Every since I was a little boy, my dad was always into videogames. He had the SEGA Game Gear, a Gameboy, the original PlayStation One (PS1), and a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). My twin brother Noah and I would play our Gameboys, and before going to daycare, we would wake up in the morning to play Big Bass Fishing, Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX, or Caesars Palace on the PS1 even if we had no idea what we were doing. It was fun, and that was the point. Eventually, I got into more AAA games, typically meaning of having a higher development and marketing budget, such as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and the Spyro the Dragon franchise.
As we got older, my brothers and father would move over to the new Xbox 360 (2005) playing Halo and Gears of War. At the same time, I would stick with PlayStation and Spyro through and through, attempting to play every Spyro videogame ever made – collecting gems and hatching dragon eggs, as they would be brutally killing aliens from faraway planets saving the Earth.
That’s when playing videogames became more personal for me as I got into Sly Cooper, Ratchet & Clank, Crash Bandicoot, Need for Speed, Scooby-Doo, and Spider-Man at the peak of the PlayStation 2 (PS2) era.
I was glued.
Friends and neighborhood kids would ask me to come and play outside with them, and I wouldn’t want to because I felt it couldn’t be any better than what I was already doing. Being on my own and staying my course is something I learned I like to do real quick, as that time alone gave me a chance to think, create, wonder, dream, and play. In that sense, I grew up fast and matured quickly.
Eventually, after the PlayStation 3 (2006), PlayStation Vita (2011), and the PlayStation 4 (2013) came out, between 2012 and 2013 I was thinking of what I wanted to become or do for the rest of my life. I knew I wasn’t just going to be playing videogames all day as a full-time income, while more possible now, it’s still a rare gig to acquire.
I started thinking of what I was good at or things I could do with little no money. I couldn’t draw, so no graphic design; I couldn’t write stories, so no directing or becoming an author; and I didn’t have the know-how or equipment to stream or video record my games.
However, I watched many YouTube videos talking about gaming news and reviews, had magazine subscriptions to Game Informer and Playstation Magazine, and I would read up on news on the internet whenever I could. I even started watching videogame press conferences such as the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at a young age.
Greg Miller, a former editor and video host of the entertainment website Imagine Games Network (IGN), came up on my radar earlier into my self-discovery. Greg had a similar story; he was just a kid growing up in the ’80s and ’90s who loved playing videogames and reading comics. He went to college at the University of Missouri to pursue magazine journalism and started working for IGN by 2007.
This story seemed possible at the time to impatient, but times have changed, and the way videogame news and entertainment are consumed and produced have changed as well. I realized it’s going to take me a lot more than just writing articles and hoping for the best.
I consumed every book I could get on videogame journalism, watched every video, listened to every podcast, and read every article to determine the path I needed to take. I started browsing the web for an opportunity to write anywhere I could find that was videogame centric. I came across the website Brutal Gamer and worked there for about a year and a half for free. I wholeheartedly thank them for introducing me to freelance writing and working for a website.
Truth be told, I was a terrible writer even out of high school. It wasn’t good.
But, I got better with practice. I never had the chance to write what I wanted to write or explore other writing types in public school. It was always essays that were oddly formatted.
Journalism drew me in because I am naturally sarcastic, blunt, and to the point. I want to say what I need to say, keep it clear, and move on to the next topic. It doesn’t need to be complicated with a 10-page paper, single-paced, point 12 font, APA style, and in Times New Roman. That’s just too much and something the average person wouldn’t read.
Everyone eventually gets where they need to be, but no path is usually the same. It’s more of a feeling and a drive, and that’s what I have found with videogames and journalism. Not because it would seem cool or that all I care about is videogames, but more of a feeling of something I need to do.
When you get that feeling for something, follow through with it, and see where it leads you. Life can surprise you.