Unmasking the Masked Man


Hello again. It’s me, Oliver. That one guy.

I figured that it was about time that I came out of the dark and stopped hiding, so here I am. As you’ve noticed by now, if you’ve been following us since the inception of this writing blog back in September, you’ll notice that we have been surprisingly quiet about who we are. I think that it has finally reached the point where we should talk about who we are and why we’re worth listening to. And, if you’re lucky, I might even share some personal things with you!

First and foremost, the reason that we stayed quiet about ourselves is frankly, we wanted our work to stand on its own without any “unnecessary interference,” so to speak. We wanted to see what it was like for a pair of unknown writers to try and get their feet into the pond and see how much we could stir up without compromising the situation. The experiment produced interesting results, to say the least. Was it successful? Completely.

You’re probably wondering why the picture up above is relevant, besides the fact that that is me in it. Well, I’ll tell you. That big hulking smiling man there is Dave Jones, the creator of Grand Theft Auto.  Yes, THAT Grand Theft Auto. This was taken at E3 2010. I pretty much had to chase the guy down over 3 days to get the interview with him for EOGamer (which you can read right here). I received an email from the Community Manager at Realtime Worlds afterwards, and he said it was the best interview he’d ever read with Dave. I’m not afraid to tell you either that it was one of the BIGGEST MOMENTS OF MY LIFE.

I’m a video game critic, reviewer, and journalist (although obviously, since we began writing fiction, I’ve been on hiatus). That’s who I am, that’s what I do.  One COULD argue that I’ve been involved in the video game industry for 25 years now (obviously, as a small child, I played a lot of games), but I have worked in almost all facets of video games, from playing them, to selling them, to going to college to design them, to writing about and criticizing them, and even developing them (I have yet to work on a “shipped” product, however).

Video games are my blood. Am I some kind of closeted creepy guy? No. I’m actually pretty tame. I just love gaming. Without video games, I would not have developed such a passion for story. Video games have provided more life and opportunity for me than anything else in the world.  My love of video games and journalism has put me in a position to meet and work with wonderful, fantastically talented and dedicated people, not limited to the following:

…And far too many more to mention. And I can tell you that EVERY meeting with and every opportunity that I’ve had to work with each of these people has been a dream come true, and a blessing. The opportunities that I’ve gotten are, without a shadow of a doubt, priceless.

But opportunities aren’t about being lucky. Opportunities are created, they don’t materialize out of thin air. I’ve been in the game journalism gig for going on 3 years now, and it’s a lot of work, a whole lot of hustle. As they say, every day I’m shufflin’. But it’s paid off. My work has been featured on Kotaku more than once. Hell, it even showed up on The Escapist, and I’ve been known to editorialize on the side.

Now, if you’ve taken the time to jump through a few of those links, you might have realized by now “Oh my word, that guy certainly has an abrasive tongue on him.” You’d be right. I DO. But that’s just one facet of my personality. I realize that throughout the beginning of this blog, I have always had a “THIS IS DEATHLY SERIOUS” tone. And I plan on keeping it that way. Although in reality, I am probably the SILLIEST PERSON YOU WILL EVER MEET. Roughly 75% of the things that come out of my mouth are absolute bullshit. Why? Because I love to see people smile. But this blog, right here, this place of serious learning and understanding of structure of story and narration? Not the place for it. But otherwise, I’m actually one of the most approachable and friendly people on earth, and I LOVE smiling. In fact, it’s one of my favorite activities, to just laugh.

Video games have provided me comfort, and solace, and fulfillment of lifetime goals. And even then, video games have allowed me to DO GOOD. Right about this time last year, a family in Michigan had their house burn down. A now good friend mentioned on facebook that her cousin’s home had burned down, and the family was literally on the outs. They had hit the very worst patch of possible luck, there was no insurance (as it had just expired). She mentioned that there was a 4 year old child involved, and he had lost his video games in that fire. For me, that was enough to take action, and with 3 weeks to go before Christmas, a coalition of us from EOGamer, Hard4Games, and more put together a charity drive to save Christmas for this young man, which was very successful. I’m now good friends with the Conley family, and talk to them almost daily.

And before you ask? Yes. That is a cat on my head. I have two cats, one is a jerk and one is a sweetheart. The sweetheart is on my head. You might ask, “Why is there a cat on your head?” I say to you, “Why SHOULDN’T there be a cat on my head?”

I’m just a regular, old fashioned guy. I probably smoke too many cigarettes, and I like a drink every now and again. I love to watch movies, obviously game to my heart’s content, and listen to a whole lot of music. What kind of music? EVERY kind of music. I literally love it all. Same with games and film. I don’t care what the premise is, and I refuse to limit myself to particular genres. I am an appreciator of art, bottom line, and the same could be said of books.

I suppose we’ve come full circle at this point, on the subject of books. To be able to write, to envision and create whole worlds, on a whim, is a beautiful thing that I admire and have a great deal of respect for. Before you ask, my favorite book of all time is The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, and my favorite movie of all time is Gattaca.

And speaking of which, you’ve probably noticed by now that I’m black. Don’t worry, don’t stop reading! This isn’t going to turn into some kind of tirade. It’s just who I am, nothing more, nothing less. Yes, it’s true. I’M BLACK. There, that should thoroughly cover that topic. Due to my nature as a comedian, I will say this, however: “It really sucks being black in America, unless you want to be left the fuck alone. Then it’s great. I never have to worry about getting jumped in a dark alley, because people always assume I’M THE ONE who will be doing the jumping.”

I kid, I kid. I told you, I’m VERY silly.

I’m a very moderate person. I don’t believe in picking sides on issues. I believe in weighing all the facts carefully, and equally. So, now you have your answer to politics. I don’t belong to a party. I AM my own party, and we’ll leave it at that. I believe in God, and I also believe in science. I’m an equal opportunity kind of guy.

I don’t talk about games here, on this blog, for one simple reason: This is not a blog about video games. One could argue that since many games contain healthy narrative, I COULD talk about these things, especially as a professional game critic. However, I don’t think it is right to you, as the reader base, to have to put up with or deal with that. You came here for narrative and reading, not for video games. And I will not disservice you in that fashion, just as I said before. If I have my way, this will be the first and the last post you will see about gaming from me, unless something REALLY big comes along that absolutely warrants being spoken about, and that will be 100% dealing with story. And that is a promise.

Other than that, there’s not a whole lot to say about me. Am I the best writer in the world? Absolutely not. Am I good, approaching better writer? Arguably, yes. I hope to keep right on growing and becoming better, and telling more fabulous stories and sharing them with every single one of you.

That’s all that there is. Oh, except this thing…

What’s in the box?!

I’m not going to tell you. I will say this though. I’ve had this item for 12 years now. I have never used what is inside this box. And hopefully, all of you will help me fulfill my dream of getting to use it, one book at a time. So, won’t you help me be able to open this box? We shall see.

~Oliver

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