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This blog entry is gonna be quite different than my usual ones. I'm looking for help from you guys this time around. I was recently offered a position to write for a local magazine. It has a small area of distribution, but regardless, I'm very excited about it. I get a whole page to write about gaming once each quarter. I can discuss something new, something old, board games, video games, RPGs, card games, and basically, whatever gaming related topic I want. The book will have an overall theme, and I have been asked to try and make my topic relevant to the theme for the issue.
My first article is already printed and out in public. I would like you guys to read over my article below and throw your brutal and honest feedback at me. I had very little time to put this one together, so I fully expect future articles to improve with more time to plan and revise. The theme of this issue was "Revolution." I used this broad topic as a way to introduce myself as a writer and my relevance to the subject matter. Please let me know what you think:
The world of gaming is in constant flux. Right now, maybe more than ever, things are changing. Fueled both by artistic creativity and advances in affordable technology, the gaming arena is always evolving. Itís been through revolutions in the past: the rise of coin-op games, the advance of home consoles and PCs, new media formats, online infrastructure, the first 3D game environments, modding support, portable gaming, and the list goes on. But these changes used to come about in a matter of years. Nowadays we see transitions in weeks and months, a few more recent evolutions include: 3D gaming, cloud saves, subscription services, digital distribution, the infiltration of indie developers, fluctuating price points, virtual reality, haptic feedback, touch screens, second screens, and even mobile gaming, just to name a few. Gaming is mutating at a greatly accelerated pace and along with it the culture that accompanies it. What used to be seen as niche, taboo, and wasteful a few short years ago is now commonplace, widely accepted, and highly monetized.
Revolution doesnít just apply to the realm of video games either. Something similar is also happening in the arena of tabletop gaming. What was old is new again, and games that have been around for decades are reaching new peaks in their popularity. Games like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and the Pokemon TCG (Trading Card Game) are flourishing with the older and newer generation of gamers. The more simplistic board games of our youth like RISK, Sorry, and Life are being quickly replaced by deeper, more thematic games like Settlers of Catan, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Terra Mystica. Each month it seems that a new, enthusiast made game breaks all monetary and support records on Kickstarter to turn that creatorís long time passion for gaming into a reality and profitable business venture.
Iíve been enchanted by gaming and the culture that permeates through it for as long as I can remember. Iíve lived through and experienced many of these transformations first hand. Iím mature enough to yearn for the nostalgic ways of my youth: mistakenly blowing into cartridges, patronizing video rental stores, and screwing in UHF hookups to our ďenourmousĒ 17Ē Woodgrained Magnovox Television. Though older, Iím still young and savvy enough to debate features on message boards and comment sections, sink hours into watching a Twitch stream, and still wake up giddy with excitement on the opening day of E3 as if it was Christmas morning.
With all that has happened in the gaming landscape since its inception and all that is currently happening, I find it hard to make a stronger case for any revolution in gaming than this: it is now socially acceptable to be a gamer. While far from perfect, weíve come a long way from the days of getting beat up at school for playing Magic on our lunch break instead of participating in sports, or being teased on the playground for spending more time with our ďNo-Friend-O Entertainment SystemĒ than real people. Now you can attend college or university and dedicate your studies to game design. You can find meaningful employment in the gaming industry as a programmer, artist, writer, voice actor, marketer, designer, director, tester, store owner, etc. You can reach audiences in the thousands who are willing to watch and interact with your gaming through YouTube and Twitch. Organizations like Extra-Life and AGDQ (Awesome Games Done Quick) are raising massive amounts of money for charitable causes and simultaneously showing that nerds do have the capacity for social activism. E-Sports tournaments are now dishing out prizes in the hundreds of thousands and filling stadiums with fans. But on a much more personal level, now there is a much higher chance youíll relate to your peers through your enjoyment of Skyrim rather than alienate yourself from them.
Great article Crabby! I like the theme of it's never been a better time to be a gamer.
A couple items that I would suggest:
The word revolution doesn't seem quite right. Maybe millestones?
"The word Evolution, synonymous with gradual and continuous development in morals and ideas, is brought forward in certain circles as though it were the antithesis of that fearful word, Revolution, which implies changes more or less sudden in their action, and entailing some sort of catastrophe."
Itís been through revolutions in the past: the rise of coin-op games, the advance of home consoles and PCs, new media formats, online infrastructure, the first 3D game environments, modding support, portable gaming, and the list goes on.
I reworded this as an example.
Constant change isn't contained to the realm of video games either. Something similar is also happening in the arena of tabletop gaming. Games such as that have been around for decades such as Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and the Pokemon TCG (Trading Card Game) are flourishing with older and newer gamers.
Get to know your writing style and challenge it, use synonyms, and keep writing!
Listen to the Waypoint Radio podcast as they frequently talk about writing in games journalism and how to become better writers.
Thanks again for the article and I hope to read more!
Good article! I agree - back in high school I was guarded when speaking about gaming because it did have a bit of a social stigma to it. It has become a very mainstream thing to do, and I'm glad that the hobby has flourished and grown, and hadn't thought about that until I read your article so good job!
The only criticism I might make is that many of the changes you describe in your first paragraph aren't really all that new. The hardware is finally catching up with the creativity game designers have always had, to be sure, but things like VR have been in the works for over 20 years. I think we're actually coming to the point where the hardware isn't the big bottleneck anymore, and that is the real evolution. Of course that is just my opinion, take it with a grain of salt.
Keep it up!
You address too many topics and say then very little about the specifics. It adds up to an enumeration with not enough content.
My suggestion: focus on one or two related topics and explore their causes and consequences. Less is definitely more in this case.
The term revolution should be deleted. Everything you described is the result of an evolution which took place over years. There is no sudden turnover of long and widely accepted principles, not in gaming and very rarely in sciences and the humanities.
Thanks so much for the feedback guys!! I really want to keep improving my writing and all 3 of you have pointed out areas I wasn't thinking of when this was originally penned. Will definitely check out that podcast too Addicted.
Thanks so much guys