My family doesn’t understand exactly what it is that I do, and even those that do understand are a little baffled by it all. It can make for some awkward conversation.
At a funeral we all recently attended, my uncle decided to make with the small talk, and then probably wished he hadn’t.
“So you write computer games now, eh?” he started.
This is a common opener from family and acquaintances. I studied Computer Science at university, so the obvious next step is to go into programming of some sort. Hence, when someone who doesn’t know my life all that well hears that I’m doing something to do with ‘games’ and ‘writing’, the connection there is clear. I must be writing games.
“Well… no, not exactly” I begin to explain. During my explanation, my uncle’s face moves in ways which suggest he’s now a lot more confused than he was at the start of the conversation.
“So… you play games all day and write about them then?” he inquires, with a look of ‘that’s not a real job’ about him.
Again, a common question. The way I answer this question depends on who I’m speaking to – if it’s a friend, I’ll fire back “Yeah I do. See how crap your job seems now?”, while if it’s someone I don’t know as well, I’ll sheepishly reply “Well, not all day…”
Trying to convince people that games journalism is indeed a ‘real job’ is far more effort than it’s worth, and sometimes it’s easier to simply go along with the ‘Yeah, it’s proper cushy’ angle. Of course, any games journalist knows that it’s far more work than anyone will ever give us credit for, but pretending to outsiders that all you do all day is ‘have fun’ is actually rather entertaining.