GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT Puts New Focus On Games With James Brizuela Taking The Lead
May 2, 2022
May 2, 2022
GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT has always covered video games, but we’re putting a renewed focus on giving gamers what they need by creating a dedicated Games Section and promoting former GFR Team Editor James Brizuela to lead it.
GFR had been writing about video games long before James made his GFR debut. Upon his arrival, though, James felt GFR could expand their gaming industry reporting. It helped that James is a self-proclaimed “avid gamer.” So, he and GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT’s Editor-in-Chief, Faith McKay, put their heads together and began to brainstorm.
“James started working with us at just the right time,” says Faith. “We’ve been running great gaming content and we see a lot of potential to grow there. In order to really make that happen, we have needed someone with a powerful combination of enthusiasm and work ethic.”
And this is what James brings to the table – a solid work ethic and a love for the written word. Being able to tap into his gaming knowledge is simply the icing on the cake. The conclusion from this brainstorming was to create a dedicated entity within GFR and center it totally around gaming. Hence, the Gaming Section.
The goal of the GFR Games Section is a big one. “We want to get to the level that sites like IGN, Kotaku, and Destructoid are at,” James says. Lofty, no doubt, but James wouldn’t have it any other way. “GFR is all about gaming in every form. It’s a way for our loyal readers to get the inside track on news, game updates, and some oddball videos we find in the gaming world.” But James says it isn’t just about the now and the present, either. “Eventually we want to make our way into some possible nostalgic reviews from some of the best games that came out back in the day. Maybe we could reveal some long-forgotten secrets that were missed when certain games came out in the early 1990s.”
Like many writers finding their footing in the industry, James is no different in the fact that he had another career in another lifetime. “I worked in the labor industry for around 10 years, before I finally realized I needed more.” The “more” that James “needed” involved a keyboard. It was something he had done throughout his life and something he felt he was meant to do. So, he decided to finally get serious.
“I wanted to take things more seriously in that regard. I started going to community college in 2016 to pursue my degree in writing, and on a whim, I applied for my first writing job in 2019.” That first writing job was a non-paying gig “writing album reviews for a heavy metal website,” a genre of music that James loves. The experience was a great one, though James says not getting paid for his time “was not amazing.”
Heavy metal led to comic books and that is where James got his first paid writing job. “I worked there [Comic Book Resources] for a year or so, and started to break into more freelance gigs, including contributing to an RPG called Monochrome Workshop. I stayed at both these companies for a while before breaking into the sports world as I covered NFL reporting for a lesser-known publication.” Still, though, James felt there was more out there. More ways to express himself through the written word.
“That is when I found GFR. I had already been a couple of years into my professional writing career when I stumbled onto a listing for GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT.” James wasn’t sure if he’d hit the mother lode or not but he “began to start reading the articles on the website before I had officially applied. I was quite impressed at the care and detail that was given to a great many pop culture subjects. I happen to be quite knowledgeable about pop culture, but there was something different about GFR compared to many others. There was a level of passion that was embedded into each article, and I could tell that the writers on this team were vastly different than most others that I had come across. I instantly gravitated to the level of writing that GFR was providing to their readers. It made me feel as if they truly cared about what they were reporting.”
It was a mutual attraction. Once onboard, James found exactly what he was looking for at the right time. He says, “Coincidentally, right after GFR brought me on board, I graduated with a double B.A. in Creative Writing and Screenwriting.”
Gaming is a favorite pastime for James. To him, “gaming kind of centers me in a way that nothing else can.” But also to James, gaming has evolved in a way that speaks to the writer and storyteller in him. “Storylines for games are evolving so much deeper, and they are all beginning to feel like long films, but in a good way.” So, his other interests should come as no surprise.
“I am a big fan of film. I love to go watch movies and discuss them with my friends, girlfriend, and my colleagues here at GFR. We all get massively excited when a new trailer drops. It was mayhem at GFR when the new Thor trailer dropped.” Of course, James will also remind you, “I am also a huge fan of music. I spend most of my free time going to concerts of all kinds. Music is massively important to me, so any chance I get to see a favorite artist or band, I take it.”
What James is looking for in writers who to join him in his gaming adventures should come as no surprise. “I truly appreciate passion. When someone is passionate about their work, it stands out immediately. We all must earn money and pay our bills but finding those who are passionate about what they write is what matters the most to me. That, and being reliable, which goes back to the passion.” In summary James says, “If you truly love what you do, then you will do it to the absolute best of your abilities.”
Editor In Chief Faith McKay is confident she has the right person the site’s Games Section a resounding success. “He’s been great at brainstorming ideas and thinking ahead for what he imagines we can do in the future for content that gaming readers can really get excited about.”
Gaming, music, and the love of films. A perfect fit to lead GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT’s gaming coverage.