BENNINGTON -- Shaftsbury resident Nathan Meunier took his passions for writing and video games and turned them into a career as a video game journalist. Now, with his new book "Up Up Down Down Left Write: The Freelance Guide to Video Game Journalism," Meunier hopes others will do the same.
"Basically, what it is is it’s a sort of comprehensive how-to guide specifically geared towards freelancing and the whole spectrum of what that entails," Meunier, who is originally from Fairfield, said. "The book itself kind of starts off (with) ‘here’s the basic skills you need to do this’ Š and sort of leads into some of the more specific things like how to pitch (to) editors. In this particular industry (freelancing) is the easier way to break in versus trying to get a staff gig somewhere. Particularly if you live out here on the east coast. "
Meunier will appear at the Gamer’s Grotto in downtown Bennington on Friday, Sept. 6, at 5:30 p.m. for a book discussion and Q&A followed by a signing.
And possibly a couple rounds of Magic: The Gathering if he feels like it.
The book, which is on sale now online, takes its name from the infamous Konami code, a cheat code which appeared in many Konami video games starting in 1986.
"When I first started freelancing Š I didn’t really know much about freelancing," Meunier said. "So I did a lot of research on freelancing in general. But when I was looking for video game specific gigs Š there was just nothing out there. There was a little bit on some websites, they’d have like an article or two. But there was no book specifically about freelancing or video game journalism."
As he learned about his new field by reaching out to other writers, he began to receive emails from people who were new writers who were asking questions to which he knew the answers.
"In kind of reciprocating that goodwill I started answering questions and I spent a lot of time doing that," he said.
He began working on a blog which served as a portfolio and a compilation of how-tos and blog posts with advice for other aspiring video game journalists. He realized that there was a real audience for this type of writing. As he wrote enough he decided to outline an entire book, which would become the earliest drafts of "Up Up."
"I hope that people who have been curious about wanting to find a way to make some money, (who have) a passion for games Š people who are interested in writing and producing content (will get) the tools they need to start down the path of freelancing. Even if it’s just to dabble and see what it’s like. To give them the skillset to improve their skills and to get to that first assignment and to build momentum. Ideally, it would be great just to help folks and answer some of the questions they had," Meunier said.
Following a few years after college working design and beats in his journalism career, Meunier wanted to make a transition into more of an arts and entertainment area.
"I’ve always been sort of a big gamer, a big nerd. I played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid, I played Atari, Nintendo, all that good stuff. So I wanted to kind of explore ways to get out of the news grind coverage Š but in doing that I also picked up a lot of skills Š some of the stuff you need to get a foundation of journalism before you try to branch off and do other things," he said.
Meunier added, that he also considers himself a nerd when it comes to writing. He enjoys it and enjoys talking about, something which he said is important to anyone who wants to start a career writing about video games.
"I’ve been doing a lot of writing and other stuff these past couple weeks with the book launch, so I haven’t been gaming as much as I’d like to be," Meunier, who majored in journalism at Johnson State College, said. "I do a lot of one-off articles for some of the big magazines like Xbox Magazine, IGN, and Gamespot Š But I just finished a couple of print pieces and features this week Š Most of the stuff I do is freelance articles, game reviews that kind of stuff."
Starting Friday, "Up Up Down Down Left Write" will be available for purchase at Bennington Bookshop and Gamer’s Grotto for $14.99. It is available online now though www.freelancegamejournoguide.com in paperback for $14.99 or Kindle ebook for $8.99.
Andrew Roiter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter @Banner_Arts.