6 Ways to Write About Computer Games
The video game industry has only recently grown large enough to become mainstream and thus, something to talk about with non-gamers. Sure, we all collectively like to know if its a Sandbox-FPS-RPG-MMO-Business Sim*, but there's more to game writing than a jargon laden article full of non-specifics and screenshots. I think different writing styles enrich my appreciation of a game. I thought of 6 ways to write about video games that I think will broaden the horizon of game culture and improve my ability to talk about games to everyone.
I was prompted to write this while stumbling around the internet. I discovered a fascinating article in Kotaku by Leigh Alexander describing how she failed to successfully communicate the fun and character of Fallout 3 to her parents. This prompted me to think about how I share my thoughts on computer games to family and friends. It is a hard thing to do.
ONE: Write Like a Traveller
I am compelled to explore by good travel writing. Good travel writers not only know how to describe people, geography and politics but they also use the journey and their article as a way of sharing themselves and their outlook on the world. Some of the most wonderful articles on computer games come from independent bloggers talking about a game they loved as if it were a country they traveled to. Not only did I find out how a player interacts with the game and how it progresses, but also about what made it click for the person describing it. That is a key component when describing a game to someone else, especially someone who doesn't play games. That person needs to understand you and your approach before they can appreciate what you are talking about.
TWO: Write Like a Historian
A historian's greatest asset is his or her ability to provide context. You can describe what makes the game technologically unique and place it in the mesh of games as a whole. Anchoring a game to others enables a player to make leaps of understanding about a game they haven't played before. But it also allows you to explain to non-players why certain developments are important to gamers. We may not have our Citizen Kane of games yet, but we do have milestones in development, and each milestone has made games more accessible to non-players and players alike.
That might actually be a cool game
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