Thursday, September 17, 2009
You're looking at...um, rather, you're reading the blog of a newly-minted freelance writer. I've been hired by Wired to contribute to their online coverage of the Tokyo Game Show 2009. And when I say "hired," I mean I will be paid money to write about video games.
As dreams go, this is certainly a more recent one that I all but stumbled into last year. 2008 was the year I found myself drawn back into the video game culture. It started with a resurgence of interest in PC games (thanks largely to the extraordinary experience I had playing Portal) and then I bought a PS3 to compliment our brand-new television.
Ultimately, it was the Bioshock demo last fall that really knocked my socks off and put me in an unfamiliar position: I was so excited about the game that all I wanted to do was play it and write about how it made me feel. Sure, I had been writing this blog for a few years at that point, but feeling compelled to write was an entirely new sensation.
Ever since that weekend, I've been trying to produce more "cultural" writing whenever possible, be it a game, film or television show that was on my mind. I can't pretend that I ever had a plan or a concrete goal in sight, but I suppose I might have fantasized about it leading to a job opportunity.
When Bitmob launched earlier this year, I saw it as a good place to expand my audience and possibly draw more viewers to my site. The former was a sure thing; in case you don't know, 30,000 visitors over five years is not much for a website. The latter hasn't happened yet, but at least Bitmob (along with Twitter, Facebook, and the like) helped to increase my presence on the Internet beyond this humble, archaic webpage.
Opportunity suddenly knocked last month when Chris Kohler of Wired inquired via Twitter about writers living in Japan who could help cover TGS. This wasn't the first time I saw a chance like this present itself, but this was the first time I responded quickly instead of mulling it over and letting it slip away. After a few days without a response, I figured he found someone else.
Instead, I got a message from Chris asking to see some of my work. Again, I responded as quickly as I could, explaining that I had no professionally published material but I gave him links to a few of my favorite stories, both here and on Bitmob. I didn't just focus on game writing either, I tried to show my take on a variety of topics including the birth of my son.
He wrote back and said I had the job, clearly indicating that he had read more than what I had sent him. He referenced my Super Potato story even though I didn't mention it since he had already written about that store many times before.
So here's what I know: my trip to Tokyo has morphed from "pleasure" to a business/pleasure hybrid, the likes of which have yet to be understood. I was going to attend one public day of the Tokyo Game Show and hang out with some friends. Now I'm definitely going to TGS for both press days and possibly both public days so I'm not sure how much time I'll have to hang out.
What I don't know is anything specific about the job itself. What will I be seeing/playing at the show? How many articles will I write, and how long will I have to write them? Will I need to stay up late working or will there be time for karaoke?
One thing's for sure: I'm really, really excited about getting my shot at professional writing less than a year after the idea crept into my head. What happens after the show is anybody's guess, but I know I'm going to Tokyo next week and I can't wait. Stay tuned to this site (and Wired Game|Life) to read all about it.
Oh, and play that victory sound!
Gongratulations on the new job opportunity. I hope Wired likes your work enough to offer you more jobs in the future, you deserve it =)
Rune, I was definitely going for a Bat-tastic feeling there.
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