These past few days I've been weighing a lot of options of how I wanna go about my future, for some perspective and background I've been making videos now for four years on YouTube on my channel as some of you already know about and I'm just now starting to try my hand at writing and blogging. All in the hopes of one day being able to show my work to somebody on twitter and hope to god I get a tweet or an email or anything back that somehow leads me to working in games journalism, but until then and when I feel more confident enough in my abilities I figured for now I'll spend this afternoon typing up my history, dreams, and goals for anyone who might be interested and for good practice.
The lore of yours truly, 16-Bit
Gaming journalism has been my dream since I was eight or nine years old reading EGM (Eletronic Gaming Monthly), PlayStation magazine, and watching Gamespot. One of my earliest and fondest memories that I always think back to, was watching Gamespot's Grand Theft Auto III review and seeing a blonde (yes blonde) Jeff Gerstmann try to randomly open up car doors at the end of the review.
Since that moment I've been a fan of Jeff and his work for years, from Gamespot to Giant Bomb... Also I love how he uses the word “iller” like twice in that review.
From that point onward I knew I wanted to make video reviews and talk about video games for a living and basically what I wanted to do with my life; or at least I thought I did. Once I got to high school I met my girlfriend who happened to be South Korean and her parents more or less hated me, but somehow we got along really well and loved video games and talking for hours on end to one another. Once we graduated she wanted to pursue psychology and convinced me or somehow I convinced myself I should do the same.
Instead of going to University here however in wonderful snowy dead-end Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, she moved back to South Korea with her family and went to university there, we agreed obviously to keep in contact and that I would go down and visit her once I had some money, in the mean time I wasn't exactly in a good financial situation, so I got a full time gig working in a warehouse with my dad on a graveyard shift building orders and loading trucks in order to pay for my student loans and geared up for my first year of university.
In short; it was hell. I would start work at 9:30pm at night and finish at 6:00am, then I would catch my bus around 7:30am or so and go downtown to my University for 8:30am to 1pm for my classes, I'd come home and sleep till about 8pm catch my bus for work and repeat... I'd get whatever homework and studying I needed done between breaks, lunch, long bus rides, and my weekends.
After about nine months of this I was relieved to have saved up enough money for my summer break, took the summer off from working, and was going to fly down to Seoul and spend my summer there with her.
Roughly about two weeks before going, with my tickets booked and catching up on video games I didn't play for nine months and trying to fix my ruined sleep schedule from graveyard shift work, I suddenly get an email from her at like 3am in the morning on a Saturday night in the middle of a Mass Effect 2 session because time zones and all, basically telling me she met someone else and had been too scared to tell me until now and not to come and just forget about it all and that she made her mind up on this.
Of course I was angry, confused, and an extreme emotional wreck. I tried phoning her, to which then her parents would hang up on me for whatever reason and I tried contacting her on Facebook all night only to get blocked. That same morning, sleep deprived and an emotional wreck, I walked down to a nearby railroad track, sat down on it and waited for the morning train to just erase me from the face of the earth.
My dad coming home from work, noticed this and somehow wrestled me off the track (which ironically enough, it was the weekend and I don't even think trains even go down that track on the weekend, so I sat there without realizing this looking like a fucking idiot.)
After talking with me for over an hour and giving me the whole the speech of plenty of other fish in the sea, I more or less just slept and played video games all summer and was impossible to be around. On the plus side I took what money I saved up and built a new computer and bought a fuck ton of video games to keep my mind off things and to just simply escape everything and everyone.
Later that fall I dropped out of University because it dawned on me only then that I didn't actually give a shit about psychology and was completely bored out of my mind when I was taking it. So I worked my shitty warehouse job for two more years, thankfully paying off my student loans in that time and eventually was laid off in early 2013 due to budget cuts.
I was out of work for about nine months, because the only experience I had was a warehouse job my dad got me and a year of psychology... Which big shock, doesn't go very far in the job force. But during that time I started a YouTube channel for fun and to keep myself busy, I started doing crappy let's plays with a friend named Sam from New Zealand who goes by the name Seraph.
Wonderfully bad in-game audio of myself, while my friend Sam recorded his own audio with a clip-on microphone.
From there I started doing video reviews we dubbed “A Journalistic Review” as kind of this stupid inside joke, since we were hardly journalists and because I wanted to test out my new Elgato Sam gifted to me for my birthday and take a crack at reviewing things since it was always a dream of mine in the back of my mind.
Recorded at like 2am with a PlayStation headset, truly humble awful beginnings.
After doing a few of them I began to actually really enjoy doing it and take it more seriously. Summer of 2014 I got a new job at a call center and was able to afford a proper microphone.
With my time spent doing let's play videos I learned a few tricks in video editing and audacity doing voice over and decided to start a new review series. After spending a few days thinking of a name, one night me and Sam kept talking about the list of games we kept buying and then never playing... We then decided to simply name our new series Infinite Backlog.
15 Minutes long and beyond obvious that I'm reading from a script with no natural sounding flow or tone what so ever, looking back at episode 1 it's almost impossible for me to watch now and days, maybe I'll review the original version of Half-Life eventually so I can actually look back at a Half-Life review I've done and not think it's horrible.
During this time we gained a small little following, of which included a person who kept replying on almost every new review we put up, his name was Stingos. One day I noticed he was streaming Simpsons Hit And Run and I entered the chat room on it and started talking with him over Skype I think... Sure enough we started talking a bunch and he quickly became a good friend and I somehow convinced him to also start making reviews and videos with us, next thing you know we went from a duo to a three man team.
Speaking of which you can check out Stingos aka Justin's latest review here!
Initially we used a system in our reviews known as “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”
"The Good" simply being what we liked about the game, "The Bad" what we didn't like, and "The Ugly" was for graphical analysis, bugs, glitches, and presentation. However I kept getting asked by my two co-hosts “Should this go in the ugly? Or the bad?” Constantly on different topics regarding bugs, presentation, and things like that, so we decided to make it even more simple and to the point. So we came up with “The Good, The Bad, and The Opinion.”
As for our rating system... We more or less don't have one, if you've watched any of our reviews until completion you'll realize we do a gag rating at the end of each review, simply because by the end of these reviews it should already give you a good idea if the game is good or bad or worth a purchase... It's also in response to those random people who type in the comments of video reviews “[insert score/10] :^) saved you from watching the video!”
I never understood why people wouldn't just watch the review and instead need a number out of 10 to justify why they should buy a game, but for those people I give them this instead in my reviews.
In the past we also tried branching out and looking for a place to actually host our videos possibly, we were approached by a website that promised the magical word exposure. The site looked good enough intially, but quickly after a few weeks I took notice to all of the articles they posted having 0 comments for months on end. This was my first experience discovering the hell that is random WordPress websites, where all your writing and videos go into a black hole where nobody ever hears from them again.
So we abruptly left and simply continued to focus instead on making videos, since then they've created a new website that to this day also continues to get 0 comments on almost everything they post.
After over 140 episodes of Infinite Backlog we have around 2300 subscribers and growing each day, we've signed on with Curse or as they now call themselves Union for Gamers as our network. I've decided to pursue my old child hood dream of working in games journalism.
My initial plan was to go after my degree in journalism, but after I found out a degree in journalism isn't really a requirement anymore to work in this industry. On top off having to then also attend University in a whole other province, when at the current moment I can barely afford my groceries let alone even buy new video games, then go ahead and throw a brand new student loan for that degree on top of it, that plan was immediately scrapped.
So I've began recently trying to sponge up as much information and advice I can, tweeting out to people who I love reading for information, advice, and watching videos on the subject.
My approach or what my idea of an approach is so far, is to try and cover all of my possible options of getting myself noticed or hired in this industry. First and foremost I want to be able write anything required of myself, whether it's opinion pieces, news articles, written reviews and impressions, you name it I want to be able to write it and do it well.
I also plan on continuing to improve at making videos as well, from recording and capturing gameplay, editing and producing my video reviews, doing more voice over and editing audio, I wanna do some more podcasting, getting to familiarize myself more with Adobe Premiere and Photoshop more since at the moment I use Vegas Pro for 99% of everything I make and Photoshop just for thumbnails.
I also wanna start doing video-hosting as well (being in front of a camera in general, news, vlogging, interviews, etc) which considering when it comes to games journalism, especially on YouTube from what I've seen, it would be an extremely important tool to know. Unfortunately the best camera I have access to at the moment is my Samsung Note 3 with hardly any money at the moment to be able to afford proper lighting.
So in the mean time to make up for that, once the snow melts over here in Winnipeg I plan on jogging and getting myself back into shape since I put on a bunch of weight over the past few years working in a call center and just playing video games all day. (Who would have guessed!) I plan to start vlogging to get myself more comfortable on camera in general and documenting my progress with that on my personal channel.
Once my reviews for NIER and NIER Automata are done and out of the way, I also on plan on reading this handy book I bought recently so I can learn and begin practicing CSS and HTML, that way I can possibly build my own website to showcase all my work I've done and possibly one for the channel as well just simply to host our videos on and maybe throw in a forum or something.
Web design and programming in general is an extremely valuable skill to have and best yet, you can learn everything about web design and programming online now and days. Reddit alone is a bastion of knowledge, I highly recommend checking this page on /r/learnprogramming/ if you're interested in learning this as well.
I also stumbled on this handy free little E-book from Gameskinny called Games Journalism Crash Course for anyone who might be possibly interested in that as well, but it mostly just covers proper news article coverage but it has some pretty solid information.
I hope one day to come back to this blog I've written for you all today and possibly do a follow up with how far I've gotten and what I've achieved since this, but going forward for the first time in a long time in my life I'm feeling happy again and filled with purpose and more importantly a goal that I'm going to achive. If you have any advice or suggestions feel free to let me know in the comments.
Basically I'm going to become the T-1000 of games journalism and to take a note from Danny O'Dywer devour your fucking job in this industry if we ever get pitted against one another for it.