So here it is. Friday. Was planning to have a nice, breezy day today. Take care of news in the morning. Get stuffed with free pizza and beer for the afternoon. Take in a showing of Bat Boy with my niece in the play. No, she isn’t actually playing the Bat Boy. Regardless, I figured today would just be one of those days where I could kick back and look forward to the weekend.
Then it happened. I made an observation with one of my colleagues about Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. He was stating that it would be a “fresh start” for the series after what happened with part three, and I agreed, stating I couldn’t wait to hit the pirating waters. Judging by what I played at PAX Prime (thanks to Stone Chin, the man, the myth, the Stone), I had been left wanting more.
Then it happened. One of my peers decided to strike up this conversation on Twitter explaining that it’s easy to convey such excitement because I get sent games for a living. This conversation continued on for about an hour before said person also thinks I “railroad” these discussions because of where I sit in the industry.
This bugs me a little. Because I shifted into a job in the video game industry — and a comfortable job with good people, at that — my observations have shifted because I get sent a few games professionally for review and strategy coverage.
I couldn’t make this any clearer if I tried. That kid who grew up playing Asteroids and Sinistar in the Bowl-ero bowling alley? I’m still him. Granted, I’ve grown up quite a bit and I got this weird grey hair growing out of the sides of my head — I’ve come to accept them as “Clooney hairs”, because, really — but the general love of video game remains. Always has, always will.
Yes, I still go to these game shows and bust my ass doing coverage for the sites I work for, but I also go out of my way to meet up with my friends and other fellow community members because A. love the games, and B. I consider most of them my friends. There is the possibility that you can be both a professional journalist and a fan of the genre. Can you imagine being one without the other?
I actually know a few types like that. People who treat this as a job and, at the end of the day, say they completely fucking hate the PlayStation 4 or something along those lines. To which I respond, “Why did you get in this industry in the first place?” I know why I did — because I love the games, and I continue to do so.
Yes, I get sent free products, but guess what? I buy my fair share as well, and though some purchases work better than others in terms of how they make me feel when I wrap up, it doesn’t make me feel jaded or anything. I just head over to the next game or take a look at what’s coming down the line.
And yes, I am excited for the next wave of games coming this holiday season. Anyone who is otherwise either has too little time on their hands or their mind in the wrong place. Flying with Batman again, taking to the pirating waters in AC IV, beating up thugs with a Lego Hulk…there’s a lot to be happy for, even if you “fucking hate the PlayStation 4” to no avail. If you do, hey, unfollow me on Twitter. Don’t block my joy.
I’m also open-minded about the next generation. That’s the approach I’ve taken for years with games, eager to try them out even if there’s an overwhelming negative response. Case in point: the reviews for Sonic: Lost World are all over the place, with a few folks liking the new approach and others going, “Wait, you have to hold down a button to RUN?! With Sonic?!” That doesn’t stop me from wanting to give it a go and see how I feel about it. Not just from a journalistic standpoint, but as someone who’s played Sonic games since he’s gotten his start on the Genesis.
Here’s the thing — I’m passionate about this industry. Love the games, admire the studios that make them (even the bad ones — everyone has off days, like Gearbox Software and Aliens: Colonial Marines), and the community, well, there’s nothing like it. When you call me out for something, make sure you have an idea of what the call-out is about. “Hey, this game’s coming, whoo!” “Yeah, you’re getting it for free.” A. that’s not always the case, and B. I’m still as much of a gamer as I am a writer.
Sorry, just had to get that off my chest. To call out my love for video games with an entirely wrong basis is stupid. I’m a gamer, and always will be. Even when the full Clooney hairstyle sets in.
Can’t wait. :D