On Tuesday I was privileged to take part in a live chat on Xfire for their Careers in Gaming Week. Joining me was Michael Zenke, Games Editor for Slashdot, and a host of people with questions about being a game journalist.
Q&A with the movers and shakers of the videogame industry. The writers and editors of The Escapist leave no stone unturned searching for the unvarnished truth about the modern game industry.
Hubert Thieblot is not unlike a lot of gaming webmasters, a player who cobbled together a website dedicated to his favorite games. Unlike other webmasters, though, Hubert turned his casual enterprise into a go-to site for the growing MMOG population, securing millions of dollars of investment in the process.
Ever wonder what game design secrets the Palm Pilot holds? We had the chance to sit down with Scott Corley, the guy heading up Wideload Shorts, Wideload's "casual" (though "casual" is a four-letter word in their offices) game design shop. He explained Wideload's design philosophy, as well as Shorts' unlikely beginnings.
"We're trying to seed a system of indie development," Jim Greer, Kongregate's CEO and Co-Founder told The Escapist by phone, calling his efforts akin to "The Xbox Live of Flash games. We're looking for games that emphasize multiplayer, particularly co-op multiplayer."
We were able to fire off a few questions to Gamecock's Grand Champeen and CEO, Mike Wilson, about Gamecock's role as a publisher, as well as its image in the industry. What happens if they get as big as EA? Read on to find out.
"When I think back about the kind of stuff I was doing as a kid, whether it's drawing new characters for comic books, or writing up ideas for D&D adventures and stuff ... really this is sort of an extension of that. I just get a chance to do it at 42, which is pretty nice."
N'Gai Craol is an editor at Newsweek and writes for the blog LevelUp. Julian Dibbell has been writing about games longer than any of us, and is currently a freelancer working for The New York Times Magazine, among other places. He's also the author of the book Play Money. Kieron Gillen is a career freelance game journalist who writes for The Escapist, Edge and other magazines in the U.K. and the U.S. And N. Evan Van Zelfden is also a career freelancer, and has also published in The Escapist as well as The Economist, Kotaku and others.
All four were kind enough to take an hour out of their day to share their thoughts with me on game journalism as a whole, the art of crafting an interesting story about games and how they made into one of the sweetest gigs on the planet.
Some suggest, in this digital age of instant information, print media for videogames has been obsolete for years and is only just now finding out. Others suggest print media can still be relevant, as long as it adapts to a changing reality of game journalism. And still others see traditional outlets as the only true professional game reporters on the block.
But, as the game magazine business and its consumers continue to figure out just where magazines belong in the digital age, the bloodletting has been brutal. Where some outlets have been forced to close, others have adapted to survive. The Escapist recently spoke with Jeff Green, Editor-In-Chief of Games For Windows Magazine (previously Computer Gaming World) about his thoughts on staying relevant and the current state of videogame magazines and videogame reporting.
Cyber Nations is currently the most active of a number of nation-building games popularized by the likes of NationStates, a game that itself was formed as a promotional activity for the creator's book. Cyber Nations allows the player to develop a nation along any political viewpoint he desires, creating armies and forging alliances all through the 40,000-strong community.
Such an online base who plays daily, create their own content and make their own communities is the kind of thing most game companies would spend millions on. Yet Cyber Nations, which has no advertising or full-time staff, has done nothing of the sort.
Wizards of the Coast is probably the biggest brand in gaming no one ever thinks about. Despite my years-long affair with Magic: The Gathering, I was surprised to hear from them when they dropped us a line to talk about Gleemax, their new take on social networking. Gleemax, a MySpace-ish networking site based on a three-pillar (games, editorial and community) strategy, isn't the first to target gamers, but it's definitely the best-funded. I had a chance to speak with Randy Buehler, WotC's Vice President of Digital Gaming, about his plans for Gleemax and the future of Wizards of the Coast.
"At this point in time, find me another high school assistant principal who also has a design credit listed for a Triple-A title and I'll consider it valid criticism for our respective program. I suspect I won't hold such a geek-tacular title for long though, with companies discovering new pipelines of talent from law, medicine, engineering and other fields."
Richard Newsome is the plaintiff's attorney in Hernandez v. IGE, a lawsuit recently filed against the notorious real-money trade company. The Escapist's own Alexander Macris, a Harvard-trained lawyer who's written on virtual reality law, spent some time on the phone yesterday with attorney Newsome discussing the lawsuit.
One hundred years after an epic disaster called The Big Wet, the scattered remains of humanity cling to existence in barren desert outposts, scrounging what they can from the lands and ruins around them. Some cling to pagan religion, and there are whispers that humanity is discovering long-lost abilities such as telekinesis, but most of humanity simply tries to survive. Antony Johnston's Wasteland series is Mad Max meets The Dark Tower , with just a hint of frantic, end-of-the-world mysticism thrown in.
In our world, the U.S.S.R. fell, ending the Cold War and depriving the entire creative industry of a worthwhile bad guy. However, the proletariat still hopes for revolution, and Christian Gossett delivered with his series of graphic novels, called The Red Star. The world of The Red Star draws heavily from Soviet history and myth, with more than a hint of magic, as the United Republics of the Red Star command kilometers-long airships over the skies of Al'Istaan, but sorcerers and summoners can be far more dangerous than the mujahideen the U.S.S.R. faced.
Humanity toils beneath the boot of Dr. Wily and his robots, cowed by the relentless forces arrayed against them. Protoman has fallen, and a grief-stricken Dr. Light refuses to allow Mega Man to face the evil around him, but Mega Man storms out anyway to confront Dr. Wily, his robots and the shadows of his past. One group of brave resistance fighters dares to share this epic story via compact disc technology (samples). They call themselves The Protomen, and I was able to make contact with them for this short, but telling, interview.