Worth Reading won’t be around next week, due to the holidays, so it’s time to savor this week’s roundup of the best games writing around.
People talk a lot about clickbait on the Internet, but interviews with Shigeru Miyamoto are clickbait for Patrick Klepek. Schmuplations is a website I’ve talked about before, and I highly recommend making them a regular destination. It’s a wonderful archive of old developer interviews, including this one from just before the release of Super Mario World, while Miyamoto and others were still tinkering with The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past. There are a million different sections I could happily quote from, but here’s the one that stuck out to me:
Miyamoto: I want to see console games become a “destination for play” — a world that kids feel a kind of affection and attachment to, and want to return to again and again. And how awesome is it that kids have all these worlds they can visit, all inside a console and game library small enough to fit in a dresser?
Also, as a parent my eyes have been opened to something new recently. I’ve noticed that when a parent sees their child reading a book, they think that’s a good, proper thing. But sitting their children down in front of a TV to play a video game somehow makes parents feel guilty, even though games are an active experience. Why is that, I wonder? I’d like to make a game that, when a Mother sees her child playing it for the first time, she thinks, “Ah, good! My child is old enough to play video games now!”
Of course, I’ve got these lofty goals on my mind, but my daily reality is spent hammering out the details of questions like “how many pixels should Mario jump?” (laughs)
It’s not hard to imagine why so many people would want to get into writing and reporting about games. Make passion a career? Hard to pass up! It’s the reason I count my lucky stars each day. But it’s a tough gig to keep, as this piece outlines. There’s a reason you can count the numbers of older writers and journalists in games on a single hand—generally speaking, it’s not sustainable. Winkie highlights the new paths forged by places like Giant Bomb and Kinda Funny, but in those cases, the personalities driving them were already popular when they struck out on their own. If you’re new, breaking in? Good luck.
Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
Simply put, this is a confusing era in games journalism, especially if you’re someone with roots in the media like Jeff Green. At one point in his life Green thought he’d be publishing his magazine until the day he retired. This would be his legacy. It was etched in stone. But then the world changed. Quickly, chaotically, leaving him out in the cold.
“I never wanted to make games, I wanted to write about them, but everybody I knew, every job lead [after 1Up folded] was in development. It wasn’t a great fit for me. I’ve never been great at corporate culture, and I had no idea what I was in for when I got to EA,” says Green. “That was rough for me, I went from the head of a magazine and part of this popular podcast—which I think was a career peak for me—and then I ended up in a job that I felt I didn’t know how to do, working for people way younger than me, and feeling like a moron every day. It was a real comeuppance for me. Like ‘whoa, what the hell happened to me?’”
- Sam Coster profiled a developer trying to finish a game while struggling with cancer at the same time. It sounds like a nightmare.
- Mike Diver tried to predict what eSports looks like in 2016 by speaking with Rod “Slasher” Breslau. I’ve chatted with Breslau before—knows his stuff.
- Laura Parker hung out with YouTube star PewDiePie to find out what makes him tick. People may be tired of PewDiePie, but I remain fascinated.
- Mike Drucker podcasted about his time at Nintendo. These days, Drucker is a writer for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
- Simon Parkin scored one of Hideo Kojima’s few post-Konami interviews, revealing the designer considered taking a year off on a deserted island.
- YTMND hosted this touching, heartbreaking story about Animal Crossing. Get your tissues ready, people.
- Justin Barrasso spoke with rising WWE star Xavier Woods about his obsession with games.
You can reach the author of this post at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @patrickklepek.