Trevor reflects on why he wants to write about games and what the medium means to him.
I have played video games as far back as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is opening up the original Nintendo Entertainment System one Christmas morning and feeling overjoyed that I could finally play Super Mario Bros. and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Santa had also rented me quite a few games, including Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, and I wondered how he was able to without being pressed with endless questions.
As an adult, I realize it was my parents who had rented those games so I could get more enjoyment out of my new NES. Man, they had no idea what they were getting themselves into with that one.
The NES was the first console I owned, but it was far from the last. Whether I was playing Sonic & Knuckles on my Sega Genesis or WWF Attitude on my PlayStation, I was always seeking out games as a means of entertainment. Never did I think I would try to write about them or view them as a medium of expression, art, or something else entirely.
When I was younger, I didn’t really care what Sony’s financial situation was or if Peter Molyneux’s next game would be breaking the mold. The thing that turned me into something more than just another kid playing games was the original Xbox and a man by the name of John 117, more commonly known as Master Chief. That was when I went from just another fanboy to being consumed by a medium. That was a moment I would never come back from the same.
Master Chief made me care. Then we hugged, like men!
Halo: Combat Evolved was one of the first stepping stones to making me care about video games in a new way. It was a different and compelling experience. It was also what turned games into more of a social experience for me. After hours during high school, four of us played Halo through System Link multiplayer, and it was a blast. This was before Xbox Live, mind you, so players actually had to have friends to get the proper experience out of the game.
Around the same time I started my obsession with Halo, I also started to read Official Xbox Magazine (OXM), and I read that magazine for a long time. I would read it cover to cover and consume everything it had to offer. I was that kid who knew what games were coming out and what review scores they got. This encouraged me to try out new or different games in various genres. It led me to one of my favorite games of all time — one that helped cement a love for great storytelling. This is what introduced — or reintroduced, as I played a little bit of Baldur’s Gate on PC with some friends — BioWare into my mind as a driving force for telling great stories. I think you might know where I’m going with this one: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic blew my mind.
I was a Star Wars fan as a kid growing up, as I’m sure most of us were, but I had never delved into the expanded universe. BioWare did an excellent job of putting you through all the ups and downs of becoming a Jedi Master or a Sith Lord. This was just the beginning of my obsession with video games, and it gave me my escape from everyday life — an escape that would get me out of the house and also land me my dream job, or so I thought.
BioWare turned you into a Jedi.
Confession time, guys. I hung out at EB Games a lot during my first year of community college. When I say a lot, I mean every day. I was there constantly because I had nothing better to do with my time. A friend of mine worked there at the time, so I would go to hang out and chat with him while he was on his shift. It then turned into me going there to hang out when he wasn’t there, and I got to know the other guys who worked at the store. It came to a head one day when a customer was asking about Doom 3, and I told the guy all about it. That’s when the manager at the time said the magic words, “Trevor, do you want a job?” and my response was a resounding “yes!” — and that’s how I ended up at EB Games (turned GameStop) for six years of my life.
I met a lot of great people while working for that company, and most of the people at store level are good folks. One thing that I slowly but surely learned was that I was always the best when it came to product knowledge. I consumed game knowledge like it was oxygen, and I started to become a games journalism nerd. I knew who the writers were, which ones I liked, and who I followed when they jumped from place to place. In the GameStop realm, this meant I was always the go-to guy for information. This, unfortunately, is one of those skills that has died off at places like GameStop, where it has become all about the numbers and how many products you can sell to the customer. That’s ultimately what led to my moving on.
GameStop doesn’t need someone to be able to list off all the cool features that are on the back of the box; it needs people who are genuinely excited about games and want to tell you about them because they’re passionate.
The Gerstmann, who was a big catalyst in my love for video games.
Remember when I said I was a huge games journalism nerd? I still am, and I felt like I was on the front lines back when GameSpot ousted Jeff Gerstmann. What is now known as Gerstmann-gate was a big deal back in 2007. I had actually been a huge fan of Jeff, Ryan Davis, Brad Shoemaker, Rich Gallup, Alex Navarro, and Vinny Caravella back in the On The Spot and Hotspot days. So it was a natural thing for me to jump to Giant Bomb when it was formed and had risen like a phoenix from the ashes.
It’s still one of my favorite places to check out on a weekly basis, but it’s not the only place that I would go to. Early on, I got drawn into podcasts as they were starting to blow up. I am still a big fan of Joystiq. I would listen to the Joystiq podcast with Chris Grant, Ludwig Kietzmann, and Justin McElroy. where they would talk about games on a weekly basis. I also have to throw in a shout-out to the Xbox 360 Fancast, featuring Alexander Sliwinski, Richard Mitchell, and Dave Hinkle. These are the guys who helped me come to informed opinions about games, and theirs were opinions I respected. Did I always agree? No, but games journalism is subjective. It’s an opinion. Those opinions can help shape you, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide if you enjoy a game or not.
However, these are some of the journalists that led me to want to do exactly this: write. I was never much for writing back during my school years, probably because I was lazy and high school is kind of a joke. It always seems you look back on that time and regret not doing better than you did. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and I think that is true for a lot of people today. However, I now know what I want to do. At almost 27-years-old, I want to try to become a video game journalist.
What have I gotten myself into? A lot of hard work. Trying to get a foothold in the door isn’t easy. Games journalism is a very small community, and it’s not easy for someone to break out. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I want to put that hard work in. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of people around me who support everything I do. I’m grateful for that and for everyone who has helped me along the way. I can’t always promise that you’ll agree with my opinions, and you shouldn’t because, who the hell am I? I’m just a dude with a passion for something and wants to write about it. I’m just like you, and I’m nothing special. I just want to talk about games.
I also want to help promote games that maybe no one has heard of. There are a lot of good people in this industry, and hopefully with the interviews that we are doing on the site, it shows. These aren’t just people typing numbers and letters onto a screen to make money. They have a passion for this just like us and want to give you an enjoyable experience.
A lot of people forget that there are faces behind games. They’re so much more than entertainment now. Some games are just that, but some are artistic, some tell a great story, and some transport you to brand new worlds. So let’s talk about them and the people making them because their story is as interesting as the ones in their games.
What makes you passionate about the games industry? What games are you looking forward to? Is there one that you feel may have fallen through the cracks?