Video Game Journalism: Writing for a living
Imagine this for a moment.
It’s the biggest fight of the century.
Two opponents (equally matched, and equally loved and hated) are slugging it out against one another in the biggest battle this sport has ever seen. They continue to trade blows left and right, one right after another – perfect counter moves that show just how evenly matched they are.
Everyone is focused on the next development in this incredible story, and they are being spoonfed all of the action directly by you!
You are right down in the middle of the action, recording absolutely everything and getting it out to the world at large. People are hanging off of your every word, waiting for you to describe to them (in vivid detail) exactly what they are missing out on.
They trust you to get the job right.
Well, if you decide to become a video game journalist, that’s exactly the kind of life you’ll lead. Only you won’t be dealing with elite level athletes (in the traditional sense of the word), but will instead be dealing with the biggest figures and personalities in the multibillion-dollar video gaming industry.
Do you think you have the chops to get into this career?
Let’s find out.
The responsibilities of a video game journalist
As a video game journalist, you’re going to be responsible for many of the same tasks and duties that a traditional journalist would be called on for – only your focus will be (almost exclusively) on the video gaming industry in general.
You are going to be asked to:
– Dig up dirt on the latest goings-on in the video gaming community
– Cultivate resources and assets that you can leverage to get groundbreaking stories and “scoops” as often as you can
– Condense and clearly communicate new and exciting stories to the video gaming community at large
– Develop your own immediately recognizable “voice” through your video game journalism so that you build up a brand and reputation, and enjoy a bit of online celebrity yourself
And that is just the tip of the iceberg!
You’re going to have to write a tremendous amount of stories about the videogame industry, videogame developing companies, videogame titles that are going to be released in the future, videogame reviews, the fledgling world of professional videogame sports and competition, and so much more!
If you eat, sleep, and breathe video games – and also have a real passion for reporting news before everyone else, love writing and communicating, and want to do whatever you can to push the videogame world just a bit further into the future then the way you found it – you’re going to love being a video game journalist!
What you need to do to become a video game journalist
There are a couple of different things you can do to get started on your way to becoming a video game journalist – most of them well with in your control.
First of all, you may want to consider seriously attending at least a couple of journalism courses or classes at a local college or university. These courses are going to provide you with a foundational education in journalism and writing that you would not have had access to otherwise. This can be a determining factor in whether or not you become wildly successful or fall flat on your face.
Secondly, you’re going to want to figure out how you are going to reach out to the video gaming community at large.
After all, you’re not going to be able to become a globally recognized leader in the video game journalism world without a boatload of connections – connections that you may or may not be able to develop all on your own.
You might want to consider taking on an internship with videogame companies, websites that focus exclusively on video games, and a number of other videogame businesses if only to further develop your own contacts and relationships.
Breaking into the industry
Once you have the foundation built, it’s time to think about breaking into the industry in a big way.
Before, you used to be forced to apply to different video game journalism jobs, wait by the phone and hope that they like you enough to call you in for an interview, and then pray that you didn’t throw up over everyone because you were so nervous and anxious at this initial meeting.
Things have gotten considerably easier today.
You can certainly still go that “old school route” to becoming a video game journalist, but you could also decide to open up your own videogame blog or videogame website and crown yourself a videogame journalist without waiting for anyone else to do it for you.
Both of them have pros and cons that you will need to look at closely before making a decision to move forward with, but there are almost infinite possibilities if you really (REALLY) want to become a video game journalist.
The pros of the job
For one, you’re going to get paid (frequently a considerable chunk of change) to hang out with the video gamers, videogame developers, and videogame industry insiders – all of which are going to help you become a better writer and a better journalist.
Secondly, you’re going to get the opportunity to travel the world and engage in videogame events that not many other people get the chance to. Also, you’ll almost always have a “backstage pass” to see the kind of “underbelly” of these events had very few (if any) other people do.
Lastly, we’re talking about writing about video games here.
It just doesn’t get much better than that!
The cons of the job
On the flip side, not all is sunshine and roses when it comes to becoming a video game journalist.
Sure, sometimes you will get free copies of AAA titles before anyone else. And sure, you might get an insider scoop to break a huge story that no one else even knows about.
But at the same time, you’re going to have to pump out and churn out high quality articles on a nearly round-the-clock basis (at least in the early stages of your career) – something that you might not be all that crazy about.
You also won’t work regular hours, may not receive a regular paycheck, and are going to be dealing with wildly creative types that can make or break your story depending entirely upon how they feel in that particular moment.
It’s a wild, wild scene.
To become a video game journalist is the dream of many across the globe, but few are ever going to follow that dream and really create something tangible out of it.
If this is your passion, your desire, and your burning wish, you cannot turn your back on it – nor should you. Use the inside information above to help you become the best video game journalist you can!
See also: Video Games Guides for Profits