I'll never forget the first time I got zapped into a pile of ash. It happened without warning. A puff of smoke and an ominous chiptune melody were the only prelude to my death. That evil, old goat of a wizard Manannan appeared as I prepared to crack open his secret lair, thick, black robes rustling as he spewed an invisible cascade of death across my disposable servant's body.
King's Quest III: To Heir is Human wasn't the first video game I ever played, but it was the earliest scrap of kindling fueling what has grown into the grand conflagration of my fiery passion for interactive entertainment. I didn't actually beat the thing — or even escape Llewdor! — until many years later, but I must have spent hours throwing poor Gwydion's unfortunate carcass into deadly circumstance after deadly circumstance, only to see him die again and again. Game consoles more complex than the Atari 2600 were forbidden in my childhood home, and so it was to the early MS-DOS and Windows games that I turned for my interactive education. Repeated failures in KQ3 never got old, but they eventually gave way to repeated failures in newer games. Maniac Mansion. SimCity. Lemmings. I was learning. Daily lessons at home were supplemented by interactive extracurriculars at the local Nathan's game room. Friends helped fill out the rest, with many an afternoon hangout consisting of face time with Mario and Link.
I've filled many different roles over the course of my post-high school professional career. I've been through school, then been through school again, then been through school again. Spent time fiddling with knobs and dials in the endless pursuit of the perfect mix. Frozen my ass off on New York City street corners hustling glossy, postcard-sized flyers into the hands of groove-loving hippies. I've hocked CDs for pennies to nitwits and I've hocked my dignity for withheld pennies to spoiled man-children. I'll always remember the amazing people and places I've become acquainted with, and I'll never forget the ones that wronged me. Through all of it, the one constant has been the games.
Whether it was packing the wonderfully portable GameCube into my travel bag, scrimping and saving for an ill-fated Game Gear purchase, or gazing longingly at my days-early copy of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City through a long, excruciating day of work, I've always managed to make time in my life for interactive diversions. Everything crystallized in 2006, when Chris Radtke handed me a stack of games and my first paid review assignments for UGO.com along with them. Russ Frushtick became my editor, friend, and sage-like source of wisdom not long after that. I still gabbed on at the time about the exciting life that I had only recently left behind, but I knew deep down that I had unexpectedly fallen in with my first love. Video games had become my trade.
The past seven years have been the most professionally and personally rewarding of my life. I've grabbed hold of this rare opportunity to spend my days writing and thinking (and playing, most definitely playing) video games and run with it to the best of my ever-developing abilities. I'm not too humble to admit to a bit of talent, but I owe just as much to my collective of supremely generous colleagues and friends as well as a lucky break or ten (to the power of 10). You can find my work scattered far and wide across the Internet and the occasional print mag, including (but not limited to): G4, Digital Trends, Joystiq, Rolling Stone, Official Xbox Magazine, MTV, and plenty of others.
Now here you are, in this dark, little corner of the Internet that I've carved out for myself. Stay for a bit and talk some games with me. I promise not to zap you into oblivion.