I’d like to take time today to dispel a few of the myths surrounding being a games journalist.
So many of my old school friends have commented to me on Facebook how cool my job is and how I must be wallowing in free games. Before I begin.I would like to stress that my job is very cool and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. It is not how people imagine though.
Firstly there is the constant, almost symbiotic relationship that I have with my email. I can’t go anywhere without at least having the Googlemail client on my phone permanently active. this causes my girlfriend no end of aggravation when my phone vibrates to notify me of press releases arriving from the West Coast of the USA, which for me is around 2am.
Then there is the need to meticulously own and complete every single game ever made. I am neurotic about completing games but sometimes it becomes a chore when said game is complete bollocks. This is why I never brag about completing the Godfather II. I also will spend far too much money on games when I should be buying things like food or paying the TV license. again something that my girlfriend and I will agree to disagree about.
Another thing I have to point out that while games journalism is all about the games most of my time is take up by writing. Writing emails, writing pitches, writing articles and, most importantly, writing invoices. If I’m not writing I’m either playing review code or reading other people’s articles and press releases to keep up to date with what is going on. I do have a mild case of RSI as a result but I keep the kitchen cabinet well-stocked with ibuprofen.
Finally, I have to put to bed the idea that there are free games. Just because we don’t pay for the games doesn’t make them free. I must review each and every one of those games writing between 300 and 1500 words per game, most of which are unpaid at this point. I also must furnish the PR representatives with timely links and hope they won’t be upset when I say that their game is not as good as the press release made it out to be so that they will keep sending me games.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not me complaining. I am just telling the truth about what I do. I love my job. It keeps me challenged and mentally stimulated and I wouldn’t have it any other way.