What’s up, Kotaku? I’m Jeremy Winslow, your second Black staff writer, and while I hustled for this spot and know that I earned it through years of hard work and dedication, part of me still can’t believe I actually made it here.
It’s like reaching The Great Plateau in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the opportunities stretching out endlessly before you on the horizon. I come from a newsy background, having cut my teeth in magazines and newspapers before landing at GameSpot, but this height hits different. From way up so high, I get to see the hopeful and the hopeless, the joyful and the joyless. The exact same whiplash I’ve experienced my whole life as America — as well as gaming itself and media as a whole — continues to show that Black people and all our beauty is expendable, insignificant, worthless. Exits were contemplated, often.
But nevertheless, I persisted through the hateful, supremacist bile. Because there aren’t enough Black people taking up space in games media or development. Because I owe it to myself to keep that promise to my inner child, that wide-eyed boy who dreamt of “making it” as a writer. Because writing is all I’ve ever known, all I’ve ever wanted, all I’ve ever cared about doing in whatever “life” is.
Right alongside that passion were video games. Titles like Dishonored, Final Fantasy VII, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Hyper Light Drifter, Life Is Strange, the Musou franchise, Proteus, the Tales series, Titanfall. These and other worlds helped me weather the abuse and the misery and…suffice to say, dear reader, life has not been easy. Me being alive, right now, is a miracle in and of itself — literally. And I have video games to thank for showing me, teaching me, that empathy is something we all are capable of holding.
And for giving me the weapons to seriously fuck shit up.
It’s this duality, the beautiful and the ugly of video games, that has me hooked. During my tenure, I want to showcase how video games are conduits to the human condition, a vivid reflection of both what we see in ourselves and how we see others. There’s a myriad of captivating stories told out there, with subtext that can illuminate in us something we thought nonexistent or too dim to feel. What I mean is, video games can change us, and stories about how video games can and do tangibly affect our lives should totally populate the site.
But let’s not bullshit, either. Game development is hard, a creative field riddled with corporate overreach and worker exploitation. So, much like my superstar colleague Ethan Gach, I will hold power accountable and report on issues impacting video games, especially around labour. Highlighting how abusers in positions of power and executives who exploit their employees impede the process of making games is vital for organising, a necessary part of workers’ rights. To paraphrase auntie Fannie Lou Hamer: We ain’t free till we all free. And because I’m Black, you can also expect some Black stories as well: Stories about culture, about hair, about the hood, about dialect and slang, about what it means to be Black in video games.
So, a destination has been reached and a plan has been outlined, with icons for various points of interest now littering my map. Like my boss Patricia Hernandez said, though the coverage cycle of video games sucks, the way we consume and talk about them can be different — if we’re bold and brash enough to be different. Anyway, I hope you’ll stick around for what I’ve dubbed Newtaku. We’re about to do some cool shit.
Hit me on Twitter or in the comments or whatever, especially if you got news tips. Later.
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