Posts Tagged personal story

 

When talking about the impact Apple’s App Store has had on people during the last five years it’s easy to just rattle off the numbers. But its influence goes beyond the hundreds of thousands of apps and the billions of downloads. Technology can simultaneously change the lives of entire populations and lowly individuals, individuals like me. The App Store has opened up opportunities for me to do the things I’ve always wanted to do, all while making me better at it.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for writing and a passion for video games. Naturally, video game journalism seemed like the best career to pursue because it allowed me to easily combine the two. In 2007, just as I was settling into high school, I started practicing my craft on tiny fan sites about big games most players had already made up their minds about.

In 2009, though, as App Store games and the sites that covered them were coming into their own, I saw the chance to really get serious about this strange path I was on. With so many games to choose from, players were actually in need of advice. App Store coverage was a growing segment of games journalism that could really help people, so it seemed as good a place as any to launch my career. From 2009 to 2010 I wrote for SlidetoPlay.com and in 2011 I made the jump here to 148Apps. Writing about the App Store these past four years has undoubtedly driven me to strengthen my writing and provide quality analysis, although there are definitely improvements still to be made. I’m incredibly grateful for the editors who have had faith in me and my work.

Reviewing over 150 games for 148Apps alone has also given me a greater understanding of video games as a whole. At least, I’d like to think so. Playing all of the different kinds of games on the platform, no matter how good, bad or crazy experimental, while trying to articulate how and why they do or don’t work has been an immensely beneficial intellectual endeavor. Video game criticism has the potential to be more than just simple purchasing advice. Like games themselves, the writing can become a true art form. As the App Store evolves, its role in gaming is increasing. By highlighting these smaller App Store games I’m hoping to make whatever tiny contribution I can to the larger field. These games can be reviewed on their own terms, without worrying about having to conform to some AAA gaming consensus or fandom pressure and that’s what makes them so special.

Of course, what also make the App Store so special are the people behind it. To get a better understanding of the industry, I’ve recently been trying to talk with more developers and other members of the press. Before leaving Chicago and coming back home for the summer, I had dinner with Tom Eastman of Trinket Studios, creators of Color Sheep, and drinks with 148Apps’ own Carter Dotson in the same week. Both experiences were great. The App Store itself may just be a cold, technological service set up by a massive corporation, but the communities of developers and writers that have come together because of it more than proves its value.

At just five years old, though, the App Store still has a bright future ahead of it. As I prepare to enter my last year of journalism school, I can’t wait to see what that future is and start covering it as a true professional. Writing about games is important to me and that’s not changing any time soon. So thank you App Store, 148Apps, and the wonderful people behind them both for helping me make my insanely frivolous dream an insanely meaningful reality.

 

Five years ago, I was eight years into a job that took me around Alaska via bush plane, working with kids with severe disabilities out in rural communities around the state. I was burning out, hard.

At the same time, I had just co-founded a site called GamesAreEvil (still active today!), a video game news and reviews site. We were starting to see some traction from publishers and PR folks, as they began to send us games to review without us begging them for a copy.

Then July 2008 hit and the App Store happened. We totally ignored it, being the snobbish console and handheld gamers that we were. As games trickled out, we started covering them because, hey, it was super easy for developers to send us their games, and, heck, these guys were pretty nice to boot.

Once 2009 rolled around, I launched The Portable Gamer (now a part of the 148Apps network) and started reviewing iOS and handheld games (Sony PSP, Nintendo DS) exclusively. The App Store continued to grow, as did we. Soon, we were reviewing and reporting on iOS exclusively. There just were that many games.

My day job, in the meantime, was increasingly frustrating. I kept getting raises (yay!) but wasn’t really doing much innovative work (boo!); in addition, I wasn’t seeing much impact of my work with kids. The burnout continued apace with my paycheck increases, and I felt worse and worse every day. I began to look forward to locking myself in my home office and writing for free every evening (when I wasn’t traveling). Looking back, I wish I’d seen the writing on the wall sooner.

As time moved on, I went to my first Game Developers Conference. I met 148Apps founder Jeff Scott there, and it turned out we had a lot in common (beer, old age). We worked together a bit, him helping me with coding things, me fawning all over him and promising to send beer that I never was able to find.

The following year, I said to him (over a beer), “Hey, you need an editor. Why not bring me on part time, see how it works out.”

That was in 2010. I’ve been here ever since.

It’s 2013, and I’ve just quit my day job to devote all of my time to writing. Mostly about the App Store, iOS, and Apple.

Without the App Store, I’d never have had the ability as a tiny site owner to practice and fail at writing, editing, and running a site.

Without the App Store, I’d never have gotten better at doing those things.

Without the App Store, no one would have wanted to hire me, let alone put me in charge of a ton of freelance writers and a crapload of content every day.

Without the App Store, I’d probably still be making a lot of money, and still be incredibly unhappy.

So, thanks Apple. Thanks App Store. Thanks GamesAreEvil and ThePortableGamer. Thanks Jeff and 148Apps. You all have made me a much better person, a much better writer, and–ultimately–a much better human being.

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148Apps - iPhone app reviews and news. The best gosh darn iPhone app site this side of Mars.
http://148apps.com :: @148Apps

Android Rundown - Android news and reviews. Where you get the rundown on Android apps and hardware.
http://AndroidRundown.com :: @AndroidRundown

Best App Ever - Yearly Mobile App Achievement Awards.
http://bestappever.com :: @BestAppEver

Pocket Gamer - Mobile game reviews, news, and features.
http://PocketGamer.co.uk :: @PocketGamer

Pocket Gamer.biz - Mobile games industry news, opinion, and analysis.
http://PocketGamer.biz :: @pgbiz

AppSpy - iOS game news and video reviews.
http://appspy.com :: @appspy