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deity307

What kind of education should I get for writing games?

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I was wondering what kind of education should I get if I wanted to write for video games. I know there isn't TOO much demand for writers in the video game industry at the moment, so I'm pretty flexible in what kind of writing job I can attain (e.g. writing storylines for video games, strategy guides, reviewing video games). However, I'm more interested about what's going in the video game industry, big news always gets my attention (e.g. EA trying to buyout Take-Two, Activision Blizzard not attenting E3, etc.). Anyways, what kind of education would a writer need to break into the video game industry? I was thinking of taking a College journalism program for 2 years. I'm not entirely sure if it'll help. It's catered more towards television and radio, but then again there aren't many (if any) journalism programs that specialize in video games. Here's the link to the actual program: http://senecac.on.ca/fulltime/JBC.html Or, should I take a more literary program, like English studies or something like that? Any advice would help me out a lot!

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The best education for a writer is life, reading and writing. You can and probably should get a writing degree if that is the degree you would enjoy most, as a classical degree of any kind will give you a great start and obviously can teach you a great deal.
Reading is the easy bit - write experimentally and often and always reflect on what you have written - likewise with life maybe and people will want to read what you've written!

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Journalism tends to focus on interviewing people and writing articles, so if you wanted to be a reporter writing about the game industry that would be good, but it's really not relevant to writing game content. Game stories are sort of like a hybrid between a screenplay and a fairy tale, so it's helpful to take a course like 'intro to comparative mythology' or 'intro to myth analysis' and something like 'writing screenplays' lvl 1, 2, and if they offer a 3rd, lvl 3. Although writing screenplays is a topic with some great books written about it, so it might not be hard to teach yourself. It's a pity colleges don't usually offer a course in brainstorming and project design, because that would be really useful. I don't think anyone mentioned technical writing yet, but with a technical writing degree you might be able to get into writing manuals and documentation for a game company, and people use that position to make contacts in the industry and try to move into a story-writing position.

If you have any art ability, you might want to take graphical design and website design, try to get a graphic novel written and published, because when a game industry decides to hire a published writer they tend to pull ones who have worked in a visual medium before, a comic script is a lot more similar to a game script than a novel is.

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As thelovegoose said, the best approach is reading a wide variety of texts and practicing various writing styles. Write a short story on a theme with a tight deadline and see what people think. There's a 'design challenge' for design documents over at GamaSutra. Getting something like that under your belt might help, or getting someone to pose similar, more writing focused challenges to you could definitely help.

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I would think that journalism was a good education to have cause I read some articles about the people in the video game industry (e.g. Geoff Keighley and Amanda Mackay), and they took journalism. I'm not sure if I want to take a game design course since my drawing skills aren't that great. There aren't many video game design programs in my city anyway (I live in Toronto), and one of them (International Academy of Design & Technology) recently shut down because of high tuition costs and the bad reputation it has!

I do enjoy writing about video games. On my video game forum, I used to write a newsletter every week about video game news and wrote some articles for fun, like being the most efficient RPG gamer. On my spare time, I write reviews for video games. Maybe not as original as say, Zero Punctuation, but I'm pretty satisfied at what I write. And I recently started a podcast with my friend about gaming news and we review games too. So I think I have an interest for writing/broadcasting, a "passion" as Tom Sloper would say. :p

I know there's no 1 straight path that leads right into the video game industry, everyone has their own way of attaining a career. I just want to make sure that a degree in journalism will help me out in the long run, rather than not at all. After seeing what my friend went through, he went to IADT for Game Design and not only is he is $30K in debt, the diploma he got at that school does nothing for his portfolio. In fact, according to him that diploma makes his portfolio worse! So you know, if I commit 2-4 years in journalism, gotta make sure it's doing me better than worse. But from the replies I'm getting here, it seems like journalism is the right way for me to go.

About the creative writing, I haven't able to find a college/university program like that. Is that even offered as a major? I remember back in high school, they had a program called "Writer's Craft", and that's as close as I saw to creative writing.

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I've known game designers/writers to have some pretty weird formal training:
#1) MBA + Failed screen-writing/directing degree (He says he "has training in" screen-writing, which is true even though he dropped out!)
#2) Electrical engineering (and his dialog wasn't that bad!)
#3) Liberal Arts

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Quote:
Original post by deity307
I think I have an interest for writing/broadcasting, a "passion" as Tom Sloper would say. :p

I know there's no 1 straight path that leads right into the video game industry, everyone has their own way of attaining a career. I just want to make sure that a degree in journalism will help me out in the long run, rather than not at all.

Nobody can guarantee the future for you. Since you know what your passion is, all you can do is pursue it, doggedly, determinedly, and to the best of your ability. It's extremely unlikely that you'd be making a mistake by doing that. (Note that I didn't say "you wouldn't be making a mistake," because that would mean I could see the future - and I can't.)

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