In response to “A Site to Call My Own” from The Escapist Forum: Yeah, being a game journalist sucks. All the free games you have to play for money, gosh… it’s horrible. Every blockbuster game hit delivered to your doorstep free of charge, even before launch day, getting free PCs and consoles to play on, even other trinkets, t-shirts from the PR departments. Aww, how agonizingly awful life… :'(
Yeah, that was sarcastic. Duh! I myself am a game journalist too. I’m writing for a Hungarian gaming magazine you’ve probably never heard of, and as such, I can relate to some of your problems. With years of writing behind my back, I know it’s hard to lose yourself in a game without those journalist reflexes kicking in, weighing pros and cons, looking for bugs, analyzing the gameplay, seeking for plotholes in the story…etc. But one thin is certain: playing games is awesome, and playing games as work is even more awesome. Having your very own site is just the cherry on top. I know there is work to be done with sites like that, and many times the gain is less than the pain, but it’s still yours.
Maybe you forgot, that VERY few people can actually enjoy the work they are doing. We, game journalists are in these few, playing games for a living is everyone’s dream. I have my daytime job besides writing about games, and I know it’s hard to sit down with a game to review it after 8 hours in the grinder, but you got to be grateful for the fact, that you are actually doing it for yourself, and the people reading your articles. So please stop whining about how awful it is to be a game journalist with your own site, that is hypocrisy.
While I’ve never visited GWJ, this article intrigued me enough to do so (it will be the next stop on my browser).
What Sean said is resonating with me all the more because I, too, am a gamer-with-a-job. I can (sort of) pride myself on being even worse off the GWJ, as I’m half of a team that produces a gaming podcast (and attached site) in Hebrew, to the vanishingly small population of Israeli gamers, which appears to be mostly teen-agers anyway. Talk about TENS of people caring what you think… 🙂
Anyway, hit-counts notwithstanding, I enjoy it very much, both from the fledgling community aspect and the still-new-to-me (we’re now celebrating our first anniversary) journalist pose.
In response to “Button-Mashing Monkeys” from The Escapist Forum: The article pretty closely mirrors my own experience working as a tester on Perfect Dark Zero at Microsoft’s Samammish campus. One thing I’d like to add is that the atmosphere was really a lot of fun. It was four guys to a cubicle and you’d have another team right behind you so there was constant chatter about whatever anyone wanted to talk about. That was a big part of what made it bearable once we started working 65+ hour weeks to get the game ready to ship. One thing that’s funny about the fatigue is that it destroys the quality of your work because you’re a lot less likely to notice any problems, but it doesn’t stop you from rocking at the game. There were nights when I’d be completely out of it by 10 or 11 (which means I was totally useless for noticing or reporting any bugs) but I’d still be pretty high on the kill board. (these were balance and load tests, so we were supposed to be playing the game rather than checking for holes in geometry or missing textures or anything like that)The article seems to imply that all of our enjoyment from video games comes from an attempt at reliving childhood. It seems to say that the wild imagination which is represented innocently is good, but the aggressive imagination is bad. In my opinion, both are natural the growth of a child, but this isn’t the primary issue.
Granted I only have one day of testing experience, it was a 14 hour day. It sounds to me like the experience at Nintendo and Microsoft are understandably ideal compared to other places. Working for a third party company, you can be expected to pull 50-70 hour weeks frequently, and with a 6 month contracted that won’t be renewed unless you put in every hour that’s asked of you. Not taking the overtime can be considered to be taking vacation time. You’re in a dark room for 10-16 hour days with temperatures that are either freezing or boiling hot depending on when the cooling systems kick in, and replaying the same level of a game 15-20 times a day. As somebody who could happily play video games for entertainment every day until I die, I’d say doing QA/Testing is poison for being able to enjoy games. There’s too much of a good thing, and then there’s too much of a not-so-good, unpolished and stressful thing.
In response to “Fragging in the (Un)Lucky Country” from The Escapist Forum: Talk to any career counsellor and they will tell you : If you want to be happy in life find something you’re good at, something you enjoy doing, and that’s what you should do for a job.
Tell them that what you enjoy and are good at is gaming, and they’ll laugh in your face.
As an Aussie I do hope that professional e-sport does catch on down here, but sadly we do lag way behind the rest of the world in many online avenues. I lived in the US for 3 years and I could get a decent broadband connection for half of what I pay down here, and it wasn’t metered the way most companies do down here, sharing a house with my wife who is also a gaming nut, and having to watch our usage to make sure we don’t go over our cap for the month is rather annoying.
People do tend to overlook the benefits of serious competitive gaming. The organisation skills and leadership skills that it can teach go far beyond the stereotypical “pizza-faced, pasty-faced 98lb weakling” and actually help people with skills in other realms of life. The example cited by the writer is just one case where a gamer, has taken the skills they’ve learned through their gaming interactions and used it to move on to another career, one considered more “socially acceptable.”
For now, the rest of us keep plugging away at our daily 9 to 5’s, come home, eat dinner with the family, play with my son (who is 2) and enjoy my gaming hobby after he heads to bed, then spend what time we can on the weekend, cloistered behind our monitors, hidden away like society says we should.