Interested in writing for Kill Screen?
We’d love to have you.
We publish big-name bigshots and first-time writers. Naturally, if you’re new to the biz we’d like to see your samples, to help us get to know you. But we’re always on the lookout for new talent.
You should know about games, but you don’t have to be a games journalist per se. We won’t ask you for your list of desert island games—but the more you know about games and games writing, the more likely you are to pitch an idea we haven’t read before.
Think hard about why you’re uniquely positioned to tell this story. Are you an oceanographer who can talk about how games connect to deep sea exploration? An inmate with a story to share? Shoot us a line.
The ideal Kill Screen story combines a unique perspective with smart analysis. A story about your favorite game could be great; a story about the people behind it is even better.
We love obscure, hip, “you need to know about this” games, and we love giant, mass market blockbusters. New games, retro games, and forgotten games are all in our purview. But remember: If you write about a game everyone’s already played, please bring a fresh angle. We know about the Little Sisters in BioShock. We know about the thing you can do with the hookers in Grand Theft Auto.
We don’t run reviews, previews, news, or boilerplate. Don’t write to a template; write the best piece you can on a subject you care about.
Submit your idea here.
Please tell us as much as you can about your idea. Tell us the premise, spell out your argument, and describe the research and interviews you would use for your story.
You are welcome to send pieces on spec, but obviously, that doesn’t mean we’ll run it, or have time to give constructive criticism.
Please do not send a piece that you’ve published elsewhere, unless you’ll be substantially reworking it (e.g., you have a blog post that’s crying out to be a great magazine piece).
We usually take care of the art, but we’ll take any you can recommend. We try to avoid screenshots at all costs, unless the game is unreleased, obscure, or the screenshot is taken in an artful way.
What’s in it for you?
We will run your story on an up-and-coming gaming website, which TIME called “one of the best blogs of 2011.” We’ll pay you for it, too.
We will work with you. We will edit you. We will comfort you. We want your piece to flourish and shine. We have a motto: “Red is a good color.”
And most of all, be patient with us. We get a lot of submissions for a small team. We can’t promise we’ll respond to you quickly, but we’ll do our best.
Other advice, which will pile up over time.
“Smart” writing doesn’t necessarily mean “academic” writing. (The New Yorker is a great example.) Please make your argument without losing momentum, resorting to academic terminology, or burying us in citations. The word “mimesis” snuck into our first issue, but we swear it will never happen again.
At this time, women probably don’t make up a full half of the audience for a video game magazine. But you should write as if they do—and as if they brought the beer. “My girlfriend doesn’t understand games” articles don’t work for us.
Try to avoid “armchair analysis.” Say you’re playing a game like Red Dead Redemption and you think of an idea about its use of narrative. How will you argue you’re right? What makes your idea original, and engaging? What will you do to prove that game designers are thinking about the same problem as you—or, that they should be?
Don’t tell us what you want to write about. Tell us the argument you’ll make about the subject.
Personal essays are a tricky sell. They can be very, very good, or very, very not good. If you can give us a sample of your idea or a clip that’s close in style, it’ll help us see how amazing your essay will be.
Sometimes we joke around the office that we never, ever need to see another pitch about BioShock. We laugh, and laugh. But maybe we’re not joking.
Oh, and we’ve heard of Ian Bogost, too.