How the Staff Got Their Start Writing
We’ve recently undergone some changes at PlayStation LifeStyle (congrats to Cameron Teague on becoming the site’s new Editor-in-Chief!), and one of our goals is to bring more personality to our coverage. In order to get started in that direction, we asked the site’s staff how they got their start writing. After all, writing about video games isn’t your average career path.
Find the answers of the PlayStation LifeStyle Staff below:
Blake Grundman: Writing about games has been a passion of mine for well over a decade, and long before it ever generated any form of income. Originally I had an email group consisting of several college buddies, where we would exchange our thoughts and light reviews on games we were currently playing. We mainly did this as a way to keep in touch with with each other post-graduation. The games were just a convenient excuse for maintaining long-standing bromances, long after they were age-appropriate. After about 6 months of these emails bouncing back and forth, one of us (I honestly don’t remember which one of us it was…) suggested that we just collate all of our personal commentary into a public blog. I took it upon myself to start the blog and so my public writing career was born.
Based off of some of my writings on the blog, I was recruited to write news for Kombo,com. At the time, Kombo had a really substantial following in the gaming community. It was around this point that I was introduced in passing to the site’s copy editor, Keri Honea. Little did I know that I would end up following her from site-to-site like a reviewing vagabond for the next eight years.
I was first brought into the Evolve Media fold, writing for ActionTrip.com (where Keri was EIC), until its untimely demise in July of 2016. Literally the week that AT closed, Keri helped my line up my first freelance review here on PSLS. Shortly thereafter, I was welcomed into the PSLS fold as a semi-regular freelance reviewer.
Fast-forward twelve months and more than forty reviews later, I just graduated from freelancer to Contributing Editor. It has been an amazing run and I am so excited to see where things go from here!
Cameron Teague: My start happened after I stumbled onto the PlayStation LifeStyle forums. I started commenting there and eventually become a mod, until one day Joseph Peterson asked if I wanted to try some writing. It was kind of a scary time for me because I hate writing and had never even considered doing something like that. However it seemed to work out, people didn’t say my writing sucked, and I started doing reviews, news and whatever I could.
Chandler Wood: I constantly forget about my terrible little blog called I Have More Trophies Than You that I started back in 2011, but I realize that was one of the catalysts of my interest in games journalism. Every event after that snowballed from there, and here I am quitting my day job of 10 years because PSLS is now my day job instead. I definitely didn’t think that’s where IHMTTY would get me when I started it.
I’ve had a keen interest in writing since I was very young, but it really wasn’t until my wife pushed me into asking the staff at a little site called PlayStation LifeStyle about what it took to write for them that I ever seriously considered doing it for a career. It’s a much better gig than my old blog.
Heath Hindman: In 2002, my younger sister asked me who was the best Final Fantasy villain. We talked about some of the series greats and I asked her why she brought it up. She showed me a forum thread on RPGLand.com, where the amount of incorrect opinions lured me in. I had to save the internet from itself.
Later, the site’s owner invited me to write news and reviews on the homepage, so I did. I was then picked up by another RPG fansite, RPGamer.com, where I ended up meeting my wife. So with that, and the whole internet being regularly cleansed by my flawless writing, everybody really won big when I got into the game industry.
Keri Honea: I’ve been writing stories ever since I was 5. I knew I was meant to be a writer, but I could not have prepared myself for what kind of writer I became. I fell into writing about video games completely on accident. While surfing the net at work like a good little employee, I stumbled upon a site called Advanced Media Network. It was a video game news and reviews blog of sorts, and they were looking for new writers. It sounded like fun, so I shot the EIC an email. After an interview, they decided since I had a Master’s degree in Technical Writing, they wanted me to edit their writers work instead. I went from editing to eventually reviewing games and writing features. When that site (which grew into Kombo) died, I kept going from site to site.
I never thought that writing about games would become something more than a hobby, but thanks to hard work and perseverance (and luck), I joined the Crave family of gaming sites and was able to make it my full-time job. Now I’m back to doing what I started out doing—copy editing and writing reviews. Honestly, this is what makes me happiest. Well, that and teaching yoga.
Jason Dunning: I started a site called Trendy Gamers (as I quickly found out, it’s difficult to find a good name for a video game site that isn’t already taken), wrote a weekly PlayStation Store preview-type post that caught the eye of Anthony, and I began writing for PlayStation LifeStyle shortly afterwards.
Louis Edwards: I had some issues with my PS2 back in 2006 before the PS3 launched and signed up at the official PlayStation Forums looking for answers. After talking to folks online there, I was able to work through the issues with assistance from a couple of folks. I started reading through the forums and answering gaming related questions, and eventually came across a user named Sev1512. Sev was floating an idea around about starting a gaming blog, and me being someone who had no idea what that was, said I would pass for now but I’ll help if I could if I had the chance. PlayStationLifeStyle.net was born shortly thereafter and I learned what a gaming blog was. While I wasn’t actively helping out at PSLS back then, Sev and I remained friends and stayed in touch. About a year later, in March of 2009, I was heading to the PS Blog Party at the W Hotel in San Francisco during GDC and asked Sev if I could try my hand at doing a write up of the event for PSLS. He said yes, and my first article was about how my son won a custom Metal Gear Solid PS3 and the fun time we had at the meet-up.
Mack Ashworth: I always loved English Literature, as it allowed me to escape to other worlds and then write about my experience. I pursued English and Creative Writing at university, not because I necessarily felt that it would be useful for my future, but because I got an immense satisfaction from it. Then I discovered that games journalism could offer that same buzz, and was new and exciting; a contrast to the tired, dead authors I’d previously been analysing.
Michael Briers: Writing is something I’ve been doing on a daily basis since I was about 15. It started mainly with fiction before I started to explore non-fiction after launching my own film blog during University, where I studied Journalism.
It’s a course I kind of stumbled into, to be honest; I loved writing and sharing stories with people, so what better way to hone those skills than to take up a degree in Journalism? But it turned out that my online portfolio helped me land my first freelancing gig at We Got This Covered. That was in 2013 and since then, I’ve worked my up to Managing Editor — all without anyone giving a single hoot about the degree! But in all honestly, university was an important platform for me to help launch my writing career. Without it, I’d still be firing 1s and 0s into some echo chamber somewhere; instead, I’m proud to call myself a Contributing Editor at PSLS, while still holding that role at WGTC.
So yeah, fun times. After working across video and news for PSLS, I’ll soon be doubling down on original features, so keep your peepers peeled!
Paulmichael Contreras: Back in September 2008, I was 19 years old and jobless. Suffice to say, I was playing a LOT of games. I also happened to be a member of Sony’s Gamer Advisory Program (or GAP), which was a loyalty program they invited you to once you had registered enough games online. Burnout Paradise was set to receive a patch to enable trophies, which ended up not being retroactive. I was playing this game every single day, and so I leapt at the chance to write up a trophy guide and get it on the GAP. Within 48 hours, I had earned the Platinum trophy, and I posted a fairly comprehensive trophy guide to the board. Someone with the screenname StalkingSIlence saw the post, asked if this new site PlayStation LifeStyle could use my guide, and also asked if I’d be interested in writing for them. I took them up on the offer, and while the trophy guide was ultimately not used on PSLS (which still had hosting at the address sev1512.wordpress.com!), I haven’t really left the site since!
Side note: this was around the same time Jack Thompson was disbarred from “practicing” law, permanently. Anyone remember that guy?! Anyway, I’m a Full-Stack Software Developer for a local print outsourcing company by day, and Contributing Editor here by night!
Tyler Treese: I had toyed around with blogging about games as a teenager, but the first time I actually got to write about video games in a more official capacity came about in 2012. Nintendo World Report’s Neal Ronaghan went on Twitter and said he was looking for someone to cover some hot DSiWare releases. I was (and still am) a huge fan of Neal’s work, so I sent him some writing examples, and I ended up securing the giant opportunity of reviewing Jewel Legends: Tree of Life. It’s just a generic match-three puzzle game, but it was a huge deal for me at the time.
This flirtation with being a critic didn’t really lead to anything at the time, as I was happy to just go back to being a fan afterwards, but I had the opportunity to cover E3 2014 for Mario Party Legacy. That’s where my life changed forever, as I had a great time, and it hit me that I could actually do coverage well. After that I started writing for some smaller sites on a regular basis, a year later I quit my regular job to freelance full-time, and now – two additional years later – I’m now getting to write for PSLS full-time. It’s been a pretty wild journey so far, and I’m excited to get to do a lot more going forward.
Zarmena Khan: I used to work as an immigration fraud detective for the Queen of UK back in 2013 when I jokingly said to a friend of mine that it would be really cool if I could make money playing video games. The conversation happened right after I completed the grim task of leading an investigation into someone stealing a deceased child’s identity to obtain citizenship, which made me want to step away from that work altogether. My friend took me seriously and put me in touch with someone who was looking for part-time weekend writers for a small site. I took up his offer and the rest is history. I’ve been writing for four years now, out of which I’ve spent three with PSLS.
I write about games for a bit of an escape from real life. I’m a private investor and business manager during the week, PSLS news writer over the weekends.
PS: that site has been taken offline so my author profile no longer exists, unfortunately. I did a really cool interview with LA Noire lead developer, Alex Carlyle, and the Papers, Please creator (Editor’s Note: PmC found an archive of the latter interview!).
Well, there you have our origin stories. They’re probably not as exciting as the ones you see in comic books since nobody other than Heath was bitten by a radioactive spider and given superpowers.