Video game journalism is an essential part of the video game industry. But who are the video game journalists and publishers you are trying to reach to inform them about your game?
This series of interviews presents passionate human beings, but above all experienced video game press professionals.
It is a pleasure to introduce you as our guest today: Charlotte Benoit, Chief Editor at Game-Guide
Charlotte Benoit aka Onidra (or Onidra)
Founder and Editor in Chief of Game-Guide.fr, Charlotte is an experienced Project Manager and CM Team Leader in the gaming industry, an aspiring Narrative Designer, and a Mother!
Hello Charlotte, could you introduce yourself to those you don’t know yet about you?
Hey! I’m better known as Onidra from the name of my character in World of Warcraft (even if I had to rename Onydra when I changed server last year). I’m 35 years old, living in Lorraine, in the northeast of France. I’m married to Clamoune, we both launched Game-Guide under the name Swtor-Guide in 2011. And we have a little boy who’s 9!
Can you give us an overview of your background? (Studies, previous professional career)
I studied for 4/5 years in Nancy, France, mostly in web development & cognitive sciences. I worked for 5 years as a web developer, then I switched to community management in 2014. I’m now working as a freelance PM, leading teams of international CM in the video game industry. End of last year, I began to work for a gaming company as a Narrative Designer (still freelance). Game-Guide is not my work, that’s a volunteer position.
How many people are in Game-Guide.fr and how are you organized?
We’re around 10 volunteers. We’re recruiting motivated French players, who are interested in writing. They’re since a while now: we’re a small but motivated team! About the organization, we have an internal forum, a skype room, a discord channel, and some Google Sheets/Google forms. That’s all!
Can you tell us more about your daily tasks and responsibilities?
I’m the main point of contact, receiving 50+ emails per day. When I see an opportunity to review a game, I’m adding the name & link to an internal list on the forum. If a redactor is interested, I ask for the key, then the redactor writes about the game if possible in 15 days (more or less). My mother is helping me with the proofreading, then I publish 1 post per day, depending on NDA and launch day. I’m also in charge of the social media channels, the maintenance of the website, the creation of the contests… and if can find the time, I’m reviewing games!
Do you consider Game-Guide.fr to be Indie Game friendly? and which ones have impressed you lately?
Yes, we try to cover all the games and we’re open to indies. Of course, we’ll talk about a game only if a redactor of the team is interested, and AAA games have always more redactors interested, but some of them are playing only indie games! To pick one game… I played so many great games, I don’t have one in mind.
Do you do your own monitoring of independent games in development or soon to be released?
Most of our reviewed games are picked from the press releases we’re receiving and our internal list. Sometimes, redactors are asking for specific games in addition (because they saw a new one on another website, or in Steam lists), but we’re not doing any monitoring.
What information do you look for first about a video game?
A small video of gameplay; and trailers are great but that shows nothing really about the game. Gameplay helps to see the art style & the gameplay.
Are there key points you look for when testing a game?
Huge question! And it’s different for each redactor as we don’t have a template. I’ll talk for me: the main point will be the gameplay, the art style, how easy it is to understand the goal, and how fun it is. I’m playing like a regular player, then I try to share with the readers my experience, the same experience they would have if/when they buy the game. So I will adapt my review for each game, because the experience will be a lot different between an RPG and an FPS, solo or in multiplayer.
I know that you go to video game events, maybe you have an interesting anecdote to share with us?
I have so many anecdotes! Game-Guide is here for almost 10 years, and I have good and bad memories, between redactors leaving without notice; and taking keys with them from other media; to nice meetings with huge personalities in the video games industry. That’s hard work, taking a lot of time, for not a lot in return.
You’re working with a game you love, for years, then the company is sold, and you have no news from the new PR agency. Everything changes; and nothing is never done. Sometimes, I just want to end everything, then I see a nice email from a happy player who just received a free game thanks to a contest, and I’m happy to spend 2 hours per day for 10 years for my passion (I don’t want to count how many hours I’ve spent on Game-Guide)!
Where does come your passion for gaming? Any game in mind?
That’s a good question. I’m coming from an artist family, so I was always in the entertainment area in some kind. But I had my first console very late, the first game-boy, around 1995 and my PC even later (in 2000, I was 16). I had almost no budget for my games at this time, so I was buying old games with magazines in press shops.
My “first” videogame was Myst (1994) I played with a friend, we almost didn’t sleep for a full weekend trying to solve it! can also remember from this period Theme Hospital (1997), Age of Empires 2 (1999), Star Wars Episode I: Racer (1999), and Syberia (2002). Then I had more and more games, it was possible to have a videogame for 15 days in my media center of my city, I tried a lot at this time (it was probably around 2005).
But finally, I think I was really hyped with the launch of World of Warcraft in 2007. And I never quit!
Thank you, Charlotte for taking the time to realize this interview! I would like to thank you again for our meeting at Game Connection and our really interesting discussion about your work and passions. See you soon and take care!