If web addresses could use quotation marks, VideoGameJournalismJobs.com would be an excellent candidate. The word job fairly implies payment, and most of the listings on VGJJ.com are volunteer gigs. It's easy to tease the site but I have cited it as a place where people hoping to get experience in games journalism should absolutely go to try and find their first position somewhere. It's how I got hooked up with a website called Game Kudos which got me into my first E3, and my first GDC, and my first Penny Arcade Expos as press, and allowed me to conduct a ton of networking which has paid off big over time.
I never noticed before that VGJJ.com labels itself as "jobs for freelance game journalists." I definitely see that through a different lens now than I would have around the time I hooked up with Game Kudos. I can't imagine any of the freelance game journalists I am friendly or acquainted with going to VGJJ.com to look for work. The listings have always seemed quite clearly meant for beginners. They are positions to be graduated out of. But then this ad from indie site RipTen.com was brought to my attention via that wonderful source of endless kerfluffling known as Twitter.
The RipTen.com ad cites a degree in Journalism, Communications or Broadcast Media, or appropriate education/experience combo, and a portfolio of work as prerequisites for applying. For all intents and purposes it reads like a legitimate job advertisement...only it's a volunteer gig. The kerfluffle was best expressed in the statement "This is what's wrong with video game journalism," but that's entirely incorrect. I can't get worked up over RipTen throwing that ad out there because I can't imagine anyone taking them up on it. If that ad were a problem, it would be an immediately self-correcting one.
The Independent Games Festival takes place at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco every year. Games that win IGF awards can go on to critical and/or commercial success. Minecraft was last year's big winner, and you can surf a list of past winning titles here. Developers pay a fee and submit their games for judging in various categories like Visual Art, Design, Audio, etc..
This is an event about which I know much less than I ought to but some drama taking place regarding the judging process, namely this post here from an indie dev who submitted a game to the IGF and didn't feel their game was given ample attention, caught mine. What struck me about the post and the comments which followed were frequent complaints about the same people being lauded in the contest again and again, and a desire for fairness.
I know fuck-all about what the experience of being an indie developer is like, but some of the frustrations I read felt familiar all the same. I understand perfectly well how frustrating it is to feel that one's work hasn't been looked at. I certainly understand feeling that the people getting the attention are only getting it because it's an insider's club. However, those are entirely the wrong ways to look at this sort of thing. And by saying what I'm about to say, I do not mean to be standing up on some soapbox like a wise sage dispensing wisdom to the world, but more by way of commiseration because this is a lesson I had to have imparted upon me very recently:
Being good isn't good enough.