Hi there! My name's Dan, and I'm the new Editor over at GameSpot's Australian office. Nice to meet you. I like cycling, and dislike dodging swooping magpies whilst cycling. I'm here to tell you a little about myself, where I come from, and what my relationship to gaming is.
There's probably no need to tell you I've been gaming since I was a kid. That's likely the case for everyone else who works here, and for you. What's important are the formative experiences I had with the medium that have come to shape not only my perception of what is possible within this space, but also what I enjoy most.
I grew up with PC gaming in the one hand and portable gaming in the other; two systems so far away from each other, in terms of the kinds of experiences they provide, that they offered a healthy breadth of gaming as a whole. I was brought up on the output of early days of iD Software (Commander Keen); Epic (Jill of the Jungle) when they went by the much cooler moniker Epic MegaGames; and a glut of Apogee shareware classics. I played through the growth of iconic shooters, from Doom, to Quake, to Half-Life. When I wasn’t at the PC, I brought gaming along in my pocket, with Tetris, Super Mario Land and Pokemon.
But it wasn’t until I stumbled upon the work of Looking Glass Studios, and later Ion Storm Austin, that I found the kind of experience that truly clicked with me. The immersive simulation, a rather self-explanatory sub-genre, encompasses the two things I value the most: immersion, and simulation. You see this in the likes of System Shock, Thief, Deus Ex, Dishonored, and even Far Cry 2.
Immersion isn’t about HD graphics or fancy shaders; it’s about crafting a believable world with a palpable ambience backed up by little touches of detail which are hard to describe on their own. By simulation, I’m not talking about hardcore flight simulators or World of Tanks; I’m talking about games that give themselves over to interesting and emergent mechanical interactions, ones that often result in a new kind of storytelling that’s only possible in this medium. If you’ve stumbled upon a group of NPCs fighting each other in Far Cry 3 who all suddenly get eaten by a bear and thought that was super cool, then we’re on the same page.
These interests came to a head for me when I first played DayZ, the mod. It is a completely systems-driven game where the emergent narrative results when the ultimate spanner is thrown in the works – other people. I ran a DayZ video series with some fellow Australian games writers that catalogued the coolest things that happened to us.
Stealth games are also my forte. So much so that I created a website devoted solely to stealth games called Sneaky Bastards. Through it, I hosted a PAX Aus panel with a developer of Splinter Cell Blacklist, and created a 100-page magazine about Dishonored. Naturally, I'm hotly anticipating the release of Eidos Montreal's Thief reboot.
Of course, I'm not exclusively a PC gamer. Taking a cue from my love of handhelds, I've owned every Nintendo console since the 64 to keep that duality and breadth of experience that gaming provides. Some of the most personally important games I've ever played are on the PlayStation 2. As a mental exercise, I listed my top 50 games ever. That can probably give you a better sense of what I like to play.
I started my career in games writing with PC PowerPlay magazine five years ago. I was its Editor throughout the entirely of 2013. It's Australia's oldest and most-respected PC gaming publication, and I had a fantastic time working in print. Here's my favourite piece of longform writing that was published. With GameSpot, I'm making the transition online, and it's something I spoke about in a Reddit AMA I conducted recently. Woo!
That's it for now. I'm looking forward to working with the rest of the GameSpot team in providing the best, most comprehensive, and most critical gaming coverage out there. Ciao!