In some distant, dusty corner of my mind, there is a list titled What Adam Wants to Be When He Grows Up.
I’ve spent the past half a decade or so crossing things off this list. Voice actor was the first to go, followed by Author and Professional blogger years later. My list seems to get a little smaller every year; at this point, it consists of English teacher, Copy editor, C.S. Lewis, and G.K. Chesterton. Those last two probably aren’t realistic options, since they’ve already been taken by other people.
The latest profession to be removed from What Adam Wants to Be When He Grows Up was Video game journalist. Yes, video game journalism is a thing. Someone has to review all those games, interview game developers, and cover events like E3, after all!
In the past few years, I’ve delved into the fascinating world of video game journalism and found it awesome… and also kind of awful.
I love writing. I love video games. Video game journalism unites two of my greatest interests in one exciting career. For a few months, I seriously considered looking into the profession. Like voice acting all those years ago, video game journalism seemed almost too good to be true.
Well, like voice acting, video game journalism turns out to be a heck of a lot harder than it looks. It takes more than a knack for writing and a passion for gaming. Video game journalism has extremely tight deadlines and not much job security. The job requires extensive research, technical know-how, and a high tolerance for brutal, abusive reactions.
The video game industry seems to have more than its fair share of spiteful people: gamers prowling around like roaring lions seeking whom they may devour. Every controversy in the video game industry, and media coverage thereof, gets messy. Insults, accusations, and—I hate to say this—death threats are not uncommon.
Some gamers don’t even need controversies to be cruel. All it takes to kindle their fury is a dissenting opinion. Vicious arguments are started by mild statements like “I think Majora’s Mask is a better game than Ocarina of Time,” and woe to the journalist brave enough to discuss touchy subjects like religion or feminism in video games!
In this journalistic minefield, video game journalists are wary. They follow complicated regulations about transparency and conflicts of interest. (These rules are good, fair, and necessary, but definitely a headache.) Some journalists have been publicly shamed, and had to apologize, for honest opinions.
All of this makes me especially thankful for the anarchy of blogging.
Well, anarchy may not be the best word; freedom is probably a more positive one. As the world of video game journalism is shaken by GamerGate, a recent mess of controversies involving feminist criticisms and alleged conflicts of interest, I find myself more thankful than ever for the freedom to write whatever the heck I want to write.
One of many things that makes blogging fun is that is has so few regulations. Nearly every rule for this blog is self-imposed. TMTF has deadlines and guidelines and whatnot, but they’re all the ones I chose for it. Blogging isn’t a minefield whose navigation requires strict rules. All it takes to write a blog is passion, a little experience, and maybe just a hint of insanity.
I admire video game journalists. I hope the problems of GamerGate are quickly and peacefully resolved.
Most of all, I am so, so thankful for the anarchy of blogging.