Game on

Knowing the difficulties gaming talents often face in the industry, Aiman wanted to share his expertise with them and so he branched out into talent management recently.
His first memories of gaming are still fresh in his mind.

THE first console Aiman Maulana owned was the original Sony PlayStation. He recalls, "Some of the games I remembered playing a lot was the Tekken series, Crash Bandicoot, Megaman 8, and Spyro the Dragon."

Gaming was a hobby, a dream to him. It never occurred to him that he would be making a living one day as the gaming editor of Pokde.net or that he would become the talent manager for young gamers eGG Network's Tashbunny, Keegan "Keegs" Tan from MBT, and YouTuber Amanda "HamletVA" Yow.

It wasn't easy getting there though. A three-month internship at a PR agency made him realise the PR life didn't suit him. Taking a great leap of faith, in 2015, he created The Assemblage, a gaming and tech news portal at a time when the Malaysian gaming industry was nearly non-existent.

While he gained many skills running the portal, the income wasn't enough to get by on which led to a three-month stint as a writer for an automotive trading platform. At this point, he had gained a little fame for his work on The Assemblage and he landed a gig as the editor of Gamehubs, a regional media outlet for all things gaming.

The Assemblage took a lot of energy and time and the 24-year-old was tired of running it all alone so he gave it up and the news portal was absorbed by Pokde.net where he is currently the gaming editor.

Just like the games he plays and reviews, his story is full of twists and turns but it isn't over yet.

You've worn multiple hats as an editor, a gaming journalist, a gamer, and the founder of your own gaming website. Which role was the most challenging and why was this so?

It would definitely have to be the founder role since I had to juggle everything by myself. I didn't have the funds to get a proper team for myself so I had to do content creation, website development, server management, video editing, and advertising all by myself.

I barely had time for myself but it was a good experience nonetheless as I managed to pick up quite a number of skills and contacts that I wouldn't have otherwise, and it made me much more competent and valuable in the job market.

Who are your heroes?

X-Play's Adam Sessler as he's the one who made me want to be a gaming journalist back when I was growing up. The late Satoru Iwata, as the amount of hard work he put in not only helped HAL Laboratories and Nintendo grow, but also helped the gaming industry grow. It was inspiring to see how one man could do so much and became such a notable figure in this world.

What misconceptions about gamers frustrate you the most?

The first misconception about gamers that I don't like is that gamers are an unsociable bunch. Every time I try to prove them wrong by showing myself as an example, it's always "I don't mean you …" There are a bunch of us who enjoy outdoor activities, work regular jobs, attend social events, and do stuff regular people do.

The other one is the belief that gamers are just wasting their lives away. To us, gaming is a form of entertainment just like watching movies or reading books. Some of us make money doing it while others are just playing games purely for entertainment. There's no harm in that.

What do you look for in a game?

The story. I want a game to be able to tell me a story that will either blow my mind, affect me emotionally, or just something to take my brain off from reality. Even if a game doesn't tell you the story directly, as long as there's some sort of lore behind the game that I can research on, I'm more than happy there.

Then comes the gameplay aspect. Whether it's combat mechanics, how you travel from place to place or anything that you have to do in the game. While others may disagree, I feel that story takes priority over gameplay. You could be chopping wood, hunting for treasure, or saving the damsel in distress but if they're not going to give me a good reason for it, it would just be another chore that I couldn't care about.