|The Life Of An IMG Writer|
September 1, 2011 | Jon Carr
Email interview? Sent. Podcast at 5 with Ted and Frank? Sure. Do I want to review Assassin's Creed Brotherhood? Don't mind if I do.
It's a good feeling, to be able to share what you can with the Mac community. Being an IMG writer feels prestigious. There are not that many of us after all. Perhaps it would be less so if there were 5-10 other sites doing the same thing, but that isn't the case. Macgamer.com is on hiatus and has been scaled down for years. (Fact: It used to be my favorite news site over IMG about 10 years ago.) There are a few European sites that I know of such as the Italian www.macgaming.it But overall Mac gamers congregate here, at Inside Mac Games. There are no doubt some other sites, but there's no central link between them and they remain largely quiet from what I can tell.
It's not hard to become a writer for this site - you just have to have decent writing skills and some free time to put in. Submit some samples (in the mail or linked) to the editor, a bit about yourself and go from there. And sure, the free games are nice but that's not why I do it. What inspired me to apply in the first place was a desire to write about Mac games and an outlet where people could see it.
Being an IMG writer is fun. Reviewing games is fun -- 95% of the time at least. There may be a notion that reviewing games means you get all the games you want and sit about playing games all day. There's a partial truth to that, but remember this is a volunteer job, not a paid one. And playing a game for review is much different than just playing a game for fun. It still is entertaining, of course, but you have to look at things differently. You have to think about graphics and gameplay. You have to notice flaws and bugs. You have to test performance. If it has multiplayer you have to explore it. You have to take and crop or edit screenshots. And then you have to write about it in a way that makes sense and actually reviews the game before bundling it up and sending it off to the editor, hopefully within 2 weeks or so.
And all of that can be grand - and it usually is. Sometimes you may end up reviewing a game you don't necessarily like, or you have to push yourself a little to finish it. Sometimes I'd rather be playing something other than the game I'm reviewing just for the sake of variety. But that's an exception in an otherwise enjoyable task. It does perhaps make you look at games differently, but that's not something I regret. I think it can make you get a lot more from a game that otherwise might be shallow or considered not very good.
Our Editor, Cord Kruse is not only rewarding to work with, he's creative, flexible and fun. He does a great job of managing the news and the reviews and the writers in general. If you're late with a review, he's accommodating. He also likes to reward good work with some free stuff from the MacGameStore. Digital downloads only mind you, but there's a lot there to pick from.
In essence, reviewing games is a writer's main task. And if that's all you want to do or have time for - that's great. It's really needed. But there's a lot more to it, much like there's a lot more to gaming than just playing games, or reading about them. You can interview Mac devs and porting houses by phone or email. You can take part in the awesome IMG podcast. You can come up with creative new ideas for features (like this one). You can build relationships with important people in Mac gaming to get juicy previews before anyone else. You could even submit a hardware review of a mouse, keyboard or the latest computer. I find the beauty of the writer position is its flexibility. There's a bottom line of reviewing games to be met, but there's a lot of other areas to explore should you choose to.
So what's it like to be an IMG Writer? It's an experience, one I'm proud to be a part of. We are connected and fueled by the passion we all have for Mac gaming, and being able to share our opinions and thoughts is a valuable resource to all the readers. Keep in mind it's an opinion, and someone is bound to contest your opinion, sometimes quite strongly. But in the end we all have something great here, not just in Mac gaming, but in the community itself. I like to think the writers among us not only make it an even better place, but are able to shine a light where it's needed - to add to the site and to the community. So, If you have a talent for writing and you enjoy Mac gaming, take another step and apply for a writer spot. It's rewarding for you and everyone else.
A big shout out to all the IMG writers, I think you are totally awesome and I enjoy reading everything you submit. Some have been doing it for several years already, some are new - but we're all here, reading, writing and enjoying Mac gaming as we should be.
Jon Carr is an IMG writer who also hosts the podcast and enjoys conducting interviews, previews and writing all the features he can think of. When not reviewing games or scheming world domination, he's probably playing a new game in Bootcamp or keeping up on all the latest game and tech news. He builds websites for a living but spends all the time he can furthering the Mac community.