When I was a kid, I romanticized what writing was, and who the writers I loved were. I looked up to every author whose book I read, and hoped that I could someday be like him or her. Their stories were magical for and took me to a different place in life; so, as a loving fan, I tried to craft my own stories. For some reason (lack of creativity probably), they turned out to be bland and wanting. I didn't necessarily understand why, but I didn't give up.
After deciding to go to Penn-Foster University, I learned what most journalism majors learn: formulaic writing with a twist of personal style. I haven't graduated yet, but a couple of months ago, I decided to attempt putting my thoughts to pen and paper or, rather, computer screen and keyboard. It turned out to be a rewarding experience, and I don't regret where I started, but now I can't help but rethink what I know about the term 'game-writing'.
Starting with a blog, I attempted this illusive style of writing. After only four posts, and several queries to publications, I got an e-mail from Gamepro suggesting that I check out the Bitmob community. I was struck with fandom, and immediately navigated to the site Gamepro suggested.
I didn't immediately understand, but after reading the featured articles for the last week, I was astounded by what I found: a group of people who are endeavoring to show the world how gaming genuinely effects it. At first, I thought this was just like any other gaming site, so I treated it as such. In my first two articles, I basically imitated the style of what I knew game writing to be. Not to say that other sites are doing anything wrong, but I realize now why I have had so many reservations about game writing; it didn't seem real.
I've read titles like "The Lottery" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" (insert any other classic short fiction here), and experienced something unique: awe. I've experience this awe with non-fiction essays about the world, and also with fiction crafted to show a social message, but, until Bitmob, I hadn't necessarily respected those within the game writing field, or had a connection to their writing. Which is weird, because I aspired to be one of them.
What I thought was good two months ago has instantly changed. I no longer looked at game writing as a steppingstone to something better, even though that can still be true; it's something so much more real now. I had settled and I hadn't even realized it.
Sure, reading what a game is and how developers do what they do is solid reading material, but, in my mind, that can't rival what Bitmob is doing. I've learned that games effect other besides myself, and, more than that, this style of writing can influence more people than just myself. I'm declaring it right now: game writing is no longer a special-interest piece, or it shouldn't have to be.
Cory William's Transcending the Interactive Experience touched me not only as a gamer, but as a human; Stojan Jovic's Blame the Media…again! had me shouting at the screen in approval; Tony DaSilva's To the Elitist Gaming Press: "A Word, Please." got me to sit down and think about my life.
With what the Bitmob's community is doing, I believe that we could possibly see the death of the 'blame game' from other forms of media – its prime target being what we love so much: video games. If more latch onto what Bitmob is doing, we would no longer have to explain our profession or our beloved hobby.
I've died 52 frustrating times in Demon's Souls, platinized both Uncharted games, and I am the shotgun roller that everyone hates in Gears of War. Most of society wouldn't look at those examples as viable life experience (or job experience), but our community is bridging the gap between how other see us and our particular brand of entertainment. You don't need society's approval you say? Well, if I'm going to be a success in this life, then I do need the masses' approval so I can write about those that don't give a @#$% about society.
I'm sure all Bitmobbers know what they are a part of, but for me, it's like i've just had an awakening; there is no way I can go back to sleep…Thank You All.
How about you? What realizations have you come to through Bitmob's community? Post a comment and let me know; I desperately need to know!
About the author: Nathan Standridge is a freelance writer and can grow a mean mustache.