The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 13
One of the first questions that comes to mind to ask anyone working in the video game industry is, "How did you get started?" Whether it's a community manager for a website or an editor-in-chief for a magazine, I often wonder how their journey began. I know the Game Informer staff gets this question frequently, and I appreciate that several, if not all of them, have answered it. Those that are passionate about video games want to know, "How can I get a job related to video games?" It can often seem like a pipe dream, but we all want to know how to make that dream a reality.
I don't work in the video game industry (yet), but I'm here to tell you that the Game Informer online community has helped that dream seem like a possible reality for me.
Back in 2009, I joined this website. Game Informer had been advertising their new website and magazine redesign. At the time, I was a pretty casual reader of the magazine and I didn't visit video game websites that often. For whatever reason, I was excited about the new GI site, and I couldn't wait to check it out.
Change can be exciting. The redesign of Game Informer reignited my interest in the magazine. The new magazine plus the new website transformed me from a casual reader to a dedicated fan. The community, the GI podcast, and the Replay videos led to me becoming obsessed with Game Informer for quite awhile.
A few months after I joined, I decided to post a blog. One of the staff members had recently posted a Game Informer magazine cover gallery, and I wanted to share my favorite cover, which is Metal Gear Solid 2. Writing that blog seemed like a one time thing. I had posted a few things about my faith on a Blogger page, but overall, I wasn't a writer. In high school, I hated my English classes. In college, I hated my composition class. Writing wasn't really my thing - I was into graphic design, which is what I went to college for and what I do for a career currently. As much as I didn't think I enjoyed writing, I continued to find reasons to write. A few months after my first blog on GIO, I wrote another blog about finally playing A Link to the Past. And a few days after that, I wrote a blog about the G-Man from the Half-Life series.
I was honestly just posting these blogs for myself, but something interesting and unexpected happened - I started getting comments on my blogs. People I didn't know were replying to what I had written. The feedback was positive and it encouraged me to write some more. About a half a year later, I was having a lot of fun talking to people on GIO about video games, and I decided to ask my friends if they'd do a podcast with me. I posted a blog to let people know about the podcast and again, I got positive feedback. I had at least a dozen replies by the time I had announced the podcast and posted the first episode.
The audio quality was rough on the first episode, but the community was very supportive of the Robot in the Corner podcast. We did the show for over two years, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. One of my favorite episodes is when we had a spoiler conversation about Castlevania: Lords of Shadow with Game Informer's Tim Turi and Dan Ryckert.
I eventually started getting positive feedback from the Game Informer staff. Some of my blogs and even the podcast were mentioned in Blog Herding and the GI email newsletter. On top of that, Andy McNamara announced that they'd be selecting bloggers to be featured on the home page and to my surprise, I was one of the original eight people that were selected. Admittedly, this recognition was a huge confidence booster.
So what? Am I here to brag about my accomplishments? No. Let me cut to the chase:
Over the past few years, I've been sharing the stuff I post here on Twitter. I've made some connections and have gotten some opportunities to write for other websites. Before my daughter was born, I wrote for Crimson Monkey for awhile. More recently, I got an offer from Frontburnr to write for them. I've published about four or five posts on their temporary site and yesterday, Frontburnr 1.0 was launched. I am listed on the team page as a Contributor (I'm Dean, in case you didn't know.) This is a very exciting opportunity for me; I'm happy to be a part of this project.
In my opinion, there is currently no place like GIO on the internet. I've posted some stuff elsewhere online and sometimes it feels like I'm talking to myself. Outside of a few likes and shares, there is little to no feedback. Game Informer's online community has encouraged me to keep writing and to keep trying new things, like podcasting. That dream of getting paid for my enthusiasm for video games suddenly doesn't seem like just a dream anymore. That dream seems like a possible reality for me someday. I'd like to thank the Game Informer online community for helping me realize my own potential. Your support has led to me doing things I never thought I'd do, like actually taking an interest in grammar so I can improve my writing skills (I'm getting some coaching from my wife; she's a teacher.) If it wasn't for GIO, I don't think I'd be pursuing this dream that I've set aside several times in the past.
I know I'm not the only one. Last I checked, Nick Schneider and Daniel Jones are writing for The Game Effect. I'm not entirely sure what he's doing, but I know Saint recently told us that he's working in the video game industry now, which is pretty exciting. There are others, but those are the ones I'm sure enough to mention. What about you? Has your beginning at GIO led to any opportunities? Feel free to share in the comments section below!