As we head towards the GMA 2016 Awards on October 10th, MCV looks back on some of the key highlights that have taken place over the past 10 years.
Here we speak to Kate Gray, who picked up the Rising Star award in 2015.
How did you first get into the games media?
I started writing about games for my university newspaper, and then I applied for a job on Official Nintendo Magazine. It was an entry position, so they were looking for talent over experience, luckily for me!
And what advice would you give to someone currently looking at a career in games media?
If you’re not already writing as much as you can and learning how to do video and other things that will make you stand out as an applicant, you should be! One of the most important things employers in games are looking for is enthusiasm for both the subject and the actual job of being a critic. You can have natural talent, of course, but the most talented people are the ones who worked hard to improve themselves in terms of writing, and broadened their horizons and comfort zone.
What’s been the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t read the comments. Not that I listen to it.
What are you most proud of in your career to date?
The way people talk about things I’ve written will never get old for me. It’s thrilling to see people ‘@’ me on Twitter saying how much they love a piece I’ve done recently, especially if it’s something I worked really, really hard on, or something that was really personal.
And what has been your biggest challenge?
Going from writing every day to making videos every day. It’s really, really different, and requires a lot of different skills (and better time management)
Which of your competitors do you most admire and why?
I have so much admiration for every woman in the games media, because I know what it can be like – being the only woman at events, in a crowd of tens of men, there’s quite a bit of loneliness in that. And of course, the harassment is a huge issue, but more than that, I feel like I have to be careful what I say all the time, because I don’t want to be harassed. There are loads of things I either can’t talk about or have to word very carefully, and even then I get a lot of crap. And I know a lot of women who can be pigeonholed for years because they wrote ONE THING about sexism, or men in the industry, and that is SO tiring. I admire the fact that the women in this industry keep going, despite all that. It’s hard work.
Who’s your favourite non-games writer?
Caitlin Moran. A lot of people don’t like her, but for me, she’s been my role model for years – a woman who made a living out of being funny in writing, but who can be serious when she needs to be. She talks about important things, and she was the first time I noticed a woman in the role that I wanted to be in. Female role models are so important, and I’m glad we have increasingly more of them.
If you weren’t working in games media, what would you be doing?
Hopefully still writing! Though I was considering a career in civil service, and as an intelligence officer in the army (though the army requires an awful lot of running).
What are your best memories of the Games Media Awards?
Swearing on stage. I’m quite proud of that. Even though I shouldn’t be.
Who should win an award this year?
This is probably going to sound like I’m just ringing the same bell over and over, but I think it’s important that we have some more female GMA winners this year. There were a few nominated last year, but several REALLY IMPORTANT categories had zero female nominees, and that’s not only not okay, it’s also just wrong. People seem to nominate women for Rising Star, and then just forget about them for all the other categories. I wonder if women don’t write quite as many hard-hitting features and news stories because a) we don’t get those jobs as much in the first place and b) because we know how much shit we’d get if we were that prominent. Either way, I want to see more women in the Critic, News and Features categories. And I’d love to have more than two women on stage this year!