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.
Matt Helgeson has been covering interactive entertainment since 1999, when he joined Game Informer as an unpaid intern. A lifelong interest in games, culture, music, and writing lead him to the University of Minnesota, where he earned a degree in journalism/mass communication. During his senior year, his internship at Game Informer led to a full-time position centered largely on posting news stories on the magazine's website. Since then, he has traveled the world covering all aspects of video games and game culture, writing cover stories, features, reviews, and previews. He has also written for Nick Magazine, neumu.net, and the Twin Cities music publication TEVS. Matt currently co-hosts the talk radio show Video Games Weekly on KFAN AM in Minneapolis.
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.
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.
Since 2003, Adam Biessener has handled Game Informer's PC gaming coverage responsibilities. Adam fell in love with Rogue and Wizardry at an early age, progressing through classic series' like Might & Magic, Civilization, and Ultima. By the time he applied to GI, consoles started playing a big part in Adam's gaming habits as well. These days, you can find him pouring his time and attention into titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, World of Warcraft, Disgaea, Rock Band, and everything in between – while still somehow fitting Civilization in whenever possible.
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.
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!")
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.
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).
A graduate of the University of Kansas, Dan Ryckert has been an avid gamer ever since his first memory - receiving an NES for his fourth birthday. Since then, he's excelled in countless displays of nerdery. He convinced his third grade classmates to put money into a Mortal Kombat tournament pool that he hosted and subsequently won (a feat he'd repeat in the college dorms with Soul Calibur). Later, he won $50 in a contest to see who could beat Link to the Past the fastest in one sitting, slaying Ganon when his opponent was only two dungeons into the Dark World. In his basement, he recreated the entire Assault event from American Gladiators using Nerf guns, pitchback nets, pillows, and a dartboard. At a friend's birthday party in elementary school, he wrote and acted in a Mortal Kombat play that was performed in front of his friend's parents. Tragically, the play was cut short when he injured himself while doing a flip after getting hit by Johnny Cage's "fireball" (represented by a Koosh ball). When he's not writing about or playing videogames, he's most likely listening to Warren Zevon, drinking Milwaukee's Best, or watching old Norm Macdonald talk show appearances. He currently plans on utilizing the extensive Game Informer vault to achieve a higher Gamerscore than Reiner.
Tim's gaming obsession began when his older brother became bored with his Atari 2600. His Sonic the Hedgehog skills were second to none at a young age, but that never stopped him for pining after games on other consoles, like Mega Man for the NES. He thus vowed to own every console and play the gamut of games as soon as humanly possible. His desire to play everything is in direct conflict with his drive to complete every game he plays, successfully creating a time-sucking paradox. Upon graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2008 with a sociology degree, Tim pursued a career in the gaming subculture, writing for a grassroots gaming blog and attending multiple gaming conventions. That was but a prelude to his internship at Game Informer in 2009, which ultimately landed him a position working for the company as it prepared for metamorphosis. In his free time, Tim enjoys playing even more video games and preparing for the zombie apocalypse.
Bryan Vore's love of gaming began one Christmas morning long ago when he received a NES bundled with Super Mario Bros. from his parents. Many thumb blisters later, he graduated from the University of Minnesota with degrees in journalism and studies in cinema and media culture. Fresh out of school, Bryan joined Game Informer as an intern in 2004 and was eventually hired to perform odd jobs for the advertising department. He made the jump to editorial a year later, writing for Game Informer Online and then moving over to the magazine back when the distinction between departments was more apparent.
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.
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.
Jason Oestreicher joined the Game Informer team in late 2011 to help produce video content. He brings with him a great love of the video game industry and the creation of media that showcases it. His history as a gamer dates back to his first Atari 2600 and is a long-time and avid fan of fighting games and the community surrounding it. When he was 18, he took a trip to Sunnyvale, CA to take in the sights at CAPCOM (although they wouldn't let him in the door) and experience the competition of top Street Fighter players at the local arcades. He left without a shred of dignity after countless losses (he never said he was GOOD). The trip did help cement his belief that gaming was a way of life and that he needed to immerse himself in it in some, way, shape, or form. Originally a programmer, then a web designer, he eventually found that his passion was in video and audio production. It didn't pay the bills, but Jason has been doing video editing, live streaming, and podcasting on the side for many years with the hopes of one day finding a ludicrous position that would pay him to do it. Game Informer stepped up.
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.
It's not often in life that someone gets to not only make a change in careers, but also land his dream job, but that's what happened to Mike Futter. After leaving a life of nonprofit fundraising and grantmaking behind, Mike refocused his writing background and business experience into his true passion: video games. His love of the medium began when his parents brought home a TI-99/4A home computer (even if they did require half an hour with an educational cartridge before playing Alpine, Parsec or Hunt the Wumpus). Despite his parents' reluctance, a Nintendo Entertainment System made its way into the home during the holidays of 1985. Classic Capcom titles (especially Mega Man 2 and Duck Tales) became obsessions, Zelda was rescued time and again, and despite the madness they induced, those dam bombs were defused more than once. Decades later, Mike is finally where he belongs, writing about games from his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his amazingly patient wife and two wonderful children.
For six years Nick served as Game Informer's media editor, helping to design and relaunch Gameinformer.com. He also contributed regularly to the magazine, which included writing the monthly Gear section and taking on photography duties for the magazine and website. Nick is now a partner and art director at iam8bit.
Meagan joined Game Informer in early 2008 after graduating from the University of Minnesota. During her time at the U of M, Meagan pursued a degree in graphic design and journalism/mass communications, hoping to cater her skills towards a career in print media – specifically Game Informer. Prior to her gig at GI, Meagan covered interactive entertainment for the Girls Entertainment Network, using the opportunity to hone her writing skills, attend trade events, and learn the inner workings of the video game industry. Meagan often credits Tomb Raider as her gaming catalyst. Meagan is now community manager at Crystal Dynamics.
Annette started her career in the video game industry at the University of Illinois by introducing video game coverage to Buzz Magazine, Champaign-Urbana's alternative weekly. Her passion for gaming led her to enroll in a game design course where she learned about accessibility options for the disabled. Intrigued by the topic, she discovered AbleGamers.com, a website for gamers with disabilities, and became a regular contributor. She has also contributed articles across a wide range of topics to Time Out Chicago, Chicago, and Cafe magazines. After a two year stint at Game Informer, Annette accepted a community manager position at Harmonix.
Philip Kollar hasn't just been playing games his entire life -- he's been reading and writing about them too. After a childhood spent poring over every page of coveted EGM and Game Informer issues, he pursued a degree in English and film studies at the University of Minnesota. During his time there, he turned his radio show at the campus station into a podcast for the Evil Avatar gaming community. This spun into freelance and full-time work for 1UP, EGM, GamesRadar, IGN, and more. After spending a year learning the ropes of writing about games in San Francisco, Phil hooked up with the Game Informer crew via Twitter. Phil has moved on to join our competitors and is now considered KoS.
After years of living in the dark and cold, Jim decided to move to Minnesota for the lovely weather that features both dark and cold, as well as the lovely bartenders of The Loop. A news veteran from IGN, Reilly joined Game Informer in the fall of 2011 and is best known for his love of news and NeoGAF. Outside of work, Jim loves hockey, in particular the Detroit Red wings, though Reilly will watch just about any hockey game he can find on TV. He is also quite fond of wearing coats in the office and McDonald's.
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.
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 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.