New Beginnings And Time For Reflection – Jan to April 2018 (And a little on 2017)

I’ve previously used my blog to give updates on what I’ve been up to, as often I have had long breaks from blogging for various reasons and it is a good way for me to reflect upon what I’ve been up to. Which I’m going to try to be more consistent about, doing a reflection post such as this every four months, as that is just what has worked out for me right now. Anyway, this is more for me but if you want to keep up with what I’ve been doing, more so games industry wise, then this is the place for it.

To give some context, after graduating early last year, I had a few weeks to reflect on my future, where I wanted to be and how I was going to get there. Realistically, I had no idea and was very lucky when the company I had interned for during my studies, Double Jump Communications, offered me a 2 month contract in Sydney. I lived in Adelaide, still had a lease with a house there, knew no almost no one in Sydney, and thought why not! It was well worth it.

Double Jump are the sister company of Surprise Attack Games, one of the few video game publishers in Australia, who help produce, market and with all the nitty-gritty things for games they decide to partner with. While Double Jump, are a video game and tech public relations and event agency, with an office in Melbourne and in Sydney too. I would eventually have my contract extended to four months in Sydney, would do another month and a half in Melbourne, working with clients such as Blizzard Entertainment, Devolver Digital, Cygames, Hi-Rez Studios, Daedalic Entertainment, Razer, Plantronics, HyperX and several more.

It was a fantastic experience, doing product release campaigns in ANZ with Devolver for their ever quirky and fantastic games, helped organise and manage the Overwatch World Cup Sydney Event with Blizzard and managed a booth with dozens of volunteers at PAX Australia for Cygames. Invaluable experiences, ones which I know will help me greatly in the future, but just as importantly, I met so many wonderful, interesting and passionate people, many of who I’m very happy to now call friends, several very close friends who I still chat to regularly! It was exactly what I needed after graduating and set me on new paths I could have never imagined at the start of the year.

At the start of 2018, it had been two months since I finished my last contract with Double Jump in Melbourne and had been applying for a few jobs with my new set of skills and experience, confident of getting work in the games industry through new contacts, if not at least something in media in Adelaide. Although due to the Christmas and New Year period and all, things were moving slow and there were not jobs etc popping up, which I didn’t mind as it meant I enjoyed Summer more than I ever had, especially because of spending time with my girlfriend, and could live off savings comfortably.

So when Double Jump coming knocking, offering another short-term contract just for January, which I could do remotely from Adelaide, it made a lot of sense. More importantly though over these few quieter months, I had been chatting to an editor from IGN over email about freelance writing opportunities, specifically writing long form opinion pieces and features. This eventually came to head in late January, when I started on my first piece for IGN, a long time dream, one which was exciting to achieve to say the least.

I had also been chatting to editors from a few other outlets who I had been interested in writing for a long time. Firstly OK Beast, a website which I’d been a fan of for several months, especially because of their fantastic video essays about the games industry. Secondly Geek Bomb, a pop culture website which I’d known of for a long time, and through chance had come in contact with the editor. I would go on to write about my most anticipated mobile games coming out this year for Geek Bomb, before their big switch from editorial content to social and video content. I’m glad I had the opportunity to write for them before the change, being a fan and to get more experience working with editors in a freelance capacity.

While my first article for OK Beast would of course be about indie games, and my most anticipated indie games coming in 2018, including Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, Manifold Garden and Desert Child (among others). Not too long after I wrote about a wonderful Twitter thread in which game developers and media personalities spoke about touching moments when fans had told them about the significant influence their games had on them, which was a lot of fun to write and share. More recently, I’ve been working on a new column style series for OK Beast, which will allow me to talk about indie games on a more regular basis, which I’m really excited for and looking forward to how it turns out. Not too long after these three features were published, my article for IGN was published.

It was a Monday, and I spent most of the morning refreshing my web browser, waiting for my article to go live. I would end up spending a majority of that day and the next responding to comments on the article, sharing it on social media with family and friends, as well as the developers who then shared it themselves. Even some of my greatest idols in the games industry saw it and congratulated me on it. It was all quite surreal.

Oh right! What was the article about? It was an idea which had been bouncing around in my head for a year or two, but I had never put it to paper till I pitched it to my editor at IGN. “Why Max from Life is Strange is the most relatable video game character I’ve ever played” is an exploration and explanation, of why the episodic game Life is Strange had such a huge impact on me, my mental state and helped me push forward with my passions during times of doubt. It was strange and interesting exploring those memories and feelings from years ago, a period of transition out of residential college life to true independent living and focusing more than I ever had on my writing. To do such a piece for IGN was unreal and I don’t think I’ll ever fully comprehend it. Also it was the first time I had been paid for my writing! That fact that it happened to be for one of the biggest video game and entertainment news websites in the world only added to how unbelievable it all was. However, if I ever was to have a chance of making a career out of video game journalism, I couldn’t stop there. A week later, I was pitching new ideas and articles to my IGN editor. My second piece is close to being published, which comes with a different type of excitement and feelings, but we’ll explore those in the next reflection blog post in another four months time!

Since then I’ve pitched more articles to different publications and game news outlets, with reasonable success! As over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on features, opinion pieces and a game guide for a few different outlets, which has been keeping me busy while I continue to look for more full-time, or part-time work in media/communications (slim pickings for game related work in Adelaide unfortunately!). I’ll talk more about those pieces in the next post, once they are all published!

Over the past month and half I’ve also been lucky enough to be involved in a friend’s Nintendo oriented podcast and a local game developer forum in Adelaide at the new game developer co-share working space in the CBD.

The podcast was The House of Mario, which was started by a close friend of mine last year and made the most of a trip to Adelaide to not only catch up with me, but have me as a guest on the show! We chatted about my experiences in the Australian games industry, my pathway to becoming a freelance writer since we graduated high school together back in 2012. We also chatted a bit about Nintendo too! Especially my hype for the new Mario Tennis game coming to the Nintendo Switch. If you love Nintendo you’ll love The House of Mario, so give them a listen and a follow on the ol socials.

While for the recently organised Adelaide Game Developer Talks, I was asked to help out and interview local developers Team Cherry, creators of the fantastic Hollow Knight, as part of one of the panels they had in April. We had a great turnout, a live stream of the whole night and it was a blast chatting to Team Cherry about their past, development ideologies and the success of Hollow Knight during the interview.

I think that about covers everything? I’m really excited about the next blog entry already, as I have a lot on the go right now writing wise, many of which will be published in the next few weeks. Plus there is a few projects being worked on in the background with some close game industry friends which I haven’t even alluded to otherwise in this post! So I’m excited.

The start to 2018 was not what I expected at all. I had hoped and somewhat expected to get full-time, or at least part-time work in games by now, but instead have the time to start my freelance career, be involved with some cool industry events and importantly have had the opportunity to reflect on where I am right now, in regards to my career, my health and well-being, and generally how I’m feeling. I’m much more confident and excited for the future than I was a little over a year ago in the weeks after finishing my studies. Which makes me really happy and appreciative of everything that has happened in the past twelve months. I can’t wait for the next twelve and to see where the hell I end up.

Until the end of August, have a good life!


List of articles and mentioned things!

Mobile Games We’re Dying to Play in 2018 – Geek Bomb

Five Indie Games We Can’t Wait To Play In 2018 – OK Beast

The Stories That Make Content & Game Development Worth It – OK Beast

Why Max From Life is Strange Is The Most Relatable Video Game Character I’ve Ever Played – IGN

Video Games Writing With Seamus Mullins – Episode 32 – The House of Mario –

Adelaide Game Developer Talks #2 – April –