Thursday, May 30, 2024

Writing About Video Games during a Global Pandemic

We are facing a global pandemic, and it is terrifying. Reading that may make you scared, or perhaps scoff if you’re so inclined, but it’s a resolute fact that people are being faced with something that they’ve never encountered before on such a massive scale. The fear of the unknown. It’s this which is driving so many people to do foolish things in the process.

You may be wondering where video games fit into a discussion about a pandemic. For a very long time, governments have been wary of video games, and sometimes, for a very good reason. Despite writing for a video game website, I’m unafraid to say that video games can be a negative influence on people’s lives, even during a time where they are, currently, more of a solace. Instead of telling people to go out and have fun, video games are being used as a way to keep people in.

For the most part, it’s working. The multiplayer games I play seem to be thriving in ways they hadn’t before, and getting into games takes less than a minute at times. And yet, despite everything seemingly going right for gamers, the appeal to write about video games while the world around me is tossed about on a global scale has only grown dimmer.

“Isn’t that your job, though?” Yes, it is! It’s my job to write about video games, but that doesn’t make things any easier, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. The truth is this: video game writing has never been a lucrative profession, and it feels even less so now with essential workers having to fight tooth and nail to try and secure a future where the world can return to ‘normal.’ Video game writing is influential, and only gets better and better when we allow diverse, young voices into the fold, but the motivation to write during this time is hard to find and I can only feel envious towards those who are doing their utmost best to keep going during these uncertain times.

There’s also the problem with funding. Freelance writers are, ultimately, the workers who are having to do the utmost in order to survive as publications freelance funds are slashed in two. It’s left many out of pocket, and with nobody to turn to, the panic of not having enough to get through the upcoming months is real and scary.

But there is kindness everywhere, more so than you may first realize, and it’s that kindness which makes getting out of bed to sit down, and write about video games during a global pandemic, feel that much easier. When you have websites like Uppercut, who are willing to help freelance writers rehome pieces and do their best to pay these writers, the world doesn’t seem so bad after all. It’s these things that matter, and what we should hold onto through these uncertain times.

It may be hard to write about video games right now, but I hope it won’t always be like that. I hope love and being kind wins out in the end, because thinking otherwise is just something I can’t bear.

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