Damn. I ran out of time there. What went wrong? Should I have gone for the Xbox Series X instead of the PS5? Maybe there was some angle on The Last of Us Part 2 that I missed? Did I path PAX East 2020 incorrectly? Where’d the run fall apart?
I kid, of course. Sad as it is, I know full-well why our time at USgamer is coming to an end, and I know it doesn’t have a thing to do with how well we all played the game. I’ve had my fair share of impostor syndrome moments since joining the site, but it’s been really heartening to see everyone react to word of our departure with well-wishes and kind words about our work. Thank you all for that.
A couple days ago, I left myself a note before sitting down to write this goodbye piece: “don’t be emo.” Knowing that there are loads of people who loved what we were doing with the site makes that a lot easier to do.
Not long after landing my first contract gig in media, I felt an urge to write a blog post about Dead Rising, one of my favorite games. It was intended to be a portfolio piece, something I could link to an editor as I pitched other stories on games. I then sent pitches around, got nothing in return, but ended up in a lucky position at my previous job where I could write about games whenever the right inspiration struck. I guess Kat liked some of that stuff?
As I consider my next professional move, I hope to channel some of the confidence of dear old Frank West… well, minus the cockiness. I’m not going to sit here and pretend I learned anything real about reporting from playing Dead Rising—I probably won’t be covering any wars, y’know—but something about a story where a journalist survives in the face of an apocalyptic scenario has a certain appeal to it these days.
I can’t start this particular run over again, but even if I could, I don’t know if I’d really change much about what I did. I’ve arrived at the only truth I need: the USG crew was a great group to work with, and I’m happy I had the chance to do so. Below, you’ll find some links to work I’m particularly proud of from my time here and a thought or two on each piece. If you need me, you can always find me on Twitter.
Oh, and while I’m sort-of on the subject of zombie games, I have to issue a correction: way, way back in the day, I appeared in a video on 1UP.com where I said video games taught me that shotguns are only effective at close range. I was young, awkward, and Dead Rising hadn’t even come out yet; it and plenty of other games have shotguns that are ridiculous at mid-to-long ranges (shout out to the Mastiff). Considering that this might be my last job as a games reporter, I didn’t want to let that patently false statement follow me around forever. Glad to have cleared that up.
Anyway, here are some articles I’m particularly proud of from my run at USG:
I love Tetris Effect and I love the Classic Tetris World Championships. Not only was putting this preview together a blast, but it earned me a citation on Wikipedia. Please let the record show that I am an authoritative source on tetrominoes.
If I had managed to get a hold of all the arcades I reached out to for this piece, it could’ve been three or four times as long. I would’ve been happy to put all their stories to the page. Regardless, I’m still happy with the finished article, and I’m thrilled that my local favorite Wonderville recently raised $40,000 to survive the winter. Support your local arcades!
Being who I am, I could’ve just made this list out of all my Half-Life coverage. My two-part feature on Alyx is what I’m most proud of, but I also reviewed the game, interviewed the voice of the G-Man about it, wrote up silly mods it received, talked to a teacher who used it as a VR classroom, and more.
I did not enjoy my time with Deadly Premonition 2 (I make that very clear in the review), but I am grateful for the experience of reviewing it. It presented more of a challenge than any other title I reviewed here at USG, but the difficulties of slogging through it and putting together my thoughts on it were worth my time. Screw the naysayers who accuse game reviewers of being bought-off, lazy, or unqualified. The structures of access journalism built up in this industry can be frustrating, but we’re collectively getting better at calling them out. Anyone who says they see the opposite either isn’t paying attention or isn’t worth paying much attention to.
Yes, this is just a news post about a deal that Activision worked out with Chipotle, but I had to bring attention to that subhead. I think Eric came up with “lights out: burrito radio” and it’s been ricocheting around the inside of my skull ever since. What a fun website, right? I thought it was pretty great.
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