The lights are on
From world exclusive first looks to authoritative reviews, Game Informer is the cultural catalyst that drives dialogue about video gaming on a global scale. With its dynamic mix of hard-hitting news, unique perspectives on pending game releases, and engaging dialogue with industry insiders, the magazine shines a light on the creative outlets that drive the burgeoning interactive entertainment industry and, most importantly, advises gamers on where to spend their hard earned dollars. As professionals and consumers, we play the bad games so you don't have to.
One of the original game journalists, Andy McNamara started his career in 1991 writing reviews of NHL Hockey and Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis in the magazine's premiere issue. Named editor-in-chief in 1994, McNamara turned the quarterly newsletter into the number one monthly video game publication in the world, with over 7.6 Million subscribers and counting. From the humble days of running the ASCII version of Star Trek on a workplace server to years of joyously exploring Atari 2600, ColecoVision, and Intellivision games during the golden age of video games, Andy immersed himself in pixilated adventures right up to the industry crash of 1983. Between '83 and '85 video games fell off the face of the Earth, but Andy rekindled his love of interactive entertainment when the Nintendo Entertainment System launched the modern era of video games with classics like The Legend of Zelda and Metroid. Andy still attributes Metroid as the reason he is involved with video games today. One of the longest standing editors and journalists in the industry, sharing his passion for games with gamers around the world is the reason Andy gets out of bed in the morning. Sure, it's around noon, but those are gamer hours.
Andrew Reiner has been a staple in the pages of Game Informer since 1995, but his obsession with video games is linked to his earliest childhood memory - being picked up by his mother so that he could view an Asteroids coin-op at a Pizza Hut. From weekly trips to arcades to owning every system that hit the market since the Atari 2600, Andrew has dedicated his life to video games. He chose a career in game journalism over game creation mostly because journalists get a chance to play everything coming out, as opposed to a creator dedicating most days and nights to the same game for years on end. True to his belief, Andrew plays everything, which is evidenced in his ridiculously high Xbox 360 Gamerscore and PS3 trophy count. Andrew works side-by-side with editor-in-chief Andy McNamara each month, giving input on cover decisions and which games should be covered into the magazine. He also manages the editorial staff, and believes that all big game release dates should be national holidays.
Matt Bertz has been covering interactive entertainment since 2001, but his passion for video games started much earlier with the ancient standalone handheld title Mattel Football. His love for games was cemented with the discovery that Link could burn bushes to reveal hidden dungeons in The Legend of Zelda. Upon graduating high school, Matt turned his love for entertainment into a career, pursuing degrees in print journalism and creative writing from the University of St. Thomas and specializing in entertainment writing. His first break came in 2001, writing game reviews for PC Upgrade magazine. Prior to joining Game Informer in 2006, Matt served as editor-in-chief of Surge magazine, a short-lived gaming publication that won the 2004 Silver Eddie Award for best consumer entertainment magazine under 250,000 circulation. He also has contributed as a freelancer to Newsweek, AOL, Inked, Laptop, and Men's Fitness, among other publications.
Joe Juba joined the Game Informer staff in 2003, giving him the opportunity to combine his two favorite hobbies - gaming and writing - into a career. His parents say he was playing Hunt the Wumpus on a TI-99 before he could talk, but the original King's Quest and Final Fantasy titles sparked his true obsession with video games. Joe has a degree in English from St. Olaf College, as well as a lapsed teaching certification. Instead of educating the leaders of tomorrow, Joe opted to enter the world of gaming journalism - which is probably best for everyone involved.
Matt Miller has been writing and editing at Game Informer since 2004, when his love of writing and games were given a professional outlet, instead of being a distraction from the work he was supposed to be doing. He received a B.A. in 2002 from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where he studied writing, music, and psychology. His gaming background stretches back to the Atari 2600, and the early PC and console role-playing games solidified him into a lifelong gamer. Matt has great interest in the process of game creation and design, including a particular fascination with the crafting of interactive narrative. When not playing or writing about games, he can be found enmeshed in his various music interests, or planning an upcoming tabletop RPG session. Whenever possible, he retreats to his darkened lair, amid extensive collections of books, comics, and toys.
Brian’s infatuation with gaming started in the NES days, but he truly fell in love while holding an SNES controller. From that point forward, he was playing video games whenever he could, first branching over to the Genesis, and then to every subsequent console that achieved any amount of success. Prior to joining the Game Informer team, he contributed to outlets like IGN, Kotaku, Official Xbox Magazine, GamesRadar, Joystiq, and others on a freelance basis. He also co-founded VideoGameWriters.com, which he helped run for four years. Before he was writing about games, Brian got his start covering rock music for a small independent site. Because of this intersection of interests, he has spent more time and money on the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises than anybody he knows. Outside of Game Informer, Brian really is kind of a bore, spending much of his free time working out, cheering for the Orioles and Ravens, and coming up with dumb jokes on Twitter.
Since graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism, Daniel has covered interactive entertainment at a variety of outlets including Forbes.com. Growing up with Atari 2600 classics, Daniel fell in love with games during long sessions with the original Final Fantasy. As the years went by, Daniel’s interests shifted away from consoles and toward the PC, where multiplayer online and indie titles were prevalent. Since then, Daniel has gravitated toward MMORPGs, MOBA/ARTS, DCGs, strategy, and modern roguelikes. Daniel enjoys poker, West Highland White Terriers, and a good cat gif.
Kimberley Wallace can thank her gaming addiction to her two older brothers. When they'd go to school, she'd sneak in their room and set up the NES. An unfortunate side effect to her sneaky antics was that she learned to play holding the controller upside down. The impact was so great that she wasn't able to rectify her mistake until the PlayStation era. Since then, Kimberley's discovered a special passion for RPGs, especially through playing them with her late grandfather; some of her fondest memories are from playing Secret of Mana with him. A University of Iowa graduate with degrees in Journalism and English, Kimberley knew that combining games and writing was the only way to go in her career. Kimberley was previously a freelance writer and her work has been featured in Official Xbox Magazine, GamesRadar, PlayStation: The Official Magazine, and Joystiq. She revels in finding unique stories that deserve focus. She also strives to showcase the positive influence of games in lives, as she knows their power well, having helped in her pain management for a chronic illness. Besides her life revolving around cutscenes, she's also an avid hockey fan. Sorry, Minnesota - the Blackhawks will forever own her heart.
After graduating from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with degrees in journalism and criminal justice, Jeff Cork has worked in publishing for the past decade. Aside from toiling away as a copy editor at several daily newspapers, his career highlights include writing copy for subscription-renewal cards and editing mainframe-server magazines. He also wrote for a Dreamcast site just before the dot-com bubble burst. (The guy who ran it still owes him $720.) His obsession with gaming began way before 9/9/99, starting the first time he played Laser Blast for the Atari 2600. Since then, Jeff has spent countless hours using his thumbs to maneuver images on television screens. When he's not playing games, Jeff can be found chasing after his two sons or pumping his fist in the air because he doesn't have to edit mainframe-server magazines anymore.
Matt Kato has been a GI stalwart since 2000, starting out on the original Game Informer website. Kato's love of video games started with sports games, but he also enjoys everything from Metal Gear Solid to Vagrant Story. Like most people back in the day, his interest in games started with the Atari 2600 and NES, but he didn't partake of the next generation of consoles until his brother informed him of an officially licensed football game called Madden for Sega Genesis. Hired in part because Andy McNamara thought a four-year degree in Japanese meant he could speak the language fluently, Kato soon proved to be more talented at putting together the magazine's news section - something he learned from the late GI luminary Paul Anderson.
Games have always been a major part of Ben's entertainment diet. From playing Pac-Man forgeries on a Commodore 64 to scrounging for couch change so he could rent Double Dragon II for the 16th time, games have consumed more hours of his life than any other activity. After graduating with honors from the University of Colorado and receiving a degree in English with a creative writing emphasis, he combined his love for gaming and writing by pursuing a career in game journalism. Before joining Game Informer, Ben worked as in intern in the Avengers office at Marvel Comics, where he unsuccessfully tried convincing his bosses to let him write a Deadpool comic (he still has the script, Marvel).
While most staffers started with the Atari 2600, it was his dad's Bally Astrocade that introduced Jeff to the exciting world of video games. Obscure Atari rip-offs aside, his parents' refusal to buy him an NES ensured that some of Jeff's earliest gaming memories were social ones, at friends' homes and in arcades. When he successfully negotiated an end to the video game embargo in '91, it began a hobby that has since cost him most of his disposable income. While current-gen consoles have revived Jeff's love of social gaming, he also still plays the 8-bit classics he was denied as a kid. Degrees in English and Japanese from the University of Minnesota and a yearlong study program in Japan round out Jeff's educational background, and landed him an internship at Game Informer. As one of the new hires for 2.0, Jeff looks forward to having the money and an excuse to play all the coolest new games of tomorrow. ("It's research for work, I swear!")
Kyle Hilliard has been enjoying games since the SNES days, but it became a full on love affair after Link's seven year nap in Ocarina of Time. Since that point, nearly every pursuit either professional or casual has been in the interest of getting a job where he could force his opinions about video games onto unsuspecting readers. In high school and college, he convinced the school papers to let him write about video games. While shooting and editing video content for The Charleston City Paper during a college internship, he convinced them to let him write about video games. After graduating from the College of Charleston in 2009 with a Bachelors degree in Communication and a Minor in Film Studies, he accepted a job managing the websites of a number of local newspapers in South Carolina. He also convinced them to let him write about video games. After convincing many other websites to let him write about video games, he finally convinced Game Informer. At that point, Kyle packed up all his things and his very pregnant, very brilliant mathematician wife, moved to Minnesota, and started working his dream job. When he is not at work, or playing video games at home, or sleeping, Kyle spendstime with his wife (i.e. playing video games together) and makes funny sounds and faces at his baby daughter.
Elise Favis is known as the token Canadian in the Game Informer offices. With Minnesota’s frigid weather and strangely familiar love of maple syrup, she sometimes wonders if she ever left home at all. Her love for gaming started back in the SNES days, where she would blast through barrels in Donkey Kong Country with her brother. Not long after, she developed a passion for point and click adventure games, and basically anything Tim Schafer touches with his scraggly beard. Her interests have since expanded to RPGs such as Persona and Dragon Age. Character-driven stories, a touch of dating-sim mechanics, and turn-based gameplay are what she believes make up an ideal game.
Javy has been fascinated by games ever since his father brought home a PC with Warcraft and Hover! installed and plopped it down in front of him. A demo for Half-life spurred his interest in the medium to full-blown obsession, leading him across galaxies and beneath seas, letting him explore a myriad of interactive universes. Before joining Game Informer in 2015, he was a teacher and freelance writer who contributed to Playboy, Paste, Killscreen, Vice, and other publications. When he's not busy clacking away at a keyboard, he's usually playing a text adventure or watching The Wire.
Suriel's had the displeasure of owning a game he couldn't play three times: he won a copy of Banjo Kazooie before he had a Nintendo 64, he owned a copy of Super Smash Bros. Melee before he had a GameCube, and he had Crysis in his Steam account years before he had a computer that could run it. Aside from those unfortunate circumstances, Suriel's been able to experience a lot of what gaming's had to offer. He's owned consoles before they needed updates, almost gotten beaten up in arcades before they became an endangered species, broke into games writing back when it seemed like a cool thing to do, and gotten to see the independent scene evolve over the years. He's also played a lot of fighting games and Dota 2, and you'll probably never hear the end of it if you ask him about either.
Growing up in a haunted forest outside of a small Minnesotan town, Ben Hanson's first exposure to the world of gaming was through an old Apple II. With that hook firmly set, a similar love for video production took root through the creation of gaming-themed videos with friends. These passions led him to a degree in Media Studies from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. It was there that the great schism occurred: he began professionally producing videos while reading about/playing games in his spare time. He has produced videos for the Ordway Center and the University of Minnesota and spent two and a half years at a community television station called CTV North Suburbs where he won a Regional Emmy. His two great loves were finally reunited when he was hired on as Game Informer's video producer, and they lived happily ever after... or something like that.
Raised on a healthy diet of Nintendo's finest from the age of six, Wade has a deep passion for story-driven gaming. From countless Hylian dungeons and thousands of Pokemon battles to years of service in the UNSC, he became hooked on sprawling, immersive narratives. His dreams of game design were tragically cut short when in middle school he realized coding was about as interesting to him as an economics lecture from Ben Stein. Shortly after he began studying filmmaking with the intention of one day working in the video game industry. After graduating college in 2011 for film/video production, he produced video for freelance and the Guthrie Theater, and in 2014 joined the Game Informer team as a video editor.
Manon Hume has loved writing and gaming for as long as she can remember, and the two have forever been intertwined. As a child, she often wrote stories about adventures she and her brother had with their favorite video game characters: Sonic, Mario, and Spyro. Eventually (read: reluctantly), she grew up, but she never lost her passion. After a gap year spent studying French in Grenoble and interning at Steele Roberts Aotearoa Ltd in New Zealand, she began her studies at Oberlin College, where she was publicist for the ice hockey team and co-chair for the school’s Harry Potter Alliance. She graduated in 2016 with a degree in Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies, and honors in French. Though Sonic Adventure still has a special place in her heart, she now prefers games with rich narratives, creative mechanics, and a touch of humor. When not playing games (which is rare), she can be found dancing and singing off-key in the safety of her kitchen while baking cakes and other goodies.
When asked what he does for fun, Jordan Leendertsen has a hard time coming up with an answer that doesn’t have to do with video games. A traveler from the faraway land of Spokane, Washington, he is a mere pleb who came to the temple of Game Informer seeking valuable experience in the gaming industry. Jordan should be approached with caution if seen in the wild as he is constantly prepared to unleash a bevy of Silent Hill or Sonic the Hedgehog-related knowledge, most of which he regrets knowing so well. He enjoys all kinds of games, particularly those with rich and original narratives and world design. Most days he can be found grinding for Overwatch loot boxes or watching Apocalypse Now for the 100th time.
Zak Wojnar has been playing videogames for as long as he can remember, and writing for even longer. His world was changed when he discovered that he could make a living writing about games. After taking any online gig he could get in his late teens and college years, he moved to the big leagues with an internship and freelance gig at Men's Fitness and Muscle & Fitness. The joke was on them, however, since he wrote about neither muscle, nor fitness; instead, Zak made his bones writing game reviews and attending press events. Screen Rant ultimately proved to be a more natural fit for the pop-savvy writer, and the perfect stepping stone to his Game Informer internship. Zak's favorite game series include Metal Gear Solid, Max Payne, and Crash Bandicoot. He has played more Rock Band than you and anyone else you know. He can't help but have a soft spot in his heart for Duke Nukem Forever and can't wait to get his grubby paws on the long-awaited Syberia III. Outside of gaming, he somehow made time to play drums in the New York-based punk band, Glowing Eyed Friends.
Barnaby, aka 'Little B,' started at the dawn of the Xbox One/PS4 era and has contributed his many and varied skills on such issues as Far Cry 4, Mad Max, and more. From the early age of only a few months Barnaby showed true commitment to the role of Team Builder. He's so good, in fact, that he is only called in a few times a month. Some of his favorite games are playing fetch, patrolling for intruders, and tearing the squeakers out of toys and proudly displaying his achievements for the office to see (admittedly, his talents are unmatched). We are excited to see how Barnaby progresses under Andy McNamara's tutelage.
Ian Boudreau is a writer who has loved games since his grandmother gave him an Atari 2600 and a box of mostly bad games in 1986. After studying journalism (this was much later) at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, he joined the U.S. Army as a public affairs specialist and photographer, traveling to interesting places such as South Korea and Kentucky. Since then, he’s worked as a reporter covering crime, courts, education, and local politics. He’s also worked as a science writer for the EPA. Somewhere in the middle of all this, he returned to school to earn a master’s degree in political science at the University of Binghamton. Lately he’s been working as a freelancer for BitterEmpire and Gameranx, happy to be writing about the medium that’s brought him so much joy throughout his life.
Michael Leri is primarily interning at Game Informer to drive up the site’s ginger representation and secondarily to write about video games. His pale skin gives him an excuse to stay inside from that gross, bright thing in the sky and play games until he feels a slight pang of guilt. Slight. This all began on his seventh birthday when he received a copy of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and a PlayStation. Since then, he’s grown up a bit and expanded his tastes to a wide array of genres with a focus on third-person action games and stealth. Michael also graduated from San Francisco State University in 2016 with a journalism and cinema degree. He somehow got away with creating a bunch of videos and articles about video games for SFSU’s magazine, which reaffirmed his love for making video game...stuff.
Kevin Slackie plays video games and rides motorcycles, though usually not at the same time. He started playing video games with Street Fighter and Pokémon, before getting a history lesson from the NES and onward. Kevin’s taste in games has always been a little strange; he started played Dungeon Keeper at the age of six, which is probably to blame. Thanks to that love of niche, Kevin has written for Twinfinite, COIN-OP.TV, Gamasutra, and Zam. It’s been a crazy ride with even stranger stories. If you ever meet him, ask him about the time he tripped over Miyamoto.
Blake Hester is a Kentucky native. Though he’s played games his entire life, it wasn’t until 2013 that Blake began to write about the medium on a personal blog before making the jump to freelance in the summer of 2015. His work has been featured on sites such as Kill Screen, Paste Magazine, Playboy, Gaming Trend, and Polygon. Blake is currently a student at Jefferson Community and Technical College where he is pursuing a degree in humanities. He is also an unashamed Sonic the Hedgehog apologist and will back up the “Blue Dude with an Attitude” whenever the opportunity arises.
Haley MacLean grew up with games, but it wasn’t until the 2010 release of Red Dead Redemption that it became a full-on obsession. Once she realized the story, world, and gameplay games offered, it became a matter of finding a way to become involved in the industry in any way possible. With writing as another passion, gaming journalism was the perfect pairing of two personal loves. Throughout her time obtaining a journalism degree from the University of King’s College, she combed her hometown of Halifax, NS for every game related story she could find. Her favorite article of clothing is her Triforce earrings, and she has been embarrassed on numerous occasions when her phone (mistakenly, not on vibrate) loudly yells “hey, listen!” while receiving a text in a silent classroom auditorium, but she still refuses to change it.
AJ Moser knew video games were something special ever since picking up a Game Boy and Pokémon Gold. That set him down the path to a full blown obsession for games and a life-long passion for adventure. Combining that with his love for writing and creating, AJ got his start covering gaming news for VGW in 2013. Since then he has gone on to freelance previews, reviews, and features before arriving at Game Informer as an intern in Summer 2016. AJ was born in the great state of New Jersey and is a recent graduate of Michigan State University. Outside of gaming, his biggest loves are Star Wars, black coffee and indie rock.
When video intern Leo Vader met former editorial intern Joe Buchholz, they immediately wanted to collaborate. The project they came to develop was a talk show called Games Are Dumb And For Kids, and it was designed to combine everything they liked: video games, comedy, and storytelling. In a lot of ways, it was the culmination of everything Leo had worked on over the years; he made nonsensical stream-of-consciousness skits in high school, ads for small businesses with his friends, even a video game Let's Play and commentary channel. Making a living out of playing video games and creating videos is the ultimate dream, and he wants to take as many steps as possible in that direction. When he's not working diligently toward achieving his goals, he also enjoys riding his bike and being very handsome.
Joe Buchholz spent most of his childhood performing rituals to get his NES working. Retro games still feed Joe’s inner child as he writes about the ever-changing industry. As a youth he scattered game reviews all over the internet like the seven dragon balls, and later found a focus writing for his Game Informer blog in 2009. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Individualized Studies specifically tailored for video game writing. Around this time he created his own blog covering niche games called Greet The Rifts (an anagram of Street Fighter). His most recent collaborative project is Games Are Dumb And For Kids, a news show that’s kind of like The Colbert Report for video games. When he’s not playing games or creating content about them, he’s probably impersonating a boy band member on Twitter or making beats with circuit-bent Furby samples.
While being raised by parents who believed that video games would rot his brain, Connor Trinske discovered his ravenous obsession with the medium through his uncle. Connor was barely old enough to use a joystick when his uncle sat him down to play complex simulators like MechWarrior on a high-end PC. His addiction to games only grew after that, playing anything he could at arcades and friends’ houses whenever possible. Through a series of shady playground deals, Connor eventually became the owner of a secondhand Game Boy. Spurred on by games like Link’s Awakening and the Super Mario Land series, he started to seek out information on video games wherever it could be found. Now Connor spends his life pursuing his dream job in game journalism, having graduated from the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas. He’s been writing about games on blogs, school newspapers, his own gaming site and freelancing before coming to Game Informer. When he’s not writing about them, Connor can be found playing video games, controlling interactive entertainment media, and pushing buttons to make things happen on a screen.
Luke Walaszek attributes his discerning taste in video games mainly to the NES hooked up in his childhood bedroom and the two cartridges he had to play at the time: One was Super Mario Bros., and the other was Total Recall. Since then, he’s been on a quest to discover the difference between a good game and a not-so-good game. A third-year student at the University of Minnesota, Luke is currently pursuing a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Studies in Cinema and Media Culture. His favorite games include Yoshi’s Island, Metal Gear Solid 2 and The Secret of Monkey Island. He’s also a very active Magic: The Gathering player. When he’s not writing about or playing video games, Luke enjoys Hitchcock movies, sketch comedy and Chinese food.
Jon Gregory began his gaming career with a Game Boy and a copy of Pokemon: Red Version, which was chosen based on the sound, grade-school logic that was always picking his favorite color. He once had a Nintendo 64, but never made it through most of the important games – like Ocarina of Time, which he quit playing because the skeletons outside the first town scared him too much. Jon continued to game as he grew up, but it was the original Mass Effect that inspired him to start writing about them. Somehow he earned a spot as one of Game Informer’s original featured bloggers and eventually an internship. Oh and somewhere along the way he became friends with former GI Intern Liz Lanier and served as Assistant Copy Editor for the UNC Charlotte school paper, though exactly how or why any of this happened is a bit of a mystery to him.
Justin Mikos has been playing games all his life thanks to his older brother having a Super Nintendo and some of its best games like Super Metroid, A Link to the Past, Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger. His love of games was further cemented as he explored the vast 3D worlds of Super Mario 64. He never wavered from pursuing his dream of working in the video game industry, either writing about games or making them himself. At UC Irvine Justin worked with friends to create his own Metroidvania game (well a decent vertical slice of one anyway), but ultimately decided that his primary passion was writing about video games rather than creating them. Justin graduated with an English Major, wrote in his own column, “The Gamer’s Corner,” in UCI’s New University newspaper, and posted to his blog on gameinformer.com before becoming an intern at Game Informer. In addition to his great love of RPGs, fighting games and platformers, Justin is a huge anime fan starting with some of the early hits on Toonami (Yu Yu Hakusho!) and regularly watches modern shows each season while they air in Japan. Some of his all-time favorite anime include Madoka Magica and Nichijou.
Six-year-old Christian Belland found his new favorite hobby after his mother saw three minutes of Goldeneye 007 and told him he wasn’t allowed to play anymore. Set back but not defeated, Christian moved on to Super Mario 64, Super Smash Bros., and Banjo-Kazooie. It wasn’t long before he found his way into the lush worlds of Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts, and World of Warcraft. Christian went to film school, so he’s always looking at video games from a cinematic, story-driven perspective. The truth is that he’s just a straight sucker for any well-composed cutscene or character voiced by Troy Baker. He has recently enjoyed immersive masterpieces such as The Last of Us, Alien: Isolation, and Journey. Christian has been covering the video game industry for almost a year now for a number of independent websites. He’s from the east coast, and will never stop searching for a good cheesesteak in Minneapolis.
After spending most of his childhood breaking Spiderman action figures, Hershall Cook entered the world of gaming in search of a less physical pastime. He decided on video games after playing a borrowed copy of Twisted Metal on a borrowed PlayStation. His love of the medium grew to dangerous levels after the purchase of Super Smash Bros. Melee, a brawler in which he has invested more than five hundred hours. Since then Hershall has murdered thousands of darkspawn, traveled to alternate universes, and twice escaped from the clutches of a psychotic robot. Despite these accolades, his dad always wins at Mario Kart.
Alissa McAloon has been gaming since early childhood and has been writing nearly just as long, but it was only within the last few years she finally decided to combine the two. She’s lived nearly her entire life in South Dakota. The lack of actual excitement in her home state left her a lot of time to pour into video games. She’s a fan of classic platformers, little-known PS1 games, and pretty much anything with an immersive story. She can accurately say that playing Mass Effect changed her life. Alissa is currently only one class away from a degree in English for New Media and will no doubt be filling that last class with projects and papers about video games in some way. Until then, she’ll be working with Game Informer as a summer intern and hopefully paving the path to a long career in game journalism.
Joseph Knoop began his adventure with video games after spending a majority of his youth playing Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, culminating in being too frightened of Donkey Kong 64's giant killer tomatoes to ever finish the game. Stumbling upon an old copy of the Resident Evil Zero issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly at his mother's salon, he was exposed to the world of video game journalism for the first time. This inevitably doomed Joseph to think way too hard about how Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge deserves a sequel more than any other series. Joseph graduated from Ball State in Indiana with a dual degree in journalism and telecommunications and co-founded the student-led game journalism outlet BYTE. Since graduating, Joseph has freelanced for publications like PC Gamer and Playboy – for the articles, of course. Metal Gear Solid reigns supreme on Joseph's top games list, and you can bet if it's a stealth, horror, or indie game, he'll want to play it.
Parker Lemke's fascination with video games was set in motion when he first booted up The Oregon Trail 2nd Edition on an elementary school Macintosh. Branching into console gaming came later, and he still remembers the joy of discovering his first Mario game at a Target demo kiosk. Outside of games, Parker's adventures include graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2015 with Journalism and English degrees. During his schooldays, he wrote for Radio K, the Minnesota Daily, and the Star Tribune. Simultaneously, he honed his understanding of game development writing dialogue for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind modding project Tamriel Rebuilt. A voracious animation, graphic novel and movie buff, Parker grapples with balancing his many hobbies and spends far too much time browsing online forums related to them.
Marcus Stewart has three loves in his life: writing, video games, and professional wrestling. Unfortunately, he and WWE owner Vince McMahon couldn't come to terms on a contract, so he was stuck pursuing the first two as career options. Marcus enjoys a wide variety of gaming experiences from Mario to Metal Gear, Call of Duty to Final Fantasy. He even attended college for game design, but later realized he'd rather play games and babble about them incessantly than spend hours screwing up walking animations. He began his game journalism career writing game reviews on his favorite wrestling forum before launching his own video game blog. After honing his craft for a few years, Marcus was hired by a small gaming news site based in the UK. The content he produced there allowed him to land his dream internship at Game Informer, his preferred news outlet since childhood. Marcus' success in the industry thus far made up for the fact that he has never actually met or spoken to Vince McMahon.
Isaac Federspiel spent a lot of time watching other people play video games when he was young, since his brothers were older and stronger. He still managed to sneak in some time playing Tecmo Super Bowl on the Nintendo Entertainment System. He kept playing the NES until his brother bought a PlayStation 1, which wowed him with things like 3D graphics and sounds that didn’t sound like a malfunctioning microwave. He has since logged tons of hours in various virtual worlds. He started college at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2010 unsure of what he wanted to do, but eventually declared journalism as a major - with the very specific goal of writing about games for a living. His diploma will state that he is a bachelor of science when he graduates in the fall of 2014, so he will likely tell people that he is a chemist to sound impressive.
Cameron Koch's affinity for gaming began at a young age in Alabama, mashing buttons furiously on an NES controller and watching in confusion as his on screen avatar, Mario, refused to cooperate - probably because he was playing on the unconnected player two controller. Since then, Cameron’s grown and matured (a little), recently graduating from Western Kentucky University where he studied journalism and history. There he wrote and served as an editor of his college newspaper, the College Heights Herald, and was perhaps affectionately, perhaps not, referred to as “the video game guy” among friends and acquaintances who were always asking his opinion on various form of interactive entertainment. Cameron subscribed to four different gaming magazines in high school, and writing for a video game publication quickly became his dream job. He plays games of all types, though some of his favorites will always be Halo and the Legend of Zelda series. When he isn’t writing or gaming, Cameron is watching old Japanese Kaiju films that nobody cares about or stabbing people with swords at a fencing tournament.
Shin Hieftje’s time spent playing games has impacted his homework schedule and free time to an alarming degree over the course of his adolescence, so much so that he felt the only remedy would be to make a career out of his habit. With that goal in mind, he attended and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Language and Literature, and wrote video game reviews for his college newspaper. During his senior year, he went on a yearlong study abroad trip to Fukuoka, Japan, which not only was the best year of his life, but landed him with a Super Famicom and a dozen great games as well. His earliest memories of playing games include long Goldeneye and Super Smash Bros. sessions with childhood friends, along with exasperation from his parents when, during a family road trip out west, he was too fixated on Pokémon to appreciate the wild beauty of America. When he’s not playing games, Shin watches his beloved Detroit Pistons continuously underperform at basketball, thinks about ways to go to Japan again, and corrects people that his last name is pronounced “Hee-Fee-Ah” (and totally understands that it’s impossible to pronounce).
Someday, Jason Dafnis will get around to beating the final boss in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Until then, he’s writing anything he can about any games he can play. His love for video games (stemming from the first time he played Super Mario Bros. 3 with his twin brother) and his passion for writing (which developed… eh, kind of all over his childhood and teenage years) finally intersected just before college, when he and a friend started their own blog. Now that he’s out of college (“You got a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism with a minor in humanities!”), he wants to put his self-proclaimed “aptitude” to the test with a job in games journalism – right after he beats the final boss in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. TL;DR: normcore hipster, overthinker, Pikmin maniac, pretty dang good at Indiana Jones trivia. Hit him up on MySpace, Google+, MSN Messenger, and today’s other leading social media.
Sam Stewart has had a love of gaming magazines ever since he got a Nintendo Power subscription in the fourth grade. The only thing that excited him more than getting a new game was getting a new gaming magazine, and when the time came to expand his gaming expertise beyond Nintendo consoles he needed a magazine that covered it all. So began the era of Game Informer, which has helped guide his gaming decisions since his first days owning an Xbox 360 all the way up until the present. While Sam is still a Nintendo gamer at heart, he sometimes puts Mario and Zelda aside to play other great games like Metal Gear Solid, Dark Souls, and Uncharted. He also loves to play Dota 2 for hours on end, and drinks Mountain Dew Code Red unironically while doing so.
Much like how Mario never turns down Peach’s offers for cake, Matthew Stolpe can never say no to a good platformer or adventure game. He’s sunk more money into the classic Simpsons arcade game than he cares to admit, and his Nintendo portable never leaves his side when a new Pokémon title comes around. A normcore hipster through and through, he refuses to EV train his team because he can “be the very best” without crunching numbers. Matthew studied English with a focus in editing, writing and media at Florida State University, which is a fancy way of saying he has journalism and communications skills. Before coming to Game Informer, he was the senior editor and content manager for a small video games site, and a reporting intern for Florida Public Radio. In his spare time, Matthew likes to find new recipes to cook, tell himself he’ll get around to finishing that [book/article/pizza in the fridge], and endlessly browse Netflix for something to watch.
Dimitri Gedevanishvili's first video game was Sonic 3D Blast on the Sega Saturn. Amazingly, that didn't stray him away from gaming, as he hasn't skipped a day since. When he isn't arguing with his friends about whether Nathan Drake or Ezio is cooler (it's Drake, obviously), he attends Washington State University and studies computer science and journalism. Writing and video games are his two greatest passions, and he hopes one day to make a career out of them - interning at Game Informer probably won't hurt. Before Game Informer he served as a content contributor for two video game websites and has delivered many-a-pizza. He'll play most anything, but his favorite kinds of games are RPGs and action/adventure types, his favorite game of all-time being Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. In addition to gaming, he's an avid Magic: The Gathering fan and enjoys a good television show or two - or twenty.
Harry Mackin has been playing video games since his parents bought him a PlayStation for his fourth birthday. He started school a year later, and has struggled to understand which should be the priority ever since. Now that he has finished his schooling, graduating from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in English and Philosophy, he is happy to commit himself fully to his first passion. The games that made the biggest impact on Harry's video game development were Western and Japanese RPGs, including Final Fantasys 7 and 9, Oblivion, Mass Effect and Dragon Age, Persona 3, and Tales of Symphonia, among others. He also loves action, adventure, survival horror, and turn-based strategy games, has played an obscene amount of Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem, and considers Resident Evil 4 to be the second best video game ever made (after Ocarina of Time, of course). In the rare moments when he's not playing, reading, writing about, or ranting about video games, Harry enjoys reading, watching movies, playing guitar, writing weird poetry and fiction, and attempting to get unwitting victims to play the Game of Thrones board game or D&D with him.
Having grown up leveling the little purple buttons on his Game Boy to tiny nubs, Wayne Stainrook has been playing games ever since his stubby little digits could allow him to manipulate a controller. A lifelong Nintendo fan, Wayne credits games like Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as the most influential titles to his interest in gaming. A New Jersey native, Wayne is a graduate of Rutgers University – New Brunswick with a degree in journalism and media studies, where he also performed as the school mascot, the Scarlet Knight (Hoorah hoorah, Rutgers rah!). He also recently earned his master's in writing arts from Rowan University, where he worked on projects including a memoir on growing up with video games and a video analysis of the #ACNL Twitter hashtag. Wayne's work has appeared on Kotaku, and he previously worked as a copywriter for Burlington Coat Factory and as an intern for Snooth. Outside of games, Wayne has competed in the National YMCA Swimming and Diving Championship and prides himself on his infallible impressions of '90s cartoon characters.
Kayla Herrera is a recent graduate of Michigan Technological University with a degree in Communications and a minor in Journalism. They say the night she was born, her father was playing Altered Beast on Sega Genesis and the soothing sounds of Neff's “rise from your grave” and “welcome to your doom” became a part of her DNA. Kayla spent the early years of her childhood conquering Sonic the Hedgehog and Ghoul's N' Ghosts on Sega Genesis and moved on to the PlayStation 1, 2 and 3. Some of her favorite classics are the early Crash Bandicoot and Spyro series, Silent Hill series, SSX and Ridge Racer 4. She found love in horror games through the Silent Hill games and didn't gather the courage to play for herself until she spent hours watching her father play. After that, she spent most nights playing Silent Hill in the dark with the surround sound on as her sister watched. Hardwired into a life of gaming, Kayla has spent the entirety of her high school and college years writing for several different publications and looking for a gateway into the video game journalism world. To this day, Kayla has not beaten Ghouls N' Ghosts and vows that when she does, she is going to write an entire feature on the experience.
Louis Garcia graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a degree in journalism, and a minor in Japanese language and culture, with one thing in mind: writing about video games. When he didn't get his dream gig at Game Informer after college, he made the trek via car to Kodiak Island in Alaska - an island where he was once nipped by a sea lion when trying to take a photo of both it and his Servbot Bobble Budd. There he applied his trade at the island's newspaper, helped produce features and news for Fish Radio, and continued to write for sites such as Bitmob.com. A newspaper editor in Wisconsin, Louis hopes his passion for video games can turn into a career. At least, that's what he thinks his mother wanted when she put a Game Boy into his hands when he was five. When he's not gaming, Louis is playing soccer, watching soccer, drinking craft beer, and convincing people that Wisconsin's New Glarus Brewing Company is the best brewery in the States. As a Wisconsinite, he may be biased about that last point.
Matt Akers' earliest video game memories involve hunting pixelated ducks in his living room. Originally from northeast Arkansas, he grew up playing all sorts of games, but came to prefer the immersive solitude of adventure games and RPG's. Matt earned his B.A. in English from Duke University and his M.Ed. from Harvard University. For the last two years, he has written for a number of online publications with a particular focus on iOS game reviews and the emergent mobile gaming culture. Before coming to Game Informer, he worked for the digital production team at WGBH and coached a middle school debate team. When not interning in Minneapolis, he resides in Boston, MA where he tries his darnedest to combine his passions for education, gaming, and writing.
When Jim Reilly left Game Informer in 2012, the office lost one of its Dark Souls experts. Seeing great opportunity, Brian Albert landed an internship with the magazine in the summer of 2013 where he sought to learn the ropes of game journalism and keep the spirit of Lordran alive in Minneapolis. He recently graduated from the University of Iowa where he wrote for The Daily Iowan and studied journalism and creative writing. Brian has written about games for over a dozen publications, including IGN, GameSpot, Paste, MacLife, and the New York Post. When he's not co-hosting a video game radio show with his four best friends, he's probably giving his cats all sorts of well-deserved compliments.
Liz Lanier got her start writing in high school with the ultimate goal of becoming a video game journalist. While studying English and journalism at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she was hired on as the gaming beat at the Niner Times in the hopes to scrape together enough writing samples for a shot at a Game Informer internship. While her first loves are PS1 RPGs like Grandia and the Wild Arms series, she is a huge fan of action and adventure titles in the style of Uncharted and Tomb Raider, as well as anything by Rockstar Games. During her rare free time, Liz plans to take full advantage of the awesome excuse of "it's for my internship" to catch up on never played titles rather than induce rage by trying to play through Catherine on hard mode or, you know, socialize.
Isaac Perry's first experience with game rhetoric began by trying to convince his parents that video games were pretty cool and not - as he was sure they saw it - a big waste of time. He won, or they gave up, and he spent most of his youth stuck to a variety of screens. His earliest gaming memory is of playing Might and Magic 2 on the Sega Genesis. His older brothers introduced him to the role-playing game. He named his first character Star because he was a ninja and START was right there on the controller. Since then Isaac has developed adoration for all things RPG. He graduated with a B.A. from Penn State University and has been writing, travelling, and ordering take-out from Chinese restaurants across the country.
Katie Seville has been playing video games since the days of the Nintendo 64, which she received from her parents when her pining for the console became intolerably annoying. Unfortunately for them, the music of Yoshi's Story was just as irritating. Some years later, she was given a Game Boy Color and made it her constant companion. Titles like The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and Pokémon Red Version were always on hand. Katie graduated from Swarthmore College in 2012, where she majored in Biology and English Literature. After a frustrating year spent pursuing a career in biology, she opted to do what made her happiest instead. A passion for video games and a love of writing led Katie to apply for an internship at her favorite magazine, Game Informer. Katie's current gaming to-do list includes the Bioshock series, Mass Effect 3, Halo 4, and Pokémon Y.
When Mike Trinh's parents bought him his first console, a PlayStation, they neglected to buy him a game to go along with it. For months, he was forced to play a demo disk that came with the console. To this day, he remembers all of the secrets to a tiny part of the videogame adaption for A Bug's Life. Despite humble beginnings, he would eventually build a decent library (mostly) filled with FPSs and Western RPGs. Mike graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a journalism degree. While attending school, he wrote for many online and print publications, often focusing on local politics in the Massachusetts South Shore. After his internship, he will return to Boston and continue working to start a career in gaming news.
Ali Rapp got addicted to gaming when her parents bought her family an N64 for Christmas and made GoldenEye their family pastime. Then, after playing Ocarina of Time so many times she felt it necessary to get a Deku Scrub tattoo, Ali went on to graduate with honors from Augsburg College where she studied communication, international relations, and Japanese. In addition to her job as ? of Game Informer's intern team, Ali is also currently a Master's student in communication studies at the University of Minnesota, and has completed major research on femininity in The Legend of Zelda series, war culture in FPS games, and manga. She previously worked as a copy editor for Defunct Games and as a host of Augsburg College's radio show, You're a Nerd. In her non-existent spare time, Ali eats a lot of cheese and plays tag with her cat, Carl.
Jack Gardner grew up in a small barn in the suburbs of Minneapolis. When he was just a wee lad, he watched his brother play Super Mario Bros. on the NES, joining in as Luigi from time to time (only to learn the harsh realities of a world with bottomless pits). However, he did not fully realize his love of video games until after demolishing an inordinate number of castles to save a certain princess in Super Mario World for the SNES. Since then, he has been captivated by the adventure and experiences video games can convey. That same fascination urged him to pursue a degree in English from the University of Minnesota with the crazy idea of one day writing about video games. While in college, he began blogging on Game Informer Online both as a way of displaying his appreciation of video games and a means of honing his skills. Almost two years (and a B.A. in English) later, he now sits in the GI offices as an intern. In his free time Jack likes to write stories, read, watch terrible movies, play ultimate frisbee, and cook/bake.
Josh Straub will graduate and the end of his GI internship from Southwest Minnesota State University with a degree in creative writing and history and a concentration in world domination. His earliest gaming memories are of looking over his father's shoulder while he played Warcraft 2. While these experiences gave him a deep appreciation for the RTS genre, Josh seeks to play games across all genres and platforms due to his interest in game accessibility for the disabled. This interest stems from too many experiences in which he has hurled his controller across the room after finding out that a game was inaccessible, due to his Cerebral Palsy. Because of his wide exposure and interest in games, Josh appreciates the story of a game more than any other element, especially because the stories of the games of his childhood provided him with an invaluable sense of escape from his disability.
O'Dell Harmon is a Texas native who brings his "southern swag" to the offices of Game Informer. He began his love of gaming in 1994 with a Sega Genesis and copies of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Earthworm Jim. From that point on he never let anything stand in the way of his gaming, even if it meant leaving on his Super Nintendo and hiding it under a pillow because his parents didn't understand the concept of no check points. After high school, O'Dell attended Texas A&M University and received a degree in communication and journalism which helped him land a position at GI. O'Dell spends most of his gaming hours playing Pokémon, adventure games, RPGs and platformers. When he steps into the competitive arena you can find him dealing damage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Street Fighter 4, Halo, and bringing down would-be Pokémon masters. Even with all the countless hours he pours into gaming you can still find him on the dance floor or playing the xylophone.
Jordan LaPorte grew up in the relatively quiet town of Clarkston, Michigan. He started playing video games by the age of four on his parents' NES and from that point on video games were an important part of his life. As he grew older, Jordan became an expert at finding excuses to stay up and play video games later than he was supposed to, always assuring his parents that he had to wait for a checkpoint or an opportunity to save before he could turn off the system. Jordan always loved writing and playing video games, but it wasn't until his junior year of high school that he realized it would probably be pretty awesome to combine the two. Since then Jordan has been pursuing a career in video game journalism. He attended Central Michigan University with a major in online journalism and a minor in cinema studies, and he will be graduating once his internship at Game Informer is complete. Outside of video games, Jordan is also passionate about movies and hockey.
Mike Mahardy attended Oneonta College in New York and the University of Arkansas, where he majors in journalism with a minor in history. Originally a lacrosse player, the free time allotted due to a tailbone fracture allowed Mike to increase his already intense focus on video games. The relationship between his needs to play every game and complete every game has produced dilemmas in his social life more than once. Although he plays titles across every genre, shooters, survival horror, and strategy games draw the most attention from him. Between stints at local papers and editing sports stories at the Arkansas Traveler, Mike has written for Gaming Nexus and contributed to several independent sites. Being a connoisseur of rock and alternative music has led him to bands like The Gaslight Anthem, The Airborne Toxic Event, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. An intense dog lover, Mike someday hopes to have either an Irish Wolfhound or a Blue-Nosed Pitbull.