We all have to start somewhere. At Sensible Gaming, we want to encourage the next game writers to contribute to the site, even if they have no experience to go on. To help you get started, we have prepared the following page. Please note that all work is voluntary.
Choosing a Topic
As stated on the About Page, the goal of Sensible Gaming is to foster discussion on games and gaming. Within this remit, there is an array of possible topics, a very broad selection. However, a good starting place, and the bread and butter of the site, is to talk about a game. Which game? It doesn’t really matter, since all games are interesting in their own way, but it’s probably best to start with a game you enjoy and know well so you have enough to write about.
Of course, we have dabbled with plenty of other articles, from quizzes to top tens, but these are likely to fall under closer scrutiny due to their less standard nature. Opinion pieces are unlikely to be accepted from first-time writers, but each proposal will be judged on a case-by-case basis so it’s worth asking if you have a particularly interesting idea. The only overriding rule is to avoid blatant fanboyism, which is more likely to arise in opinion articles. While it’s fine to be a fan of a particular platform or developer (heck, you only have to mutter the words “Nihon Falcom” to get my attention), it’s important to understand and consider other opinions.
In any case, you should seek a formal confirmation of your idea before you begin writing in earnest. Ultimately, I have the final say over what does and does not go on the site, and though I will justify any decision, it would be a shame for you to spend time on an unsuitable article and not have anything to show for it.
Assuming you get the OK, it’s time to get started…
To start, there are a few things every article should adhere to.
- Your article must be your own work.
- Articles should be at least 700 words long and in English, with British English preferred. The word limit may be open to discussion in some instances, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to talk about a game sufficiently with less words than this.
- Equally, avoid being too wordy, no-one wants to read screeds and screeds of unnecessary information. Your article should be detailed but not needlessly verbose.
- The author should use their real name except in exceptional circumstances.
- The editor reserves the right to edit or remove an article for any reason, though the reason will be communicated to the author.
- If your piece has appeared, or will likely appear, elsewhere, we would appreciate knowing this.
The following is a guide to what is expected from an article:
Recommended Reading: The Videogame Style Guide and Reference Manual (free digital download). Reading, and taking example from, this text will make you a better video game writer.
Fanboyism is strongly discouraged. While it’s fine to be a fan of a particular game or developer, one should never be blind of a game’s flaws as a result. In addition, needless bashing is to be avoided just because a game isn’t the type of game you usually enjoy. In short, you should be balanced. If there’s something in a game which you like (or don’t, for that matter), you must be able to explain why.
Making comparisons is encouraged if they are relevant to the point. It’s fine to say that, for example, a first -person shooter is fun because it apes the tight combat of Call of Duty, because most gamers will have at least some idea how Call of Duty plays. Equally, saying that a handheld game compares favourably to a console game is fine as long as you define why this is a good thing.
The aim is generally not to write a day one, buyer’s guide review. Since an article may be published months, if not years, after the game’s release, many readers will have already played it and formed their own impressions. As such, the aim is to discuss the game within a wider context, and how it compares versus its contemporaries, other games in the same genre, and other games in the series, among other factors.
Since it’s safe to assume that the readers of this site are gamers, you can safely use terms like “framerate”, “anti-aliasing” and other reasonably technical terms without explaining them. If in doubt, however, it’s generally safer to explain uncommon terminology. Please note that Sensible Gaming writes “video game” as two words, as opposed to the contraction “videogame”, so a distinction with “computer game” can be made more easily. This is the major deviation this site takes from The Videogame Style Guide.
Finally, some general tips and stylistic conventions:
Please ensure your writing is technically sound. There are plenty of great guides online on grammar and punctuation, and making an effort to get it right is much appreciated. Proofreading costs nothing and will get your article through the approval stages much faster.
When expressing opinions, avoid using the first person wherever possible. While saying “I thought the graphics were very good” isn’t a bad statement, saying “the graphics were generally outstanding” is more authoritative and professional.
If you’ve read that and want to get involved, then welcome. Send an email to email@example.com with your proposal and we’ll be in touch.