When and how did you first start playing video games?
I have my uncle to thank for getting me into video games at an early age. He's also to thank for my love of the horror genre, both in games and movies. I was definitely too young to be playing Resident Evil back then, but that didn't stop me. My uncle would take me for a walk around the big cemetery opposite their house and tell me lots of creepy ghost stories until he got bored or I got tired (which was rarely).
I used to think he was a creative mastermind with all of the plots he thought up. However, as I got older and started watching more movies I realized he was actually just telling me the plots of horror movies from the 70s and 80s! I didn't mind though. I think an important part of growing up is realizing your heroes are human.
After the cemetery, we'd head back and play Resident Evil. I must have been 9 or 10 years old, I guess. Although I was definitely too young to be playing such violent and gory games, I will argue that with the graphics back then the violence was very cartoonish. I also played tons of Crash, Spyro, and Gex around that time as well as Super Mario on the N64.
What’s your favorite video game? How long have you been playing, what keeps you playing?
This is a tough one! I'll probably have to go with World of Warcraft. I've had an on-and-off-again relationship with WoW. I loved the game back during the Wrath of The Lich King expansion but lost interest during the Cataclysm expansion where some major changes took place.
I think part of the reason I loved the game so much was that I played it during a very happy and carefree time in my life. I was 16-18 years old and had no real responsibilities. I could just log on after school and immerse myself in this fantasy world with my friends.
Due to the regular patch updates, you were never 'done' with the game and I loved that. I stopped playing WoW in Cataclysm but I've been playing Classic WoW since it's release in August 2019 and it's been great so far. It's the social aspect of the game that keeps me playing. Gaming just feels richer when you play with other people and it means no two experiences are the same, even when you're running content you've already completed.
If you could pick any other game besides WoW to be your main game, what would it be?
When I'm not playing WoW, I tend to play single-player heavily story-driven games. This may sound a little contradictory. I said it was the social/multiplayer aspect of WoW that keeps me playing, and now I'm saying that all my other favorite games lack that quality. I guess I just need either a very strong story or a very strong community to love a game. I just want to feel completely immersed.
The Last of Us and Horizon Zero Dawn are probably my favorite games after WoW. I lost so much time immersed in those games. I think picking your favorite games is so tricky because it forces you to analyze what really makes a game great. Those two games had the greatest impact on me in terms of immersion, emotional response, and character investment - I felt like I was the character.
However, they don't have the same replayability for me as other games. You can only really be awestruck once! That's why in terms of hours played, I definitely spend more time playing player-led content like sandbox games or PvP driven games. For those genres, I'd say my favorites are Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto V, and CoD.
Would you ever switch platforms if presented with the opportunity?
Since my favorite console games are Playstation exclusives, I'd never switch to Xbox, but I wouldn't be opposed to also getting an Xbox if the need arose. To be honest, I do prefer the user interface on the Xbox.
I actually play WoW on my MacBook which avid PC gamers would probably consider a cardinal sin. I'm not opposed to switching, but it works well enough for my gaming needs plus all the other activities I use my MacBook for.
More games than ever are now available on macOS, but we're still restricted in what we can play. I've been flirting with the idea of building a gaming PC for a while now, but the upfront cost remains a sticking point. As a compromise, I run Boot Camp on my MacBook to play any Windows-only games. It works, but it's not ideal!
Where do you go to learn more about what you do?
I'm not a professional gamer but a game writer. So for me, I use a range of sources for my research. I generally try to keep informed on gaming news or commentary by watching YouTube channels like BellularGaming/Bellular News, Inside Gaming, NakeyJakey, Nerd Slayer. I also read GamesRadar+, LatestGamePlay, Game Informer, GameSpot, Destructoid. I use YouTube or Metacritic user reviews to get a good idea of how the community feels about a game. And of course, I try to play the games myself where possible or when I intend to write an opinion piece.
For me, It's all about getting a broad perspective on an issue from several sources. I would never jump straight into writing about a game after reading one article, watching one video, or playing for one hour. In my opinion, my role is to report on the current reality of a situation, and do that so that I need to have a deep and varied understanding of the games I write about.
Over the years there are bound to be things that don’t go the way you had hoped. If you don’t mind sharing, what has been your biggest or most memorable failure or learning experience in your path as an online personality?
This isn't related to gaming, but it was an important lesson regardless. I wrote an opinion piece on a horror movie I loved where I think I made some poor comparisons or sweeping statements that weren't based on fact. Sometimes our passion can cloud our ability to be objective. I received a few negative comments on the article and swiftly deleted it. I realized that I was too attached to the topic and to the article. You see, I was quite proud of it initially. I put a lot of effort into it. I thought it was well crafted, well-paced, and concise, while still having 'flair'.
It's fine to be proud of your work, but being too attached to your work can seriously cloud your judgment. Not everyone who disagrees with you is wrong or uneducated and sometimes you need to step back and consider whether you messed up. I now try to be aggressively objective in all of my work because very few things are black and white.
What’s your favorite peripheral?
Probably headsets. They help you immerse yourself in the game and take you out of the room. Games for me are all about escapism so anything that furthers my ability to escape is a winner.