The Game Fanatics Staff
Writer: Michelle Quillen
Michelle Quillen is a born and bred San Diegan who attributes her need to wear hoodies in 80 degree weather to the lack of a warm heart. Her first console was the NES, and her earliest memories were holding the Zapper directly against the TV screen on Duck Hunt and playing Track and Field by pounding her fists on the Nintendo Power Pad. Her favorite franchises are Dance Central and Gears of War, and her genre of choice is Shooter. That said, there are four guns and a crossbow in her home, yet she’s deathly afraid of snails. Known as “Meech” to the TGF staff, she is also a singer, loves to cook, collects cats, drinks bourbon, and occasionally models. Michelle is currently an Associate Product Manager for Buzztime, who makes interactive out-of-home TV games.
1. How did you become interested in online journalism and what attracted you to The Game Fanatics?
Becoming a game journalist was my 2012 New Year’s Resolution, and I was fortunate enough to achieve it on January 31, 2011. The decision to write about games was to take a daunting turn from what I did ten years prior, when I was music journalist for a local rag called No Cover Magazine. My first interview with them was with Stan Lee! Okay, so that’s the lead singer of Los Angeles punk band The Dickies. But I enjoyed the perks of actually speaking to bands about what they do; it was mostly Californian bands like Good Riddance, Strung Out, and No Use For a Name. My most difficult Q&A was a phoner with Dicky Barrett from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. He wasn’t very nice.
Besides keeping some personal memories after leaving the magazine for full time work, I really missed writing, especially for an audience. So it only made sense to fuse my passion for written expression with my gaming hobby. That December, I won a Dead Space lithograph through a Twitter giveaway by [Community Manager] John Sylvester. When he saw my New Year’s resolution post, he sent me a link to apply for TGF. After some ritual blood letting and a series of gang initiations, I was allowed on board, and I’ve been harassing staff members about their grammar for more than a year now.
2. How did you meet your husband and what is a special moment you two have shared that the whole world shouldn’t know but you want to tell us anyway?
My husband Rob was No Cover Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief. At the beginning of my quest to be a journalist I randomly picked up an issue from a Music Trader in Pacific Beach. I sent him my best attempt at a clever and funny e-mail which referenced my fat rolls and something along the lines of Jewel’s snaggletooth, which caught his attention. I joined the staff and he considered me one of his best writers. Together we attended countless music festivals and concerts, including performances of his own (as the drummer for AcidNine). His family and friends began to see that I was pretty much the female equivalent of him. We have common interests, we’re both musicians, our sense of humor is strange yet in sync, and we’ve pretty much been inseparable for the last twelve years.
So, we’re also both really into Halloween, and our “couple’s costumes” every year are very relevant to our interests. In the past we’ve been Alice from Resident Evil/Umbrella Corporation zombie, Lady Deathstrike/Wolverine, and most recently Black Widow/Spider-Man. The thing no one really knows is that my second year as Black Widow (the sole reason for my hair being red) is that while we have pictures of ourselves in costume, he was actually really sick on Halloween night and we didn’t do anything because he couldn’t stop throwing up. He was pretty much swinging by a web between the couch and the bathroom. I was depressed. I mean impressed.
3. What has been a moment of triumph for you in life? Whether it be gaming related or not please share!
Last year was my second run at Extra Life, a 24-hour gaming marathon to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I joined Rob’s company’s group, Team Razer, and we played at home to benefit Rady’s Children’s Hospital. With the help of my co-workers and people in my social networks, I raised more than $800 in 2011 on my own. I think it was the third highest participant amount raised for the whole team, just behind Razer’s CEO and Team Captain. Last year, through the same efforts, I raised $685 on behalf of Team Razer. I came in with the second highest individual earnings among 72 people, just behind the Team Captain. And I don’t even work for the company.
4. How do you feel about the attempts by politicians, the NRA, and the media to blame violent crimes on video games?
I’d be lying if I said playing Call of Duty didn’t make me want to know how to use a shotgun. Emphasis on “know how” mind you, because my first move was contacting an NRA-certified professional firearms instructor from the local indoor range for lessons. My dad owned guns as I grew up so I wasn’t afraid of them. Although they can be lethal, “With great power comes great responsibility.” There have been plenty of opinions stemming from the gaming community reacting negatively to shooter-based franchises being blamed for recent gun-related crimes, which happen all the time. The media is unforgivingly sensationalized and we live in a culture that highlights failures and tragedies for entertainment, while casualties happen all around us that we don’t notice because we need to know about Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy. I hate politics and shit, so I can only really reference legacy issues. Did the “bath salt”-related cannibalistic attack rehash the war on drugs? Was there a movement to rid society of the meth that’s been scarring the faces of unfit single moms taking their mistakes to school? Blaming and banning are just among the many “pie in the sky” reactions that political figures like to stand by in order gain favor of an easily swayed public. In my opinion, they’re not being very responsible with their powers.
5. Is there a favorite celebrity, role model or idol that helps your voice when you write online publications? Who and why? What have they done to inspire your writing ability?
Before I became a journalist, I had a very forthright and obtrusive way of asking strangers about their lives that mimicked the style of one of my idols, Howard Stern. Howard is known for his no BS, uncomfortable and edgy means of informational probing on his show, which I’ve always admired and found amusing. Whether it’s in the music world or the game industry, you have to figure that notable personalities will always be tired of answering the same question after question. Howard kind of inspired me to come up with inquiries that subjects have never heard or thought of before. It catches them off guard, usually gets a lot of laughs, and fulfills the true intention of providing exclusive and entertaining content to your audience. Usually if there’s a topic no one would dare to provoke, or an interrogation that is completely out of place, I’d rather execute those and make the interview unique and essentially informational.