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Critical Path: How to Review Videogames for a Living [Kindle Edition]

Dan Amrich , Cliff Bleszinski
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Book Description

It’s your dream job: Playing video games. Writing about them. Getting paid. It will never happen, right?

Actually, it can. It’s definitely not easy to get this dream job—it requires a lot of perseverance, plenty of patience, a certain amount of skill, and a fair amount of luck. But with the right combination of elements, this job can be yours.

Critical Path: How to Review Videogames for a Living will tell you what you need to know and what you need to do to make a run at this career, for real. This includes how to write compelling reviews, how to pitch yourself as a writer, how to tackle some tricky ethical quandaries, and yes, even how to get free games. Based on Dan Amrich’s own experience as a game journalist for more than 15 years, it’s advice that can serve you for your entire career, from press start to game over.

So, the next step is yours. Get Critical Path, and press start.

Editorial Reviews


"It has enough concrete examples collected over years that I can say that I can refer aspiring game journalists to this book now, rather than write them long missives about how to break into the game beat." -- Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat
"Even if you don't currently plan on joining the freelancer ranks, his detailed approach to reviews will have you thinking more critically of the games you play every day." --
"Amrich is one of the most respected writers in games journalism, and arguably one of the men who pioneered the craft." --

From the Back Cover

I'm so grateful to Dan Amrich. Now, when someone asks me how to become a game reviewer, I can bypass the ponderous email chain of heartfelt tutelage and simply say "Buy Critical Path."
- Justin McElroy, founding editor, Polygon
If you've ever dreamt about playing video games for a living -- and getting paid for it -- Dan Amrich's Critical Path is a must-read for its accuracy, clarity and hilarity.
- Marc Saltzman, syndicated video game columnist/USA Today contributor
If you take games seriously, Critical Path is required reading.
- Andy Eddy, veteran game journalist

Product Details

  • File Size: 1191 KB
  • Print Length: 332 pages
  • Publisher: TripleTorch (February 15, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0079TA0YG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,139 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Disclaimer: I owe Dan Amrich my career. He took a chance on an eager, foolish EB Games clerk and gave me a shot at a freelance gig at GamePro. With his help, that turned into a staff position and six years as a game journalist, followed by a role as a writer for a game developer for the last 7+ years.

I note that because as I read this book, the things in here are, no lie, exactly the advice he gave me, and every word of it is gold. Reading this book won't guarantee you a job in the business, but it will give you the knowledge and advice you need to take your own talent and drive and put it to work reviewing videogames (all-one-word!).

Dan is a charismatic and highly intelligent man, and it shows through in the text. Whether he's laying out the processes and attitudes you need to be a great freelancer, or explaining to you why you should remain sober at press junkets, it's all good, and it's all gold. He tells you how to interact with PR professionals, how to dress for big conventions (look nice, but wear comfortable shoes!), and even nuggets like how NOT to overschedule yourself such that you die of exhaustion at E3.

My disclaimer above is there for full disclosure, but it shouldn't be discounted: The information in this book is dead-on, accurate, and essential to success as a game reviewer. If you get into the business, you will learn these things eventually, the hard way, so why not learn it before you start?

Nothing short of talent, hard work, love for games, and a little bit of luck will get your foot in the industry's door. But this book will help you find the right door in the first place, and give you a wedge to shove in there to keep that door open.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Leveraging nearly a lifetime of game reviewing harkening back before the internet, author Dan Amrich lays down the knowledge stick for would-be game reviewers.

Brevity and droll humour drive the pace, making for bite-sized chunks of real world advice covering the entire gamet of a gaming career. Leading the reader through myths about the industry into early entry points and up to an escape plan, personal anecdotes are peppered with interviews with industry veterans, lending real weight and guidance.

Entertaining AND informative, Critical Path is a relevatory work about a much-sought but little understood industry. Must reading for those who would or do review games professionally.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So you wanna be a video game reviewer June 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've played video games regularly for many years now. A few years ago, I even toyed with the idea of becoming a game reviewer of some kind. It was never a serious thought, partially because of the need for relocation but mostly because I just didn't know what I needed to do in order to become one. In other words, I wish Dan Amrich, a veteran of the video game reviewing wars, had written Critical Path a long time ago. Only a couple of minor issues mar what is otherwise an excellent book that explains all the ins and outs of getting into the video game review business and even beyond that if you find that job growing stale.

Amrich has been in the business for a while now, reviewing games and working for video games magazines for many years. He's also been working on this book for a number of years. This isn't necessarily that important except to note for those who may be curious that Critical Path does cover both print journalism and online sites, the latter of which are becoming increasingly important in the gaming world. It has been heavily updated to reflect all current facets.

What's odd about this is that Amrich is actually not currently working in the field but is instead the Community Manager at Activision (or "the dark side," as I've heard it called). This isn't mentioned in the text, and I'm not sure if that's because it might just confuse people or muddy the waters. It sounds weird when reading the book if you're familiar with this because the way he writes makes it sound like he's still in the field. I quickly got past that feeling, but it did make me stop and think a couple of times early on.

Critical Path covers everything you're going to need in order to get your dream job of reviewing video games.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many people dream of playing videogames for a living, Dan Amrich's book Critical Path pulls back the curtain to this dream job and offers you a peak at the machinery behind it. Consider Critical Path as the boot camp for videogame reviewers hoping to create a career by writing about the games they love. The book not only dispels many of the fantastic myths behind the industry but also provides pointers on how to get started on the right path. Mr Amrich sprinkles small anecdotes throughout the book from his 15 year of experience in the videogame industry to give examples of things done right and mistakes you can avoid. Critical Path will teach, entertain, and most important give you the hard truth about what it means to be a videogame reviewer. If you've ever imagined yourself as a writer for any gaming magazine, Dan Amrich's Critical Path needs to be in your library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To call "Critical Path: How to Review Videogames for a Living" a "how to" book is simplifying what Dan Amrich accomplishes. The lessons, which are divided into six sections, are the primary focus, but Dan's personality comes across really well, and prevents the chapters from becoming a collection of dry instructions. He adds humorous experiences that are both insightful and entertaining, such as when a reader challenges a magazine by sending a resume that only mentions the games that he was able to beat quickly. This brief story emphasizes one of Amrich's main arguments, "We need more writers who cover games and less gamers who think writing is a pretty cool job." Game reviewers have to be writers first, and gamers second, because the former is what you'll be doing most of the time. Writing is not a skill that everyone has. We, the audience, read to be informed, and the reviewer's job is to inform us, which is why the person's thoughts and feelings need to be made clearly. Dan Amrich shows his audience why these skills are important, and structures the book in such a way that is not overwhelming to the uninitiated.

If there's one aspect of the book I felt could have been developed further, it's the first chapter of the "Learning It" section. The "Test your Might" chapter provides a sample of a poorly written review. Dan Amrich analyses the flaws, and demonstrates how the review can be fixed, such as pointing out structural issues and implementing an active voice. It's a helpful exercise, but I was disappointed that no example of a good review was provided. It's true that the audience of Critical Path may have some exposure to professional reviews, but a few pages analyzing the positive components of a good review would have been enlightening to new writers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this, you won't regret it.
So you wanna review videogames huh? Well first you must have some questions that need answers, or maybe you haven't a clue where to start? Well look no further than this book. Read more
Published 17 days ago by DF
4.0 out of 5 stars but the book has some great tips for aspiring games reporters/critics
Some sections were a bit too basic (e.g.: how to commute to and dress for an office job) for me, but the book has some great tips for aspiring games reporters/critics. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Nick Santangelo
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read
I recommend it to anyone with and without experience on writing. I love the book because it showed me how it really is out there and has given me the motivation to seek out a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by victor
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A great read and gives solid advice to get into the field.
Published 7 months ago by Kofi Jamal Simmons
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
extremely informative.
Published 9 months ago by Alex Hurley
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Guide To The World of Game Reviews
This book is a must read for anyone who wants to break into the world of game journalism or just wants some insight into how it all works. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Wesley G
5.0 out of 5 stars A great help.
A great help for some one wanting to be a reviewer, has several good tips on how to write a good review.
Published 16 months ago by Mike S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the book!
I am a first time game developer. I very much enjoyed reading this book. It's funny and informative. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Michael Belanger
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book not just for gamers, but anyone with an interest in writing...
A staple of video game publications for as long as I can remember, Dan Amrich has crafted a rare video game related book that appeals to a wide audience beyond gamers. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Marc Fusion
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly helpful!
Critical Path isn't a ''Writing 101'', but does teach everything you need to know to get a job in the game's industry. Easy language, lots of great tips and very helpful.
Published 17 months ago by Arthur Eloi
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More About the Author

Dan Amrich started reviewing videogames professionally in 1993, when Super NES and Sega Genesis ruled the earth. Over the 15 years that followed, he served as Senior Editor for Official Xbox Magazine, GamesRadar, and GamePro; Executive Editor of GameSport and Digital Diner; and Editor-in-Chief of World of Warcraft: Official Magazine. He has written freelance articles for national publications including Wired, PC Gamer, Blender, Slam, Guitar World, and Time Out New York.

Dan is currently trapped in Los Angeles with his lovely wife Katrin, three cats, a couple of arcade machines, and more guitars than anyone should own.


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