For my Biography I wanted an outsider’s perspective.  I enlisted the services of a good friend, writer, and the next great director, JWA to bring you all through the looking glass.  Without further ado here’s what he had to say on the subject of me.

Let me explain something about Andrew.

He, like I imagine many of you, has been playing video games for more than 20 years. And this is very different than, in another era, one might cite a 20 year period of watching movies. Watching movies is different – because of that verb. You spectate. You don’t interact with a film on the same level that you do with a game. Sure it’s immersive, but it also lets you feel the gears. Movies have had a hundred years to experiment, flourish, get stifled by idiot enemies of creativity, break their chains, settle in, and branch out.

Perhaps it’s because video gaming is a young science that we’re only recently seeing the creeping tide of shovelware truly take over. There have always been yearly roster-update sports games and vapid console shooters, but in the past few years they’ve begun to darken the skies. Every Modern Brown and Grey Ironsight Shooter and Halo Sequel adds another layer of sediment on top of potential industry creativity. It is a cement-filled pillowcase smothering the audience of their higher brain functions; each poison pill dulling taste by degrees.

What we have now is a changing of the guard of video gamers. The first few generations grew up with the ancient and honorable 8 and 16-bit consoles. That nostalgic innocence gave way to the N64/Dreamcast/PS1 years, to be eventually replaced by a decade of benevolent PS2 dominance. But now the masses must be pleased. They stand ready to trade millions of hard-earned dollars for a plate of half-cooked gray mush, with normal parts of the meal now missing as DLC.

So here we have Andrew. He has played his way through the ups and downs of console and PC gaming as Oregon Trail turned into Halo 7 and at some point therein he has gathered a Fury. He possesses a natural affinity for writing and a calculating mind capable of objectively determining quality. He can put himself in someone else’s shoes. He appreciates the difference between cliché and classic; rip-off and homage. These are certainly useful traits for a reviewer, but often overvalued.  It is his opinionated ranting that sets him apart.  He may often sound upset – he is not. He may drive a point home until it approaches the level of sermon – it is.

In an internet media landscape where reviews are bought and paid for 9.0s seemingly regardless of quality, it is good to find a few islands of honest recalcitrance – of reviewing video games from the point of view of a man who truly loves the medium, but is willing to call a spade a spade.  This is such a place. He’s written at length about the games as art debate (one in which my personal hero, Roger Ebert, trollishly fell on the opposing side), the fourth wall in video games, the importance of consistency with made-up rules in made-up worlds, the forgotten concept of pacing, sequels – and why they should be like Uncharted 2 and not like Assassin’s Creed 2, why scripted vehicle sequences are lazy, bad design, and more.

He takes video games seriously – because they should be; what we choose to spend our leisure time on is necessarily important. It’s the escape; the free time; the lull in an otherwise busy whirlwind of work and responsibilities. Wasting such precious time on a disappointing game is robbery. Thievery of time, money, and happiness – and what’s more: the purchase of such a game is a vote cast in favor of more of the same. Of course it won’t be exactly the same; maybe this time it will have a little less content, be a little less fun, reuse a few more areas and ideas, and cost a little bit more.  Basically, Andrew doesn’t want your family robbed. And the way he will try to stop it from happening is by reviewing these potential purchases in an honest and entertaining way. Too often, nowadays, it will elicit a twist on the immortal words of Doctor Zoidberg:

“Your game is bad and you should feel bad.”