Happiness & Ghost Peppers
In the immortal words of Sir Shia Laboeuf, JUST DO IT.
That, in a nutshell, is the most important lesson you can take away from an experience like interning at Game Informer. For three months and change, it’s been nothing but droves of news stories, constantly evolving feature pieces, and video hijinks that I’m sure will no doubt haunt my future self.
And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I’ve always been big on learning. It’s practically my second job, what with attempting to guide younger writers down the right path in their writing careers. While I may be a bit of an outlier (I’d previously freelanced for Playboy, once for PC Gamer), I knew that taking the opportunity to work alongside the GI crew was one that would impart lessons born only from years of experience. That, and witnessing Tim Turi nearly pass out from eating two ghost peppers.
While many of my usual anxieties nearly got the better of me, I had two awesome supervisors in Tim Turi and Ben Reeves, who dedicate way too much of their time to young schmucks like myself. That’s class, and an example of just how supportive the community at large can be. I was able to interview Mike Bithell and talk about the themes behind his excellent game Volume, wax poetic on the importance of appearances in massive RPGs, and interview two big kahunas from Nintendo for a lengthier retrospective on Splatoon. I even got to help raise thousands of dollars for charity by destroying my own body. My past self would be unconscious at this point.
There was the welcoming Clapp family (Turi’s old friend), who welcomed Marcus Stewart and I into their home with absurdly open arms. I will never find a better “landlord” so long as I live. Not to mention his cadre of furballs, Dexter “Fun Police” Clapp, Yoshi “Buttface” Clapp, and Shadowfax “B**** Meow” Clapp. I’ll miss those little monsters and their insistence on cuddling.
Future interns, let’s talk about you for a minute. Like I said before, the whole “Just Do It™” thing absolutely pertains to you. Read the books (check out Nathan Meunier’s “Up Up Down Down Left Write” and Amrich’s “Critical Path”), participate in the discussions, but most importantly – WRITE. Like so many other jobs, you will learn the vast majority of what you need to know by making a fair share of mistakes and surprising yourself with your own successes. Stop saying you’re an “aspiring games journalist.” If you’ve written something, you are one, but with a ton left to prove, and that’s OK.
As for me, the future is – all things considered – looking just fine. Games media is where I belong. I have good friends within the freelance and staffed communities, I’m known to more editors and writers than most my age, and I’ve struggled enough beating the stupid ideas out of my head that they only pop up every third pitch instead of every other. I’ve no qualms about working in PR or community management, so it’s certainly an option. It’s all a matter of staying on top of my game while playing too many. I’m grateful to know every last one of you, don’t you know? You’re what really keeps me going. The future is going to be equal parts exhilarating and terrifying as new opportunities present themselves.
This is going to be fun.
Follow my exploits on Twitter @JosephKnoop.