Merry Christmas To All The Guides Writers

Guides writers are the lifeblood of gaming journalism. Every gaming website, whether you love its acerbic takes on the current state of the industry, loathe its political viewpoints and social conscience, or relish in the hype it has for all the latest triple-A blockbusters, is kept in business by somebody pausing a video game every five seconds to take screenshots, make notes, and eventually tell you where to find the wizard key.

When you think of games journalism you might think of leaks, of scoops, of reviews, of analysis. You probably don't think of tier lists. But you really should think of tier lists. Guides and other sorts of eternal evergreen content are what keep the lights on at most websites, and since we at TheGamer work remote, they don't just keep the lights on, but the TV and refrigerator and the electric nostril groomers too. Merry Christmas, guides writers.

I'm not the first person to point this out. Every so often a journalist feels like praising guides writers/getting a lot of likes on Twitter, and tweets something to this effect. Then, because it's Twitter, we go out six or seven discourses from the original tweet and it turns out praising guides writers without their consent is ableist, or something. The point is, this is not an original sentiment.

However, it only ever seems to be spoken of in insular circles, amongst peers, and rarely to the readers. So, dear readers, just a little note that this Christmas, you should thank a guides writer. When you're struggling to set up your VR headset on Christmas Day, or need to know the best loadout to drop into a game of Modern Warfare 2, or maybe you're just sneaking a few games on Roblox while your parents sleep and you need those juicy codes, thank a guides writer.

Some of you, very graciously, already do. Occasionally emails find their way to me shouting out specific guides on TheGamer, or even individual writers. Since my beat is mainly features, I also get emails telling me I should die, but let's leave that out of the holiday cheer, eh? All those readers who send shy little emails thanking guides writers for their help, Merry Christmas to you too. Lumps of coal only for the trolls, but then coal is a pretty useful resource in the cost of living crisis, so maybe not. Lumps of plastic coal that release noxious fumes when burned. Yeah, that will do.

I think there's a reason why we don't often hear the case for guides writers being great in public spheres. Firstly, not all sites have the level of editorial freedom TheGamer does to write things like this which aren't fine tuned to hit 17 different SEO criteria. But also, it's easier to say it on Twitter, to your peers who already know the inside baseball. It's always great to see guides writers get some due, but it's a little like stopping the music at a party to announce that pizza is tasty. You're saying a thing everyone else already knows and are expecting cheers, even if there's a pizza chef in the room and you can point to the fact you're only trying to shower them with love.

It's harder to do it like this. Most audiences look to journalists breaking news and critics analysing new releases as the leaders of the industry, and most of them don't like to hush their own praise to point out that they only have a job because of someone telling you where to find a certain type of flower in Genshin Impact. Of course, guides writers aren't going to shout themselves out, mostly because it’s hard to work that into a dungeon walkthrough, but also because the nature of a guides writer is not to take the spotlight. It's like being a goalkeeper – this is the life they chose.

This Christmas, when you're installing your new video games and reaching for your phone at the first sign of trouble (it's X to jump, by the way), remember to thank a guides writer for giving you a merry Christmas.

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