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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Moving

I’m going to be moving to Bath soon, specifically July 7th. It’s quite exciting because it’s the first time I will have lived away from home for anything other than university but it’s also incredibly nerve-wracking for a number of reasons. Mainly because it’s the first time I will have lived away from home for anything other than university.

Another big reason that this is so bloomin’ intimidating is that I’m going there with no guarantee of any work at any place. I’m going there in the hopes that being in a bigger city = more places that potentially have jobs available, so it’s a bit of a gamble. I’ve been out of work since February and even that was only temp work, so over the last 12 months I’ve worked for a grand total of six weeks and it’s been getting to me.

I suppose the worst that could happen would be for me to not find a job and run out of money so that I’m forced to move back home, although even that’s not a disaster because I’m lucky enough to have a family who are supportive of such circumstances. I’d just keep looking for work in and around London and hope I get a bit luckier than I have in the last year, which has produced several employment near misses.

Sometimes I think I’m being a bit short sighted about all this. I’m not just moving to find a job or spend some time in a nice city (because Bath is lovely), I’m going because it’s about time I started doing things like this. I’ve been living in a bubble for a long time now, my one year on campus at UEA being an exception to the rule. My three years at London Met were spent as a commuting student, rather than one getting a taste for the big wide world like so many others who were renting a place in the city. I’m 23 now, it’s about time I started bringing myself out of my comfort zone more often in an effort to improve myself and get out of this mental slump I’ve been in for ages.

Anyway, if something jobby happens while I’m out in Bath I’ll tweet and probably write about it too. Hopefully this summer will be a happy one.

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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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Moving On

On October 5th I was browsing Twitter as I do during my brain-dead moments. I was sick that day so I had a pretty fine excuse for being in such a state. During my little browsing session I saw a retweet from a certain Jaz McDougall, writer for PCGamer magazine. It was originally by a profile named GamingDaily, and it said:

“Hey, PC gaming types – want to write about PC games? Read this: http://www.gamingdaily.co.uk/write-for-us/ (RT’s would be appreciated)”

Immediately I knew that I had to go for this. I contacted the editor and showed him some of the things I’ve written here over the course of the blog’s lifespan. Sure enough, he gave me the go ahead. Now, one month and a few trial articles later, I am a registered writer with PC gaming blog Gaming Daily, and I’m over the bloody moon.

I’m just so happy with how things pretty much fell into my lap. One Twitter link and an email, job done. I suppose it goes to show just how powerful that little social networking tool can be, but that’s for another post I guess. I’m just overjoyed to now be on the first step of the ladder. From here I can meet new people, make connections, start doing what this blog was made for on a professional level.

Yes, I’m moving on, but I’ll always remember that this little journey started with a pokey little blog made for a Journalism assignment at Uni. I’ll be here from time to time, but the majority of my content will now be posted on GamingDaily 🙂

Elliot.

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Goodbye to Azeroth, until Cataclysm blows us all up

Video games are not jobs. No matter how involved they may be in your professional life, if you’re a games journalist or even a designer, they’re just an elaborate hobby. No more than that.

In June last year I was offered to become an officer in the guild I had long been a part of in WoW, Primal. It was, in many ways, the happiest time of my WoW career. I’d always wanted to experience the game at the business end where all the hustle and bustling activity were to be found. I was warned that being an officer was no picnic, that there would be hard times and yet I stuck with it and accepted the offer. For 13 of those months, I was a happy officer of Primal. Yes there were bumps in the road but ultimately I can look back on those 13 months as enjoyable. For the most part, I was able to log in and enjoy myself and play as I wanted to. For the remaining two months, things turned sour.

I was no longer logging in because I wanted to, I was logging in because I had to. This wasn’t a game anymore, this was a glorified job in a virtual world where you pay someone else to do some occasionally very tedious tasks. Raiding was all that kept me in the game. If you take that out, there really is very little to do at the max level. As such, the idea of rushing dinner on four nights of every week just to be online on time was becoming less and less attractive. Why was I still logging on? Did I feel like I was logging on out of obligation, rather than a desire to? Yes was the answer, and that’s why between now and the launch of Cataclysm, I won’t be logging into WoW again.

Let me make this very clear; this is not a bitch post. I’m not airing out dirty laundry or finally unleashing long-held-back bitterness at my guild or WoW in general, because the sense of community in Primal is second to none. The purpose of this post is exploring the whole notion of ‘obligated gaming’. Video games are, almost by definition, supposed to be enjoyed. Whether you work full time and use them as escapism or you are surrounded by them all day as a tester or programmer, the idea of playing because you have to should never come into the equation. If your job is centred around video games, you took that job because you damn well enjoy playing video games. At no point should you feel as if you’re playing because you have to. The moment that thought even enters your mind, you have to stop there.

When I play a game from now on, it’s going to be on my terms and when I want to play it. This medium is too dynamic and too lovable to ever be treated as a job. Don’t let it be.

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Game Over(?)

I have a dirty, rotten secret to confess. This blog is a sham. All of it, a filthy lie.

I was asked to create this blog as part of my Journalism course at University. As such I was obligated to fill it up with stuff that would look good when it was eventually assessed. The clincher here is that the blog has been assessed, and it did pretty well. I no longer need to visit this site ever again or post a single word on it.

But I’m not done with it. Not yet, anyway.

I still want to blog, I feel like there’s a lot of great things happening now and coming soon for the PC gaming community. Within the next couple of days I’ll be getting my hands on the Episodes from Liberty City expansion for GTA IV, and I’ll most certainly be picking up Splinter Cell: Conviction when it launches on PC (it’s been delayed, incidentally…grumble…). In the long term, I’ll be getting a new PC in September. One that I hope will be powerful enough to record footage from the latest games. Then I can finally put my Youtube channel to use beyond that of WoW videos and maybe get some Battlefield commentaries in, maybe some MW2 if it sorts its shit out by then.

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