ethics in video game journalism

Ethics in Video Game Journalism: Why I Don’t Write About Games Anymore

Posted on Posted in Career, Journalism, Video Games

At one point, I was known (at least in certain circles) about being in video game journalism. In the past, I wrote for many independent video game sites, including Dualshockers, Platform Nation, Buzzfocus (RIP) and so many others that there are too many too name.

I also was a founding member and Deputy Editor of the video game blog, Continue Play and briefly, the Editor-in-Chief of the now defunct Indie Game Magazine. My crowning achievements were being featured on Game Journalists are Incompetent Fuckwits and a piece on Unwinnable where I likened getting arrested and manhandled by police officers to the Imperial guards in Elders Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

All in all, while I didn’t have any mainstream success in video game journalism, I did write well over a thousand articles and probably over a hundred reviews and features.

While all that sounds impressive, it probably actually isn’t. The vast majority of that was done in college, when I felt like I was setting myself up for a post-college career that started to not really exist the closer I got to graduating. That being said, here are some of the reasons that I am no longer a video game journalist and now pursue other avenues of writing and creating.

There is Very Little Money In Video Game Journalism

no money in writing

No one ever gets into writing for the money, but even less people get into video game journalism for the money. More people get in it for the free games, the press events and the free games (again) than you would think. But with the rise of digital journalism, reviews and think-pieces on games are way less meaningful than they used to be. When someone with a laptop and enough money to maintain a WordPress site (like me) can call themselves a video game journalist, the name starts to lose meaning.

There are still established sites, but even those at IGN or Polygon are paid a pittance in comparison to those on the PR side of things, or even what I make now. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to join them, but you don’t have to be them either.

I Have Other Things I Want To Write About

Video games are not as big a part of my life as they once were. I still have a PS4 and a gaming PC, and find myself regularly playing Hearthstone, but I’m not the gamer that I once was. Video game journalism was actually a big part of what started to turn me off to gaming in the first place. Putting those expectations on me just made me enjoy gaming less.

Now I travel and read more, and while those were also activities I enjoyed in the past, I am now more empowered to indulge in them more in young adulthood. Games haven’t gone by the wayside at all, there are just other things that interest me more now, especially in my writing.

“Actually it’s about Ethics in Video Game Journalism”

ethics in video game journalism terrorists

Well, maybe not entirely. But after GamerGate, I realized that there is a lot of toxicity in the gaming community and mostly stopped associating myself with video game journalism. That’s not to say I didn’t write about games at all after GamerGate. I certainty did. But I just didn’t have the same passion it that I used to. There was something a bit lost for me.

And once it occurred to me that it wasn’t writing, it just writing about games that kind of dulled my interest in writing, I stopped soon after. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t read video game journalism or don’t think that its existence is vital. It just means that I don’t write about games anymore.

And that’s ok. Ultimately, being a video game journalist in college and after graduating did allow me to build up my writing portfolio, write for some mainstream outlets outside of video game journalism, and actually start to value my work and charge and receive legitimate rates for my writing in other industries. As a writer and digital marketer, I needed to start somewhere, and video game journalism was a great proving ground for me to build up the professional experience I needed to succeed with my job in PR management for an SEO company and in comic book and screenwriting.

7 thoughts on “Ethics in Video Game Journalism: Why I Don’t Write About Games Anymore

  1. Hey, I just read this and I am dumbfounded. I literary followed the same path. I’ve written thousands of articles and features in the last three years (after college) and have no mainstream success. I just do it for my portfolio (jennifermendez.com). But I’ve been looking for a better writing opportunity, or a job in PR, like you, or even marketing. Can I ask what you did to transition from one thing to another? I find that it’s tough to be taken seriously because my background is so creative and niche.

    1. Wow I thought I replied to this weeks ago but the response never went through for some reason. Anyway a year and a half ago I had sort of talked my way into an entry level marketing job (started out really low paying) and got laid off, then collected unemployment. I used the unemployment workforce parternship grant to go get a marketing certificate at a local university and started freelancing as a content marketing writer as opposed to focusing on journalism. I then parlayed that into a contract to hire position as an outreach coordinator at an SEO company, and was able to turn that into a full time position by taking over a large arm of the business and becoming the PR manage there. Of course, I had to prove myself first and it took some time, but I was happy with the results. I still work on creative writing projects but keep that wholly separate from my work. Hope that helps and thanks for stopping by!

  2. Kind of in the same boat, although I still enjoy writing about games for now. I fall into the category of “have enough money to maintain a WordPress site” — although I’ve been a legit freelance writer for print magazines, Web sites, etc. for 20 years. I mostly enjoy it but I still regularly consider whether or not it’s worth the effort. Most paying work I get is gaming-related but doesn’t come from my personal site.

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