Get to Know a Gamer: Brock McLaughlin
The game industry relies heavily on content created by gamers themselves; video game reporting is a vital part of the gaming community. With that in mind, we’re putting the spotlight on some of the players who help to promote and drive awareness around the games being built. So, let’s get to know a gamer.
Brock McLaughlin is a self-described ‘Brockstar’ (aka social media personality) who works with ComedyGamers. Building his audience was half the battle, but it’s an ongoing challenge to drive engagement. “How can I do this around the clock? How can I build a plateau for more people to be involved? How can I help them achieve their goals?” are just a few questions driving Brock’s passion for gaming content. “I wanna face the challenges and have a line of contact open for anyone who wants to get into gaming.”
With this in mind, we asked Brock how he’s making career around his love for games in our first ever ‘Get to Know a Gamer’ interview:
What would be your unofficial title, if you were describing your role in gaming?
It’s hard to wrap my head around just one title and I’m ok with that. I run my gaming blog, I podcast, I make all kinds of YouTube videos, I like having my hands in a piece of everything. I use gaming to meet new people, spread my love for gaming, and help people by giving them an outlet to write, or broadcast their own feelings on gaming. You can call me a Brockstar.
Did you always want to work with gaming content?
It’s always something I’ve wanted to do, but my spark burnt out for a while there. I was in my early twenties and I wanted to be Mr. Social Butterfly and put gaming to the side. As I get older I want nothing more than to spend more time at home playing games and eating tubs of ice cream. This “role” is still new to me, and I want to keep evolving. I don’t like becoming stale. I want to kick the doors and collaborate with anyone who is up for making fun, creative stuff.
What did you do before you worked in the game industry?
It all started with a music blog, which helped kickstart my laptop warrior DJ phase, which led me to be an A&R at a record label. It was a fun run, but I wanted to spread my wings and learn more about social media and its power. I began working as a Digital Strategist at a firm and transitioned my music blog into a lifestyle, tech, travel blog. I did that for a few years before I decided to focus on YouTube, moving my blog into an all-encompassing video game and tech website and branching out by writing and collaborating with more people. That’s where I am today.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The biggest personal challenge for me would be how to make a living doing this. What will pay for the boxes of Mike ‘n’ Ikes I like to consume at all times. How am I going to pay my dentist? I built the connections rapidly and thankfully I had a built-in group of readers ([they] are the best) but now the question is – how can I do this around the clock? How can I build a plateau for more people to be involved? How can I help them achieve their goals? How can I stop being pitched on lipstick and bras? I swear, you wear them one time and the internet never forgets. I wanna face the challenges and have a line of contact open for anyone who wants to get into gaming.
What have been the high and low points of your career?
The highs have been watching my personal blog grow, joining a new team over at comedygamers.com, and meeting many people, both online and digitally, who love gaming. The low was missing E3 due to a family emergency, but thankfully I watched online and am up to speed. WHAT AN E3 AMIRIGHT?! Watching from the comfort of the couch did help me to avoid the crowds and the embarrassment of pit stains… I guess that’s a plus?
That’s the spirit! What’s the weirdest thing about your job?
It is weird though playing through games you hate for 10-30+ hours to review a game despite you despising every last inch of it. It’s a weird thing to subject yourself to, and it’s a weird thing to put out there. I dislike negative energy out there like that in a positive space. Lots of people worked hard on it but [crap is crap]. That’s a weird feeling. Ya know?
So, how do you decide which games to review?
I pick based on what’s hot, what looks interesting to me, games that people seem to have a lot of questions about and usually what ends up in my inbox.
Do you always find something to like, even if the game gets a poor review?
I try to find something positive but I might not even run the article unless it enhances the conversation. I’m looking at you, Star Fox (2015) and Amiibo Festival.
Who would be your gaming role models?
Ian Hamilton, who is making gaming accessible for people with disabilities. I think that’s incredibly cool. It’s so inspiring to hear that gaming is opening up to everybody. Companies like Naughty Dog and NetherRealm Studios are working with disabled gamers to make their games work for them. Video games mean something different to everyone and everyone should have the ability to escape into a virtual world.
Eric Barone is another superstar, or should I say Brockstar (…), have you played Stardew Valley?! That flipping game is amazing. One dude designed all of that. Man, sometimes I need a friend just to tie my shoe.
Even though you’re not a developer, gaming comes with long hours. Has your job ever forced you to be apart from the people you love?
I’m going through this right now in a large way. I moved out here to Toronto 6 years ago for work and left my loving mother back in my hometown of Vancouver. I’d like to see her more often, so I’m looking at being closer as my work can now come with me wherever I go. Family is incredibly important to me, and I’d like to be as close as possible. Life’s not like a video game you know, there are no 1-UPs.
What would your advice be to others in a similar situation?
Take a chance. Don’t let someone drag you down, long distance is more than possible. Put money in the bank and fly out as much as you can. If you feel that where you are will help take you to the next level, then stay there and grind it out. It’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows, but hopefully it will be worth it in the end.
Well said. Has any particular game had an emotional impact on you?
Hands down – Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo. I grew up an only child with a single mother. She was always hustling and I came with her everywhere. Thankfully, everywhere we went usually had a TV so I’d carry a copy of Super Mario World and my Super Nintendo in my backpack, then plug in and play it. I first beat that game when I was 4 years old in the basement of a gym my mom was teaching at. It was an incredible feeling. It was probably the first game I ever beat. It must have been (it certainly wasn’t the bloody Lion King game). I still give SMW a full play-through once a year, going on 20 years now.
What is the biggest change you’ve noticed in gaming?
Everything has changed. I started playing on the NES so of course the games have changed, but the most shocking change is that people actually watch one another game. Gaming is on ESPN now! That’s mind blowing. I wish I’d have had the foresight in high school to game more and film it for YouTube. What a time.
I can [even] go to a movie theatre and watch people game on the big screen, how cool is that? This community of outsiders and weirdos that usually game in the comfort of their own homes have all these outlets now to meet new and incredible people. No longer do you have to go to a bar and be outside of your comfort zone to meet people, you can meet at a gaming event. That’s really, really cool. When we’re not gaming we can all talk about gaming on forums and Twitter. It’s a beautiful thing. (Also, I no longer have to shell out 30 bones for a strategy guide – that’s a relief.)
What are the one or two new games you’re most looking forward to?
After E3, my list of most anticipated games is huge, but in the near future I’m most looking forward to Cuphead and We Happy Few. Actually, as soon as I’m done writing this I’m firing up and finishing INSIDE so I can get my review up.
And finally, where can people see more gaming content from you?
Check out my new project, Comedygamers.com. I plan on working and understanding more about making video games accessible for everyone. I absolutely love hearing stories about how developers are making their games readily available. If you liked hearing what I had to say hit me up on Twitter, Snapchat or Google+. It’s lonely there without you.
Do you know someone in the gaming community with a unique perspective, interesting project or creative take on the industry? We’d like to talk to them!
Let us know who we should feature next: firstname.lastname@example.org
- On July 20, 2016