Games Journalism

Originally published on Trevor Trove on August 3, 2016

Yesterday morning, I awoke to a friendly Twitter mention suggesting I look into a job posting Kotaku had just listed for Staff Writer.

My immediate response was along the lines of, “Interesting. Despite the current Gawker bankruptcy activity and unclear future of the company, Kotaku is looking to expand? Hmmm…” The reality of the situation was made much more clear as I later saw the news that Patrick Klepek was leaving the company for a (then undisclosed) new position at what I thought was probably going to be (and turned out to be) new role alongside Austin Walker at the new VICE Gaming outlet.

In the couple hours in between seeing that tweet and Patrick’s announcement, I’ll admit fantasies of working alongside Jason Schreier and Patrick Klepek, chasing down actual news stories about the industry and not republishing press releases excited me. Ultimately, I think I’m probably a much better fit for an editorial person where I can respond and comment on industry happenings, but I would also undeniably love the chance to explore the untold stories of the industry and shine a light on the stories that might not otherwise make it out from under the mountains of non-disclosure agreements. For example, I imagine many people would love to crack the white whale of the story that is “what really happened between Konami and Hideo Kojima?” I’ve never even been a Kojima fan – really only getting interested in Metal Gear Solid last year with The Phantom Pain – but the allure and mystery surrounding that story is fascinating.

But the thing is, I didn’t go to school for Journalism, which is what that kind of work is: Games Journalism. Not “Games Media” or “Enthusiast Press,” the work I know Kotaku for is their Journalism work. Sure, they post a ton of other content as well and not everything Jason Schreier and Patrick Klepek put out was hard-hitting investigative reporting, but they often delivered (and will continue to deliver) actual news that I don’t see elsewhere.

And I’ve gotten into debates online about the demand of “games journalism” or the question of “is revealing the new Assassin’s Creed setting ahead of the Ubisoft PR machine’s schedule really journalism?” And I stand by the belief that absolutely it is for the people who are interested in following the industry as intimately as I try to. “But games don’t matter in the same way that politics do?” has been the response. And while I understand and respect that line of thinking, I would also submit that on the day-to-day reality of my life, games actually impact me and the community I exist in way more than what’s happening (or often not happening) in Washington, D.C. Regardless, both can exist and both have merit. Additionally, this line of thinking is why gaming, more than any other art form is still plagued by stigmas.

People will openly deride gamers and say things like “oh you still play video games, when are you going to grow up?” Imagine saying to someone “oh you still watch tv/movies/listen to music/see plays/go to the museum, when are you going to grow up?” It’s absurd. But as patrons of the art form that is gaming, we often bring this upon ourselves by the way the so-called “vocal minority” lashes out at anything they don’t like (i.e. Fanboy wars, Gamergate, etc.). If we want to be taken seriously, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. “Games Media” and “Games Journalism” can absolutely and should co-exist, in the same way that movies, television, and politics all have the “entertainment” aspect of their industry working alongside the in-depth analysts and reporters. In fact, I would go so far as to say that given the “real world” implications of the political machine, it actually shouldn’t have the entertainment arm but that’s another article for a different day and a different site.

Will I ultimately apply for the Kotaku position? The jury’s still out. I’d sure as hell bust my ass if given the opportunity but I also completely recognize that “chas[ing] down a news story” (per the job description) isn’t currently in my repertoire so the job is probably far more suited to someone with that skill set. New York could be fun though. And I’d probably blow my first paycheck just to see Hamilton as it has provided so many personal mantras in this endeavor.

How do you write like you’re running out of time? Write day and night like you’re running out of time? How do you write like tomorrow won’t arrive? How do you write like you need it to survive? How do you write every second you’re alive?

There’s a million things I haven’t done. Just you wait, just you wait.

I will never be satisfied.

I am not throwing away my shot!

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