It was about this time four years ago when I had an epiphany: I had finally figured out what I wanted to do as a career. Take that career counselors of the world! I didn’t need you!
It hit me one day while listening to IGN.com’s Podcast Beyond following a round of layoffs at the website. One of the podcast’s longtime regulars, Ryan Clements who I swear to god is the nicest human being alive, was among those let go. Something was said by the remaining members (I unfortunately can’t remember exactly what) regarding Ryan’s new job. He had been hired as a community manager with the video game publisher, Deep Silver (Dead Island, Saint’s Row, Metro). Interest peaked, I looked into exactly what a community manager at a gaming company does. I came to learn that he was responsible for engaging with the players that support, and potentially support, that company’s products. This is what community managers do all across the industry.
I had already known at the time that I wanted to work in the video game industry to some degree but I had no idea exactly what position I wanted to attain. For awhile I had hoped to get into gaming journalism working for a website such as IGN or Gamespot. Knowing that those positions are freakishly competitive, I began blogging on the IGN community blogs in hope that I could practice and standout. And honestly, I sucked. I was an awful and unpolished writer and I didn’t believe in myself. While some of my posters garnered positive reception from the site’s community, I could recognize that on an objective level the writing was poor and content often weak at best. Overemphasizing my shortcomings like that affected significantly impacted my confidence. Working in the gaming enthusiast press felt genuinely impossible as did working in gaming in general
You see I wasn’t a creative writer, I wasn’t a particularly talented artist in the traditional sense, and I knew nothing of programming or formal game design/development software. My options didn’t only feel limited, they felt nonexistent. It seemed as if I was on an island with the intention of getting off but left with no options to make it a reality. But hearing about Ryan Clements’ new job and by extension learning of the extensive PR and marketing side of the gaming industry opened my eyes to the wide range of opportunities for someone with my skill set.
At the time I had already earned an associate’s degree in graphic design and was currently attending the University of Missouri pursuing a degree in Communication Media. I figured I would end up doing graphic design for a living but I recognized that dedicated design positions are few in quantity. Knowing this I decided to diversify my skill set at Mizzou by learning the art of communication, public relations and how to utilize media. I quickly realized I enjoyed it quite a bit! So, as if discovering exciting new job opportunities wasn’t enough, they just so happen to align brilliantly with my existing skill set, education and the type of work I already enjoyed and had already been planning to do for a living to begin with!
In hindsight, great PR and marketing positions existing at gaming companies is so painfully obvious that I wish I could slap the 2012 version of myself. How the hell could I not have realized that those existed?! Maybe this is why young people think the job market is dreadful… because we’re idiots. Such is life I suppose.
Ever since that fabled epiphany I’ve been taking small steps toward achieving my goals. I began doing some freelance writing for some small gaming websites such as B-Ten.com and Spawnfirst.com, I graduated from Mizzou with my Communications Degree, I’ve attempted to get some gaming podcasting projects off the ground and have spent more time browsing NeoGAF and researching the gaming industry than I should be willing to admit.
Perhaps most significantly I found a job in late 2015 working for the City of Columbia, Missouri as a Community Relations Specialist. My job is to create branding and marketing materials for the city, help operate social media and to assist in various city marketing and PR initiatives. Just recently I assisted in designing the promotional materials for the major announcement of United Airlines bringing flights to our local airport in addition to helping to plan and market the press event. Kind of a big deal! My time with the city has been enjoyable and rewarding but it isn’t where I want to be forever. I also recognize that it has given me extremely valuable experience working in a significant public relations role that will undoubtedly prove value in the future.
So what’s up with this new blog website? Well this is the latest step in my journey, the latest step on my path to making my dream of working in the gaming industry a reality. Companies need to understand that I’m not just another young adult with lofty ambitions. I’m someone with the sort of genuine passion and knowledge that are both critical to succeeding in gaming on both a personal and professional level… That, and this is something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile! I love discussing this industry and being able to share my knowledge and opinions. What better way to do that than writing on the internet in a formal setting? If conspiracy theorists can do it then so can I, damn it!
I don’t really have a concrete plan as to what this blog’s content is going to be aside from just posts about gaming. One day I may post a controversial opinion, another I might talk about a studio you should have your eye one and maybe on another I will spend 2000-plus words talking about how fucking awesome Yakuza 0 is (teaser???). It’s like getting a booster pack in Hearthstone minus the potential raging after crappy pulls.
Consider this particular post a mini biography and a formal welcome to my website. I don’t care if I get zero views or a hundred views, all I care about is that I have a place to consolidate my thoughts and to discuss the industry that I love so much. Welcome my friends! I can’t guarantee that you won’t be disappointed 😛