New Games Journalism: Tenth Anniversary Reunion

“It was 10 years ago on Sunday, Sergeant Gillen taught the band (of games journalists) to play (games with their writing mainly involving talking about their subjective experience which they were doing anyway so he totally gets too much credit but he gave it a name, and history is written by those who choose to write histories so WINNAH)”

Coining the phrase New Games Journalism was my most infamous moment in Games Journalism. It happened 10 years ago last Saturday. Keith of the Guardian and I were chatting about it, and it struck us as amusing to recreate the pub evening which begat me staying up late at night hammering it out. So basically, get me, Jon Hicks and Tim Edwards together and see what happens. In a pub.

We’re doing it, Wednesday 26th. And you’re invited!

You can buy tickets here, and this is the blurb…

Ten years ago this week, Kieron Gillen got home from the pub and decided he wanted to change games journalism forever. At 2.04am in the morning on March 23, he posted onto his website, The New Games Journalism manifesto, a heartfelt call for games writing to change, to become more subjective, more personal, more better (I’m paraphrasing here).
So what happened to young Kieron on that fateful night at the Delfter Krug bar in Bath? Who was with him? And did his famed – some say infamous – manifesto have any impact on the games media?
To find out, we’ll be reuniting Kieron with the two journalists he was talking to that night at the pub, ex-PC Gamer colleague Tim Edwards and Jon Hicks, now editor of the Official Xbox Magazine. In conversation with Guardian games editor Keith Stuart (who was probably in the bar as well), the trio will attempt to recall the magic of that modest night down the boozer, as well as assessing the legacy of NGJ and the way writing about games has changed in the following decade.
Afterwards, we’ll have a Q&A session with Kieron so you can ask about his writing, either in games or for Marvel where he does those super hero comics that seem quite popular these days.
PLUS – EXCITING ADDITION: Later on, we’ll be talking to new Kotaku UK editor Keza MacDonald and ex-VideoGamer.com video journalist Matt Lees about the legacy of NGJ and the role of young games writers in the industry today.
SO, if you’re at all interested in games writing, what it means, why it is the way it is and what the heck these guys talked about that night, then COME ALONG! Doors will open at 7pm and entry is £5 (plus booking fee) – which includes one free drink of some sort. However, you then have to stay and have more booze or I’ll have to pay for the function room and my wife will kill me.
THIS EVENT IS FOR OVER-18s ONLY.

There will be fun and chat and Q&A (which can be pretty much about anything to do with what we do, so pop along. The ticket price includes a drink, so it’s pretty much a couple of quid.

Now, at last, we can talk about the war.

Which we won.

Muhahaha.

Oh – I also talk to Alec about it over at RPS.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Review

Writing about the conversion of the Iphone/Ipad hit over at RPS. Example bit?

The soundtrack by Guthrie is wonderful in and of itself but its integration is the key thing. The “EP” title makes sense, both in its four-parted structure, its small-yet-singular artistic statement and how the music is percolates throughout – both in sound and image. It’s a game which integrates all its aesthetic elements. For example, in the fights where a character beats their shield, with the DUM! DUM! is modern and eternal, retro both in terms of calling back to the primal prehistory of videogames and beating feat around a fighting circle, and modern as a club so cool they won’t let me in any more because I am so old and haggard that my testicles drag along the ground.

The rest here.

Back

Right. All this appears to be working again.

What happened? Basically hacked. Thought it was fixed, but my provider noticed the site was sending out a bunch of spam. We had a good old nose around, and couldn’t find the problem. Eventually said “fuck it”, and just annihilated everything and started again. Fingers crossed it’s all okay now.

Hope all has been well. I’ve been relatively busy. Well, relatively. Oh, and as followers of the tumblr, will know, I’ve only gone and got a dog.

Pop over there and read about Billy Pilgrim. Hopefully the site will still be here if you ever choose to come back.

A Somewhat Testy Test

Hello?

I Like To Move It

Actually, that’s not true.

Moving house today, betraying North London for South London. Internet won’t be ready until Friday, so I suspect blogging will be minimal. Or maybe it won’t, and I’ll embrace my inner Ellisian character and spend the week in Brockley’s internet-friendly pub writing whatever’s inside my noggin.

Assuming I don’t get back – and I hope I do, because I want to write about leaving Generation Hope, Ashes and assorted other stuff – Journey Into Mystery 630 is out this week.

Preview here. You may think you’ve learned everything you’d want to know about Fear Itself in the last seven months, but trust me, Volstagg has things of paramount importance you should pay close attention to.

Team Phonogram DJ @ Ifanboy Party

We’re still waiting on our full schedule for NYCC, but here’s something to mention in advance. Ifanboy have invited McKelvie and I to have a couple of DJ sets at their party on the Friday night. Proceeds from the drinks will be going to charity too, which means it’s even for a good cause.

The details are all on their site, including maps and similar. We’d love to see you there.

35 + 1

It’s been a year since I stepped back from the front line of games journalism. It’s also a year since I did the ageing thing. I figured, what the hell: let’s do it again. The ageing thing. Not leaving RPS. That would be cruel and unusual.

Work wise, I’ve done exactly what I said I would do. I’ve concentrated on comics. I turned down a surprising amount of work in other media because I wanted to concentrate on comics. A quick skim through my files reveals I’ve written something like 43 comics. 40 for Marvel, 2 for Avatar Project II (The Not The Heat One) and 1 that I’m not talking about. That’s 3.58 scripts a month. I normally say I do about 4 scripts a month, so I’m not too deluded about my work rate. And there’s always a “4 scripts a month if nothing goes wrong” proviso. I suspect there’s at least 0.42 things going wrong a month across the year.

Like silly little distracting things like getting married, you know?

(The Wedding was amazing. Marriage is amazing. I suspect that while I still don’t really believe in marriage, I believe in marriage to Chrissy. Which is, at least I hope, kinda the point).

That said, I did actually send JIM 627 from our honeymoon suit after tweaking it on the plane. Out this week, now I realise. Flicking through the pages, there’s not exactly much of the romantic vibe in there. Brun and Tyr’s flirting is as close as we get.

Productive, and I’m mostly happy with what I’ve done. I’m never entirely happy. That’s part of my creative spirit, but the books did well both commercially and critically, so I can’t pretend to be too aggrieved. Looking forwards, between JIM and Uncanny, I’ve got two very different venues for the continuing 21st century exploration of the superhero conceit (perhaps obviously, JIM twists it heavily fantasy and Uncanny twists it towards Science-Fiction). And the twelve issues of Gen Hope – 9 of which were written in the year – did the establishing a new bunch of heroes and not-heroes required – though I’ll save more rambling on that part for the goodbye to Gen Hope post in a few weeks.

If there’s a regret, it’s the total lack of any indie-work arriving. I’m aware that increasingly many people are only going to know me as one sort of writer. With Phonogram receding into the distance, whatever indie-cred I’ve ever had has dispersed into the heavens. It’s a miracle Jamie talks to be any more. I’ve got high hopes that’ll sort itself naturally. The Avatar projects will hopefully both hit. Two other comics should hit as well. Alongside Uncanny and JIM, it’s going to be exactly the sort of diverse array of books I want to have my name on them.

But if I think of the march of what’s happened in the last few years, I have to catch myself. Two Novembers ago, the first issue of S.W.O.R.D. hit. Last november saw the first issue of Generation of Hope. This November will have the first issue of the new Uncanny X-men. You really could plot that onto a particularly egotistical graph. And I urge you to, because graphs are sexy.

In terms of the games criticism side… well, I probably didn’t quite do as much writing as The New Quinns promised, but I kept my hand in. A quick check on RPS reveals I did 12 posts – so one a month. But I also got involved in verdicts, and the best of what I wrote were about as strong as I’ve ever managed. And hopefully we’ll get around to the Bastion verdict soon, because I want to rave about it in a Alt-country-take-on-Diablo kinda way. So lots of gaming – including boardgame stuff. I’m actually running a campaign for a group of friends, which is basically a Wot If Naomi Klein Was GMing Warhammer sort of thing. With jokes. Jokes help. There’s also a card game I’ve been occasionally prodding at all year, which I suspect will remain an under-developed project due to the comics’ demand. However, the Skaven Horde is *almost* painted. I may actually finish the final Grey Seer today. After which, I may have to read the rules or something crazy.

In less positive notes, the Karen Gillen jokes show no sign of abatement. Damn the lot of you.

Monday Morning

(From one of the rejected episodes of Hook Jaw)

CBR Gen Hope 9 Review

San Diego makes it a slow week for criticism, but Kelly Thompson’s review of Gen Hope 9 is worth linking to quickly. Wherein she says stuff a lot of stuff and ends up with…

Kieron Gillen is hitting it out of the park on “Generation Hope,” and though all the artists on the title thus far have been excellent, with McKelvie as his right hand, this is a nearly perfect book. If you’re not reading this book, you’re missing out on some great comics.

Which is nice, but you should read the lead up..

***

Oh yeah:

RIP.

And thoughts to everyone in Norway, which is plain haunting.

Delightful Wife On Us Crossing Roads

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