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12:27 AM on 03.23.2014

Tales of a Freelance Video Game Blogger: Origins

Thereís no correct path to getting into video game journalism/bloggingólet alone any creative career. This is what some of the well-known journalists have disappointingly told us in interviews. Itís only recently that I realize that these guys are correct in their assessment, but Iíve also found out that some of the traditional ways of breaking into video game journalism/blogging work just fine.

I found my path to becoming a freelance video game blogger just a year ago when I joined The Koalition. While Iíve had a blast writing for them, Iím still not even close to reaching all of my goals. That said, Iíve learned a lot during my first year writing for The Koalition, and I have made some major stridesóthe biggest one being that Iím actually going to attend E3 this year!

So I thought I would start a series of articles in the C-blogs about my tales as a video game blogger. While I'm not in the same league as some of my idols on my favorite websites (Destructoid, The Escapist, and ScrewAttack among others), I thought I could at least share what little knowledge Iíve accrued, and hopefully find others in the C-Blogs who are on a similar path.

So how did I get my start in video game blogging? Well, if Adam Sessler disappointed many with the lack of a concrete details needed for a successful plan, then I will undoubtedly disappoint many, or realistically the very few who might read this, with how simple my strategy was: networking.

Back when I was more stupid than I currently am (I like to think that Iím a little smarter now), I used to hate the idea of networking. I foolishly thought that people networked to use each other to their advantage. ďI would rather spend time making friends,Ē I thought. While there may be some truth to that, Iíve also realized that I can still open doors while creating friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. And the best part of networking is that it doesnít necessarily take place in business conferences. I have a roommate who received a life-changing job opportunity because he helped someone on the side of the road. In my case, I managed to partner up with the correct person for a class project.

I was enrolled in my universityís Professional & Technical Communication program. Itís a small program, and I would often take classes with the same 15 peersógive or take a few. †For our Commercial Publications class, we were instructed to visit a print shop so we could gain a better understanding of, well, printing. Most of us put it off until the last minute, but I was lucky because I knew the owner of our local newspaper from churchóagain, the power of networking! I overheard that another classmate, David, had also put off finding a print shop. I invited him to tag along, and he agreed to drive. Long story short, we visited the print shop, completed our report, talked about video games and became friends in the process.

I didn't know David was the senior editor of a gaming website until the end of the semester. Everyone enrolled in the Grants and Proposals class had to give a presentation on a hypothetical business plan. David was also in that class, and he created a plan for an indie PR company, and he leveraged his credibility by citing his experience as a senior editor for The Koalition.

I had new-found respect for David. While I grew up reading online and print gaming publications, I had never envisioned actually meeting a journalist/blogger (whatever) in person, let alone in one of my classes. At the time, I wanted to revive my dead blog on ScrewAttack, a site that had also influenced me because I live in the same region as them. Instead, I stared blankly at the screen for countless hours, eventually looking up YouTube videos. I didn't want to ask David if I could write for The Koalition, and I decided to just focus on my studies instead.

Time passed, bringing with it another semester and the same 15 classmates. In between group projects, David and I would argue about video games. After one of our discussions, David said, ďOh, by the way. I talked to Richard (The Koalitionís editor in chief), and he said he would be cool with you submitting an article.Ē

Almost immediately afterwards, I glued myself to my computer screen, reading article after article on The Koalition. Eventually I got a feel for their content and style. In the end, I pitched an editorial about Kingdom Hearts 3 and typed it out in a single night. I didnít care that the work was unpaid; I had never felt more proud to see my work available on the Internet! Since then, Iíve gone on to write news, previews, interviews, reviews, and even my own column. A year has passed, and while video game blogging isnít the most noble of pursuits, I still love the rush I feel when I click publish in our content management system.

I want to thank everyone for reading my story. I promise that Iím not just writing this to fuel my ego, and I have other content planned for my personal C-Blog. I started last week with an editorial about current events. I also plan on writing personal gaming anecdotes and possibly some retro reviews. In the mean time, Iíll continue writing for The Koalition and sharing anything Iíve learned in the process.   read

3:42 AM on 03.16.2014

Why Hideo Kojima Should Develop Mobile Games

During a Twitch interview, Geoff Keighly asked Hideo Kojima if he would be interested in developing mobile games in the future. According to Game Informer, "Kojima said that he had no interest in creating a short, replayable game similar to most of the mobile market." As it turns out, he would rather create "a practical, easy to play adventure game that is quite deep." Of course, this wonít become a reality until he finishes Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and thatís assuming Konami doesnít rope him into making another sequel.

As a mobile gamer, I find this disappointing because Hideo Kojima is known for taking advantage of hardware, and mobile gaming platforms have plenty of features that are practically begging to be used such as the gyroscope, accelerator, touchscreen and other hidden features that only Kojima would think of using. While mobile gaming has its share of time wasters and in-app purchases, it also has some of the most interesting, innovative and invigorating games Iíve ever played.

Letís look at some of the cool things Kojima has done with consoles. Everyone who has played a Metal Gear Solid game knows that Kojima is a master of exploiting Sonyís hardware. In Metal Gear Solid, we faced off against Psycho Mantis who was able to read our mindsóour memory cardsóto determine the kind of gamer we really are (I sure do like Castlevania). We even struggled to exploit Psycho Mantisís weakness until the colonel suggested we plug our controllers into the second controller port. Who would have guessed that on their first try!

My favorite example is the boss fight against The End in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. This is a frustrating boss fight that could take hours to complete due to the End's camouflage. It turned out we could just reset the PlayStation 2ís clock so that The End would die of old age, allowing gamers to avoid a grueling sniper stand-off. I didn't find this out until after I beat the game for the first time, and I still think that it was a genius move by Kojima.

Itís too bad Kojima apparently doesnít think highly of mobile games, as there are some examples that use mobile gaming technology to their advantage. Ridiculous Fishing, listed on Jim Sterlingís Jimquisition Awards 2013, used the iPhoneís gyroscope to create a simple game where one dodges fish for as long as they can until they feel a bite; then, players reel up the fish and blast them with machine guns. Infinity Blade is an epic RPG that used the touchscreen to create accurate, swordplay.

But my favorite example, which led me to write this article, is Year Walk, which is coincidentally "a practical, easy to play adventure game that is quite deep." Year Walk (at least in the iPhone version) gives players zero hints at what to do. All they can do is explore the scenery that provides them the clues they need to solve relevant puzzles. Thereís more to it, as some puzzles require rotating the device and interacting with the touchscreen in weird ways. But the biggest feature was the companion app, which is important for solving the game's final puzzle. I couldn't help but think of Kojima's games as I played Year Walk. If the developers of Year Walk can use the iPhone to create interesting new ways to play, then why canít Kojima (apart from his obvious contractual obligations) use the available technology to do the same for his dream adventure game?

At the end of the day, I eagerly await Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain with the rest of Kojimaís fans, and I too wouldnít want him to lose focus. But I also look forward to the day when Hideo Kojima can take a break from the Metal Gear Solid series to work on his adventure game. I would play it no matter which console he develops it for, but I hope he doesnít overlook mobile gaming; he could do some nifty things with the technology.

Source: Game Informer   read

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