The Apollinaire of the Xbox
September 21, 2010 10:01 AM   Subscribe

How do I become an avant-garde video game reviewer?

The things I think about video games fall more in line with art reviews or academically flavored analyses. I was talking a lot about identity, projection, and morality while I was playing Red Dead Redemption, for example. The idea that Tetris is addictive because you only see your mistakes and that idea as a metaphor for life excites me. Assume for the sake of this question that I can write an article well. Are there video game review sites that lean this way? Would I just be able to email them, or any old site, an article as a freelancer and hope they want to pick it up?

Also, it may be worth noting that I have a good, though long-distance friend who recently became a part of the main staff at one of the major online video game portals. It seems obviously gauche to ask her to help. Is this instinct correct in the context of the online game review world?
posted by cmoj to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Don't ask her to help - pitch her your idea as a freelance column. The entire game industry runs on networking and personal connections. That being said, do you read Terra Nova? They focus on online games/virtual worlds but they definitely come at it from an academic angle.

There's also Border House, that focuses on queer, feminist, and minority issues in games. I know they're often looking for bloggers, although I'm 95% sure it wouldn't be paying work.

Or, you know, just start your own blog. There's definitely an audience for that sort of thing. Feel free to memail me if you want to talk further - I'm in the industry and can probably give you some more leads if I think on it a bit.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:11 AM on September 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Start a blog. Update it regularly; once a week minimum. Review things that don't get a lot of reviews (retrogames, discount games, etc.) and get a new angle on things like RDR. Stay in close touch with this friend as your blog grows and grows and the quality of your articles rises. At some point, it won't be gauche to ask for help but beneficial to the both of you.
posted by griphus at 10:14 AM on September 21, 2010

yeah, blogging for yourself is your only real option. There are always interesting back doors and side paths to working in the video game field, but like most side paths, you can only find them accidentally. If you want to write in your own style with your own focus on video games, the only thing for it is to publish yourself. If you write well and in a way that captures an audience, you'll find that you're doing what you want. Do it successfully enough, and it'll become your full time job.
posted by shmegegge at 10:22 AM on September 21, 2010

go read (specifically something like this review of Super Metroid) and see if you REALLY want to be an avant-garde video game reviewer. If you still do, then tell them you want to write some reviews for them. They're always happy to help out their fellow new games journalists.
posted by luvcraft at 10:38 AM on September 21, 2010 [4 favorites]

Grand Text Auto is a great place to start.
posted by JJ86 at 10:45 AM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

...also it looks like ABDN hasn't updated in a while, which probably means they'd be even MORE interested in bringing in some new writers than usual. Also, here is a review of Tetris from ABDN, but the fact that they have one doesn't mean they won't want yours; they have multiple reviews of many games. And here is the info on writing for them, if you choose to do so.
posted by luvcraft at 10:45 AM on September 21, 2010

Response by poster:

Holy shit. There are people who agree with me about games!
posted by cmoj at 11:36 AM on September 21, 2010

The things you mention don't fall into the category review as much as they do research. You might be interested in game research, there's an interesting Iama at reddit from an academic here.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:09 PM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think Game and Player would be happy to accept your reviews as well. I've seen several insightful and somewhat academic seeming reviews there.
posted by shesbookish at 12:14 PM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

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