hello, I'm Zorine Te. I work hard to quietly deliver the best content in video games.

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2013 taught me more than just HFGTL.

 

If you had told me two years ago that in 2012, I would finally make my break into the gaming industry, I would have laughed. Bitterly. It was a goal that I had worked toward for so long, it almost felt as though the title of perennial volunteer freelancer would be bestowed onto me.

When I accepted the job as Community Manager back then, I knew my life would be forever changed. It was—and still is—the dream, the opportunity I throw myself wholeheartedly into.

Looking back on 2013 as it passes, I was not mistaken. However, I find myself surprised at the other lessons I have picked up over the year. Gaming culture is evolving so quickly. I find myself so tied up in it that I’m not sure where it ends and where my own life begins.

Games will always be a part of me. I will always be playing games. As such, it was expected that my knowledge of different games would grow this year. What I did not expect was to find myself interested in other gamers.

That might sound strange, so I will do my best to explain myself. Growing up, I was surrounded by a bunch of guys who played games like I did. It was a shared interest, and one that has never left us. As our friendship grew, so did our dedication to playing video games. These guys—my very best friends—are now the same people I enter tournaments with. We hang out, watch movies, get drunk; we are more than a team, we are a group of friends who have known each other for a very, very long time.

But we are like-minded gamers. Something which I realised this year was dangerous. Surround yourself with like-minded people and you’ll have a good time, sure. But will you ever learn more about the cultures around you? In the midst of a heated discussion with a colleague* I experienced an epiphany. I asked myself, was I becoming narrow-minded?

I used to hate casual gamers. Honestly, the fact that someone who casually plays games can land a job in the industry over people who devote their life to gaming like a second job, is something which still irks me.

But this year I learned that casual gamers have valid opinions to offer, and open up the spectrum to whole other sides of the industry. Sides which I previously did not consider. It wasn’t just about skill, mechanics or story. Games are about the people who play them.

It would be impossible to group all gamers together. Respect the culture for what it is, and what it is becoming. That is something I learned this year.

Happy New Year, everyone!

*Hi Edmond!
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Comments on: "Working at GameSpot – Looking back at 2013" (3)

  1. RikiGuitarist said:

    Heya Zo!

    No worries on the reply time. The Japan photos were worth it!

    I agree, passion is important for anything in life. I feel that if professional players worked on marketing themselves more effectively, they would increase their audience and exposure. Likewise with journalism, if a reviewer is going to critique a game, I feel that they should spend about as much time on that certain game/genre as the audience that’s reading the review does. It’s sometimes frustrating when a reviewer puts a game in a negative light based on something that’s par for the course, or something that most others didn’t have an issue with. It’s definitely a fine balance! And something I’m still figuring out myself.

    Your comment on skilled presenters reminds me of Kaci Aitchison from The International last year. It was amazing how she knew absolutely nothing about Dota 2 prior to getting the gig to do backstage interviews and reporting. She was able to get shy, non-English speaking players to say a few words on camera, and did an admirable job on asking good follow-up questions about a subject that she barely knew. Valve probably could’ve hired someone more knowledgeable, but I think her proficiency at impromptu interviews made her rise above her lack of Dota 2 expertise, and thus why she was picked over others.

    Happy Australia Day!

  2. RikiGuitarist said:

    That’s the misconception that I used to have (and that many other people still have today) about people who have landed jobs in the games industry but do not devote themselves to playing games. They have other skill sets besides being good at games that employers saw as marketable, or they can be understandable or relatable to the general audience. I’ve found that if you have strong writing, communication, managing or teamwork skills, and you’re also knowledgeable about the subject, you can enter into most careers that way. It’s awesome if you have a good kill/death ratio, but if you can’t articulate why someone should buy a game or not, then that doesn’t really matter. But there’s a seperate market for that kill/death ratio in eSports! That’s why I see eye to eye with you in the emerging audiences in the games industry.

    Can you share more about your experiences with meeting casual gamers, and why they play games?

    Happy New Year!

    • Hey Riki!

      Sorry for not replying sooner – I actually read this comment as soon as you posted it and had planned to write a reply that read just as long, but it’s been madness since I have returned. Thanks for your words!

      In some ways, I still feel the same way about people in the industry. I think skill is important, but so is passion. I think striking the balance is where it becomes difficult. For example, when I was interviewing pro gamers, I found some of them just couldn’t deal with being on camera. I really wanted to give them the exposure they deserved, but it was difficult to work with people who didn’t really have camera skills. However, there were still some players who really shone in the limelight!

      Likewise, there are some amazing presenters/writers who may not necessarily play games all that much but are incredibly skilled at what they do. Striking that balance is difficult, but important.

      It’s funny you ask that question about meeting casual gamers, because I have found that few people (especially in the gaming industry) will openly dub themselves casual gamers. I know a few people who play games on a casual basis, but do not ever label themselves “casual gamers”. Perhaps the moniker is not so well-known to be used by the appropriate audience! It’s a funny industry to be a part of, but ever so interesting.

      Hope you’re having a great new year too Riki 🙂

      – Zorine

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