GDC08: Totilo and Croal pitch indie game developers

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GDC08: Totilo and Croal pitch indie game developers

Last night, two of the best games journalists working today explained to a room full of independent developers that they're not ignoring their games on purpose – as N'Gai Croal explained, he and Stephen Totilo were there to teach "people who make indie games about the PR process and how that works." You see, AAA titles are being repped by "very well-oiled machines that are extremely good at getting their message out." So how does an indie developer compete with that level of press saturation? Their advice is simple: pitch a compelling story, not a product. In Totilo's mind, many developers are "one email away" from finding their game (and themselves!) on MTVNews.com or Newsweek. "It's surprising so few people take that opportunity."

So, what do they suggest, short of just spamming all your favorite journalists (a practice that N'Gai readily cops to ... we don't mind, N'Gai!)? Business cards, a website, and a blog go a long way towards making your project more palatable to your average, antisocial games writer. Our kind is averse to talking on the phone and – if we can learn as much as we can without having to actually ... y'know, talk to someone – we're more likely to give your project consideration (same could be said for outlets like, well, Joystiq).

One audience member asked if major blogs like yours truly are doing the job of covering these games better and, if so, if that's keeping folks like Croal and Totilo from doing the same. While Totilo said he's dedicated to covering games that are important and isn't looking to cede coverage to any other outlet, Croal conceded, "Kotaku and Joystiq and EGM are doing my jobs for me. Because they're comprehensive, I don't have to be comprehensive." Are we comprehensive? We're close, but like tag-team game-journo super-duo Totilo and Croal, we know we need to do more. To that end, we'd have to agree with their initial recommendation. And, whaddya know, we're not so hard to get ahold of after all.
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