I feel fairly confident that I've mentioned my humble beginning in video games before on the site (potentially in one of my old auto-biographies). However, it's a story I enjoy telling and seeing as we're all looking to introduce (or in my case re-introduce) everyone on the site to the writing staff here at Shogun, I'll happily recant the tale once more for the benefit of those new to the site:
When I was a young lad, growing up in a small town, I encountered a new friend that introduced me to his Sega Master System while we were hanging out at his place. I don't recall the first game that we played, but over the course of the afternoon we went through titles like Bomber Raid, Road Rash, Adventure Island (Wonder Boy), and Cyborg Hunter.
Instantly I was an addict, I couldn't get enough of this brave new world of video games that I'd been introduced to... which seemed like a nuisance to the friend who'd introduced me. The whole afternoon he was offering suggestions for other things to do, but I just swapped games and said "well let me check this one out first!"
When the night wound down and I was on my way home my friend proposed a trade, seeing as he was (clearly) not as much of a fan of the video game system as I was: His Sega Master System (complete with two controllers and his entire collection of games) for a clock/radio/phone that I had in my bedroom.
The deal was struck and history was made.
Unfortunately, neither of our parents (a.k.a. the people that had actually fronted the money for the system and phone both) had agreed to the terms of their children. When my parents found out they were upset. When his Dad found out, he was upset.
The parents got together and talked about trading everything back, and they'd collected up the system and games that I'd set up already. On the other end, with my friend, I'm sure the scene was similar.
Long story short (by which I mean I will skip a couple of days' worth of whining and begging and harassing), we convinced our collective authority figures into letting us uphold the original bargain. I lost a phone in my room and gained my very first video game console. I played the unholy hell out of that thing and eventually even got my Dad into playing one of the games, Bomber Raid, with me.
We would compete for the high score and to see who could mark it furthest through the levels. My
dad was the first to make it to the last level, but I would end up being the first to see the final boss. Back and forth we went, writing scores up on a small whiteboard that stuck to the fridge via a magnet.
Ever since then I've been a gamer. I worked my first job to get a Sega Genesis after that, and have been in a line-up for every launch day since (right up to the Xbox One which I just had mailed to my house via the Microsoft Online Store).
Writing obviously came much, much later.
I was working at a call-center which was about to be shut down (we were given a two-month warning) and a friend of mine asked me at the time what my dream job would be. I brought up the fact that I've been gaming and talking about video games forever, offering friends opinions on the latest games and people started coming to me for recommendations (sort of like a video game sommelier). I figured something in that wheel-house would be a good fit, playing a plethora of games and then whittling them down to suggest what was good and what wasn't worth time.
Fate being in my favour, it seemed, he happened to have a friend of his that was just in the process of starting up a gaming website. I'd written a couple of times for a personal blog, or just on social media... but had absolutely no "professional" experience. The idea of joining a website and getting my name and thoughts out there was exciting. I was given an email and shot off my introduction that evening.
The owner of the site and I went back and forth with a couple of e-mails, before he asked me to join. I remember, to this day, the quote that won me over: "Well your e-mails are structured a lot better than some of the articles we're getting right now, so I'm sold."
Corey Rollins was the editor I was writing to and the site I'd be joining was Shogun Gamer. Obviously it was much different then, things have changed a lot over the years... but Shogun will always feel like my home now and Corey remains to this day one of my best friends and an inspiration for advancement in the industry.
I could spend all day reminiscing about the journey that we've had, the friends who have joined us and moved on, the experience of my first convention, then the first E3 in contrast, our successes, our failures, etc. etc. Instead, let's just jump to where we are now:
These days I write professionally for a number of different sites, covering everything from pop culture and music to, of course, gaming. My home base is, and always will be, Shogun Gamer, where I act as the Editor-in-Chief. We've collected an awesome staff of people who are, first and foremost, passionate gamers that have come to do as I did all those years ago: Share their expertise and passion of the gaming industry with everyone they can online.
Gaming-wise, I continue to be someone that shows up for every launch he can (though online purchasing is becoming more and more attractive). The bulk of my game-time these days is probably spent on my Xbox One. It was the first new console I bought in the current generation, chiefly because I was a fan of the Xbox 360, secondarily because I believe the Xbox (360/One) controller is one of the best of all time, and thirdly because I believe the online structure has been traditionally the best (though I will readily admit that Playstation Network is catching up fast).
By no means am I exclusive, though. My PC is a gaming machine, I own virtually every console from that original Master System straight up to the current generation hardware and will even play mobile game on occasion (mostly during travel, though I do have a couple of 'freemium' games that I do daily check-ins with like Bejewelled Blitz, Angry Birds: Transformers, and Unlimited Spider-man).
Hopefully that will give you a "brief" look at my history as both writer and gamer. Of course, if there are any questions about either I readily encourage conversation on the site and direct communication. Hit me up at any time with any burning questions you may have now or down the line: