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How To Become A Video Game Journalist

Want to be a video game journalist? I'll let you in on a little secret. Even professional video game journalists don't know how to define “video game journalist,” because we do so many different things. We're reviewers, critics, previewers, live event reporters, bloggers, interviewers, and columnists. If you want the gig full-time, you should be prepared to write all of the above.

Most outlets have plenty of established writers to fulfill those roles, so it can be difficult to break in writing this sort of material unless you already have connections. There's one kind of games writing that's always in demand, however: features. If you can consistently write solid, well-researched features with unique angles, you will find work in this business, and once you have a reputation as a dependable feature writer, it's just a matter of waiting for the right position to open up.

So rather than give you vague advice about how to do the whole job, that no one is able to define in the first place, I'm going to tell you how to get into writing features. If you can jump that hurdle, you'll be well on your way.

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G4U: The Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Video Game Program Wants To Teach You Game Design

You may have seen men and women in white lab coats under extremely large, orange banners from the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab if you attended PAX East 2011. They were a contingent showing off the results of their collaborative efforts meant to promote and discover inventive directions in game design.

You may already be familiar with some of the Lab’s work, but didn’t realize it. Carneyvale: Showtime was released as an Xbox Live Indie title in 2008, and in 2009 was featured as part of PAX 10, which promotes the work of indie creators. Critics praised the game’s polish and design, and a version was released in 2010 for Windows Phone 7 was described as the platform’s “early, lofty, benchmark.”

Carneyvale is just one of four “featured games” on the GAMBIT website, but it’s important to remember that the primary focus of the Lab is not commercial product, but experimentation. The first time I ever met a GAMBIT member was earlier this year in May, during the Games Beyond Entertainment conference held in Boston, MA. Lab Interaction Design Director Marleigh Norton gave a short presentation of an audio-only, single-button game she was developing. This sort of research is one of the Lab’s primary mandates.

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How To Become A Video Game Artist

Ever wondered how to become a video game artist? Combining your love for video games and talent in art to get a job as a video game artist can lead to a rewarding career in the video game industry thanks to the wide range of game design jobs out there. Besides using every bit of your natural talent, becoming a video game artist requires being trained on the latest graphic tools the industry has to offer. Before that, however, may want to explore which of the many jobs you’re most interested in, as you may have to learn different sets of programs.

Video game artists are often broken up into various roles, starting with those involved in concept art. Beginning with a blank sheet of paper, the job of a video game concept artist is to visually map out and inspire the direction of a project. Creativity and imagination will go a long way if you’re interested in this trailblazing position - it’s a job that truly defines the word “developer.”

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Richard Garriott wants you to work in games, and this is coming from the guy who used to code his own games and sell them in plastic baggies at school. Now, he's been to space, is the father of Ultima and in many ways the modern MMO, and has formed a new company called Portalarium that will be bringing "great games for social networks and mobile!" Lord British, indeed.

How To Get A Job In Videogames: Richard Garriott From Portalarium »


Garriott thinks you might have an easier time coming up as an artist or a programmer, because it's easy to get your samples out there. But if you want to be a game designer and creator like he is, you come up against the barrier places to learn game design. In his opinion, a lot of people that claim to be game designers shouldn't use that title. So work on developing those "raw chops" by learning to be a programmer. 

Keep your browser tuned to G4 all week as we keep bringing you G4 University, and at the end of the week we'll have a guide for you that rounds up all of the information, and gives you the perfect places to start looking, along with some helpful tips. 

Gnomon

Congratulations: You finally figured out what you want to do with your life. It's your destiny to create the visual effects that make videogames and Hollywood blockbusters tick. Where do you start, though? It's not like you can take a class in Character Kinematics between lunch and fifth period Biology.

The Gnomon School of Visual Effects is one of many vocational institutions dedicated to training visual effects artists. A hitch at Gnomon should net you the knowledge and technical experience necessary to forge an effects career in videogames or movies. The Gnomon family of programs includes both a full-time school located in Los Angeles and the Gnomon Workshop's extensive mail-order catalogue of instructional DVDs that assist artists around the world. Whether you're looking for a degree or just want to bone up on a specific program or discipline, Gnomon probably has you covered.

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Game design at Northeastern University

I’m going to start this article with a full disclosure – I am a faculty member at Northeastern University in Boston, with a couple of years of teaching interactive narrative and game design courses under my belt. Don’t scream “OMG Bias!” in panic, though – this is no vapid sales pitch. Instead, consider this a tour through the program, with a guide who just happens to know the ins and outs reasonably well.

G4U: Northeastern's Video Game Program

The Basics

Game Design is offered as a core curriculum in the master’s program at Northeastern’s College of Professional studies. The school offers a 12-month certificate program in Game Design and a Master’s of Professional Studies in Digital Media with a concentration in Game Design, if you want the specifics and wordy titles. What this means in plain English is that you can opt for the quicker certificate if you are simply looking to brush up on skills or learn an aspect of development that’s new to you, or you can go for the full degree program for the in-depth educational experience (encompassing core classes, specialty classes, and a thesis component) and the resume-sweetening power of a master’s degree. It’s up to you.

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G4 University wants to enroll you into the "How To Get A Job In Video Games" course, and the good news is that the enrollment fee is free. Playing video games is incredibly fun, which is probably why you're here reading this. But wouldn't you love to turn your obsession and love for pixellated playtime into a career? Now when people tell you that work isn't all fun and games, you can turn around and tell them that yes, it actually IS games. And fun as well.

Starting on Monday, September 12, we'll have an entire week's worth of information for you, and you won't have to read a single textbook. We'll have multiple features every day like "How To Be A Video Game Producer," a video look inside the making of Gears of War 3, interviews with industry notables like Ken Levine, the BioWare Doctors Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, Pete Wanat, and a look inside the video game programs at Northeastern University, the University of Utah, The Guildhall at SMU, along with the Gnomon Workshop and MIT's GAMBIT program.

It's an entire education aimed at helping you get into the games, and we'll be covering every facet of the industry. Stay tuned next week as it all unfolds, and keep it here all week for daily new G4U content. Veni Vidi Videogame!

We've put together this Nintendo Wii U Guide to get you up to speed on Nintendo's new console, which comes out sometime next year. This handy guide should have all of the most important info on the Wii U available to you at a glance.

Nintendo's sixth home console, the Wii U, will be available next year and promises to satisfy both hardcore and casual gamers alike. For those looking to get caught up to speed with Nintendo's new console, we've put together this handy guide so you can have all of the most important info on the Wii U available to you at a glance.

Wii U Announcement Video from Nintendo Press Conference E3 2011 »


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Sony and Square Enix Stock Fall Dramatically In Wake Of Dragon Quest X Announcement

In wake of the Dragon Quest X announcement this weekend, the price of both Sony and Square Enix's stock has fallen dramatically. In fact, after the announcement Sony's stock dropped to the lowest level of the year. The head of Rakuten Investment Management, according to Andriasang, said "that investors may be concerned that the appearance of DQX on Wii and Wii U could lead to Sony's games business losing customers." Combined with problems in their television business and an overall market slowdown due, Sony's stock has taken quite a tumble.

Square Enix, the developer behind Dragon Quest X, has also seen a dramatic drop in their stock price. At present, their stock is down 11% since the announcement of DQX.

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Dragon Quest 10 was confirmed as a Wii release long ago, but Square-Enix confirmed at a weekend press conference that the game will finally be arriving in 2012, with a Wii U version to follow. The game will feature an MMO-style framework built around online play, according to Andriasang, and fans can expect a beta test prior to release.

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Madden NFL 12

Madden NFL 12 is the only true NFL simulator, and while EA Sports' flagship franchise is still good, this years iteration of the game has somewhat taken a step backwards in a lot of ways according to our Madden expert Mike D'Alonzo.

Overall, Madden NFL 12 is going to be satisfying to Madden fans who buy the game year after year, regardless of what's changed and what's not. Usually, steps forward are made in the franchise, but this year, it seems that the steps forward have been made in the parts of the game that aren't the fundamentals. In other words, it's just fine to add lots and lots of extras, but when the core game takes a step backward, you need to really think of what's important.

Get in formation and read the rest of our Madden NFL 12 review.

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Epic Mickey 2 Teased By Online Survey

According to an anonymous source at Destructoid, Disney Epic Mickey 2 is being teased by an online survey that's trying to gauge interest in the title. The suggested titles for the game are: Epic Mickey 2: Return of the Mad Doctor, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Epic Mickey 2: Mystery on Mean Street or simply Epic Mickey 2. Disney Epic Mickey is an action-adventure platforming game for the Nintendo Wii that sends Mickey Mouse on an epic journey through a dark version of Disney's past. The main mechanic of the game is Mickey's ability to wield both paint and thinner to dynamically change the world.

While Epic Mickey was released exclusively on the Nintendo Wii, Disney Epic Mickey 2 is allegedly planned for a release on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 according to Destructoid's source. They've also reported that Epic Mickey 2 will include co-op split screen with Mickey Mouse and his older brother Oswald The Lucky Rabbit (because bunnies and mice can be brothers). Mickey will once again be able to use his paint and thinner mechanic from Epic Mickey, while Oswald will able to fly like a helicopter and use electricity.

I thought the concept of Epic Mickey was fantastic, and I'd love to see the game again on the more core consoles. As for the box art, my favorite box would either be number three or number four. What about you? Would you like to see another iteration of Epic Mickey, and if so, which of these four boxes do you like the most?

Source: Destructoid

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter! 

Why Video Games Should Come From Books

It’s no secret that video games and movies have had a tumultuous relationship. It’s a negligent relationship, really. While one forgets birthdays and only discusses prior flings, the other often goes out on benders and forgets they’re even dating. And like any bad relationship, someone needs to call it quits before both sides suffer irreparable damage.

Movies rarely make good video games – they’re too short. The length of a movie usually results in a game chock full of filler levels that either don’t make sense or feel uninspired and obligatory. Further, movies rarely contain subject matter that lends itself to an eight-hour game. Even the most action packed Michael Bay films only contain at most a little over an hour of material that would fit in a game. No one wants to play Shia LeBeouf as he banters with his mother about jerking off. At least, I hope they don't.

The other member of our unhappy couple, video game movies, is no saint either. Like an inattentive boyfriend who spends all day watching SportsCenter and considers drive thru at McDonalds a date, video game movies have only ever gone through the motions. It doesn’t help that they have been repeatedly bullied and abused by Uwe Boll to the point that any competent actor or director will avoid a video game film like the plague.

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Diablo 3

Blizzard fans will be able to play Diablo III for real one day. No one is sure of when -- that probably includes Blizzard itself -- but it's very definitely going to be playable in full at some point after today (probably after tomorrow too) on your PC and Mac. The same is not true of a console port, which the developer has been cagey about discussing. Until this year's GamesCom, that is.

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Wii U: Nintendo's New Console;

Patent-diggers have uncovered a 2010 filing for the phrase "Massively Single Player" in connection with, apparently, a new game, or, more accurately, a new kind of game.

The idea of the MSP genre is that you play as a single player, but exist in a world where other player's actions impact the characters and environment. This would offer players some of the benefits of a traditional online world without the drawbacks inherent to massively multiplayer online games. According to the application, "Those who want to play games that are more dynamic, not-based on Al and not-pre-scripted like multiplayer games, however, don't want to 'deal' with other people, appreciate the privacy it provides."

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