Here’s the Thing is where Rob dumps his random thoughts and strong opinions on all manner of nerdy subjects – from videogames and movies to board games and toys.
I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for over a decade. Not writing in general – I’ve been doing that since I was in . . . third or fourth grade, I think? I mean I’ve been writing about videogames and other nerdy stuff since 2008, starting as a free passion project with a small indie website called Crush! Frag! Destroy! before beginning my first ever paid games writing gig at 148Apps in 2011. But here’s the thing: even when I first started on this whirlwind dream of getting paid to write about one of my favorite pastimes, I don’t think I ever expected to do it as an on-again off-again career for almost 15 years.
As with any creative pursuits, it’s been a long process of improvement, complacency, frustration, excitement, difficult truths, more improvement, more complacency, a lot more frustration and some occasional “What is my life??” moments. I’ve been made to feel like trash by an awful editor and left feeling like I was a freaking rockstar by a great one. I’ve briefly spoken with well-known game developers, awkwardly stood by a developer I was too nervous to talk to and have repeatedly shared lunch with people I would consider friends (who just so happen to be the face behind the curtain). I’ve done ridiculous PR photo ops because I had to, and because I wanted to. I stood in line to play something that wasn’t even coming to a console on my beat, just because I was there.
I’ve given away more swag than I can remember and kept far less. I still have a sweatshirt I was given one year at GDC, the company logos long since covered by all manner of patches. I remember how miserable I was at an uncomfortable rooftop party in LA. I remember how happy I was to reconnect with a friend from Press Pause Radio and go get some burritos on my last day in San Francisco. People have thanked me for things I’ve written, and sometimes condemned me for them. I’ve been able to write as a full-time job, and I’ve had to use writing as supplemental income for a full-time retail job.
Videogames aren’t as big a part of my writing career as they used to be these days, but they aren’t gone from it entirely. Part of me misses it – all the highs, the camaraderie, the occasional early access to new stuff – but in a way, I think a lot of that might be behind me. I still have my memories, my friends and some of my swag. A lot of my work is still published across various sites I haven’t written for in years. My interest in these little digital worlds still lingers, and I’m usually happy to talk about them when the opportunity arises, but I have to admit I like games better when I get to enjoy them on my own terms.
Rob Rich is a guy who’s loved nerdy stuff since the 80s, from videogames to anime to Godzilla to Power Rangers toys to Transformers, and has had the good fortune of being able to write about them all. He’s also editor for the Games section of Exploits! You can still find him on Twitter, Instagram and Mastodon.