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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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Ever wanted to work in video games as part of a motion capture team? Granted, it's probably not the first job most people think of when they want to work in the industry, but with games like Uncharted and LA Noire bringing the technology into the story in impressive ways, it's become an integral part of the storytelling process.

 

Will Work For Games: Motion Capture »


 

James Scarafone and Eddie Contreras at Sony Computer Entertainment takes us through the job of a motion capture tech, and exactly what kind of work you'll be doing. It's a growing part of both the video game and film industries, and as with everything else they're looking for passionate people who enjoy hard work. The bonus of it all? You'll most likely get to wear the motion capture suit with all those balls on it. That's a plus right there.

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. 

UofU

Still looking for a video game program at a school that's right for you? There are a lot of reasons to go to college. Parties, anonymous sex, drinking, learning, and of course, anonymous sex. Wait, I mean the learning. But not many people go to college to play video games and even fewer get paid to study video games. At the University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts and Engineering program though, students do just that.

Now I want to clarify that I graduated from the University of Utah with degrees in both history and international studies in 2009. But don’t distress fair readers – I’m not on the university payroll. I’m just a proud alumnus and will back up any of my claims with cold hard facts. Nestled in the quiet foothills of Utah’s Wasatch mountain range, the U definitely doesn’t exhibit the vibe of a top ranked game design program. However, with a school of computing that produced a slew of notable alumni including Nolan Bushnell (founder of Atari) and Edwin Catmull (President of Disney Animation Studios and Pixar), it’s not too surprising.

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Want to be a video game composer? Games are nothing without their soundtracks, and these soundtracks often become iconic music for gamers that stay with them long after they've put the controllers down. Composer Inon Zur talks about what it takes to score a video games, and how many different things you need to know going in to that career.

 

Will Work For Games: Videogame Composer Inon Zur »


 

What is it with people in the video game industry having awesome names? Inon Zur is a pretty badass name, and he also worked on the Power Rangers, so how can you fault this guy? He's also worked on Fallout 3, Prince of Persia, and the Dragon Age series, so this guy definitely knows what he's talking about. Scoring video games is very different than scoring for films, he explains, and it's important that you also play games. For you budding musicphiles out there who want to play both instruments and the latest titles, this might be exactly what you're looking for.

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. 

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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Want to get a job calling the shots in eSports? Chris Puckett is the lead Play-by-Play commentator for MLG Live Events and joins G4 University to talk about how to become a sports commentator for video games.

How To Get A Job In Videogames: Chris Puckett From MLG »


Granted, being a commentator isn't one of the more normal career paths, but with eSports and live gaming events on the rise, it might not be a bad arena to throw your hat into. As livestreams and video coverage become more widespread, they are going to need people to cover, comment, and clean up at these things. Think of it as the early days of ABC Sports, without all the Howard Cosell.

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. 

Want to learn how to get a job on the music and rhythm side of video games? Fish McGill, who not only has an awesome name, has an awesome job as associate producer on Rock Band, and he handles the webteam side of the Rock Band Network, and more. Doodling, music, graphics, and video games? Sounds like a perfect combination.

 

Will Work For Games: Rock Band Associate Producer Fish McGill »


 

Fish has a degree in fine art, and insists that the background of many people in video games are very diverse. So an engineering degree could get you into game design, or fine art could land you on a team in a different area. Plus, both of those degrees should insure that you should be able to land a job, even if the video game industry crashes. But, his message is clear: study. An education is your best tool for getting a video game job.

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.

Want to be a video game concept artist? Bethesda Softworks' Adam Adamowicz tells you all about the job the involves bringing video games to life in the very first visual stages. Part illustrator, and part storyteller, this is often one of the most important parts of development as it helps everyone involved envision what the game is going to look like.

 

Will Work For Games: Bethesda Concept Artist »


 

Being a concept artist requires a lot of artistic ability, especially in the realm of fantasy, but you also need to be able to work with the game designers. Frequently, you'll be sent back to the drawing board to start from scratch all over again before you finally nail exactly what they are looking for. But, you're putting together the first look of a game, long before it hits store shelves, and you're influencing both the look and feel of the title.

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. 

Want to know how to get a job in video games? Guerrilla Games is home of the Killzone franchise, and sexy Scottish accents as well. Listen as Martin Connor, Michiel Vander Leeuw, Mathijs de Jonge and other developers from the studio talk about what takes to get a job in the gaming industry, and how to get your own company running. 

How To Get A Job In Videogames: Guerrilla Games »


 

They recommend both the school approach, and the route of making your own games. But one thing they really want to see is passion in your portfolio. People that care about what they do are going to put that passion in their work, and that's what they are lookling for when they hire people. Guerrilla Games is based in Amsterdam, and they are hiring for a large number of positions right now. Go ahead and apply, because their next hire might be you!

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. 

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. 

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Want to learn how to become a video game artist? One of the best ways to find out is by listening to someone who has that job. Shane Hawco, lead character Artist at BioWare, talks about his job and working on Dragon Age: Origins. Creating dragons and orgres all day sure beats selling insurance. Check out the video and see what Hawco has to say about bringing concepts to life.

 

Will Work For Games: Lead Character Artist »


 

You can pursue an art career at any point, but Hawco explains how he want to art college and then branched out into the video game world. The key is learning how to work in 3D, and taking things from there. Still thinking about an art career? Then check out some of the programs in your town, or even check out the prestigious Gnomon Workshop in Los Angeles.

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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Want to be a video game level designer? Zach Wilson of Kaos Studios tells you all about the job and how it's done. It's not easy work, and you'll be flowcharting a lot of decision gates, but you're basically playing God and helping build an entire world from scratch. Check out the video below for an inside peek at this job.

Will Work For Games: Level Designer »


Kaos Studios was responsible for Frontlines: Fuel of War and Homefront, although they sadly closed their doors this summer, fear not. Zach Wilson carries on his level design work at Visceral Games. If you've ever thought about creating your game, this is a job that you need to study.

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. 

If there's one question Adam Sessler gets asked a lot, it's "How did you/do I get into the games industry?" If there are two questions The Sess has to answer often, the second would probably involve his whereabouts during the armed robbery of his local liquor store, but that's a topic for a different Soapbox. This week Adam will tell you how to break into game journalism, and how to be taken seriously as a writer and media critic. Consider this week's Sessler's Soapbox a free vocational consultation from a very animated guidance counselor. 

Sessler's Soapbox: Career Day »


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