A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the commencement address that Steve Jobs gave at Stamford University back in ’05. One of the three stories he told was how, instead of doing the required course-work of his university course, he started dropping in on courses that interested him. One such, a typography course, led to the designing of real fonts into the Apple Mac – something that he never saw coming. The point, he said, was that, by pursuing your interests in the face of common wisdom, you have to trust that what you’re doing now will add up to something further down the line.
I’ve been a member of the gaming community Punch On Australia since January this year, when two mates I made in the PMS Clan Halo 3 days, Carl and Franki Dingwall, dragged me in. Snce I’ve been posting there fairly sporadically; most of their members have more disposable income and time to spend on the latest games than I, so they’re usually off playing Call of Duty: Black Ops or Battlefield 3 while I’m noodling with Halo: Reach or trying to crack a second play-through of the awesome Mass Effect 2 on Insanity difficulty (because, why not?).
My limits in spending ability led to a column that I called Geek on Three Bucks a Week, which I let tail off a month or so ago. I noticed that every time I raised my geek bank vault to buy a cheap game, I wound up re-treading the same ground of available games at lower price points. I was also getting a bit over shopping for games that I wasn’t really interested in or didn’t have the time to play.
Of course, around that time I went through one of those downer episodes that makes my lovely wife (and some of my co-workers – are you reading this, Trish?) want to smack me upside the head, and I was wondering whether I ought to be doing other things than shopping for games all the time. Maybe, when it came down, I didn’t have a place at POA.
Then a couple of weeks ago, Canadia, one of the senior members of the group, got in touch. They’d managed to source a review copy of Microsoft Studios’ newest racing game, Forza Motorsport 4. Would I be interested in writing the review? My payment would be to keep the game.
If you know me, you know that racing games aren’t my bag (the only exception being the Burnout series). But it was a writing gig and the subject matter being outside my comfort zone would make it a real challenge. So I said yes.
And when I popped the disc in the tray and started playing, I was very pleasantly surprised!
Will this turn into a paying gig? I don’t know. But I’m glad I did it, and from what I’ve been told it may well get the attention of some folks who may be in a position to help build my writing career.
Stick with your passions, folks. You never know just how the dots might connect.