My Stress, My Headache, My Love For Games

A lot of people think that all game journalists do is play games and write reviews. Reviewing is a big part of it for most of us, of course, but what people forget is that playing games can take a lot of time. For example, here’s what my current gaming schedule looks like:

Dark Void – Playing this for GRTV, not really enjoying it. I still have to spend most of tomorrow playing and taking notes. Because don’t forget, when you’re reviewing games, you have to play them no matter how much dislike them. Dark Void is OK, but imagine putting hours on hours into a game you hate. No, it’s not fun.

Napoleon: Total War – Review copy dropped in today. Embargoed, so I still have time left to really dig into it.

Star Trek Online – Head start begins this weekend. Reviewing MMOs can be the worst, have to spend a lot of time with STO in the near future. Luckily, I have a very understanding editor-in-chief who understand how these things work. Still, I am working under a deadline, just like I did with Aion. I really hope the servers are ready for the amount of players that might try to rush in next week.

Global Agenda – Head start this weekend as well. Easier to review than a “real” MMO, will still need to spend a lot of time with it. Luckily, what I’ve seen from the beta, it is a lot of fun. Team Fortress 2 with XP. Still, my beating heart. A bit worried how it all will fit together after launch, though. How does the future look for GA? Will Conquer mode work out the way Hi-Rez hope?

Global Agenda

Me and Sera from Massively tear it up in Global Agenda. We almost won the round, too. Almost.

Mass Effect 2 – The game I just want to play and play and play and play. Review is filmed at GRTV this week, I’m not the main reviewer so I don’t have to finish the game before that. For which I am thankful, since I don’t want to finish it in a long time. I want to savour every delicious moment.

Game under embargo – Review of this is already in for the magazine (we had deadline this week), but we’re filming a review this week and I need to put together a longer version of the review for the site. Embargo runs out early February. Need to take a lot more screenshots as well. Thankfully, I am enjoying the game. I count my blessings.

Then we have the games I want to play on my “spare time”, like Lord of the Rings Online (more blogging about that coming up), EVE Online (thought I’d actually join the EVE Blog Banter this time, CK is dangling prices in front of our faces), Mass Effect (yes, the first one) and Darksiders (which I need to finish). Then there’s new DLC for Dragon Age: Origins and DLC upcoming for Assassin’s Creed 2… And quarter one has just started, there is a huge amount of games coming – a whole bunch of them will end up on my desk.

I’m not complaining, I love what I do. But remember to hug your friendly neighborhood game journalist next time you see him (or her, of course! Thanks, Stargrace!).

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  1. Stargrace says:

    Lets try this again..

    I understand only too well. For Beckett I’m playing EQ2 (granted I was playing for ‘me’ for five years, but writing guides and walk throughs is different) VG, EQ, Wizard 101, Fallen Earth, Allods, Aion, Champions Online, etc. Plus I get a few ‘last minute’ things dropped on me every issue, 2-3 (like AdventureQuest Worlds, Darkfall, etc). For “me” I play LotRO, EVE, and WoW. Those are games I don’t write about at all for Beckett. Then there’s my console collection, sorely neglected. Dragon Age is still on my computer, Sims 3, Torchlight, Fable II, and who knows what else.

    It’s a lot of work. Researching and playing games is some times painful, especially if you don’t enjoy the game. We can’t love them all! Where video games used to be what I’d do to relax, I’ve now turned to other things. Not saying that I don’t enjoy games, or my job, I DO in a huge way, but it’s a lot of work that some times people just don’t understand (like my brothers, who think I must have the coolest job in the world).


    • Petter says:

      Right. Games become something else, they are no longer purely a “hobby”. Which comes with both positives and negatives.

      But seriously, in many aspects, we do have the coolest job in the world. :D I am quite jealous that you work for a publication like Becket (same goes for Sera below). As much as I love “ordinary” games, MMOs are still my main genre (obviously).

      You seriously should make time for Dragon Age and Torchlight, though. You’re missing out! :)

  2. I already sent this to you via Steam earlier in the day, but I’ll send it via comment now — *hugs!*

    I have the Global Agenda first impressions to put together, plus I’m playing EQII to do my weekly column now, plus I still try to keep my head in Champions Online. There is always much to do when reviewing games, and you’re right, it really can be painful at times. Especially when you’re playing a game you absolutely loathe. The best part is being able to eviscerate it in the review.

    MAG was recently that game for me. At first MAG was lots of fun… then it started to wear. It has problems, it’s not as massive as it seemed to be initially, and it could have been so much more than simply 256 players. Of course, the MMO community seems to want to remind me, constantly, that “it’s not an MMO because it doesn’t have thousands of people in it at once.”

    Whatever. Anyway, you get more hugs. *hugs*

    • Petter says:

      /hugs back

      Looking forward to reading your impressions of Global Agenda and very much looking forward to kicking more ass with you after launch!

      I don’t know what to say about the MAG-discussion, except for what I said on Twitter. It’s getting really old. And eviscerating bad games is, as you said, one of the best parts of playing a really bad game. Sometimes, it’s even the best part of writing up reviews! :D

  3. pasmith says:

    First of all, I ain’t hugging no one…

    My worst experience was reviewing Hidden & Dangerous from TalonSoft. Jim Rose was a 1st rate prick when it came to reviews…he’s always be calling up and ranting about pulling advertising and blah blah blah so we liked to keep those reviews in-house. When Rose would complain that the reviewer didn’t do this or that thing, we’d have the person who’d played the game standing right there to defend the review.

    So I drew short straw on Hidden & Dangerous and it has this awful swooping camera motion that made me motion sick in about 5 minutes. And I had to play through this game in order to review it. Blarrgh! I’d play for a few minutes, then lay down with an icepack on my forehead for a few minutes, then play a little more.

    Finally I did give up and, iirc, we sent it out to some poor freelancer. I just couldn’t make it through that game. But for the couple of days I tried, man was it hell!!

  4. I’m in two frames of mine about whether or not I’d like to be a games journalist. In many regards, it would be my perfect job but I think my fear is that it would start to make me think of my hobbies as work and that they stop being fun after a while.

    I also get the impression that there seems to be a lot of politics involved in game reviewing. Is that true? For instance, I knew a chap here who worked for a PC games magazine several years ago and he said his bosses would essentially decide on what score a game had to be given based upon their relationship with the developers.

    • Petter says:

      You really got to love to do it, since that’s a very possible outcome. Happily, that’s never happened to me. Then again, it’s not all about reviewing games, it’s a lot more to it than that.

      Well, it’s not unheard of – of course there is a lot of idiots or unscrupulous people in the industry, both on the dev and the press side. I’ve never met an editor who would change my score, or tell me what to write about a game. The ones that do are often easily spotted and more often than not called out by the community. In general, though, it isn’t that way.

    • pasmith says:

      In my experience, I had sales guys come around and try to influence scores but they always got told to take a walk. And game publishers would threaten to pull advertising fairly often, but they never got as far as the Editorial Staff.

      The hardest part for me was getting to know the devs of a game, liking them, then having their game come out and be no good. Now you have to rip the game apart. In most cases the devs know their game isn’t good and they take it as part of the business, but you did get the odd hurt feeling.

  5. Blue Kae says:

    I love games, but I imagine if they were my job either on the development or journalism sides that love would not last. I’m happy to keep it a hobby, but I appreciate the work you all put in. Keep up the good work.

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