Video Games Journalism Is Weird

As someone who writes about video games for a living, sometimes it’s awkward calling what I do video games journalism. For the most part it’s an enthusiast press and, a lot of the time, not so much “real” journalism. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some true journalism going on out there just not as much as I’d like to see. But then Kotaku’s Jason Schreier publishes an amazing story on the troubled development of Destiny (The Messy, True Story Behind the Making of Destiny) and it gives me hope that someday, I’ll do stuff like this too.

For a long time, I said I was in games media because I felt that was a more apt description of what I do. Saying I’m a journalist didn’t always feel like the appropriate description for what I do. I rarely get to write breaking news types of stories because it isn’t the type of work that’s done in most of media these days. I don’t get to write juicy exposes on what happens around the gaming industry because I don’t have sources and connections. I’m just a freelancer who works from home, trying to stave off the need to go back to a crappy 9-to-5. But lately, I’ve actually come around to the idea that I’m a “legitimate” journalist.

Thanks to Red Bull eSports and the coverage I provide for Street Fighter, I feel like I’m more journalist than ever. What I do is very similar to what a sports beat writer does for your local football, baseball, or hockey (screw basketball!) coverage. I recap major events. I interview players. I write a weekly column that since I began doing back in June and have only missed one week due to a vacation.

Now I’m not changing the world by any stretch and I never intended to because we’re talking about video games. But I’ve always wanted to do work like what Jason Schreier and Patrick Klepek do at Kotaku and Colin Moriarty did at IGN. Obviously, they built reputations that allowed them access to sources that let them do some great things.

To a small degree, I guess I’m getting there too. I talk to a lot of competitive Street Fighter players and personalities fairly regularly. They’re happy to share some of their time with me. I’m trying to bridge connections with other regions too because the fighting game community doesn’t start and stop with Japan and the United States.

In fact, the one time I got to do a breaking news story was when a top player in Street Fighter lost his sponsor because they shut down. That was a fantastic feeling as I chased the leads, talked to sources for comments, and did my best to put out a story that showed a problem we’re experiencing in the FGC as it goes through some growing pains.

That was satisfying work. Don’t get me wrong. I totally love what I do on a daily basis and some of my favorite stories have been the feature profiles I’ve written on Street Fighter competitors like John Choi (my favorite story), Bonchan, and Xian (which led to a new project I can’t announce yet). But there are times I wish I could do more and I’m in a time where I should be digging a little bit deeper for stories. I just have to wait my turn and let everything just happen.

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