02
Jun
08

The Secret Life of a Strategy Guide Writer

Last time: I wrote about getting my first job in the industry. This time: I’ll save my anecdotes about my time at the part fraternity, part sanitarium known as GameFan Magazine for a future blog, and instead explain what goes into a guide’s creation.

 

Part 1: Getting Into the Game.

 

When I actually leave the confines of my Doombase to interact with other human beings, it’s usually at the local game store, the question I’m asked most often (aside from “who the hell are you?” and “why should I care?”), is by the game staff, and goes something along the lines of “it must be great sitting around playing games all day.” I assume it would be, if that’s all I did. In fact, explaining that making a video game guide isn’t quite as straightforward as polishing off a game and then banging out some prose was the basis of writing that book I doggedly refuse to stop hawking: Video Game Careers.

 

For my job in particular, there’s a whole lot more than steaming through a game on a big-screen TV, sipping Iron Bru. Whether I’m checking every nook and cranny in a particular playfield, learning how to avoid overwhelming my Xbox 360 debug’s internal memory on a Beta version of a game, or going frame-by-frame through collected footage to showcase just the right action shot, every guide writing is a collaborative, crazy, but ultimately rewarding job. Next time, I’ll show what preparation goes into a guide, before the game even arrives.

 

Just finished: Writing a Chapter on Spore, and creating some crazy-looking vehicles.

 

Currently: Wading through a spectacular and massive RPG I can’t mention the name of.

 

About to: Spend ten weeks thoroughly exploring the RPG’s hidden hideyholes.


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