I’ve spent my whole life playing video games– they’ve occupied thousands upon thousands of hours of my life. A deep love for the medium of video games has driven me to pursue journalism as a profession (of course, any position in the journalism industry is an extremely optimistic outlook). So when I see an article about video games in Vox, I get kind of excited. I heard about it in last week’s budget meeting, where I admittedly giggled at hearing an editor mispronounced Skyrim as “Skrim.” The article was interesting enough and the writer certainly localized it– I’m sure any non-video game oriented person could see this story and fully understand what it’s about.
But I’m a total jerk. Modding is hardly new– Doom was getting modified way back in ’93. This is where new media and old journalism conflict. There’s a very distinct line between fanatics and the unknowing/uncaring masses.
I know what modding is, I’ve downloaded and played with mods on multiple games. I read this article with no clue on whether not the two subjects write their own mods or just download off Nexus (which is where most Skyrim mods come from). It’s like reading an article about music that points to two locals that know what it means to produce a song.
On the other hand, older readers with no interest or knowledge of video games can easily be driven off by this article–either by the idea of fantasy worlds or the jargon. If I don’t think hockey is a real sport, why would I read about minor league hockey teams?
This is the struggle that comes with writing about video games in non-video game publications. You’re stuck between either alienating the masters of the subject or the larger group of confused newbies. The end product can often fail both sides and end up as an uninteresting, confusing mess (Vox avoided this and had a fantastic picture to boot, something I’ve never managed to do). This is how a lot of my ideas end up– it’s not easy to pitch video games to people or editors outside the realm of video game fanaticism. Despite the fact that a video game is the fastest selling piece of media (12 million units on its first day and $1 billion in three days), it’s still nearly impossible to come up with a truthful, valuable piece that would belong in a daily paper.
Hopefully, I’ll come up with something soon. Games aren’t going anywhere– their audience is growing by the second. From mobile to console, they’re everywhere. Except the daily paper.