I’ve been staring at this copy of Nioh for about a week now, waiting for the right moment to start it up and really put some time into it. There’s been no shortage of opportunities for me to begin, like right now for instance, but I haven’t yet and probably won’t for a while. That goes for the other games I just bought like For Honor, The Last Guardian and Steep. So what’s the problem here?
It probably all stems from the fact that I cover games in some capacity via a blog and a YouTube channel. I’ve noticed this happen since I’ve started down this dark path of #contentcreation. I stopped viewing games as good times and interesting experiences, and started doing mental gymnastics to figure out a way to make a video out of it.
But that’s the world we live in now, isn’t it? If you want to be relevant or even be heard, you have to maximize every opportunity to capitalize on everything that comes out, when it comes out. Even now, I hope that my requests for review copies on upcoming games will get fulfilled, just so I can post a video of it that will be drowned by bigger outlets the second the embargo is up. It’s happened to me before and I’m sure it won’t be the last time. It’s this constant treadmill of video and article creation I’m on that’s robbing me of just enjoying a game I bought.
Towards the end of 2015 I noticed this happening more and more, and it worried me. I was trying to monetize everything I did in service of getting some views on the internet. I put off playing a lot of games until I could get my co-host to come in and record something so we could put it up and entertain what little fans we had. It burned me out, ruined a friendship, and caused me to reevaluate what exactly I was actually pursuing. But that was and still is the curse of being a #contentcreator on the internet. Your work owns you, and if you don’t have that compulsion and love for creating and producing, it will eat you alive.
Honestly I still haven’t successfully scratched that article writing, video producing itch I’ve had for years. Hell, it’s what I’m working towards doing professionally with my life, because I love doing it. But when a game comes out, I still think about how I could capitalize on it or how “I could make a video out of this”. I’m always thinking about my stupid 2017 version of a portfolio and how I can beef it up. Because I’m genuinely scared that if I don’t chase the next trending topic, I’ll never get noticed or hired anywhere in this industry.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s something that I need to learn. I won’t be breaking stories, or reviewing the biggest games on day one. I won’t be able to produce as polished and time consuming content like bigger outlets can. But realizing that isn’t the same as giving up, it’s more about tempering expectations but still working as hard as I can. Partly because I so desperately want to succeed and be vindicated for the work I’ve done, and also because I’m just compelled to.
It’s all derived from being a creative person, and I don’t say that to sound pretentious in any way. Everyone in this industry has at least some sort of creative flair. Some people are musicians, or painters or writers on top of producing #content about video games. And just like many of them, I can’t turn it off. I always want to be doing or making something and flexing that part of my mind that decided it would be a fun idea to be a writer instead of an electrician or something and forego any semblance of fiscal responsibility.
It’s this weird brain damage that I think we all have where we just can’t sit still and exhale the day we’ve just had. We don’t relax for too long because we’ll just feel guilty about it. The toughest part for me is learning to not let that guilt own me. I should be driven and strive to achieve my goals, and I am. It’s why I’m writing this article instead of going to the gym or cleaning my apartment. The thing that I and others like me need to understand is not to let those goals become obsessions.
So what I’m saying is I guess I’ll play Nioh already… or like live-stream it or something.