shod blade? What the hell was it shod through, wood? In which case what the hell kind of sword is that?

No, no, I bet he got a chunk of rock with ore in it and just glued it to a hilt.

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