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Gerren Fisher has spent time off and on writing or producing programming content examining video games and video game culture since 2006. He’s had work featured at GameBeat, various part of the Involved Fans Network, and Game Developer Magazine. He’s currently running a Youtube channel with video game content branded Open World as well as help broadcast Central Texas high school and college sports for K-MAC Sports.

Location:Austin, TX

stories by Gerren Fisher

An Interview With Phil Spencer: Highlights from the SXSW Gaming Expo 2014

Microsoft Game Studio’s Corporate Vice President sat down with Geoff Keighley of Spike TV for a one-on-one panel for the South by Southwest Gaming Expo, Sunday March 9th at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. During the session, Spencer gets candid about missteps in the pre-launch marketing of the Xbox One, unhealthy fan attitudes in the console wars, and possibly taking for granted some of the early Xbox titles gamers want to see revisited. In addition, he reflects on the early process of building the original Xbox library, the impact of the free-to-play games market, and is pressed by Keighley on the lack titles showing the power and value of Kinect.

(Much Delayed) SXSW Screenburn Arcade Journal: Playstation Loungin’

Half a country away from the droves of gamers that descended upon PAX East in Boston were another set of geeks flooding downtown Austin for South by Southwest. Gaming has become a constantly growing presence and effort from the Screenburn portion of SXSW Interactive and 2011's showing has been one of bigger showings with more game companies setting up playing demos and even Sony renting out an entire club to host a Playstation lounge showing off titles such as SOCOM 4, Resistance 3, PixelJunk Shooter, MLB: The Show 11 and their 3D tech to festival attendees.

Decade Diary Part 3: SOCOM and My Shooter Enlistment

I came late to the military shooter party. Truthfully, guns and fatigues have never really been my choice outfitting for gaming experiences. I actually upon further thought can't think of very many games with guns I grew up playing. There was spread gunning through Contra, holy water pistoling the undead in Zombies Ate My Neighbors, being weirded the heck out by the original Parasite Eve (PE2 lost me very quickly), and getting to the chopper in the EA Strike games (Desert, Jungle, Urban, Nuclear and Soviet). I didn't even touch a first-person shooter I enjoyed before Black last generation.

Growing With Vivi: How Final Fantasy 9 Made a Difference in My Life

I'm a huge fan of the Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy 7 was my first foray into the series and my favorite setting. I also believe that the sixth installment is the best game overall. However, despite all the affection I have for these titles — and the fact that I consider them to be better games — none of them affected me more than Final Fantasy 9. The reason was simple: it had a supporting character I could relate to more than any of the series' main protagonists.

Profile: Pocketwatch Games’ Andy Schatz and Mapping the Road to Monaco

The road to creating the award-winning, heist-themed indie game Monaco has been an eventful journey for Pocketwatch Games founder Andy Schatz. He came up with the idea for the 2010 Independent Games Festival grand-prize winner eight years ago, while he was doing contract work for Electronic Arts. At the time, no one was interested in picking up the game, so he put it on hold while burning himself out on development projects for other companies.

The Fantastic Four: Parts 3 & 4 Combined (And A Little Late)

Been a strange week holding off the wrap-up of my look-in at Fantastic Arcade. Things just were uncommonly busy over the weekend, had medical issues Monday, and then Tuesday morning became one of many people wrapped up and shaken up by a national news story on the University of Texas campus here in Ausitn. Still shaking that off.  But I wanted to finally finished and get out what was going into the final two days of my Fantastic Four series. As such here's a double-shot as I line up my final eight short thoughts on event, starting with one very much reshaped by events on the very campus I'm writing from at this moment.

The Fantastic Four: Fantastic Arcade Day 1

xxxxxfaThe first day of the first ever Fantastic Fest Fantastic Arcade has been something of a interesting ride. I’m again basically flying solo covering an industry event in Austin doing some cross-platform coverage for The Game Reviews, XBLA Fans and (surprisingly) Yahoo! Associated Content. Being I haven’t shown my family the love since July, I’d figured I’d toss some of I didn’t get around to during South by Southwest and present four of my personal takeaways in short form each day of the conference.

Hero Worship Part 2: At The Altar of Self

Gamespot's All-Time Greatest Video Game Hero as voted by the Gamespot readership last year Gordon Freeman never quite sat right with me. Personally, I have an inability to see Freeman as anything more than a camera and mechanic. Valve does a great job creating a world around him and giving creating a pretty rich backstory through the interactions of others with him but he's still in essence a soulless puppet. Giving biography doesn't necessarily give character or personality. Like many characters in first person games, he's as much a camera with weapons as a character with any real life for all the things Valve does great in that game.

In Search of a Purpose

I tend not to get very personal with anything in private, let alone in public. Nothing more telling of that than the fact it took me nearly three months to write this. I'm not opening up with this experience with any degree of comfort. I did want to make it clear from the opening what I am doing and what I'm not attempting to do. This is a personal experience and thoughts relay during said experience and the conclusions drawn are specifically my own. If you take issue with any, feel free to do so and voice it, but the purpose of telling the story isn't to persuade someone to a side of an issue so much as relay the experience of a person that ran from tackling an experience important to him for likely the wrong reasons. I'm still not sure. I do hope that my story does inspire people to think about the idea of purpose in the things we do.

Taking The Plunge: Led to Mob Rule

The decision on the subject of my first article – determining the best process of handing out video game awards – I don't find a very interesting story to tell. I find that boringly self-explanatory. I got modest traffic for what I typically get – which apparently is the equivalent of being non-existence around here after reading Andrew Hiscock's "Better Living Through Data Mining" piece – and one comment. It wasn't very original. As such, I'll stick to sharing what brought me here.

Grow an iSkin Already, Geeks

Editor's note: President Obama drew some flack for his recent comments about the overuse of information and entertainment devices. But take a close look at his words, Gerren says, and you'll see that he was preaching responsibility, not abstinence. Gerren also says you'll notice something else: That tech folk tend to overact to anything that's not a validation of their beliefs and gadgets. Do you agree? -Jason

What Are You So Afraid of?

Editor's note: I've never been afraid while playing a game. I've felt tension, sure, and some creepy-crawlies certainly startled me over the years. But no game has instilled fear in me. Gerren must be fearless — he even takes a shot at Shoe! Gerren asks the community what scares them in games. -Jason

The Fall of Japanese Gaming Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

It's not the first I've heard the sentiment. I've heard many a games journalist in 2009 complain they just weren't into Japanese games anymore. That they were more of same. That every JRPG  and anything else from Japan seemed like the same thing they played last generation. Of course, many of the same critics proclaim their love for shooters or sports games that don't change drastically from what they loved in the previous games. Usually I just leave it alone. People tend to gloss over the flaws in what they love and exaggerate flaws in what they don't. The psychology makes sense; Sigmund Freud asserts people commonly project what they don't like about themselves onto as a defense mechanism. Fans often extend that projection onto musicians, movies, sports teams, and other things in which they fault things in what they aren't fans of while glossing over the same mistakes in what they're invested in. There's a certain point after studying fan culture where I've stopped getting worked up over it, roll my eyes and move on.

Hero Worship: Part 1

As typical, I spent a good portion of the week listening, if not watching, Colin Cowherd's ESPN Radio show The Herd. I'm pretty fond of Cowherd as generally attempts to bring a perspective to sports that doesn't treat sports as if there's not a world going on outside of the sports world. It's much of the reason I enjoy Stephen A. Smith even if one of my best friends that found his giving the sports world a context within the bigger picture of the world instead of allowing it to just be an escape. It's something I often wish I saw more in games journalism without the prodding of controversy.

Video Game Awards – Determining the Process

Sifting through another list of press releases and ran into one for the upcoming Golden Joystick Awards. I checked out the site and saw something I'm general not used to seeing, at least with most of the awards I've followed in American media: Short-List, or write in voting, it would seem solely from the fans. Generally whenever I see fans allowed to vote most awards in this light, the nominees are pretty much predetermined. It's "Here's who we deem worthy, now choose from that." What I consider the big three (at least in the US); IGN, 1UP, and Gamespot, will often do their own editor awards and offered up a nominee for fan voting. Then of course there are the industry awards which are generally voting on by developers, journalists or some combination of both.