The difficulties with imposter syndrome and over-representation

Home » The difficulties with imposter syndrome and over-representation

GameCrash is my baby. A big, blue, somewhat misshapen and still very young baby. As it stands, I’m the sole writer on the site because it’s fundamentally an outlet for my voice, thoughts, opinions, etc on an industry I love being a part of. That’s not to say that GameCrash’s voice should only ever be my own, but it does mean that as it stands right now – as you’re reading this article on and around the date stamped on it – the site and myself are inextricably linked as one.

As a result, although I don’t want the site to be considered a ‘blog’, it is 100% a direct reflection of myself as a writer. At least for now.

I say all of this for two reasons. Firstly, to explain that my ultimate goal is for that to not be the case. One day I’d love for the site to stand more on its own and be an outlet in its own right. I’ve been lucky enough to be in that exact position before – Pokecharms.com was also, once upon a time, my baby. As a community grew around it, however, that community began to take care of itself. To the point where I haven’t been involved in the day-to-day operation (beyond core responsibility for the bills and infrastructure) in years. If people that weren’t me grew to care about GameCrash in the same way, that’d be the ultimate possible win for me.

The other reason is to address an issue I’ve had in trying to achieve that goal over the past couple of years: sometimes it doesn’t really feel like I should be.

There are two main reasons why this feeling sets in. The first is somewhat easier to explain, so I’ll start there with good old Imposter Syndrome. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it basically describes the feeling that you have no real business doing the job you’re doing. Either through your own sheer lack of qualifications/talent or the sheer gap of yours to the rest of the field. At least in terms of your own perceptions.

As someone who does all of this in their free time and has limited opportunity to put any of these articles together it’s very easy for this feeling to set in. I’ve got my own (somewhat aborted) history in journalism as a nascent career path, but for pretty much all of the time I’ve been writing about video games, I’ve been doing it purely “for fun”. Although I do my best to write professional-level content, that lack of legitimacy often puts up barriers that make it hard to match up to those writing for outlets with consistently high readership. I don’t get review copies, I don’t get access to people in the industry and – by sheer limits of time and resource – I can’t really cover ‘news’ either.

I write this stuff because the views, the opinions, the ideas are within me and I want (maybe even need) a way to let them out. If it wasn’t this, it’d probably be going out into the street and yelling at strangers about how Nintendo’s latest move is Good Actually until they called the police to have me moved on.

Even with that understanding it still sometimes feels like I’m not really contributing anything for anyone else. When I read great content from sites like Eurogamer or VGC, I know they’re writing for an audience and doing a great job of it. When I read what I’ve written on GameCrash sometimes it’s really hard to tell if any of it would even appeal beyond an audience of one.

All of this sort-of anxiety feeds into what is probably the biggest existential problem I face with this stuff. For all that I’d love to be able to find a unique voice for myself, for GameCrash, that stood out and appealed to others, is it even right to? As a straight white male, can I actually even provide such a thing as a unique voice when almost everyone else in the industry – making games, critiquing games, playing games – is the same as me?

A 100% accurate visual depiction of the diversity of people and voices in the video game industry

Objectively, I know that isn’t strictly true. Regardless of my race, sexuality – whatever – my personality, my thoughts and my views are my own. If there’s value in them at all, there’s value in them regardless of any other factor. But, for every article I can put out, if I could put out half a dozen from people that aren’t as over-represented in this space as I am, I absolutely would. As it is, it can always feel somewhat weird to be pushing myself, and these articles, knowing that although people’s attention for game coverage is not a zero sum game, I’m still ultimately adding another number to the pile against people who don’t get to have their say as easily or as often.

I don’t even know what solution I could possibly provide to this problem that would make any of what I’ve just written above matter. Perhaps it simply doesn’t.

So why am I writing any of this? I guess my point is really just that I want to be better, and by extension, GameCrash to be better. Be a better writer, provide better content that people are keen to engage with and perhaps even find a way to build a community around it so that what we have here can matter. If I can do that, perhaps GameCrash can also become a more diverse voice than the ramblings of one white man with an obsessive interest in the gaming industry, as if that’s somehow novel.

I don’t think I can do any of that alone, so this is my call to you for help. Help in telling me what you feel this industry is lacking that GameCrash – as a somewhat new and malleable thing – should be doing to be better. Help in telling me what you’d like to see covered. Help in engaging with that coverage, in seeing the potential for a new gaming community that can do things differently.

Perhaps you’re someone who isn’t yet another straight white male but is sitting here, reading this article, thinking “oh hey, that thing about yelling at strangers is totally me and I have the restraining order to prove it”. I can’t provide paid work, but I absolutely can provide an outlet for you that won’t end up on a Court Record. Feel free to get in touch.

Perhaps none of this ramble will change anything at all, but hopefully it will at least provide the context to allow me to continue to put out these articles, to push them out there, to push myself out there, with the tacit acknowledgement that, yes, I know. Maybe it can all eventually lead to something. It’s as much as I can realistically hope for today. In the meantime, I kind of needed to vent my spleen and ultimately I hope it just leads to a bit of understanding of where I’m coming from and where, ideally, I’d like to go. So thanks for reading at least.

Written by
Alex Winton

Alex is the founding editor of GameCrash, as well as the founder and owner of one of the UK's most popular and most creative Pokémon fansites, Pokecharms.com.

When not playing or writing about video games he works full time as a Senior Digital Developer making websites not unlike this very one!

Alex's favourite game franchises are Pokémon and Sonic the Hedgehog.

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