My Experience as a Gaming Journalist

About three and a half years ago (the summer of 2014), I received a message from who is now my boss. It was an invitation to write for his (at the time) newest website. I was quite surprised by the offer, but, I took it and thus began a new chapter of my life: gaming journalism. Fast-forward to now, and it’s been quite an interesting journey.

The gaming media (and well, most media, in general, these days) tends to have a bad rep. A lot of folks in the gaming community seem to despise journalists. I can’t speak for the entire media world, but I can say for myself that I try and keep things as balanced as possible. While there are some journalists who do try and push agendas, this profession has actually taught me to be a lot more open-minded. Instead of clinging to my own ideas, I try to entertain the thoughts of others. Of course, there will be times when I don’t agree with someone else’s thinking, but I do believe that it’s always the best choice to be respectful of other opinions whether you agree with them or not. But, that’s just the thing, a lot of folks aren’t respectful of opposing thoughts.

Almost every time I write an opinion piece, I already know I’m going to get a few people who come at my article with the sole intention of trying to discredit it. On certain websites where fanboyism is rampant, this leads to the comment section mostly being an echo chamber of overzealous fans who cling to their precious favorite companies/systems seemingly for dear life, and anyone who speaks against them apparently deserves to be burned at the stake. In fact, I have been told on a few occasions to either kill myself or threatened to be killed in rather gruesome ways. While it is a bit unsettling to experience something like that, I also kind of find it rather amusing that my words about a game, system or company would get someone so bent out of shape that their only reaction is gory violence.

That isn’t to play into the constantly-repeated idea that gamers are nothing but lonely, angry ‘losers’ who spend all day sitting in front of a screen killing virtual people/creatures and arguing with strangers on the Internet. You definitely have people like that, but it is not the majority by any means. Being a gaming journalist has taught me a lot about this industry and the vibrant community surrounding it, so anytime I see/hear misconceptions like that, all I do is shake my head. But, seriously, some of us—gamers and journalists alike—really need to sit back, relax and take a chill pill sometimes. The arguments that I see go down in comment sections/forums, and the ‘YouTube drama’ that erupts when creators try and call each other out for something (which has also happened to me); it’s all incredibly insane. I mean, think about it, all of this happens over video games, the companies behind them, and the plastic/metal boxes we use to play said games created by said companies. How often is the drama actually worth it?

Some gamers seem to have it out for the media, but we’re not some league of villains seeking to destroy the industry. We’re just writers, bros. 

In any case, my experience has not 100% consisted of trolls, fanboys, and drama. Time to consider the good stuff, like how I get to play video games for a living. Every time I tell people about my job, the reaction is basically always the same: “Wait, what? Really? That’s a dream job!” It is, and I feel honored to enjoy this privilege. As someone who’s been into games since the age of three, I guess you can say gaming is just something natural to me. It’s a part of who I am. Yet, I never actually expected to have a job related to it. My career aspirations were at first meteorology, then later on aviation flew into the picture (pun intended). But, my first real job somehow ended up being journalism…about video games. That’s quite a twist, but I’m happy it turned out this way. Not only is this job right up my alley because it involves a hobby I’ve had all my life, but because it’s all online, it’s given me the freedom to simultaneously travel and work. What you’re reading has been typed from Lima, Peru. I’m from the Bahamas and have been down in South America for over a year at this point. The only reason that’s the case is because this job doesn’t have me tethered to some office cubicle. I’m not saying this to gloat, either. Every time I stop and think about it, I just have to smile because I can’t believe it’s real, but I’m very thankful that it is.

The reason I wanted to write this piece is because I realized a few weeks ago that I’ve never formally expressed my thoughts on my job, which I considered to be a little odd. I’ve talked about it a hundred times in person when people ask me what I do, so I figured why not just write about my feelings for it since I’m a writer? But I guess there’s an even bigger reason; I was hoping a piece like this would make journalists seem a bit more ‘human.’ As I said at the beginning of this article, some folks in the community seem to have it out for the gaming media. Again, it is very true there are some bad apples in the bunch, but it’s rather silly to think they speak for every single journalist/media site out there.

Just like I avoided blanketing all gamers as lonely, violent losers, I think the community should stop trying to blanket journalists as evil foxes who only seek to disrupt and mislead. We’re writers for goodness sake, not government spies. On that note, let me just bring one major point into consideration; if you’re going to try and ‘call out’ one group, it’s better if you do the same for all the others. Just as you have some wayward journalists and media centers, there are also companies in the industry that aren’t exactly shy about showing how they really only care about profits and nothing else. Then, you have the gaming community, which as I said is not totally terrible, but does have members who only seek to cause mayhem in a rather cowardly fashion thanks to anonymity offered by the Internet. See? Every side has some dirty laundry that can be aired out, so let’s not pretend this is some kind of ‘us vs. them’ situation, alright?

At the end of the day, no matter which platform you like the most, no matter which genre you’re a true fan of, no matter what age or gender you are, the main thing is that we all like video games. The fact that you’re reading this right now shows you like video games because you’re on a video game media website. Is it so wrong to just be happy to know there are others out there like you? That’s what being a gaming journalist has taught me: this industry is vast and very interesting. It’s exciting watching it grow and advance so rapidly, and I’m glad I have this platform to share my thoughts on it all.

Even after all this time, I still find it amazing I do this as a job. It’s been a wild ride so far! 

A.K Rahming
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.