tl;dr – Videogame journalists are constantly leaving, but with technology the gaming community will grow stronger than ever before.
Instead of Superman, Batman, or any other comic book superheroes, I’ve often spent much of my childhood dreaming of becoming a videogame character like Mega Man. It was years before I had my first videogame console – the Nintendo Gameboy, but playing the original Mega Man on the NES for the first time at my friend’s house had left a gaping impression to this day that nothing else can compare. The action-packed side-scroller, as challenging as it still is today, always leaves me yearning for so much more. And in many ways, Mega Man (and his trusty companion Rush) was my ultimate idol.
When it eventually dawned on me during my teenage years that my right arm would not automatically turn into a robotic arm of destruction, I began looking for other, perhaps more human-compatible, opportunities. I looked at not only the things I’ve always obsessed over — videogames, but also the career paths that derived from that very obsession.
It was also at the beginning of the Internet, at the time when AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy roamed the earth at the top-notch speed of 14.4kbits per second. Anime midis and porn aside, videogames-related news was always my most searched item on webcrawler.com.
Reading about videogames eventually lead to the great discovery of this website called the Imagine Games Network. Known as IGN today, it was also where I was first heard of Matt Cassamina and Fran Mirabella III. Through their news updates and game reviews, I was instantly hooked and was visiting the website as soon as it’s updated, precisely every night at 10pm pst.
My source for videogame-related news has grown to more than just IGN since then, but my infatuation with the journalists remain. From IGN to The 1UP Show to X-Play’s feedback, I desperately wanted to become one of them.
And I’m not the only one. In fact, there are so many of us who grew up reading videogame reviews and now we all want to be professional journalists. The pool of journalists-wannabe is increasing by the minute, so the videogame journalism industry is growing strong, right?
Every party has a winner and a loser
Yet at the same time, so many of the videogame journalists we once respected and adored have moved on. From Che Chou’s early departure from 1UP in 2006, to Abbie Heppe’s recent move to Respawn Entertainment, to practically everyone I once followed at IGN, it seems like my favorite journalists are all skipping out of the videogame journalism party. Some of them are now in direct game developments while others simply went away to doing other things altogether.
But with their constant departures, there also comes a constant shortage to good, professional journalism. I’m not saying new writers stink, especially because I’m not a great writer myself, but there are distinct differences between opinions and years of professional journalistic experiences.
Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone has the experience for writing a quality impression of a never-seen-before gaming console or have the technical know-how to decipher between genuine innovation from marketing hype. This is becoming more apparent as turnover increases for videogame journalists.
The new generation of videogame journalism is standing up
But like I said, I’m not a good writer. I’m still not a good writer, but somehow writing sticks to me the most compared to my other hobbies. And with interest comes practices, and you know what else? Practice makes perfect.
As sad as it is to see my favorite videogame journalists move on to greener pastures, whatever they may be, it’s also encouraging to see so many aspiring writers out there in general. (Myself included.)
Bitmob is a website where anyone can submit game-related articles to be posted on its front page. Not only does the website provide a much-needed platform for common gamers to voice their opinions, but it also fosters better writers in general. In fact, Bitmob recently kickstarted a weekly column on writing better for that very purpose.
Better yet, we have come a long way from our dial-up modems. Aspiring videogame journalists are no longer bound by text, but audio and video are now readily at our disposal like never before. From Yahtzee at Zero Punctuation, to Morgan Webb at G4TV, to the countless blogs and vlogs on the Internet, the gaming community is expanding not only with aspiring writers, but also with aspiring podcasters and filmmakers.
And with practice and help (such as Bitmob), our voices will only grow from here. Not just louder, but also stronger, and maybe one day we’ll all be Matt Cassamina.