Black Friday Is Harder on Video Game Journalists than It Is on You

See all those little games? I have to double check the titles of every one when I write up the story saying they’ll be on sale. EVERY. ONE.

It’s Black Friday time.

Feel that chill? Yup, that’s an otherworldly cold shudder. It’s a scary time.

Though frankly, it’s even worse for some of us “game journalists,” because we have to report on them. See, sites like us thrive on traffic. At this time of year, Black Friday news means hits. Which means people who contribute news stories–like yours truly–have to sign up for the Black Friday website email mailing lists, check the leaks and get this stuff written up.

I hate the Black Friday ads.

I hate them.

I especially hate when a store has a lot of good deals, because that means more work for me. Check the ad. write down the sale items, make sure the titles and prices are right, format everything into neat, bullet-pointed lists and have it all up on the Internet for folks to check.

Tedium, thy name is Black Friday ad duty.

“Is that a good deal?” Yes, dammit. It’s a Black Friday ad. EVERYTHING is a good deal.

It also means being vaguely aware of general item prices and release dates, so that you can offer commentary on whether something is or isn’t a good deal.

  • Best Buy will have Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and Darksiders II as $29.99 doorbusters! That is a good deal!
  • Old Navy will give you a $59.99 copy of New Super Mario Bros. U for free when you spend $40 on clothes and stuff! Another great deal!
  • Kmart is selling the 4GB Xbox 360 Kinect bundle for $199.99 as a Thanksgiving Day doorbuster!
  • You get the idea!

So how long does a Black Friday news story take to write? Well, that depend on the level of detail you want to put into it. I’m a purist. I feel it’s my duty to write up each deal a gamer might be interested in so he or she won’t have to pore over an internet ad, trying to figure out which version of Forza is on sale. Why have them screw up their eyes when I’m already walking into the suburbs of Blind City? A basic, “Hey, this ad scan is online and here are between five and ten of the best deals!” story would probably take 10 to 15 minutes to write, depending on if you have to do formatting and find/make an image. A “Let’s list every detail, with 99.9% accuracy, in alphabetical lists broken down into systems, accessories, games and miscellaneous” news story can take at least 45 minutes.

For example, I’ve written three Black Friday 2012 news stories for various websites so far this year, on the Old Navy Wii U stuff, the Kmart ad leak and the Best Buy ad preview. The Old Navy story took about 15 minutes. The Kmart ad was a bit more involved and was around 20 minutes. The Best Buy ad preview took me 50 minutes. That’s almost an hour of my life, gone. For you.

It’s a chore, but we do it. We do it every year. Why?

Because we get paid for it.

What, did you honestly think I did this out of love? Psh. It’s all about the traffic bonuses!

  • Phasma Felis

    If I was one of the people who has to miss Thanksgiving dinner with their family to pull a 16-hour shift at Wal-Mart, I would probably think your headline was pretty obnoxious.

  • Jenni

    The headline is hyperbole. We are all aware that the people who are the true victims of the Black Friday weekend are the ones who have to work on Thanksgiving Day because Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Kmart and other stores think they have to be open.