- Role: Blogger
- Company: Freelance
- Location: Lisle, Illinois, USA
We chatted to Dominic Cichocki.
QRM: Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do in the games industry?
Dominic: I've flirted with covering the games industry for years. Back at the start of this decade, when I was in high school, I kept a community blog where I posted reviews of whatever I was playing, and whatever news stories interested me at the time (Operation Rainfall was very huge back then). As time went on and my situation changed, I fell away from this line work, only to come back at the beginning of 2018 with a new blog, A Gaming Life Pt. 2, and a promise to myself to really do this for real this time. While some of the things I write, like reviews, remain the same, I generally aim to report on what I find interesting in a way that informs and inspires people. I'm also on the hunt for freelancing opportunities.
QRM: What about the games industry excites and inspires you?
Dominic: The industry is relatively young, but the games themselves and the people behind them are often fascinating to dig into. There's so much we don't know about our own history, that an innocuous interview or offhand comment can lead to a larger story with just a bit of nudging.
QRM: What about the games industry frustrates or disappoints you? What are the challenges you’re currently facing in the industry?
Dominic: Something that's long frustrated me about the industry is the emphasis on cutting edge technology. As we push ourselves into 4K resolution, make motion-capture an industry standard, and strive for realism, project budgets continue to skyrocket and fewer games are getting made. In a few years, we'll have different priorities, as new consoles present new opportunities, and new PC benchmarks are reached. The games being made today won't look so great anymore at that point.
This is how it's always been since the beginning of the industry, but eventually a change will have to happen, and we'll start looking at games and consoles much differently. Maybe consoles will fall away and PC gaming/streaming will take over. I don't know. On the other hand, we have several generations of retro consoles sitting around that people still buy and play secondhand. At a certain point, isn't it just cheaper (for both the developer and consumer) to make and distribute a new game on a Dreamcast? I truly believe people would jump at the chance to buy new software for older consoles if they were publicized well and looked promising. I know I would.
On a different note, my biggest challenge right now is getting myself out there and getting my work recognized. I love my blog, and I thank the people who read it profusely, but writing about games isn't as uncommon as it used to be. Plenty of people are in the same position I am, or are trying to make it on Youtube, or as a streamer. It's not just about developing a voice and having confidence in your own work, it's also making sure you're showing your work to other people and have them believe it's what you're meant to be doing. That's my biggest struggle right now, and I know I'm not alone in it.
QRM: If you could make one roadblock magically disappear from the games industry, what would you choose and why?
Dominic: If I could, I would make it easier for queer people, people of color, and other underrepresented people in the industry to explore what they want to do. Whether that's through a fund designed to support people as they work on their passion projects (sort of like how some authors can get grants while writing a novel), or through a digital network that allows groups to work together and get the exposure they need from their peers, both of those things, or something else entirely, it really depends on what's most realistic and likely to help people in need. It's an industry that's great to enter if you can afford it - and I'd like to see more people be able to afford it.
QRM: What message would you give to allies—both individuals and companies—who want to know how to support marginalised people better?
Dominic: Have patience. Keep your options open. Give chances. You're likely going to face issues and situations you've never had to consider before. Whether they're internal (such as an employee using new pronouns or several complaints about a long-standing employee's homophobic rants), or related to the product you're making (requests for genuine same-sex romance or someone asking to delete line of dialogue they find offensive), any and all scenarios like these should be carefully considered and thought through. Try to consider why someone who is queer is bringing this up - and don't just rely on your company's branding or your perception of what the game is to answer the concern for you.
QRM: What message would you give to marginalised people who are working in games or would like to work in games?
Dominic: Keep trying. Keep making yourself known. There may be pressure to give up your queer identity and fall in line to really 'succeed' in the industry, but don't fall for it. Even if you don't create content that is explicitly queer, maintaining your identity is still important for the people around you and, perhaps more importantly, the people looking up to you. If you're genuinely not comfortable with sharing that aspect of yourself, that's fine, but please let that be your decision, and not one that's made for you.
QRM: If people want to find and support you and your work, how can they do that?
Dominic: You can find my blog here. I'm on <a href-"https://twitter.com/dacichocki" target="__blank">Twitter; you can reach me there for most things. Any personal business inquiries via email can be sent to email@example.com, while anything pertaining to my blog can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your time!