Job Requirements

To non-gamers, my job is an enigma. I tell them I write strategy guides for videogames and the common reply is "Oh, like cheat sheets?" To which I often say, "Yes, 200 page cheat sheets" or I'll say it's really just easier to think of me as a travel guide writer, but for fictional places. After all, that is ultimately what I do.

The conversation continues and 9 times out of 10, the person I'm talking with is positively shocked to learn that I actually play through the games and find the secrets and devise the winning strategy myself. I don't blame them, after all despite having written roughly 60 official guidebooks my own father still occasionally wonders why the developers don't just put the books out themselves (the answer is they're too busy finishing the game). Anyway, as much as I absolutely hate myself for doing this, I have a link to a series of articles on Destructoid (man do I feel dirty now) called "Know Your Gamer". Unlike the rest of the rubbish that passes for commentary on that site, this series of articles is actually very well written, entertaining, and quite true. The articles examine all of the different gamer stereotypes and while people may want to cry foul at the blatant labeling and ridicule, the articles done speak the truth.

Back to my job. A lot of people want to know how to break into the industry and I always give them the same ol' tip about going to a strategy guide publisher's website and look for the link to submit a writing sample. But, before you do that, I think you really need to read Chapter 7: The Collecting Gamer at Destructoid and see if that sounds like you. If you find the Collecting Gamer stereotype to be dull or perhaps stricken with a case of OCD, then this job is not for you. On the other hand, if it sounds like they're describing your gameplay tendencies then consider putting a sample together and sending it in to either BradyGames or Prima or DoubleJump (Note: please don't ask for referrals, I've repaid my karmic debt years ago in this area).

He never leaves a crate unbroken, a chest unopened, a body unsearched, or an box free from a head-butting. He is as thorough and as attentive as gamers come, and in his own way, as professional as the technical gamer. Truly, the collecting gamer is an inspiration to us all in the area of properly completing a game and getting our oney's
worth out of every title we purchase. Now if only there were a few more achievements left...

All is not lost if the Collecting Gamer sounded foreign to you. There is also a place in the strategy guide world for those who fit the bill in Chapter 6: The One Game Gamer. I know of several game or genre-specific writers who work on just one book every year or so, but they are clearly the masters of that domain. This seems to be especially common in the fighting games genre and, to a lesser extent, with simulation games.

Anyway, you'll find a link to the index of all the different classes of gamer at the bottom of the articles and I definitely recommend browsing the others, as they're pretty funny. Especially the chapter on Japanophiles. But, seriously, read the Collecting Gamer if you ever wanted to know what my "days spent playing games" were really like. Well, with the exception that I don't just find everything, but map it and document it in 250-page manuscripts.

No comments: