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Posts Tagged ‘games’

My Week at PC Gamer

This week, I’ve been doing intern work for PC Gamer. I first approached them about doing this before I’d finished at uni and we recently agreed that I could go into the office and make words for them at their office in Bath.

I didn’t quite know what to expect from my week. The classic magazine intern stereotype is that they just make tea and coffee and do any more monkey work that’s far removed from any of the more significant work that actually goes into making their product. But I wasn’t there to do monkey work, I wanted to make a good impression. I wanted to show I was capable of doing the big boy work as well as being someone who’s reliable and could be called upon to do more for them in the future. As such, I was extremely nervous and destroying myself with anxiety in the immediate build up to the week. I wasn’t confident I could work to their standards. Heck, I wasn’t confident that I’d be called to do anything important and just do the sort of work that interns always get asked to do.

So I was pretty surprised when, right off the bat, I was writing a news piece for the website. My name on an article on PC Gamer!* Mental. And everyone in the office was being really friendly, so the fears and stress that I had been feeling the day before had been evaporated within an hour of taking my seat.

I was lucky throughout the week because, as I was told a few times, I was experiencing a bit of everything that comes with working on a games magazine. On Monday the team were on deadline so I was able to sample the surprisingly calm atmosphere of that. I was very kindly invited to the pub that evening and had a great time socialising with some genuinely nice people too. Following that we had Gamescom, so new announcements were always coming in to keep the news people busy. Finally there was the simple post-deadline atmosphere and laying the foundations for the next magazine.

Happily, this was something I was very involved in, more than I expected in fact. I was asked to write the pages for three regular sections: Play, Incoming and Must Play. I also wrote the stories for the first three pages of Monitor, which is the news section of the mag. It was only by this point in the week that I really started to feel my writing was improving, given the long amount of time since I last wrote something of worth and I was really happy with what I’d submitted. I might have something printed in Now Playing as well, which would be amazing.

I suppose my only regret of the week was that it seemed to go so quickly. But thanks to a chat with Graham and Rich towards the end of my last day, I left feeling pretty good about the work I’d done as well as my prospects for the future. In fact, I don’t think the week could have gone much better for me on a personal and professional level. Now I’ve just got to practise some of the advice I was given and hope that it takes me places.

Huge thanks must go out to Tom Senior, Tom Francis, Graham, Rich and Owen for all helping me to settle in and feel welcomed, and to Chris for holding my hand through most of the week and giving me the help I needed when I needed it.

*Upon returning home I found out that this was screenshotted, printed off and put into a frame. You can imagine my embarrassment.

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Beautiful beautiful beautiful

I bought Skyrim. I haven’t had much time to play it due to uni commitments, but I played Oblivion before purchasing it and managed to have fun with it. I still think a different mindset is required when it comes to playing Bethesda games compared to most other studios. My way of playing games has always been to plow through with the story, often having a clear idea of what the best way to play my character is. Having come to terms with Bethesda being different, I’m starting to enjoy it quite a lot. It’s one of only two games this year (the other being Deus Ex: HR) that makes me want to sit in the main menu just to hear the theme play out.

(I know, the idea of that being the highest form of praise I can give to Skyrim is stupid – I just thought it’s kind of cool).

One of the reasons I didn’t get to play much Skyrim is also down to my involvement in The Old Republic’s beta weekend. I went into the game almost blind, having not done much reading into the classes or abilities and such, but after that weekend, colour me fucking impressed. That was the most polished beta I’ve ever played in. The biggest bug I could find in my many hours of play was my character’s lips not moving during conversation pieces. When that’s the biggest problem you find in an MMO beta a month before its full release, you know it’s in pretty good shape.

There are some improvements that could be made, of course. I’d like to see a bit more done with character customisation – a common request from the testers during the weekend, but having only four different body shapes is restrictive. It did, however, allow me to play as a morbidly obese Sith Warrior, so all clouds, silver lining etc.

I can see myself playing quite a lot of The Old Republic. Most of my old WoW guild mates are making the switch and I’ll be playing with them which is a big plus. As to whether I’ll do much raiding or endgame content, I’m not sure. I’ve really enjoyed playing with different characters, mostly for story purposes, so I might turn into one of those MMO players who just levels tons of alts and doesn’t necessarily focus on one character. Part of me quitting raiding in WoW was because I felt like I wasn’t enjoying it and I was just doing it out of habit rather than for fun, which is something I’m still conscious of avoiding – particularly with a game with as much promise as SWTOR.

So yeah, The Old Republic; it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from an MMO made by BioWare and set in Star Wars. That’s just about the best way I can sum it up.

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