Weekend Recap: Dreams Achieved, Dreams Dashed

1.  My essay for Videodame was featured in the most recent Critical Distance round-up, which has been a wish/dream/goal of mine for the last two years or so.  So that’s pretty great.

2.  What’s not great is that, well, it would seem that being a professional games journalist sucks.  Gamespot broke my heart for the second time last week by laying off a bunch of really talented writers, one of whom I consider a good friend.  My Twitter feed is full of immensely talented freelancers who are far more talented and experienced than me, and almost all of whom are broke.  There’s hardly any full-time openings, and the few available openings tend to go only to people who have extensive experience (and are young, white and male) (even though the job listings always make it sound like anybody has a realistic chance), and even if you do manage to land a full-time gig, there’s not much money and even less stability.

Even more terrifying is the apparent reality that video is replacing the written word as far as game journalism is concerned.  This makes literally no sense to me, because I primarily consume my game writing at work, and I can’t watch hours and hours of YouTube videos at work.  When given the choice, I’d choose the written version every single time, which is why when I see that video is the way of the future, I feel like an old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn.

It’s hard enough finding the time to write for this site, where I have a minuscule audience and which generates absolutely no revenue.  Making videos that I wouldn’t even be able to watch seems ridiculous.

This is a long way of saying that this article by Peter Skerritt is sobering, harrowing stuff.

3.  Speaking of harrowing and sobering experiences, I rented The Last of Us Remastered last week but didn’t get a chance to put it through its paces until last night.  I’d already beaten the original game, so I decided to jump right in to the Left Behind single-player DLC that had been written about so positively upon its release.

I’m maybe an hour or so into it.  (If you’ve already played it, I’m in a solo Ellie chapter, trying to get to a medical helicopter, right after the Ellie/Riley chapter where they turn the power on at the mall; Ellie, alone, has also just turned the power on and now she’s in her first real sneaking gauntlet.)

My opinions of the game haven’t changed.  It’s gorgeous, the writing is wonderful, and the atmosphere is relentlessly tense, and I’m not really all that sure that I’m having any fun.

Horror movies are fun, in their own way, and clearly there’s an audience and appeal in this sort of apocalyptic undead nightmare scenario, being that there are tons of games and movies and books in this particular vein.  I do not find these things enjoyable, and I acknowledge that it could just be me.  I acknowledge that “having fun” is maybe not the point of TLOU, or The Walking Dead, or etc.  So let me restate it:  as much as I appreciate the artistry on display, and as much as the PS4 version is clearly the way to experience this game for the first time, I can’t say that I’m looking forward to going back and finishing it.


Author: Jeremy Voss

Musician, wanna-be writer, suburban husband and father. I'll occasionally tweet from @couchshouts. You can find me on XBL, PSN and Steam as JervoNYC.

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