Connect with us

News

Freelance video game news writers wanted

We’re always looking for new blood at Thumbsticks. Right now, we need some freelance video game news writers.

Published

on

spider-man reading newspaper
Insomniac Games

We’re always looking for new blood at Thumbsticks. Right now, we need some freelance video game news writers.

At Thumbsticks, we’re (almost) always looking for new writers. It’s just a thing we do. One of our key goals is to provide opportunities for new talent and different voices.

But every now and then, we’re looking for something in particular. We might be looking for a new group of reviewers or some new feature perspectives, for instance. Right now, though, we’re looking for new freelance video game news writers.

So have a read of this, and if it sounds like something you might be interested in? Get in touch.

What we’re looking for

People who can write short news stories, to a high standard and in keeping with the house style, with minimal supervision. Ideally, this will be within UK business hours.

These stories will be very light reporting and will typically cover things like new game announcements, trailers, releases and updates, sales and discounts, and general industry news. (That’s not to say that longer, more heavily reported work isn’t available, but those pieces are commissioned on a case-by-case basis.)

Who we’re looking for

We’re looking for people who want to be writers, first and foremost. Yes, most people who want to write about video games also tend to love playing them, but that is not, in itself, a qualification.

You don’t have to be experienced, have any journalism qualifications or a background in professional writing, but that desire to be a writer first and foremost is key. As a result, this would be ideal for journalism students or graduates, or for anyone looking to get into freelance games writing as a main career or side hustle.

Other than that? We don’t really care who you are! We would, however, love to receive applications from people from diverse backgrounds. This industry needs some new voices and we would like to help with that where we can, thank you very much.

You can be based anywhere in the world, as long as your written English is to a high standard and you can produce news during UK business hours. We do need you to be at least 18 years old, though, so we’re not accidentally exploiting child labour.

What the process looks like

You’ll apply by email, including a little bit of information about who you are and why you’d like to write for us, and include any clips of relevant published work. (Don’t have any clips? That’s fine! Write a short sample to show off your skills.)

If you’re successful you will receive your first couple of assignments by email from one of our commissioning editors. Once you’ve got a couple of pieces under your belt and we’re all happy working together, we’ll create you an account on our CMS so you can prep your own articles, and also invite you to the Thumbsticks Slack. (If you’re not familiar with Slack, it’s like Discord, but for work.)

We use Slack as an informal way of pitching stories. This is so you can be sure we’re interested in the piece you’re planning to write, but also so you don’t end up clashing or doubling up with another writer who might have had the same idea.

An informal pitch is usually a writer asking if we’re looking for coverage of something they’ve seen, perhaps with a summary of the angle they’d like to approach it from, or it might be the Thumbsticks editorial team asking if anyone is available to cover something. Once you’ve got the nod from one of the editors you will prepare your piece then submit it for review. We’ll take a look over it and, assuming there are no major changes required, add the finishing touches and publish it.

Advertisement Support Thumbsticks on Patreon to disable ads

That’s it. That’s the process. The whole thing is really simple and straightforward. An experienced writer can easily bash out a short, 250-word news story in 15 minutes and, depending on content schedules and editor availability, you’ll often see it live on the site within an hour or two.

How much we pay

At the time of writing (July 2020) Thumbsticks pays £0.02 GBP per commissioned word. You can always check the main “write for us” page to see if we’ve updated our rates since this advert was first written.

We typically commission articles based on three standard lengths:

  • 250 words – news story, short guide – £5 GBP
  • 500 words – guide, review, op-ed – £10 GBP
  • 1000 words – feature, interview – £20 GBP

The majority* of news stories we commission will be 250 words long. This means at our current rate – £0.02 GBP, as of July 2020 – you will earn a flat rate of £5 GBP for every news story you write for Thumbsticks. (We wish we could pay more! But that’s honestly all we can afford. It’s probably more than we can afford, but we’re an independent site and we’re doing our best.)

Sometimes they come out a little under 250 words. Sometimes they’re a little over. It tends to even out over time and we’re not precious about it being exactly 250 words. (But if you go well over a commission length that’s on you, and if something is really short we might ask you to flesh it out.)

*If you’re planning something that’s longer than a standard news story – like a piece with an interview component, or a round-up report on an event – then we will, of course, pay you a rate commensurate with the longer word counts listed above. Just make sure you agree this with us in advance before you start writing it!

How much you can earn

We don’t have a dodgy pay-per-view model or pay you in tokens or chits. We don’t make you write a minimum number of pieces before you can start earning. We don’t set a monthly quota that you need to stay above in order to keep earning.

You will be paid, properly and promptly, for everything you write for Thumbsticks.

We don’t set a minimum quota on writers because we know circumstances can change. The flexibility on offer is one of the things our writers tell us they love about working for Thumbsticks. You can write as little or as much as you have time and availability for, up to a budget ceiling that is agreed at the start of each month.

We will agree with you an upper limit on the number of news stories for the coming month. This is so we can assess our revenue from the previous month, then carve up the freelance budget accordingly amongst news, reviews, features and guides.

All we ask is that you don’t go over your limit without asking first, and that you try and space the work out evenly through the month as best you can. (Submitting 20 news articles on the final day of the month to hit the agreed-upon ceiling isn’t particularly useful to us!)

How we pay

For an individual, one-off commission, we’re happy for writers to invoice us immediately once the commission has been completed. We’ll pay promptly via bank transfer or PayPal, whichever is most suitable at the time. (We might use bank transfer for writers in the UK but PayPal for writers overseas to minimise currency conversion charges, for example.)

If you’re doing a body of work, like a month of news coverage, we ask that you hold off on invoicing until the end of the month. This saves us paying any associated charges more than once, and it also saves everyone a bit of admin, too. (This is a freelance gig, so you’re responsible for your own admin, taxes, and everything else that comes with it.)

Advertisement Support Thumbsticks on Patreon to disable ads

But once we receive your invoice for the month’s news work – and anything else you’ve written in the period, if appropriate – we’ll turn it around very promptly. We’ve got editors who have done a lot of freelance work over the years. We know how frustrating it can be!

Anything else?

We’re always open for feature pitches, though our budget is limited, and there’s always room for new voices on our reviews. Guides are also in demand. The pitching process for those is fairly informal and similar to the news process described above.

Ready to get started?

Fire an email over to [email protected] with something sensible about news writing in the subject line. Make sure you tell us a little about yourself, why you think you’d make a good freelance news writer and would be a good fit for the Thumbsticks team, and don’t forget to include links to your clips or writing samples.

We look forward to hearing from you.


If you want to support Thumbsticks – every penny we earn goes into our freelance budget – then please consider buying us a coffee or becoming a patron. (Patrons also get access to a speedy, ad-free version of the site.)

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


This wasn't written by any one individual. This was written by the Thumbsticks hive mind. Resistance is futile.

News

Injustice 2 (and one other game) is free to play on Xbox One

Injustice 2 and Nascar Heat 5 are this week’s Free Play Day games on Xbox One.

Published

on

Xbox One Free Play Days - Injustice 2
704 Games / NetherRealm Studios / Thumbsticks

Injustice 2 and NASCAR Heat 5 are this week’s Free Play Day games on Xbox One.

NetherRealm Studios’ excellent superhero fighting game and 704Games roundabout racer are free to download and play on Xbox One until 11:59 pm PT on August 16, 2020.

Injustice 2 pits Batman against Superman in a one-on-one combat jamboree. It’s a well-liked game that balances an engaging story with improved fighting mechanics. NASCAR Heat 5 is the official game of the 2020 season, but – other than a roster update – it offers few improvements over last year’s entry.

As ever, all save progress and unlocked achievements carry over to purchased copies of either game. As luck would have it, there’s a crop of new discounts to encourage such a purchase.

It’s also worth remembering that The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited remains free to play on Xbox until August 19, 2020.

Xbox One Free Play Day Deals

Injustice 2

  • Standard Edition – 75% off
  • Ultimate Pack – 80% off

NASCAR Heat 5

  • Standard Edition – 20% off
  • Gold Edition – 20% off

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

  • Standard Edition – 50% off

For even more video game bargains, visit our dedicated sales and free games pages. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


Continue Reading

News

A Total War Saga: Troy, and three other games, are free on the Epic Games Store

A Total War Saga: Troy just launched today, but it’s already free on the Epic Games Store.

Published

on

A Total War Saga: Troy - Epic Games

A Total War Saga: Troy just launched today, but it’s already free on the Epic Games Store.

Creative Assembly’s brand new strategy game will begin retailing at $49.99 tomorrow. But, for now, you can grab the latest entry in the long-running series for free.

Reviews for the new Total War are strong, too. Not quite as strong as the reviews for last year’s game-changing Total War: Three Kingdoms,but, IGN and Eurogamer both recommend it.

All that said, A Total War Saga: Troy isn’t even technically one of this week’s free games. Remnant: From the Ashes and The Alto Collection are the titles currently highlighted in the store’s Free Games section.

Remnant is a 2019 third-person co-op shooter. Its punishing difficulty and tough bosses earned it comparisons to Dark Souls. But, its game feel is more akin to Gears of War.

The Alto Collection is also up for grabs, assembling mobile sand/snowboarding games, Alto’s Adventure (2015) and Alto’s Odyssey (2018).

But, for me, the most interesting free game is 3 Out of 10 EP 2: “Foundation 101.” This is the second episode in Terrible Posture Games’ five-part series. Unlike most episodic games, this one is releasing on a weekly basis, with plans to conclude by early September. I thought, the first episode, Welcome to Shovelworks did a pretty good job blending the game’s animated sitcom storytelling with short and varied interactive sections. I haven’t been blown away by the writing so far, but, hey, you can’t judge a show by its pilot.

With all these games up for grabs, Epic has unveiled next week’s freebies. Expect to get Enter the Gungeon (a free game for the second time) and God’s Trigger next Thursday. Plus, 3 Out of 10 will be back with its third episode.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


Continue Reading

News

Get Quake II and Quake III free for a limited time

Following a successful charity drive, Bethesda is making FPS classics Quake II and Quake III free for a limited time.

Published

on

Quake II logo
Bethesda / Thumbsticks

Following a successful charity drive, Bethesda is making FPS classics Quake II and Quake III free for a limited time.

Both games will be free to download from the Bethesda Game Launcher following an impressive fundraising effort from fans during the recent Quakecon at Home event. Over $30,000 was raised which will be distributed among good causes including Unicef, the Legal Defense Fund, The Trevor Project, and Direct Relief.

Quake II is available to download until 12:00pm ET on August 15, 2020. Quake III will unlock at 12:00pm ET on August 17, 2020.

Head over to the Bethesda Game Launcher to download Quake II and embark on Operation Alien Overlord.


Follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard for more video game news.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


Continue Reading

News

GDC 2021 date and format confirmed

Organisers of the annual Game Developers Conference have confirmed the dates for next year’s event, which will be a physical/virtual hybrid.

Published

on

GDC 2020 banner
GDC

Organisers of the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) have confirmed the dates for next year’s event, which will be a physical/virtual hybrid.

This year’s GDC was one of the first major video game events to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Some virtual talks were released in March as a short-term replacement, and last week’s digital-only GDC Summer streamed a larger programme of content to over 9700 virtual attendees.

GDC has confirmed that next year’s conference  – once again planned to be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco – will run from July 19-23, 2021, rather than in its usual spring window. The format will again be a mix of lectures, exhibits, and roundtables, but it will now include a full programme of digital content for virtual attendees. It’s a welcome, safety-first approach that will hopefully make more content accessible to a wider audience.

Additional virtual events are also planned in the coming year, beginning with a collection of virtual GDC Master Classes in late 2020. They will be day-long and multi-day virtual workshops examining specific aspects of video game development. Finally, a GDC Community Celebration will run from March 1-5, 2021. It will stream behind-the-scenes content on recent games, talks from industry luminaries, and various Q&A sessions.

The new format looks like a positive and overdue change for GDC that will hopefully benefit its organisers and the development community at large. In the meantime, readers interested in game development should check out the fascinating story behind Mixolumia.


Follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


Continue Reading

News

You can trace the development of indie game Mixolumia through a single Twitter thread

This Twitter thread charts the development of indie puzzle game Mixolumia. It’s a brilliant insight and you might just learn a thing or two.

Published

on

mixolumia development on twitter
davemakes

This Twitter thread charts the development of indie puzzle game Mixolumia. It’s a brilliant insight and you might just learn a thing or two.

“idk what this is yet but I had an idea,” wrote Dave Hoffman, AKA davemakes, on Twitter. As it turns out, “this” was a brilliant idea for a puzzle game.

The tweet was dated January 29, 2019, and marked the development of what would eventually become Mixolumia.

But back then, it was just a simple idea: What if a block-dropping puzzle game, like Tetris or Columns, took place on a grid that’s been rotated by 45 degrees?

It seems like such a simple idea, and it’s a wonder nobody has never thought of it before.

It’s not unusual for developers to tweet out early ideas to see if they attract any interest – just take a look at this Bugsnax tweet from 2014 – but what’s really interesting is that Hoffman continued working on this fragment of a game, from prototype to eventual release, all in this one Twitter thread.

That means every time they came up against a problem, or had a small breakthrough, or just made a tiny little tweak, it went in the thread. It also meant they got to ask questions of their followers and crowdsource design solutions for the game that would eventually become Mixolumia. Like what happens when you hit a corner, for instance, a problem that wouldn’t occur on a traditional vertical grid:

Which, a few days later, got refined further into this:

It’s interesting to trace the very public development of an indie game. Twitter may be lots of terrible, awful, no good things, but that sort of instantaneous insight? You’d struggle to get it any other way. It’s not all fun gifs and flashy effects, though:

From there, you can see the addition of a Patreon demo – which offered a boost to development – and the addition of a scoring system, pausing and an options menu, music from Hoffman and Josie Brechner, colour palette choices, particle effects, and plenty more. Even accessibility features and multiple game modes, including a chilled out relaxing mode, are covered.

And now, a year and a half later, Mixolumia is available to buy right now through indie storefront Itch.io. It features a 10% launch discount for a limited time and will set you back just $9. That’s a bargain, sure, but the insight into the process through the Twitter thread is priceless.


Don’t forget to follow Thumbsticks on Twitter for more gaming insights. Enjoyed this look at a quirky, indie development story? Support us on Patreon or buy us a coffee to enable more of it.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


Continue Reading