In the build up to our new issue, Fantasy, we get to know our latest group of writers, their wider work and what games they love, and of course their experiences of writing for Five out of Ten. Pledge to support our Patreon and get the new issue as soon as it’s released!
Phil Hartup is ‘a freelance writer who specialises in downplaying his achievements in biographies’, so we’ll play up his achievements in this intro: he’s written two fantastic features for us on the nature of time in gaming, and the “humble epic” Mount and Blade: Warband.
How did you get started as a writer?
I got started in writing about age four. Loved it. Would be about twenty years before anybody started paying me to do it, but it’s always been my thing.
What inspired you to write your features for Five out of Ten?
The Mount and Blade feature was inspired by a love for its intricate way of creating stories and characters by firing variables and interactions into each other. It’s like a fractal pattern but instead of some weird snowflake mess it produces something actually interesting. The time feature was inspired by those moments of existential dread that loom large in your 30’s (spoiler alert for younger readers) and thinking about time, how it is used and what we want from it.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I know two cures for writer’s block. First one I like to do is take a walk. Get some fresh air. Listen to some birdsong. Look at a cow. That kind of thing. Come back refreshed and raring to go. Second is just brute force it and expect to bin 90% of it in the first edit. Getting started is always the problem.
What’s your favourite game?
Witcher 3. It is a spectacular piece of work. Masterpiece. Stick it in a gallery.
What advice would you give to other aspiring video game writers?
Always Be Critical. Everything in a game is there for a reason. Everything is designed. As such everything can and should be open to being questioned.
Where can we find more of your work?
Here’s a good place to start.