GMA Hall of Fame: The Guardian

Keith Stuart of The Guardian discusses his rivals, trips to Moscow and death threats from readers…

How did it feel to win a Games Media Award last year?
Really lovely. It’s very easy to pretend to be blase and above it all – but I’m not. We’ve worked incredibly hard to make games coverage a vital element of The Guardian’s ‘cultural remit’ and we have a long way to go, but the fact that we’re recognised for that work by the specialist media is hugely important.

What do the GMAs mean to the games press community?
I think most people want to be well thought of by their peers. But also, this is, I think, a very special community, filled with interesting, bizarre and complex individuals – these are the best types of people to be recognised by. Also, the GMAs, whatever you think about award ceremonies per se, are a great touchstone for where games journalism is in this country.

Other than winning a GMA, what has been your biggest achievement to date?
The Technology team at The Guardian has pushed games into the mainstream agenda of the paper and the website. We have had big features on the likes of Heavy Rain and LA Noire in the main paper and in G2, I wrote a 2000 word piece on game design theory for The Observer. But we’ve also built a really dedicated community of readers who are passionate about games and who come to us to find out about them. That’s the real achievement, I think.

Which of your competitors do your admire and why?
The Telegraph has been doing some extremely solid games coverage for a while now. Elsewhere in the mainstream Shortlist is very committed and consistent.

Who’s your favourite non-games writer?

Marina Hyde and/or Polly Toynbee. Sorry, very Guardian-centric.

What’s the best press trip you’ve been on ?

Oh God, I’ve been on so many, because I am ridiculously old. The recent Namco Bandai event in Dubai was rather amazing, but back in my Edge days, I once went to see a flight sim developer in Moscow who had armed guards on the door to protect them from the Mafia, and who employed several coders from the country’s nuclear weapons programme. The company was owned by an Oxbridge graduate who previously sold Lear jets to oligarchs. There was a lot of vodka involved. I felt like I’d stumbled into a novel written collaboratively between John le Carr and Irvine Welsh.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Don’t take too much notice of the death threats you receive via internet comments.

And what advice would you give to someone hoping to become a games journalist?
Start a blog and write a lot. Also be multi-disciplined – if you can present, film or edit multimedia content, you’ll have a step up on those who are just amazingly talented writers.

If you weren’t a games journalist, what would you be?
I honestly dread to think. A lot of my old peers have moved on to other things, but I’m still here, grimly holding on.

Who would be your Games Media Legend?
Julian Rignall – the only games journalist I ever requested an autograph from. Zzap64 was a religion to me – it was my NME.

The Games Media Awards in association with Grainger Gamesevening will be held on Wednesday October 26th at the super chic Vinopolis venue near Borough Market. Greg Davies, top stand-up and star of The Inbetweeners, will be the host for the evening.

Grainger Games has signed up as headline sponsor of the event, with other sponsors already signed up including Sony, EA, Codemasters, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Nintendo, Konami, NC Soft, Konami, Rising Star, Namco Bandai and Gamescom. A limited number of additional packages are available.Caroline@indigopearl.comcan tell you more.

Up to 350 guests will attend this year’s Games Media Awards, including nearly 200 media. A limited number of trade tickets will be available at 99 per person. find out more.

You can follow the GMA Twitter feed at@GamesMediaAward.

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