Editor of Next Generation Magazine, Official Dreamcast Magazine,
and Daily Radar. Currently a producer for Digital Eclipse Entertainment,
and co-writing a 'For Dummies' book on how to program games for
the Atari 2600!
You are best known from your contributions to several Imagine
Media publications and Imagine-affiliated web sites. Please describe
your credentials as a game journalist as well as the position(s)
you currently hold..
CC> Let's see. I got started at a Mac Magazine,
and I did their gaming column because I was the only one there
who really liked games. I really wanted to work at a game magazine
though, but right out of college, I was just happy to have a job
(this was in '93, before the Internet boom). I went to CES in
Vegas and saw Next Generation and immediately I
was like "I must work there!" Then, through a couple of strokes
of luck (an old co-worker worked at Imagine, and my roommate knew
someone else who worked there) I found out about a job opening
at Next Gen, and managed to talk my way into it.
I was associate editor there, then features editor. After that,
I was the launch editor of Imagine Games Network (today just known
as IGN), then editor-in-chief of Next Gen. I left
Next Gen to start Total Games, but
ended up editing Official Sega Dreamcast Magazine
and doing Q&A on Daily Radar.
What happened with Total Games?
Total Games was, and is, a great idea. The basic
idea was that it would be a free, advertiser supported, magazine
that would be distributed at videogame stores and rental places
to let "the kids" -- and when I say "the kids" I mean people who
play games, but aren't yet hardcore enough to buy magazines or
go to websites about them -- know what was going on and what was
coming up in the world of games. Retailers were really into the
idea, editorially I think it would have rocked -- very different
than Next Gen, but still really fun. Unfortunately,
despite a lot of interest from advertisers at first, in the end
there wasn't enough support to continue. I still think the idea
is really viable though, and with the right publisher, I still
think it could be really cool. One thing that we were going to
do with the mag, which classic fans should appreciate, was give
away high-score patches for different games every month, Activision
You appear to hold the record of the most quoted game magazine
editor to date, especially during your tenure as Editor-In-Chief
of Next Generation Magazine. To what do you attribute
this fame and are you going to miss the attention?
I think Frank O'Connor gets quoted more than me! I think a lot
of non-industry people read Next Gen to get a handle on what's
going on in the game industry, and since my name was at the top
of the masthead, I got the call. Tom Russo gets those calls now!
As for the attention, I guess you always miss the attention you
get from being in the press -- PR people fawn all over you and
VIPs, like presidents of companies or whatever, are really open
to talking to you. And, like anyone else, I do have an ego, and
it's always neat to see your name and opinions in a magazine like
Time, or the in the Washington Post. But, ultimatley, that crap
can really go to your head if you're not careful. Half the time
(at least), people were just talking to the editor of Next Gen
-- that I was also Chris Charla or whoever was totally unimportant
to them. But when someone you really respect comes up to you and
says "Who wrote that story on xxx, that was cool," and it turns
out it was you who wrote it, and he wants to have a conversation
with you based on what you've done, rather than who you are, that's
pretty awesome. Next Gen was really a fantastic forum for me to
get that kind of attention. The magazine also gave me a great
opportunity to meet some really, really cool people! Getting to
meet and talk to your heroes -- from Miyamoto to Meyer to Kutaragi
to people like Mark Cerny, Mizaguchi, Bill Gates, etc. is really
rad! I can't say that I miss the attention, but I do miss being
able to basically make up reasons to go call anyone in the world
I think it would be cool to talk to (like one time Blake Fischer
and I tracked down Al Alcorn and spent about two hours having
this awesome conversation with him, which we did a story about,
basically because we just wanted to meet him).
Why the move to Digital Eclipse?
When I was a kid, I wanted to make games, and while being in the
press was really, really fun, and Imagine was a great company
to work for, the bottom line was that I wanted to make games.
Mike Mika at DE is a friend (I hired him at Next Gen,
and introduced him to the president of DESI, who is another friend),
and I've done a bunch of things, free-lance, for DE over the years,
including producing KLAX for the Game Boy Color,
interviewing Nolan Bushnell for a classic pack, etc. There were
a lot of times when I was at Imagine that I almost left for DE,
and finally the lure of actually making games was too much!