Recently, I got the chance to interview Laura Kate Dale from Lets Play Video Games (LauraKBuzz on Twitter). Right now, she’s known for leaking a lot of information about the Nintendo Switch such as launch games and console specs. Check out LetsPlayVideoGames. And without further ado, here is the interview.
SC: So, you write for Lets Play Video Games, so you’d obviously like journalism. What sparked that interest?
LKD: My interest in video games as a hobby started when I was maybe four or five as a casual interest, but it wasn’t until the advent and popularization of podcasts around a decade ago that I really understood games critic was a job people actually had. I remember listening to a lot of IGN Nintendo podcasts around the reveal of the Revolution / Wii and realizing there were people whose job it was to talk about games. I never really thought anything more of it until I was working a dead end job at a supermarket. I started coming up with article ideas while at work, writing when I got home, and I realized it was what I wanted to do professionally.
SC: So how hard was it to start? Most people have to start from scratch, and I can assume it wasn’t any different for you?
LKD: Yep. I started writing unpaid for a number of gaming sites just for fun without making any headway. I first got myself noticed by launching an indie site called IndieHaven.com. We focused on indie games, but coverage more comparable to the depth given to AAA’s. I used that to give myself editorial experience, used that to get a job at Destructoid, and used what I learned at Destructoid to launch Let’s Play Video Games and push myself on Patreon.
It took about four years to go from no experience to a full time job, writing 1000 words every day no matter how tired I was from my day job. That time and effort eventually paid off.
SC: Do you prefer a more formal writing style or a much more casual and satirical style when reading on the internet?
LKD: I enjoy the flexibility of being able to do both. Some of my most successful work, like my interview with Peter Molyneux, where he said he would never talk to games press ever again, were hugely rewarding to write but came with a lot of stress. Same for Switch leaks, a lot of work and a lot of stress alongside that. A lot of my more lighthearted silly content is more fun and less stressful to write in the moment, but ultimately feels less long lasting or substantial. I ultimately have to try and balance the two to be happy.
SC: Your Switch leaks have definitely brought you into the spotlight when it comes to Nintendo news recently. A lot of people take what you leak as fact. What do you think about that?
LKD: Yeah it has been an odd experience for certain. I routinely remind people that all leaks, including my own, should be taken with skepticism in spite of any past track record. My past year has been an odd one. I leaked Until Dawn: Rush of Blood successfully. I reviewed and unboxed a PS4 Slim ahead of reveal. I revealed offset sticks, split d-pad, a share button now confirmed by patents and the trailer reveal date for the switch.
I’m torn between being happy that people look at that track record and respect my reporting, and the stress that mounts as I report more things. The internet will very quickly turn from “her info is correct” to “She’s just makes lucky guesses” if even one or two things prove inaccurate from my leaks and that stress mounts day by day. There are a million reasons leaks can be inaccurate even if well vetted. Info can be out of date, can be altered, can be misunderstood by a source. Having my credibility hinge on that sucks, so I remind people to be skeptical even if it’s me saying things.
SC: Well, knowing all the stuff you know now, how do you feel the Nintendo Switch will do? People are worried for several reasons, such as it being less powerful than the PS4 and Xbox One, AAA devs not confirming specific games, the list goes on.
LKD: Anyone who expected a handheld hybrid console to be as powerful as the PS4 or XB1, at a portable size, with a decent battery, at a decent price has been kidding themselves. As soon as the nature of the device became known it was obvious comprimises would have to be made somewhere and it was likely to be power. If it was possible to make a PS4 power device, switch size, at a reasonable price Sony would have done it already.
I’m not worried right now, but I am watching very closely as we come toward their January event. Which games get confirmed for launch and year one, launch month ssales, initial press and public hands on reception are ultimately going to be the factors that decide the Switch’s success. The core concept has caught a lot of interest and Nintendo are pushing hard on launch hype building, I want to see how that plays out in early Jan before making any judgement calls on its chances.film Criminal 2016 download
SC: Moving on to our next topic, do you think you being transgender affects how people look at you and your work?
LKD: While it shouldn’t be a factor in how I do my work, it inevitably gets brought up constantly. Any article about me will have me being called a guy in the comments. Reddit threads about me get rough quick. The last time I was on Total Biscuit’s Co-Optional Podcast things got so bad in comments he had to record a thirty minute rant in my defense. It’s just something I have to live with. Being trans has stood in my way as an obstacle consistently. I’m constantly having my achievements devalued as “pity achievements” and “Diversity hires.”
It’s incredibly hard to just let my work speak for itself. That said, I have actually got a really nice core community. I was very open about being trans from day one and it has really helped me cultivate the right people around me. When I needed transition related surgery this year folks raised £20K+ in just ten days to help. I will always appreciate that support. Basically, it should not effect my work, but it’s constantly used as a way to either devalue my achievements or devalue me as a person.
SC: Finally, do you have any advice for people out there wanting to venture into the world of video game journalism?
LKD: Persevere. Create when it hurts. Create when you’re too tired. Create when folks tell you it will never become a career. Create when people tell you your work is shit. Ask people you think will say no to collaborate with you, you’ll be surprised how many day yes. Take chances, make work you’re proud of, and put yourself on the line when needed. Take chances and create constantly.
Once again, we’d like to thank Laura for taking the time to answer our questions.