This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.
I have always wanted to be a part of gaming culture. When I was younger I remember wanting to send a letter to EGM about my boundless enthusiasm for the medium and my determination to either make games or write about them for a living. I didn't ever send that letter because I was worried it would be seen as childish.
I was writing to a magazine of people who write about video games and was worried about being childish….Kinda silly. Especially considering I was probably a freaking child at the time.
I spent half of my high school career preparing for a career in game programming and writing on the side. When I made it to the only community college I could commute to and afford without burying myself in student loans my enthusiasm for the idea of being a programmer ended up being destroyed. The community college was basically only teaching databases and bank software and my restless nature couldn't stand being taught something I didn't like and learning the stuff I was actually interested in on my own. I didn't want to self teach and yet still have to pay out the nose for an education.
I had a complete breakdown in college because I couldn't accept a life where everyone expected me to be successful but no one cared if I was expressing myself honestly while doing it.
As more and more stories in the media started talking about game programming being a stressful as hell job that was hard to get but ultimately sort of low paying I just gave up. I didn't even want to work on other people's projects anyway. I had my own set of ideas and I wanted them to see the light of day instead of working on Duty of Shooty 12 for some money grubbing troll of a company.
At the end of the day I decided to cut my losses, get some crappy low paying job to just make ends meet, and focus on fiction writing. I wanted to at least tell my own stories if I didn't have the gumption to learn to make my own games. Maybe if I was good enough i could end up writing for a game one day. On a lark I followed the collapsing EGM (sigh) to check out Bitmob and decided to do a few posts. The initial response was better then expected and soon almost all of my writing time was going to Bitmob. A few hiccups here and there didn't stop me from improving my craft and learning some tricks of the trade.
My first article "The curse of the breasted Mcguffin" was also my first spotlight. The little bit of positive attention I got was enough to catapult me into a career of Bitmob posts that really completely failed to gain me anything but some frustrating stories and a few awesome writing buddies.
Meanwhile the economic downturn happened and sent me on a downward spiral of scrambling for even steady minimum wage employment that has left me losing my best friend and struggling to make ends meet working at a McDonalds and living in an apartment I can't afford with two people I barely know.
The depression of failing to even eek out a steady poor mans living combined with isolation meant that my writing suffered. I now barely write at all and if I do it's a short post on Bitmob about some controversial issue I take the unpopular opinion on. Despite myself I am still clinging onto the vain hope someone will see potential in me and give me a chance to write about games (or do any of the countless other things I wish I could do with my life.)
Who am I really kidding though? Games writing has been taken over by dry news posts reposted from other sources, cliche humor pieces, reposting of other people's game related joke projects, and the occasional hot button issue post that often times is either ignored or creates a flame war instead of discussion. It's an industry ruled by editors and marketers where writers are lucky their names are included on their posts. The fanbase infected with a swarming army of cackling gibbons who are more interested in making other people feel bad then on anyone's real opinion.
Meanwhile I'm having trouble even figuring out how to adhere to something as simple as a style guide without drowning in anxiety and fear over the gulf between my own personal beliefs and writing focus and the expected output of a modern day games writer.
Paint the walls with my brains.
If I'm really honest with myself, my success in life would be a goddamn miracle at this point.
I am an uneducated, bitter, unpopular game addict and hermit who's only selling point is occasionally making a good point in an industry where good points are buried and lost under glad handing to publishers and fanboy baiting.
I can't write a review that's inoffensive to publishers. I can't write an opinion piece that is overwhelmingly agreed with due to it's popular opinion or it's popularly cliche jokes. I can't hide behind my personality by getting on the video review revolution to gain fans because I can't afford a camera and my friend who was good at editing video ditched me for a more stable existence with a safety net. In order for me to find my audience I would have to create one from the ground up out of ash.
This is something I have already tried. My entire post structure on Bitmob has been basically throwing shit against the wall and seeing what will stick. Still every experiment I've tried for changing the game thus far has failed miserably and sometimes it even gets me backlash from Bitmob's writing and editing community. I am simply not popular enough or inoffensive enough for people to give me the benefit of the doubt. So when things come off as strange, botched, or annoying in my writing I imagine the average reader just looks for some giggle inducing top ten list instead.
Hell. Look at this post itself! Have you ever seen anyone SUCCESSFUL after doing long angst ridden blogs about how their life fails to meet their expectations? I do these all the time!
No matter how I try to lampshade it or apologize for it. People just don't like 'whiners'
Whenever I do these I just chalk them up as me pissing away my respectability to make myself feel better. In truth I do them because when a problem overwhelms me my only defense mechanism is to be honest with people and hope they understand. I decided long ago that understanding would be the only thing that could save people's opinion of someone who acts as screwed up as I feel compelled to act.
I am at the edge of the abyss. I am close to abject poverty and jabbering mostly to myself. This is an attempt to catalog my sins in having ambition without being strong enough to build a work ethic. I can't sacrifice my comfort for my craft.
Despite my complete lack of belief that this industry could ever find places for people who failed in the ways I have I still post on Bitmob. I do this because I can't stop hoping that things will work out and my mind always desperately searches for validation to ease my long standing emotional scars. I don't believe I can make it. I just hope I can like how I hoped when I almost sent that stupid letter.
I can look to the sky all I want. If I can't learn to fly I'll never get there.
The truth of the world is not everyone can make it. More then passion is expected of people because so many have passion and so the deciding factor has to be who can back up that passion in other areas. Even if games 'journalism' expands it will still have standards that often times involve college. Often times success in writing about games is in changing your writing style to suit someone else's idea of 'good' or 'having integrity' rather then your own. This is something I could never tolerate doing.
The sad truth of the matter is the games industry and the games writing industry both are designed to reject the kind of slacker who wastes their entire life playing games. The key to success isn't about being dedicated to games, it's about being dedicated to other disciplines while also liking games. I'm never going to be the type of person to dedicate myself to a deep intensive craft when I could be focusing on the great ideas I want to explore instead and that's where I'm going to be thrown out with the garbage. In the enthusiast press I'm too enthusiast and not enough press.
I can not personally accept that I will be one of those who is discarded in favor of other, better writers but if it happens it will happen regardless of my belief in it's validity. In order to find my place I can't just change to try and be something I'm not because someone who already IS what the industry wants will do it better then me. So my best choice is to cling to honesty and cling to my own beliefs and hope for all the shots in the dark I take to eventually hit something big.
I believe I am a nerd first and a writer a distant second. My goal is not to be the best writer ever my goal is to advance the discussion about subjects I am passionate about and provide a unique perspective. I still don't understand why this isn't good enough. The world has plenty of technically good writers. The world can never have enough honest and good natured thinkers.
My career can't be just being the objective, super competent journalistic writer. My purpose is having opinions that I believe in and will fight for even when the majority of people don't. My purpose is in believing that writing about games isn't just about buying decisions and farming for hits with cute funny asides. My purpose is in continuing to believe that while sending that letter would have been childish and making this post is childish, I should have sent it and I should be posting this.
I trust my feelings about things and I trust that my way of seeing things has merit in the greater discussion of our culture. I owe it to myself to be honest about who I am and about how being a part of video game culture has been both the best and worst thing to ever happen to me. The best because I love this industry and want to do what I can to help it evolve and thrive. The worst because half of my life has been wasted trying to find ways to succeed some place where I don't think I'm wanted.
Where I go from here is entirely reliant on people's ability to accept me for who I am because I have learned from 26 hard years of not fitting in that I am never going to successfully change myself for the benefit of others.
I have spent so much of my life trying to please my parents and please my peers and teachers and still failing and being punished for it that I'll be damned if I'm going to try and please anyone who won't accept me ever again. So either people see what I am trying to do for what it is and respect the passion and effort that goes into my complete lack of perfection or I fade away into the dark. Another statistic of the directionless moron with big dreams and no drive.