Video game journalists from around the world share information about the gaming industry and review games of all kinds. It’s time to take a closer look at the enthusiasts and professionals who work in the video game press.
This week, it is a pleasure to introduce you to: Daniel Rubio, co-editor-in-chief at Navigames.es
Daniel Rubio, co-editor-in-chief at Navigames.es
a.k.a. Fullbull, member of NaviGames and very curious culturally with video game remaining its main source of interest.
Hola Daniel, can you please introduce yourself briefly, including your background?
Hi! I’m Daniel Rubio, a.k.a. Fullbull, proud member of NaviGames for more than one and a half year. Many subjects of interest have crossed my mind since 15, like neuroscience, marketing, psychology, blogging, manga, psychology… but gaming has always come to me first. Looking back, I never expected to be an editor, but life has almost infinite routes, like a visual novel. I’ve started a cybersecurity program, and I hope my hobby and passion will be linked to video games.
Can you tell us a little bit about the adventure of NaviGames and its team?
As many of your readers, I love video games, not only the product itself, but the whole industry. It has flaws here and there and precisely the media can point out the good, the bad and the neutral parts. That’s why I applied for a collaborator position when I saw it on Twitter. My experience as content editor was forged thanks to my internships. I worked hard, and before realizing, my position in NaviGames escalated in the blink of an eye.
Last month, NaviGames turned 4 years old. Nowadays, the team is well balanced, from newcomers to veterans and everything in between. The web site doesn’t have any ads, which means zero income, which also means that we don’t earn money for our work; We make it clear when we contact a person who is interested in writing for NaviGames. A positive consequence of not having ads is that we aren’t biased and try to be as subjective and transparent as possible.
There’s a good atmosphere through WhatsApp (we don’t have a physical headquarter), making our best to use whatever time we have to write about video games. Simple as that.
As co-editor-in-chief of NaviGames, what are the things you prefer and dislike about your role?
One thing that I like about working on NaviGames is how flexible we are. Currently, we’re three editors doing the general coordination and well-being of the web. We organize occasional meetings on Discord and WhatsApp in order to know how to improve, what needs to change, and how can we implement new ideas.
Right now, I’m in charge of speaking with each editor individually, and count how many articles, news pieces or reviews per week have they done. I also check the news pieces in case they need a quick change, summarize the main points in the meetings and, sometimes, answer to external collaborations like yours 😊. But, as I said, we support and help each other for our tasks. For example, if someday someone is not able to do his work others can help.
The best part, of course, is creating articles, writing news and analyzing all kind of games. I’m most happy when all this stuff just flows, but there are times when, for example, an editor doesn’t do his/her part, or maybe there’s a misunderstanding between two members, so that’s when I enter.
I know you’re independent gaming advocates, can you tell us why?
And why not? Hahaha. I mean, the indie sector is a crucial part for the video game industry as a whole. The indie part of the industry is made of revolutionary mix of developers, companies, technology, art and consumers. I’m not exaggerating if I say indie games deserve better, but the truth is, right now, is impossible with the actual marketplace. We bearly remember, or even notice, all the indie games that came out this month. The number of releases in a year is astronomical. And here is where the media joins the battle the only way it knows: mediatizing.
If we only care for the AAA games, the industry will just continue its course. I’m not implying that these games are dull or anything like that, but they tend to play it safe. The big companies prefer to maintain high quality standards, whereas the indie ones may have more freedom, and usually innovate, take risks and surprise.
I could keep babbling about indie games all day long, but I think is for the best if we remember what Reggie Fils-Aime, a big role model for the entire industry, claimed in the last Game Awards. Everybody, small or big, starts at the same page, just in different eras. We remember the past events, the big list of victories, but in the future, we look to the indie devs, on whose shoulders is the video games of tomorrow.
How is the independent video game sector in Spain?
I honestly think it has a lot of good games, but the sector itself is still young and a bit disorganized. The last game I finished was, precisely, a Spanish game called The Red Strings Club. It’s short and I enjoyed every part of it, but probably Deconstructeam title wouldn’t have reached so much public if Devolver Digital wasn’t helping as publisher.
Spain has always been more of a video game consumer than a creator. But lucky for us, the government and other companies have started to realize the potential of the sector in 2019. Making a comparison, if European games are in a teenager era, the Spanish area would be a baby in diapers; Not because the quality of the work of the indie companies, but for the low interest the general Spanish population had for so many years.
I really hope this new tide keeps on. Better late than never, I guess.
What could you recommend developers to do before contacting you? (in terms of communication or formatting of assets)
At midnight, when Polaris shines at it most, sacrifice a baby dinosaur… Or just contact us via email, but only when you’re sure you really want to show the state of your game.
Either you’re a beginner or a veteran indie team, the most important part of your press release should be the press kit. Editors appreciate when we have all the fundamental information in front of us, making our job easier. Put some info from your team, your game (or other games you have released), screenshots, dates and links. We love having all the social networks, such as Twitter, and landing pages links comfortably in front of us. And, of course, you can ask us any questions if you have doubts.
The first time you give the media a cover letter saying “Hi! This is our project. Do you like it?” might feel weird, but if the game catches our attention, it’s probably going to appear on the site. Anyway, you must follow which webs have published news piece and, focus on that. The next time you can go straight to the point, just explaining what’s new and what do you want the public to know. Video game media has lots of press releases every day and there’ll be times when you don’t get any coverage, so don’t give up.
I personally recommend the weekly work from Chris Zukowski to know more about talking to the media, streamers, your public, etc.
What are your selection criteria to review an (indie) video game?
In the end, the general video game media wants impact, so we try to follow the popular trends in the gaming community. We usually are where the public wants to, but we do have to search out there, looking for something that maybe our readers haven’t found out yet.
Thanks to Cristian Fernández, our PR and founder of NaviGames, the editors can freely say in our group of WhatsApp “Hey, check out this game! It’s coming to these platforms. Can you get a review key?” Cristian also searches for games too; so, in that case, change the question to “Would anyone want to review it and I try to get a key?” The third and last way to get a press copy is much simpler: the study or publisher itself send us one to review.
All editors have their own taste, be it genre, gameplay or story. We try our best to cater each game to a proper editor, but we may be busy with another review. Or two. Or even three at the same time (it can happen!).
You also make a bi-weekly NaviPodcast, what topics do you cover in it?
About current news, quick impressions of a specific video game and topics that give us enough content for a debate. It all depends on the latest events that impact the game community. Paco, the podcast presenter, is a Final Fantasy enthusiast who follows all the possible ideas for the next podcast and select them. We also try to innovate. For example, on our latest episode, we talked about the entire Dragon Ball series because of the release of Bandai’s Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
Do you remember when your passion for gaming was born?
I started playing with 6 years old. Since then, I’ve always been next to a video game, be it Pokémon, World of Warcraft, Dark Souls, Monster Hunter or League of Legends to name a few. If I were to say when I got hooked by video games, it was when I was 21, playing a small yet giant indie title
I was bored looking at my almost empty Steam account. Then, I searched another game and I saw an appealing title called Bastion, from Supergiant Games, on sale so, what the heck? I bought it without thinking it twice. The art, the immersive narrative, the general aesthetics, the music and the simple mechanics hit me right on the spot. That’s when I realized I discovered a new world with plenty of options, growing nonstop.
How do you spend your weekends (apart from the NaviGames)?
I hang out with friends, watch movies, read books and manga, do light exercises, take online lessons (currently Digital Marketing) and, of course, play video games. The order of the events may change.
Thank you Daniel for taking the time to answer those questions and for your dedication to video game fans!
Take care, Stay home and see you around!