Five things we learnt at the Games Journalism Debate
On 29 May at BAFTA HQ, we were joined by Keith Stuart, Leigh Alexander, Kieron Gillen, Guy Cocker and Jon Hicks to debate the issues surrounding games journalism. Here are five key points that came out of the discussion:
1. It’s not just what you write about, but how you write it
Whatever topic or game you’re writing about, the panel stressed the best way of standing out is to find your own original style and unique viewpoint on things.
2. Write, write and write some more
Jon Hicks explained that when he’s sees job applications, he expects people to be “fully formed.” As Leigh Alexander stated, “don’t promise you can write, show me what you’ve written.”
3. Find ways to avoid writing traps
While the complex history surrounding games journalism and PR companies has been well documented, the panel said there are always ways to avoid certain pitfalls and to write from a different angle. The challenge is to “outsmart the product cycle.”
4. Online criticism has the potential to be liberating
When Keith Stuart brought up the issue of negative feedback on Twitter, Alexander described it as giving her more freedom in her writing. Knowing that people will “always find aspects of my work to criticise”, she feels it gives her license to write about whatever she wants.
5. Always have a Dictaphone handy
Hicks stated that some of his best insights have come from casual conversations he’s had with game developers that have led to revealing insights. He suggested keeping your ear to ground and a Dictaphone close at hand.
You can listen to Guy Cocker’s video games podcast, which discusses the Games Journalism Debate, on www.guycocker.com.