As a writer with ambitions of streaming, it’s easy to feel like you’re at a disadvantage. In a number of ways, you probably are. While you’re comfortable communicating your words through a keyboard, streaming requires you to learn a number of new technologies that you likely have little-to-no experience with. Even scarier is the thought of communicating through a camera and microphone with your voice, facial expressions, and body language. Oh yeah, and everyone will be judging how you look. Are you ready for your closeup?
Millions of other streamers have already figured out their tech and have no qualms with pointing a camera at their face. Is it too late for you as a writer to follow suit? Absolutely not. Even if the tech gives you plenty of headaches and you may forever be camera shy, your writing experience gives you a distinct advantage over many others in the space. Let me explain.
In an era of where the conversation about gaming is mostly happening in video, live streaming, podcasting, and social media, the practice of writing about video games is in a weird spot. Though there are no shortage of writers and there will always be an audience seeking gaming-related content in this format, it feels like this medium has shrunk into a niche-of-a-niche. The shift appears so dramatic that the ceiling for success seems much lower as a writer than seemingly any other form of content creator.
With the way things are, it’s impossible for a video game writer to build the audience, revenue, or notoriety approaching anything near Ninja’s level. I love Giant Bomb and Kinda Funny – most of whom started out as writers – but the majority of their success comes from podcasts, videos, and live streams. There are Instagram accounts that have generated six-figure audiences by only posting Fortnite memes. I can see even this reality in my own work, as my tiny Twitch channel generates more money than my blog on a monthly basis with just a fraction of the traffic.
The reality is that creators and their audiences generally prefer to consume their gaming content in those other formats. With the inherent barriers that come with reading and writing versus watching and listening, I feel like writing is always going to get the short end of the stick.
Having said all that, where does that put me, as someone whose been writing for a decade?
Convention Week comes to a close with some ideas for panels I’d like to host someday. Hope you’ve enjoyed this series of posts!
As of now, being famous enough to warrant a spot on a convention panel isn’t a goal of mine. Writing and streaming is something I do as a passion project. But if this journey somehow took me up on stage in front of an audience, here are some things I’d be interested in discussing!
Every now and then, I think about this one hip-hop site I used to visit in the late 90s. It was run by one guy who updated his site almost daily with album reviews, news, editorials, and stories of his personal life. After a few years, he put up a post saying that he was pulling down the site. In an age long before social media, he essentially erased himself from the internet, never to be seen again.
He may have just been one person running a hip-hop site from his bedroom without an audience other than me, but he made an impact on my life through his work. He opened my ears to music that I wouldn’t have listened to otherwise. I cared about his well-being when he lost his job and was concerned when he got suspended for performing a rap song at a school talent show that was apparently a bit too heavy on the coarse language. It was one of the first times I felt a connection to someone through their online work.
Having done this now for a decade, it makes me wonder if I’ve had that kind of impact on those who read this.
In high school, an essay I wrote changed my life. It was a four-page piece reflecting on my childhood and how much I’d grown and matured since. It was my first time writing for reasons beyond completing an assignment. Instead, it was an opportunity to dig deep into my soul and speak on my life in a way that I hadn’t before. A lot of emotion poured out of my heart and into that piece, as those thoughts and feelings were just bottled up this whole time. Doesn’t hurt that I got a perfect score on the assignment, but it only served as further validation that pouring my heart out in that manner was ultimately a good thing for me.
From that point forward, that emotional slant became the approach to everything I wrote. Besides being an effective vehicle for getting my thoughts and feelings across, I selfishly liked writing this way to clear my mind and soul of whatever was percolating in my brain. It’s therapeutic in a way.
In Third Person was no exception. Treating this as if it were my personal online journal about video games, I tried to write everything with that same passion and thoughtfulness, regardless of the content type or subject matter. It’s been an interesting experience trying to make this voice of mine work with this subject.
This is my car, circa 2011. I took this picture of it before driving it off the lot for the first time. Not long after, I wrote a post about it. It’s not gaming-related, but buying my first brand new car was an event worth celebrating however I wanted.
What happened after that was…unexpected.
Not long after posting, traffic to that post took off. So much so, that it’s still one of my most most popular posts. On one hand, it droves me nuts that this one off-topic post took off, while so many of the gaming posts that I care a lot more about are more deserving of the eyeballs in my opinion. However, it also served a teachable moment with regards to what the numbers can (and can’t) tell you.
One of the trendiest phrases in NBA jargon is “load management”. This is the practice of forcing healthy players to sit out regular season games as a means of keeping them fresh for the playoffs. Though its a touchy subject – as it devalues the NBA season while robbing paying fans of their opportunities to see the best players at times – we’re starting to see the potential benefits in this strategy. Case in point: Kawhi Leonard on the Toronto Raptors this past season.
Coming off the previous season where he only played 9 out of a possible 82 games due to injury, the Toronto Raptors put Kawhi on an aggressive load management program to keep him fresh. Instead of playing all 82 games, he played about 60, while skipping at least one of two games that were scheduled on consecutive days. Kawhi might have been visibly limping by the end of this past season, but he had enough gas in the tank to lead the Raptors to their first ever NBA championship. Though we’ll never know for certain, there’s a chance his body would have broken down prematurely had he played the season in full.
While I am not a superstar basketball player, applying the concept of load management to the way I manage In Third Person may not be a bad idea.
On June 9th, Steff and I will going on a trip to Europe! We’ll be enjoying the sights and sounds of London and Paris for a few weeks. Can’t wait to take a vacation!
That said, I can’t leave you alone! Tons of stuff scheduled to make it feel like I’m not gone at all!
The website will still have new content going up every day while I’m gone. Two major features will be rolling out: Arcade Week and GameCube Week!
As awesome as it would be to live stream from Europe, that’s not happening. Instead, I’ll be scheduling in a number of Twitch Premieres. The schedule is as follows:
June 10th, 7pm EST – LOST TAPES: The Show That Became Boss Rush
June 12th, 7pm EST – LOST TAPES: NES Classic Mix Featuring Castlevania I and II, Double Dragon II, and Ninja Gaiden!
June 14th, 7pm EST – In Third Person Comic Book Show Marathon
June 18th, 7pm EST – Board Game Talk Marathon
June 20th, 7pm EST – Boss Rush: All Game Show Marathon
Side note, if you haven’t already, make sure to follow twitch.tv/xdoublejump and twitch.tv/jsick06! Kris and Rachel over at Double Jump run a fantastic show and they stream multiple times a week. As for Jason, he’s probably going to stream something weird and retro that you haven’t seen before!
Social media updates will be…sporadic. I’ll be taking lots of pictures while I’m out there, and I should have regular access to wifi from our accommodations. If I do post, it will probably be light on gaming-related stuff and more heavy on tourism. But hey, I’m no stranger to deviating from my core content strategy in order to indulge in my otherpersonalinterests.
Wishing you all the best while I’m out! We’ll catch up when I get back on the 24th!
As a kid, I had this vision for what my dream gaming setup would look like. On one end, a large screen with all of my gaming consoles hooked up to it. On the other end, a nice comfy couch for me and my friends to sit on and enjoy the action. Lined along the walls would be all of my games and gaming memorabilia. Even as an adult, I had it in my mind that I would work towards creating a setup like that someday.
These days, my wife and I are pretty settled into our house. I have the basement as a space to create this gaming den of my dreams. Money is still an issue, but that’s not what’s ultimately stopping me from assembling some version of that dream setup.
I’m in the midst of writing my review for Mortal Kombat 11. Taking a moment to reflect on what I’d written thus far, it was over 1,000 words long, with the vast majority of it being focused on a handful of new gameplay adjustments that I find really cool. Whether I keep it all or not, being my own boss here at In Third Person gives me the wiggle room to approach my evaluation of the game in any way I so choose.
Having that freedom is really important to me with regards to the work I do here. While reviews are a staple of the video game content mix, I also find them to be a chore. Especially when you’re writing them with the goal of covering every aspect of what a game has to offer so that your readers can make an informed purchasing decision. It’s an unnatural way to consume and write about games that can really wear someone down over time. If it’s a game you don’t like, the strain to complete the game and review is amplified further.