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The Fantasy Vs The Reality Of Gaming Journalism
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The Fantasy Vs the Reality Of Gaming Journalism

Getting paid to write about games seems like a pretty amazing job to me. Heck, who wouldn't want to? To some people looking on the outside, they might think "Wow.. they get to write about games, get paid, and get free games on the side." and while yes, that is true in some aspects, people forget like with anything else, there is work involved. That's the problem... people having a hard time deciphering the reality of gaming journalism opposed to the fantasy. You really can't blame them though, because most people can only see the "free games" side of things.

Now to some people that might not know, I use to be a former writer for a gaming website so to speak. Did I have a degree that warranted me being one? No.. I was just like any other gamer out there, just wanted to do something in relation to gaming in general. I originally was trying my hand at internet marketing until I happened upon a website that was accepting new writers. I figured I would give it a shot since I was already writing about games anyways. I was asked to submit 2 gaming pieces to verify if I could write well at all. I passed and low and behold I was writing for them. Now the fantasy was that I was going to get paid big bucks and get free games, however it couldn't of been further from the truth.

I didn't get paid money, but instead benefits and other stuff to compensate for money. I still looked on the bright side of things because it would do good to network with a few big people out there. I can't tell you how many articles I had to write, and even on some games I didn't even like or care for. That's the first reality, you will eventually be expected to write on games or news you probably don't care about. Fast forward a little bit and it came time to a review a game. In my mind I'm thinking "Yes finally!! I can get a free game and review it!!", until I saw the game title. Almost no one on the staff wanted to pick it up, but eventually I did since again, I figured it would be good for networking.

While the game wasn't bad, I didn't have much drive to play it either. That's the second reality, you will have to review games you don't even like at times, but it's rare. I wasn't able to snag a triple A title till about 3 months in, writing article after article. To clarify what a triple A title is, it's games like Madden, Call of Duty, Gears of War, Resident Evil, Street Fighter, etc. Basically they are big name titles with a huge budget in a nutshell.

Three weeks before I was able to obtain a Triple A title for review, I was really losing my drive to write in general, mainly because it wasn't putting money in my pocket and to the fact that I didn't get the games I had my eye on for a while. I spoke to my chief editor about it and she laid it out simple for me. "I've been at this for a year and some change now and I've seen a host of writers come and go. Some were really good, some.. not as much. The one thing that keeps me here, is because I have a passion for doing this. I love writing about games and just being at the events. I also understand it takes alot of work for me to enjoy these rewards. If you have a passion for this, then you continue on. If you don't and your biding your time for money to roll in or just to get a game, then you will be disappointed."

That's when it hit me like a ton of bricks, and why the older writers stay as long as they do. It's their sheer passion for the subject and the industry that keeps them spending their free time writing, editing, and posting up article after article.. even if it is something that they are not really interested in. The biggest reality that outweighs them all is that you have to really have a passion for gaming in general. If you are doing it to get a few freebies, they will not keep you around long.. trust me.

Final thoughts

To be a writer for a website it will take alot of work. The amount of work that you do shows why getting a game here and there is worth it. Reading this it sounds like it's not something people wish to get into, however it isn't all bad. Getting to play a game that you want to play and later on reviewing it from your side of things is really awesome. When people read your views and you get comments from your friends about it, is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. It really says that your opinion matters. Plus, with the more you write and it is of quality, you have developers and/or their public relation guys/gals looking to provide you with interviews, building up your reputation on your website and in the industry. If you can deal with all the realities and have a true passion for gaming, then it will be all be worth the hard work


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