Or, everything old is new again, as I make a return to where it all started.
The year was 1998, and a (relatively) young proto-writer walked into 54 Park Street. If he’d been paying attention, he might have gone in through the door, but there you go — the young are often stupid like that.Ignoring the bruises and chortles of the jaded smoking hacks lingering outside the doors, he wandered past the security guards (never a terribly hard thing) and headed up to what wasn’t much more than a cupboard on level eight that housed the majority of the staff for Australia’s best-selling computer title at the time. Somehow, more people than could reasonably fit were working out of this office, and I had to find my own nook.
Said young proto-writer was me, and I was headed up to my first “journalism” job, although in this case it wasn’t actually a journalism job at all. I’d been hired as the Web Manager for Australian Personal Computer, back in the days when a magazine having a web site was an interesting idea. Also, I managed all the Webs.
Yes, that’s right kids. All the webs.
But it wasn’t a writing job per se; that came in time via writing a few games reviews here and there; the one that always sticks with me is that the first game I reviewed for APC was MechCommander. When I left in 2001, the last review I penned… was of MechCommander 2. I moved on from just writing games reviews when the Web work allowed it to writing reviews, features, and learning from some of the best writers and editors in the business: White, Dancer, Taylor, Yiacoumi, Richardson, Mills, Mehlman, That Other Kidman Chap and plenty more besides. It’s largely why I try (even if I don’t always succeed) to help other writers out when I can — because it’s exactly the same kind of help I got back then.
Although the best bit of writing advice I ever got was via the late Cass Warneminde, who told me that you never, ever stop learning about writing. Absolutely spot on advice that everyone who writes should keep in mind. If you think you know it all, you most certainly don’t.
But it’s been a long while since I had something in print at APC. My current situation, however, sees me starting all over again at APC, with the first bit of my work published in the July issue being, naturally enough… a games review. A review of Fable Heroes to be precise, but I won’t spoil it for you, because what you should be doing is heading out to your local newsagency to buy a copy. Or firing up an iPad to subscribe to the digital edition. Heck, go crazy and do both — it’s like having two of me to hug at once.*
*Except not much. I don’t have a glass screen, and I’m not “resolutionary” as far as I can reasonably tell.