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    Write, Because You Aren't Being Represented

    These are the hands of Willie Wayne Young, a self-taught sketch artist. He sketches mostly the mundane of everyday life in Dallas, Texas. He began doing this in between customers at the barbershop he currently works.


    If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written you’d know that games writing is something I just “did just to do.” Somewhere between now and 2008, I’ve managed to meet more progressive thinkers which has helped me mature as a person. Unfortunately, I had to step away. It took me the better part of last year to figure out the reason(s) I continue to write about games -- among other things. It had a lot to do with my passions shifting, my health, and the reason I have your eyes here at this moment.


    Here’s where I, abstractly, beg you to start writing.


    I’m hoping this translates well to anyone debating writing about their lives and interests, specifically on the internet. Something weird is happening in my little world of gaming. I recently wrote about the games industry effectively “wagging the dog” technologically. It’s an unpublished, overly-wordy screed of how the industry is guiding the culture -- instead of the other way around. We aren’t out of the woods yet, but the industry is saying to the community [and culture] that they need more money from us in order to sustain an ecosystem. This sucks, because I’m broke, but still like games and stuff.


    With a collective “umm, what?” from the vocal many on social media -- we, the games community, thrived off of media outlets to do their “journalism thing” and deliver information to the community. We depend on major news outlets to ask the right questions in order to get something close to a definitive answer, or a general understanding of what is to come.


    When it comes to the many works and products pushed onto shelves we are all in dire need of representation. Take BioShock Infinite as an example. The reviews for this game from major outlets all over the world encourage all who participate in this vast social organism to experience this critically acclaimed masterpiece. I’ve said my piece on the game, but I think “how” this game was reviewed is representative of many others.


    Who will be the writers who look at a game’s racial, gender and socio-economic content and make it an actual point of discussion? Instead of a bulletpoint you can “acknowledge as an issue, but think the game is so f**kin’ amazing.” The chances of enthusiast games press [or any other medium] echoing your feelings shrink when you consider a few things.


    Writers want their words read by the largest audience on the largest platform. Writing from a viewpoint that may question a reader’s political, religious and social leanings is a risk of alienation -- on all fronts. In the case of Bioshock Infinite, if a large outlet produces a low-scoring review where the heaviest criticisms are centered around the story’s cultural insensitivity, a reader who can easily “get over that” may not read your work again.


    In my book, that’s a reader you can lose, but I get why writers for major outlets don’t review or cover cultural topics more often, that so many of us want to be discussed in a public forum. The way we cover media, art, and games is a lost cause until an IGN, Gamespot, Kotaku* figures out that the only reason white males between the ages of 15 and 42 are reading their site, is because they are writing in a manner that will draw those kinds of eyes.


    The games culture is synonymous with a great deal of subcultures around the world and the evolution therein. Think about it, 10 years ago there were even fewer women and people of color publicly writing about the games culture and industry as whole. The internet and the Wild Wild West of social media have given us poor and disenfranchised folks a better chance at getting our voices heard.


    The gaming community came to a conclusion [this year specifically] about this impending newer, shiny-er generation. “You are here because of us.” Or, at least, that’s what I gathered after Microsoft’s press conference at E3 this year.


    That is one example among many. This generation almost begs of you to write. How could you not see that? There is no major news outlet capable of covering your life and how you see it. There is no blog titled “You: Perfectly Described.” So, why aren’t you writing?


    Here’s where I directly beg you to start writing.


    I can tell you why I didn’t write for a while. I sucked. I kinda still do. I have a less-than-sucky voice developed which is comically easy to mature if you just write something -- anything. I don’t care if you’re on a farm with a crappy internet connection in Montana. I don’t care if your day consists of doing three mundane things, one of which may be pooping -- write about the texture.


    No one is going to write your story for you. I mean, maybe a solid obit, but you’ll never see it. Kinda how obituaries work.


    Another reason why I didn’t publically write? Everyone I read seemed so much smarter than me. I mean who uses verisimilitude, ludonarrative dissonance AND lunar voice within one paragraph of a review? Not me. Wait. Damn.


    Then I realized that, these smart people I follow -- follow even smarter people.


    No one will see a film like you will. No one will taste food or cook it [err, microwave it] like you do. You are so much better than me at this, so why not spend a couple Sunday mornings talking to the vacuous space that is the internet. I promise you, someone will read it. Maybe they will hate it. Maybe they will hate it enough to start writing.






    *It would seem since the staff change at Kotaku they have been better about putting meaty topics about the many under-represented topics in the games community up for discussion. Thanks Patricia Hernandez & Kirk Hamilton.



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