Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why You Should Help Mattie Brice Get To GDC

There are a lot of excellent writers writing lots of excellent things about videogames. You already know this. Across blogs there is a vastly diverse collection of writers looking at games from all different kinds of angles and making all different kinds of insights.

But when it comes to the bigger, professional sites, everybody is just too agreeable. It's not that people are writing poor articles or saying things that are uninteresting, but, simply, there are just too many of us from similar backgrounds saying similar things while the dissenters, saying equally interesting but perhaps not as agreeable things, are stuck on their blogs.

Slowly but surely this is changing. It has to change if videogame criticism is to advance and mature. We need more writers approaching more videogames from more perspectives. And, more importantly, we need these writers to have exposure and actually be read.

This is why I am super excited that there is a fundraising effort to get Mattie Brice to GDC this year. Mattie appeared out of nowhere in 2010 and is now writing for a range of places. She's all over Popmatters; She writes candidly about sexuality and games on Nightmare Mode; and she's even had the guts to take on Kotaku's cesspit comment sections head on.

I don't always agree with what she writes, and sometimes her forward-gazing optimism just outright frustrates me. But this is exactly why games journalism/criticism/whatever needs her and those writers like her: she is saying interesting things that many of us wouldn't say. She is starting interesting discussions and debates with the mainstrea about topics previously left to lurk on the niche blogs.

GDC is the biggest annual event in the game's industry and is exactly the place any budding game's writer needs to be if they want to Make It as a games journalist. 2010 was the first year I went to GDC and in the eleven months since I have written for Edge, Paste, Ars Technica, and a whole heap of other amazing outlets I could never have imagined writing for a year ago.

If we can help get Mattie there this year, I don't doubt she will have just as many opportunities out of it as I did, if not more. She has already marched confidently onto a stack of mainstream websites with very alternative views, and attending GDC will only help bring her alternative, interesting writing to larger and larger readerships.

So this is why you should chip in a few dollars and help get Mattie to GDC. Do it for games journalism/criticism. Help expand the angles and voices and articles and topics that people are writing and reading about. Games criticism needs more dissenters, and there are few dissenters writing at present with as much potential as Mattie.

(Also, huge thanks are owed to David Carlton who got the whole ball rolling on this.)

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