Video game journalism and game writing gigs.

How to Be a Video Game Journalist (VGJobs FAQ)

Always wanted to write about video games for a living but have no clue what that requires? Get practical advice and answers to some of the most common questions below. Learn how to be a video game journalist from people that have done just that!

Who is this site for?
This site is for anybody looking to start writing about video games or anyone looking to improve their chances to land a better job. We cater to new writers and freelancers who haven’t yet landed the gig of a lifetime. We’re also here to help websites find good, reliable folks to write content for their website, whether it’s a voluntary position or a paid one.

Should I be a video game journalist?
The first question you should ask yourself is this: do I love writing more than I love gaming? If so, that’s a good start. If not, or if you like the idea of free games or think you’ll get to sit around playing Xbox all day, you’re on the wrong site. Being a game journalist is work, and when playing a video game turns into a job, you’ll find it’s just as annoying as any career out there. There are deadlines, bad games you’ll have to play, demanding editors, unforgiving trolls, and so on, making the whole “I get to play games for a living” the very last thing on the “my job is cool because” list. With that said, though, if you enjoy writing and have a love of gaming, you’ll definitely love being a game journalist.

How do I get started in video game journalism?
Getting started is easy, but turning it into a career is difficult. Thanks to the internet, anyone can fire up a blog and start writing. Only the dedicated and passionate writers will survive, though, and it takes a lot of work to move beyond “blogger” to actual paid writer. The trick is to just start writing. Create a blog, update it at least three times a week, and keep at it for several months. Over time you’ll develop your own writing style and voice and can use that to leverage writing gigs that will eventually turn into paid jobs.

Do I need a journalism degree?
Nope. Sticking the tag “journalism” after the words “video game” is a very loose practice. We aren’t journalists in the traditional sense (some less so than others), but there are a lot of journalism-like aspects of our job. You won’t need a journalism degree to start your career or even land a day job writing for a magazine. It doesn’t hurt, however, and proves to prospective employers that you’re committed. The main thing editors want to see is that you’re reliable and can actually string together a sentence or two. Published clips and a personal blog prove that and often speak louder than a journalism or a writing degree. If you’re interested in pursuing the degree outside of game writing, go for it. But don’t force it on yourself.

How do I find writing gigs?
Well, VGJobs is a good start! You can also try freelancing job boards and craigslist, especially the New York and Seattle boards along with most large cities in California. The best way, though, is by following the sites you would want to work for, then applying as soon as they call for writers.

Do I have to start as a freelancer?
Not really, but you’d have a heck of a time starting out in this field if you didn’t. Most game journalism jobs these days are freelance, and the market is much wider when you can cast your net across the globe. There are only a few print publications that can hire you 9-5, so being self-employed and finding your own gigs is easier, faster, and better.

Do I have to live in California/New York/London?
No, you don’t. Most major gaming news/reviews sites are online, and since print magazines are rapidly dying out, your best bet to land a writing job is online. While it can help to be in major areas like those listed above (attending expos, being near major game studios), it’s certainly not a requirement.

What are my chances of landing a great job?
That depends on how dedicated you are. You won’t retire rich any time soon, and since freelance writing is a difficult career path, you’ll put in a lot of work for every bit of cash you earn. Once you get established, your chances of getting a good video game writing job are better. Just stick with it, keep writing, keep sending out query letters, and soon you’ll catch a big one.

Do I have what it takes to be self-employed?
That’s a tough question to answer, but the short (and sad) answer is many people don’t. It’s tough working under your own steam. It’s easy to get sidetracked looking at pictures of funny cats or just faffing about the web. After all, why would you buckle down and get work done when nobody is standing over you to force it? Again, dedication and passion are key requirements.

Why is it abbreviated VGJobs? Isn’t there a J missing?
Yep. But VGJJobs looks a little awkward, so nix the second J and all is svelte.