I was born the same year as the Legend of Zelda franchise, and I “played” the first one (along with Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt) on my dad’s lap not too long afterward. Eventually, I followed the Final Fantasy franchise onto PlayStation, and (God help me) I followed the Legend of Zeldafranchise onto Phillips CD-i.
But even back in the day, when I considered myself a Nintendo partisan—ask to see my collection of GameBoys sometime—I found it impossible to stay away from my trusty PC, losing hours to Dungeon Master and whatever else the computer wizard up the street would lend me, enjoying the golden era of adventure games (The Neverhood more or less changed my life) and thinking about game design for the first time by messing around with the level editor in Worms 2.
I met some of my closest friends because of Super Smash Bros. and got to know because of Phantasy Star Online. When I drifted away from gaming during my first two years of college, my best friend brought me back into the fold by installing Steam on my laptop (which was by no means a gaming rig) and sitting me down to play Portal. A year and a half later, I found myself writing my M.A. thesis, which was about video games, and which had a long and detailed section on Chell and GLaDOS.
So video games are kind of important to me, is what I’m saying here.
- My own little Minecraft server. Like any good Zelda nerd, I did build a lair behind that waterfall.
Shortly after I learned about Portal, I learned about World of Goo—and it became clear that, while I’d been away, something new had happened: indie games. Games were coming into their own, and like film before them, they were being forced to do so by the insane creativity of tiny independent production teams. Two guys had made World of Goo. Two guys had (mostly) made Braid. One guy had made Cave Story. And now two guys were working on a batshit reinvention of my beloved Mario, called Super Meat Boy.
It had been true for years that you could make music in your living room (and I’d been doing so since high school), but now you could make games, those realer-than-reality digital experiences that, when I was a kid, had seemed to materialize exclusively from the minds of geniuses and the hallowed halls of gigantic, all-powerful companies. Not so. Not anymore, anyway.
A few degrees and a few jobs later, I’m currently working on my first indie game, with one foot in design and the rest of me in sound. When I’m not monkeying around with games, I’m a software trainer, an art gallery curator, and a freelance writer—having done some work for The Onion A.V. Club and about a dozen other online publications, including the original incarnation of The Kartel. I live with my wonderfully geeky wife (who can kick my ass at both Rock Band and Mario Kart) and our only-somewhat-geeky dog (who hates it when I get too into The Binding of Isaac or Spelunky, which I do pretty often).
So there’s me getting a little mushy. I think we can do that from time to time, in between the pwning.