The video game industry is extremely popular. Children and adults alike play video games daily, sometimes even whole families playing together. A healthy number of them are inspired by the games. Some become programmers, some become testers, and some want to write about the video game industry. An expert in the field, Dan Amrich, wants to give advice to those already hungering to write for the industry. He wants to inspire more people to write for the industry. Amrich has written a book that will help anyone wanting to break into the world of reviewing video games. It is called Critical Path: How to Review Video Games for a Living.
Amrich has a writing career that started in the mid nineties. first he was writing for Guitar Magazine, Guitar World, and Slam Magazine. In 1997, he began writing or GamePro Magazine, where he rose in ranks to features editor, wrote the reader’s response column, and even managed the forums at GamePro.com. He was also senior editor for xBox Magazine, before leaving to take an editor-in-chief position at World of Warcraft Magazine. Amrich knows the world of video game writing inside and out. He is not keeping his knowledge to himself.
His book offers several tips and points of advice. One tip is obvious, and comes directly from Amrich’s own experience. He was preparing to help someone break into the industry. He had set up an interview, but was unaware that this budding writer had trashed the soon-to-be employers in a video game forum. Once something is on the internet, it is there forever. For all to see. That is exactly what happened. Because of the comments, the new writer did not get the job. The moral of the story is don’t trash talk possible future employers on the internet. Amrich wrote about the experience in his book.
The book is useful, because it is generalized. It isn’t just for magazine writers. It can be applied to any video game writing arena. What makes it great is that it is based on Amrich’s experiences. It is advice that he has collected over the years and has dispensed because he knows from experience what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to the industry. It isn’t a long droning directive. The book is his real experiences and how they apply to anyone wanting to get into video game writing.
The book is also useful for veteran writers. There are sections on office politics, controlling the ego as writers gain more fame, and ethics. Amrich gives advice on how to handle things when another writer gets a better exclusive, and how to deal with reader responses appropriately. He talks about the appropriateness of accepting swag, as most publications have policies. There are also tips on representing the publication at gaming industry events. Things like this can make or break a good writers career.
Amrich does not make false promises. He never guarantees that his advice will land a writer a job. Following his advice will increase a writer’s chances of getting work, as they are going to be more informed than other writers who have not read the book. What is so important is that Amrich shows the real side of the business and not the glamorous side. He lets writers know that the business can be full of long hours, low pay, and not always getting to write what they want. He makes the industry real.
Amrich discusses how everything can fall to pieces, and how writers may need a change. He is currently Activision’s social media manager. He now writes about games in a way that is not journalistic. His chapter “How it All Falls Apart-And Why That Might Be Good”, is great for veteran writers who may be trying to decide if they want to continue writing or need a change. Writers can get laid off or have their projects cancelled. Adaptation is key to surviving the business.
The bottom line, Amrich’s book is a must read for those wanting to break into the industry, or for those already there.