Whether I’m writing in-depth fighting game guides, sharing streaming advice, or recommending games for your next board game night, In Third Person has always been a reflection of my life situation and interests at any given moment in time. It makes for an experience that’s difficult to follow on an ongoing basis, but my top priority has always been to give myself the freedom to make whatever I want with the time I have available to commit to this passion project.
These last few years have been no different. Due to some major global events, lifestyle changes, and new hobbies, my output continues to change with me.
Video games might be the primary focus of In Third Person, but the site and platform at-large ultimately goes where I go. In years past, this meant diving deep into the realm of fighting game strategy. Or catching up on years of comic book lore. Or exploring the world of tabletop gaming.
In 2020, while we certainly talked a fair amount about games, In Third Person branched out in a few key ways. For one, much of my content this year focused on streaming. Whether I was sharing what little expertise I had in order to help others improve their output or providing you with insight on my life as an aspiring streamer, I used this site as an outlet for those thoughts.
And then there was the whole pandemic thing. Though most of my discussion on the matter happens on stream, I wrote a few deeply-personal posts regarding the current state of the world. I don’t regret using this platform to share my feelings of concern and sadness. If anything, I wish I spent more time focusing my thoughts on the pandemic into posts rather than the scattershot ramblings I’m prone to on stream.
Before we close the book on 2020 (good riddance), I just wanted to take a moment to highlight a few of my posts. Not sure if “favourite” is the right word here, especially considering the subject matter of some. But I think this collection of posts provides a snapshot of where I was at this year.
This is how it ends.
No, In Third Person isn’t going away. But the 391-day posting streak is going to end tomorrow. Oh well.
When In Third Person expanded into the world of video many moons ago, I did so with an eye on efficiency. The first video I ever uploaded to the In Third Person YouTube channel effectively turned into two pieces of content when I wrote a post about it on WordPress. Doing so gave me the opportunity to add supplemental video content to my written work while also establishing a presence on a new platform for others to discover me. If you want to count auto posts from my blog to Twitter, then that one video turns into three.
As I’ve expanded my presence in other mediums and platforms, the concept of efficiency has become even more important. While the workload is already too much for me to handle, I’m still able to crank out a lot by being as economical as I can with the pieces I make.
In the midst of creating content to celebrate In Third Person’s 10-year anniversary, I noticed that we were nearing another milestone. That milestone is now.
This is post #3,000.
Not really sure what to say here, as I kind of spent all of 2019 celebrating the site’s longevity. However, it feels like a missed opportunity if I don’t acknowledge it in some way.
(pauses for 20 minutes to think of an angle)
How about this?
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!
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.
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.
Welcome to the wonderful world of video game blogging. Though there are millions of video game blogs out there and millions more to come, there’s always room for you to join the party. I don’t have any stats to back this up, but I’m fairly certain that most blogs live a relatively short life, garnering at best a handful of visits a day until the blog owner gets bored of writing. If you have no long-term aspirations for your blog, then leaving it to die after a few weeks or months is fine. With that said, if you have visions of your blog being the next Kotaku, or using your blog as a stepping-stone to work at a blog like Kotaku, you probably don’t want to run the blog that has no readers and stays that way until you eventually abandon it.
In Third Person is not on the level of a Kotaku, Joystiq or Destructoid, but I’ve been able to achieve a certain level of success in the few years I’ve been doing this. To celebrate reaching 100,000 visits, I thought I’d share In Third Person’s secrets to success with you.