Gaming… An Infographic Post

In my last post I mentioned writers in the gaming world. A world that is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Think that’s a bit high? Is it really as big as I say it is? Well keep reading dear visitor and allow me to introduce you to the ever-growing industry that is video games.

Perhaps you don’t play video games. Maybe you don’t think of yourself as a gamer. But I would bet anything that most of you, if not all of you play some kind of game on a smart phone, or a tablet or even on your pc. Yes, even Windows Solitaire counts as gaming, although I can’t imagine anyone still choosing to play Solitaire in today’s highly competitive market that now includes free-to-play games available to everyone.  In the gaming industry, games played on Facebook are also included in the statistics of the gaming market, since in many cases games that get their digital “feet” wet on Facebook, are then marketed to mobile carriers for distribution to your smart phone.

Still unconvinced that the gaming industry is really that big? Or perhaps you are convinced, but have just never had the opportunity to review some rather jaw-dropping statistics on this juggernaut of an industry? Well, let me share some little known and little sought intel on an industry that is beginning to shape the world as we know it.

The average age of today’s gamer is 34. 68% of all gamers are age 18 or older. 45% of gamers are female, an increase of 2% in the past 2 years, with most of them over 18 years of age. Most gamers have been playing games an average of 13 years. Games now outpace box office movie sales of $10 billion per year, with current annual sales of $24 billion, up quite a bit from the $10.4 billion recorded in 2009.  Canada is the third biggest gaming industry in the world behind Japan and the United States.

I was admittedly rather surprised by the numbers here but if you factor in smart phones, tablets, Facebook, PC games and consoles, it doesn’t take much to imagine that even these surprising statistics likely don’t reflect our current gaming market as technology and games continue to evolve in both graphics, execution and portability. When you can take your PC quality games on the road or on your commute, the gaming industry at present can do nothing but continue to grow and expand.

Candy Crush anyone?

Related articles: Gaming is Good for You

Video Game Statistics 2009

Game Player Stats

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EDIT ME — Proofreading Tips

Good advice!

Hardworking Heroes

quote mark

Proofreading is a daunting task. If you’re lucky, you have a great copy editor who will catch all your errors. But most of you don’t. And even if you do, you want to hand in the cleanest copy of your work possible.

Here are 2 tips to a better proofread:

1. Read aloud — I just did this the other day. Why, you ask? Because the sound of my own voice gives me goosebumps. No, I’m kidding (sorta).

In this particular edit, the author and I did 2 very deep rounds of editing that included content, grammar and punctuation. But when I started proofreading, I was still catching errors at this late stage. Extra words, wrong emphasis on words, screwy comma placement…

The best way to catch mistakes? Read it aloud.

When you you read this reading you might see some errors.  *grin*

findmistake

Yep, our brains skip things. Read it…

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Writers and Gamers

I grew up in an age of as yet unrealized new technology. The future of the tech world was just beginning to blossom. We had

Copyright: Ubisoft.com

Copyright: Ubisoft.com

Nintendo and VHS players that were just becoming affordable enough that everyone who was anyone had one. Computers were slowly making their debut into the commercial landscape. Admittedly they really weren’t much to brag about, but if you had a computer you were SOMEONE important. Even though computers were not very exciting, no one really believed that eventually we would all want one.

But I digress… again. At the time, video games were something kids seemed to enjoy, although they were nowhere near as graphically beautiful or immersive as games are today. Being a teenager at this time, I saw games as a new way to experience “story” in a whole new way of experiencing someone else’s imagined world.

Today as a writer and a daydreaming, fantasy-loving Pisces, games are a very engrossing, very immersive and addictive form of procrastination. Why write a story when you can actively participate in “writing” a story that stars YOU as the hero? Especially when that world is a beautifully rendered, fully realized and a graphically engaging place that makes you feel you are part of something much bigger than yourself.

Games have evolved so much in such a relatively short period of time, that it’s not surprising to me that today millions of people own consoles and games and spend an average of 10-20 hours a week playing videgames. Which brings me to my next point. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity or desire to delve into the world of video games, I have one question for you. Why the heck not?

Some of the most engrossing and epic stories can be found in today’s best-selling video games. Sure there are those that leave you feeling ‘meh’, but at the same time there are games out there whose story arcs are so deep, so well thought out and so emotionally engaging as to make them epic in the world of story. Looking for inspiration? You only need look at what is currently on the best-seller list at your local video game retailer. Not sure what kids and adults alike are drawn to story-wise in our fast-paced world of tech? Again… video games.

Video games are now part of a multi-billion dollar industry that shows no signs of slowing down or fading away. And video game designers always need writers. They need engaging content, then need relevant content. They need writers who know how to engage gamers on an emotional level and who would love to see their written work brought to life by some of the most talented artists out there.

So whether you’re a writer who games or just someone who thinks that games are for kids, think again. Games are slowly making their way into everyone’s daily life. Games are everywhere. They’re in your phones, your Facebook, your tablets and your consoles (if you have them). And as a result the demand for good writers is increasing, which if you’ve never considered writing for the game industry before is a very good thing.

For those interested in games with good story lines, I’ve played only a few that fit that criteria, which I will list below. I’m sure there are more out there, but so far I’ve only come across two or three that contain good story arcs and characters that take your breath away. And I’m guessing here, but I believe this likely due to the fact that good writers have yet to realize what a gold mine writing for games could be. If you haven’t done so yet, perhaps now is a good time to check it out?

Copyright: Bioware.com

Copyright: Bioware.com

Games with great stories and epic characters:  Mass Effect (trilogy). Although its first installment was not all that impressive from a graphic perspective, it does contain over 300 dialogue options and that is no small task to accomplish. But that’s not all, this game goes even further by building on the choices you make in the first game and allowing you to import what you did there into the second and third in the series, making for the most immersive “choose your own adventure” story I’ve played to date.

Red Dead Redemption. What can I say about this game? Red Dead is one of those gems you discover when you’ve finally

Copyright: Rockstargames.com

Copyright: Rockstargames.com

earned all those achievements you couldn’t seem to grasp in your favorite titles and find yourself with nothing to play. As with the other titles I’ve listed here, the story arc in RDR is exceptionally well-planned, well thought out and wonderfully rendered. It engages you, it gets you emotionally connected to the main character and personally invested in his success and/or failure. And again all this is made possible by some very talented writers.

Assassin’s Creed II is another game that fits this category with its beautifully rendered landscapes and emotionally real protagonist who was brought to life by talented writers who knew how to engage their audience. This game is so impressive that even today, fans of the AC Universe still call this the best game of the series, even though they just published Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag in October 2013 and ACII came out in November of 2009. Makes you wonder what, exactly, was so special about AC2… having played it, I would have to say it has a whole lot to do with the storyline and the dialogue, which says a lot about the writers behind this title’s success. But don’t take my word for it, play it yourself and find out. 😉

Related: Writing for the Gaming Industry

What Do Video Game Writers Do?

On Becoming a Game Writer

A Writer’s Mind is a Minefield

socrates

Photo credit: relationshipsurplus.com

And we aren’t talking about explosions here. We’re talking about tangents and branches of thought that go off into left field or perhaps it’s the right field…. or maybe it’s not even a field. Maybe it’s a whole new plant altogether… wait, what? What were we talking about again? Oh right, a writer’s mind, er thoughts.

So no trees really. This isn’t a blog about gardens, although it could be if I were at all passionate about gardens. Not that there’s anything wrong with gardens, I mean really what writer doesn’t like a nice place to sit outside in nature where you can just soak up all that fresh air and sunshine? Well not me, although I find that without a book, I find I just get distracted by all the bugs buzzing or crawling about as the case may be – busy with whatever bug business they’re going about or that chickadee that just won’t stop whistling – I mean what IS his problem anyway? Get a date already. Or wait, maybe I’m in his space and I’m messing up his ambiance. That could be. But hold on, do chickadees even think things like that? Hmm, I wonder if there’s a story there? Chickadees that talk to humans except that the humans are too dense to understand what they’re trying to say. Well probably not. I mean who wants to read about self-aware chickadees? Imagine what they may have witnessed in all their feathery wanderings. Oh the horror! Lol.

Okay so I might be taking it a bit far. Well probably not actually but for me that’s a pretty good example of how a writer’s thoughts tend to flow. I left out a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of other tangents that typically flit through my brain but a blog is not long enough for that. Which we should really all be very thankful for.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that at times I find it is a miracle that any writer anywhere manages to ever stay on topic and stay relevant to their subject matter with all this hoopla roiling around inside their brains on a minute by minute basis. I couldn’t possibly write down everything that goes on in my brain that is noteworthy. And seriously I really wouldn’t want to. I have enough trouble sitting down at my wordpress dashboard writing a new post. I don’t think I could ever be dedicated or narcissistic enough to pay attention to every stray thought that has the potential to be a seed for a new blog.

But wouldn’t that be a great place to find new ideas if we did or could write them down? Then again, we’d probably get so distracted by the “seeds” of potential that we may never get to the actual business of writing. But what do I know? I’m just sharing my “thoughts.” 😉

Related posts: Your Writer’s Mind                Thoughts on Writing

We want to sail away

hovercraftdoggy

Sail Away - a constantly expanding, large-scale installation in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London, consisting of hundreds of small boats made from paper money bills, maps and tickets from all around the world.  by artist Susan Stockwell Sail Away - a constantly expanding, large-scale installation in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London, consisting of hundreds of small boats made from paper money bills, maps and tickets from all around the world.  by artist Susan Stockwell Sail Away - a constantly expanding, large-scale installation in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London, consisting of hundreds of small boats made from paper money bills, maps and tickets from all around the world.  by artist Susan Stockwell Sail Away - a constantly expanding, large-scale installation in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London, consisting of hundreds of small boats made from paper money bills, maps and tickets from all around the world.  by artist Susan Stockwell Sail Away - a constantly expanding, large-scale installation in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London, consisting of hundreds of small boats made from paper money bills, maps and tickets from all around the world.  by artist Susan Stockwell Sail Away - a constantly expanding, large-scale installation in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London, consisting of hundreds of small boats made from paper money bills, maps and tickets from all around the world.  by artist Susan Stockwell Sail Away – a constantly expanding, large-scale installation in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London, consisting of hundreds of small boats made from paper money bills, maps and tickets from all around the world by artist Susan Stockwell

This post is part of our second Theme Week where since last Friday, you the public had the chance to choose between 5 themes/inspirations for each post this week. Yet again you chose probably the most challenging theme we had listed: ‘Miniature’ Hope you enjoy… 🙂

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What’s On Your List?

I covered this in a previous post some time ago, but wanted to revisit it. And that is that when you write, you should “write what you know.” Well talk about a blanket statement in randomness. What do you know? Do you know what you know? Most likely you have no idea what you know until after you start writing about it. Or try to start writing about it.

Image credit to: craighildebrandburke.com

Image credit to: craighildebrandburke.com

You may be passionate about a wide variety of different topics or subjects of interest, but your knowledge of these things are sorely tested the moment you try to write about it. Case in point… I recently wrote a post about online dating and as I wrote this post it became clearly evident to me that I really had no idea what I was talking about. My writing struggled. My brain became muddied with a multitude of irrelevant tidbits and facts that try as I might couldn’t be fit into a single post about online dating. I found myself writing and re-writing whole paragraphs because I discovered that I didn’t have enough information on the subject to write an entire article on what I was really interested in.

So back to my topic. What do I know? Well let’s see. I have knowledge of dating, sex, relationships, life events, writing, photography, alternative health, intuition, oracle card readings or the metaphysical realms, social media, special needs children, early intervention programs and parenting. But of those topics, I would be hard pressed to write anything coherent or worth reading on all of them. More than likely I would have to delve deeper by doing more research on a particular topic in order to be able to compose a well-written and well-rounded article on my chosen subject.

I find I have a lot of opinions on life and relationships and certain areas of interest to me, but that doesn’t automatically translate into having the ability or depth of knowledge to draw on to be able to write well about it. Just because you have an interest or a passion for something doesn’t always mean you can write about it.  And I think that is what is the key to writing well. You can’t just go with what you’re interested in, it has to be something you are passionate about and have clearly defined feelings and opinions on. Without passion, you will not have had enough time to form a solid opinion on you topic and as a result, this lack of passion will show up in your work. Either you will find yourself constantly struggling to find the write words, or your finished piece will not show up as your best work… others may not notice the difference right away, but you likely will and you probably won’t like it much.

I guess what’s most important here isn’t so much about “writing what you know” as it is about writing what you’re passionate about while having a strong, balanced and well-rounded opinion on your chosen subject. With all the never-ending supply of readily available online written sources, don’t you want to be one of the few who sounds most credible?

What’s on YOUR list?

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Write What You Don’t Know

Write What You Know ~ Mark Twain quote