As I find out more and more each day breaking into the video games industry as a journalist is no easy feat, so when I get the opportunity to talk to someone like Patrick O’Rourke I cherish it. Patrick has been through the ringer and currently sits in a coveted position as the Technology Editor at Postmedia’s Canada.com.
Some may look at Patrick as he stands today and presume that he had opportunities or chances that aren’t readily afforded, but I had my doubts. I know that to pursue this career you do in fact need a helping hand from time to time, but you also need to learn how to stand on your own. I reached out to Patrick about in order to gain some insight into his path to becoming one of Toronto’s leading technology writers and he graciously offered me his time.
Brian Sharon: Being the Technology Editor for Post Media is a prestigious position and a tremendous achievement on your part. What does it mean for you to hold the title?
Patrick O’Rourke: It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, so it means a lot to me that Canada.com’s producer has enough faith in my abilities as a journalist and writer to give me this responsibility. It’s a lot of pressure though. I have free reign of the tech section.
The road to success is unique for all those who venture it, but it all begins with an initial step. What inspired you to pursue a career as a journalist in digital media?
PO: It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid. I’ve always been interested in video games and spent a stupid amount of time growing up reading magazines like Nintendo Power and Electronic Gaming Monthly. I guess that’s what initially got me interested.
Given your history of academic learning, internships, and even retail sales; it is clear that your path was not laid in stone. Knowing all the hardships you’ve overcome to reach this point, what are some of the misconceptions of journalists in the digital media space?
PO: For me, I think a lot of people think I was “gifted” this position or something and that I didn’t work for it. In reality, I spent the last two years while in University writing for free for various gaming blogs and building up my own blog. Then even when I finished journalism school and was in a PR graduate program, I continued to freelance for a little while, making very little money. I jumped around at Postmedia from short contract position to short contact position too until they hired me full time a little over a year ago.
Given your history and expertise in the industry what advice do you have for anyone wishing to pursue a career in gaming journalism specifically?
PO: Whether it’s for free or for a really small site getting your name out there is the only way to find a way into the industry. Social media is a great way to help out with that too.
In your career you’ve been fortunate to cover a myriad of exciting events which have surely left you with numerous fond memories. Could you share one of the highlights?
PO: One of my biggest highlights was going to Sony’s pre-E3 event in LA a few months ago. A lot of the game journalists I look up to were there so it was a surreal experience for me and something I never thought I’d be able to do.
With your experience in the Canadian video games industry how have you seen the culture of Canadian video game development change in the past few years?
PO: I don’t think I’ve been inside the industry for long enough to see a huge change. I’d definitely say that it’s starting to get bigger though, and it’s cool to see huge AAA titles getting released from Canadian developers Ubisoft Montreal/Toronto and even indie developers like Capybara Games certainly come to mind.
Old rivalries are set to renew with the advent of next-generation consoles just a month away. What has you most excited about the eight cycle of console gaming?
PO: Just the fact that new consoles are coming out, It’s been so long. At first I didn’t think the industry was ready for new devices but lately, it feels like something new really just has to come out at this point.
Despite the fact that much of the talk this year has been based around new hardware, but there have been some notable titles released this year already. Which current-gen games this year made you forget about next-gen?
PO: The Last of Us is my favourite game of all time and it came out on this gen of consoles. It’s probably one of the most moving games I’ve played in years. Beyond: Two Souls just came out too (I’m currently playing though it and its impressive so far). Then of course there’s GTA V, although I can’t help but wonder what it would look like on next-generation consoles.
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 while immensely similar on the hardware wise, but are distinctly separated from one another by their marketing. Who do feel has done a better job of conveying their philosophies to the consumer leading up to launch?
PO: Sony obviously has, but I honestly think people overreacted over Microsoft’s initial Xbox One DRM.I think they were onto something with the digital game sharing, to me a lot of what they initially planned felt more next-gen than what we ended up with.
It has been said that without good software excellent hardware goes nowhere. What are some of the titles that have you most excited about next-gen?
PO: Honestly? Not very much. Dead Rising 3 has me interested (and) so does Destiny, but it’s not really a completely next-gen title. Oh and Titanfall has me interested in the FPS genre again, something I didn’t think would happen for a while.
Where can people get their eyes on your work?
PO: All my stuff is published on Canada.com. Here’s a direct link to my tech section.