Ask The Freelance Dude #6 – Die, Debugs, Die!


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I’m wondering what the rule is for debug consoles and freelancers. I’m trying to branch out, and one of the things I’ve realized makes one more enticing to publications is access to a debug. As freelancers, are we able to obtain these magical machines? If so, how?

Signed,
Matt H.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #5 – Feedback Quest


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I’ve been studying journalism for about three years now, and I got a job in layout at a newspaper currently. I want to make the jump in writing (gaming, sports, etc.), but I try to send writing samples to get critiques and advice from different outlets and I don’t get anything back. So, my question is, how can I get some sort of feedback in regards to sending samples to professionals?

Signed,
Tanner L.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #4 – Proper Schooling?


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Dear Freelance Dude,

Do you need to have a degree in journalism to get your foot in the door? I’m doing a degree in engineering, and I can’t change to journalism, but I have a blog and enjoy writing about tech and video games. Do you think that good examples of previous writing will be enough to be considered? Also how would I get started?

Signed,
Mackenzie W.
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Ask The Freelance Dude #3 – A New Journalism Beat


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I am a former music journalist and avid gamer, who now works in the gaming industry, and is looking to get into writing about games. With both being entertainment industries, I imagine there are parallels in the various types of stories for games as those I’ve written on music (i.e. reviews, Q&A/interviews, event coverage, “up-and-coming”/featured promoting). Given the critical, passionate and brilliant minds of our fellow members of the gaming community, I expect to meet a high standard with my articles, but am intimidated by the transition. What skills do you recommend I can draw from, with my previous experience, in order to be successful in this type of journalism?

Signed
Michelle Q.
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Introducing: “Ask The Freelance Dude”

Greetings people of the Internet. You like to write. I like to write. That’s lovely. Give yourself a hug. I just did. You have questions about writing, freelancing, game journalism, or whatnot. Also lovely. I have answers. Except when I don’t, in which case I’ll put on my detective cap and get to the bottom of it for you. I’m going to try out a new thing around these here work blog parts that I’d like to call “Ask The Freelance Dude” where you, dear virtual reader person, can write in with a question or problem related to the aforementioned topics. I’ll answer it.

Here are few guidelines to follow:

1) Don’t be a dick.

2) Even if you’ve got a problem or story to share, please wrap it up by asking an actual question.

3) Try to limit your inquiry to around 100-150 words or one paragraph.

4) Please be patient, as I might not be able to get to your questions right away.

5) Don’t ask a (yes/no) question.

6) Please keep questions within the scope of writing, freelancing, game journalism, publishing, etc). I may expand down the road, but I want to stay focused on writing-related topics to start.

7) If you would not like your real name published, please provide a (non-offensive) alias.

Now that we’ve laid that down. Got a question or problem you’d like answered? Hit me up with an e-mail at: askthefreelancedude@gmail.com

Note- Depending on the volume of inquiries, I may answer several in each installment or one at a time. I’ll do my best to give an informative and hopefully entertaining answer, and I’ll publish the best questionsand answers here on a regular basis for all to see and benefit from. Kapich?

Also- Questions/inquiries may be edited for basic grammar and punctuation, though I won’t mess with it if I don’t have to.

Free Bytes –> Best Free Games

If you are among the folks that regularly check out my weekly indie freeware gaming column over at IGN, then awesome, you win the prize for being very stylish and sensible. Going forward, my column has been transformed — yes, like Voltron or Optimus Prime — into a slightly different animal (or robot, mineral, etc). Free Bytes will still appear each week over at IGN’s PC gaming page, though it’s now all rolled into one large feature called “Best Free Games” that’s located at the same page. Each new installment will be updated on (most) Thursdays. New picks will be featured on the first page of the article, while previous installments are available on subsequent pages. So in a nutshell: I’m still churning out the same weekly awesome selections of oddball, fun, and quirky free indie-focused game write-ups, only they’re called something different and they’re streamlined to a single location. This has been a test of the emergency column update system. Thank you for your cooperation.

This week’s installment is the crazy-tastic Cactus joint: Hot Throttle. Followed by Megazey and Demons as well as King’s Guard. You can check out all three, and future installments over here at IGN.

Indie Spotlight #8: No Need To Kill

“For all the massive growth the gaming industry has seen over the past few decades (with thousands upon thousands of titles released into the wilds), it’s surprising to see that so many games still cling to such Neanderthal objectives. Run. Jump. Shoot. Kill. Annihilate. Thinking far outside of the box, the folks at indie studio thatgamecompany set out to break away from the status quo of violence, and instead focus on crafting gaming experiences revolving around emotion and expression. In doing so, they’ve found success while also blurring the boundaries between games and art.”

Check out the full column here at GameSpy.

Free Bytes Double Whammy

Free Bytes: Mother Robot

“Back when I was a young kid with an overactive imagination, nighttime was the most ominous stretch of the day. When the lights went out, it felt like every creak of the house signaled my impending doom at the hands of some slathering, flesh-eating beast thing waiting for me in the dark – to suck out my guts with a vile proboscis, I would assume. Thankfully, my trusty flashlight was more powerful than a broadsword in its ability to ward off my impending monstrous death with its illuminating beams. Mother Robot takes that idea and runs in a different direction. This crafty little game is about staying alive by keeping the lights on…by using lots of robots and laser umbilical cords.”

Check out my full Mother Robot write-up here at IGN.

Free Bytes: Pipedreamz

“At one point or another, most folks get stuck working a crappy stint in a dead-end job for awhile. During such times, it’s often all-but-expected that you’ll do the best job you can muster while letting your mind wander to enjoy the marvels of mental inner-space to help make the misery pass quicker (unless you’re a jet pilot or a nuclear power plant operator, of course). Pipedreamz is kind of like that but a heck of a lot weirder.”

Check out my full write-up of Pipedreamz here at IGN.

Free Bytes: Bitejacker


I’ve been a big fan of indie gaming web show Bytejacker for a long time now. It’s great to see other folks supporting coverage of the indie gaming world. Do you know what else is great? A free indie game about an indie gaming web show that covers free indie games. Even better? I wrote that shit up in my goddamn freeware indie gaming column. BOOM! Mind=blown.

Check out my write-up of Bitejacker (the GAME) here at IGN.

Indie Spotlight: Infinitely Running To Death


“It’s not quite as hard to get into game-making as it once was. In recent years, the barrier to entry for hobbyist game development has lowered quite a bit, thanks to the work of enthusiastic bedroom programmers and a bustling online community willing to guide newcomers with tutorials and helpful downloads. Having the right tools and the drive to create is often all you need to get rolling in the indie gaming world these days, but what if you don’t have the right tools? For some, like Adam “Atomic” Saltsman, the solution was to make the tools.”

Check out the full column here at GameSpy.