I get asked a lot of the same questions fairly often, so I thought I’d create a little FAQ to make things easier. It’s a work in progress so I’ll just continue to add to it as I remember things.
How did you get your job on Good Game?
I had been watching the show for a couple of years already. I actually approached Bajo as a fan at Supanova while I was filming an audition tape for a presenting role on ABC3, and a little while later I learned that they too were looking for a new presenter. I submitted a series of written game reviews on games that I felt passionately about and thought were interesting - then I went in for a screen test - and landed the gig from there.
What advice do you have for others wanting to get into games journalism?
Obviously my avenue into the industry was quite unique, I never really envisioned that I’d be able to make a career that involved television and games together, so I was pretty lucky. For others, though - I would say the best thing to do is to start thinking analytically about games, and putting your thoughts in writing as often as possible. Games websites and magazines will need to see examples of your ability to discuss, compare and dissect games - and like anything it takes time to develop a rhythm and style. After that, it’s really up to you to network and put yourself out there! If you’re interested in the on-camera stuff as well, again - this takes practice, so I’d start a video blog and get comfortable with voicing these ideas on camera.
Where did the name ‘Hex’ come from?
So, ‘Hex’ is my gamer tag. You may or may not know that it is not my real name - we go by our gamer tags on the show. I had a few names that I used when I was younger - most of them a bit silly and LOTR-inspired. But I occasionally went by ‘Hex’, because I was always interested in playing spell casters. I was intrigued by magic and the occult as a teenager and I liked the idea of a sinister association with curses and black magic.
Nowadays in RPGs I tend to favour rogues - but the name stuck. :)
What kinds of games did you play as a kid?
I mention quite a few of those games here.
Is it true your parents didn’t let you play video games when you were younger?
It is indeed. Ironic, given my job today! I talk about that a little bit in this response to the old ‘anti-gaming parents’ dilemma.
Was there one game that inspired your love of video games - or defined the kind of gamer you are today?
Yes, it was called ‘Lensmoor’ and it was a text-based MUD. I go into quite considerable detail about Lensmoor here, if you have some time to kill.
What’s your PSN/XBL/Steam username???
Please understand that gaming for me is part of my job - so I keep my friend lists restricted to friends and workmates. I get zillions of adds from people and it’s just too difficult to deal with game requests every five seconds while I’m trying to review a game.
Are you and Bajo friends in real life?
Bajo is quite possibly one of the best friends I could have ever hoped for. I can’t believe how lucky I am where that’s concerned. We feed off each other’s energy when we’re in the studio with non-stop silly, personal jokes, and I think that friendship is pretty obvious on screen also. His bizarre, random humour is infectious - everyone on the team just adores him!
What is your favourite game of all time?
I get so involved with particular games on a weekly basis so it’s hard to pick just one… but I think the one franchise that has connected with me the most is still the Assassin’s Creed series. Nothing has really matched the sheer joy and freedom of that free-running mechanic. The story is involving, I adore the historical recreation of each city… and Altair, Ezio and Connor are such brilliant protagonists that I just adore playing. I also think it’s great to see how the series has evolved, it’s really blossomed from that first roof-top journey we took with Altair. I’m also a big fan of the Mass Effect series, The Witcher 2, The Uncharted Series, an indie PSN title called ‘Journey’ - and at the moment I’m hooked on a fantasy RPG called ‘Dragon’s Dogma’.
I heard you read a lot of fantasy fiction. Can you recommend some authors?
Absolutely! My absolute favourites at the moment are:
Brent Weeks (try ‘The Night Angel Trilogy’)
Jennifer Fallon (try ‘The Demon Child Trilogy’)
Scott Lynch (start with ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’)
You’ve mentioned you collect swords. Where do you get them from?
The first ever sword I bought was from Toledo, Spain - a medieval city that’s famous for its steel and sword craft. I got it when I was fifteen, and I carted it all over Europe with my family.
Since then, I pick them up from all over the place (when I can afford it), I recently got one from a medieval festival in Lithgow. My video game replica swords (I have both Altair and Ezio’s swords) and film replicas (from LOTR) - I bought from Global Gear.
What type of bow are you using in your archery photos?
I use a Bear Grizzly 30lb Recurve. I’m a traditionalist. My arrows are wooden and I had them custom made by this guy: Jeronimo Custom Arrows - they are stunning and fly beautifully. Plus he’s a rad dude who loves nature and making things.
I go into considerable detail about archery here.
What kind of music are you into?
Like everything, I go through phases with music, and I have a pretty varying playlist depending on my mood. Everything from celtic folksy stuff like Loreena McKennitt… to Daft Punk - but two bands I will love til the end of days are both No Doubt and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’m also a big fan of John Mayer’s blusey stuff, Jamie Cullum… and I listen to a lot of jazzy, big band and swing music because I love the genre and used to sing with a jazz quartet!
Your cat is so cute! But what’s wrong with his ears?
Nothing! Merlin is crossed with a breed called a Scottish Fold.
What breed is your other cat, ‘Gandalf’?
He is a British Shorthair. I’m not 100% sure he’s purebred because he doesn’t look quite as round in the face - but he definitely has predominantly ‘i can has cheezburger’ in him. He’s often mistaken for a Russian Blue, but that is not the case.
Where you a geek in highschool?
I played MUDs in the computer labs at lunch, and read fantasy novels under my desk in class… so I was definitely geeky. I wouldn’t say that I was completely socially awkward, I just had a bit of an attitude problem. :P I moved schools a lot so I struggled to make friends and that made me kind of bitter I guess. I didn’t fit into popular ‘cliques’ so I tended to team up with small armies of outcasts.
Art was my best subject so I also hung out in the art room a lot.
Do you ever get sick of playing video games since you play them for work?
No. The only thing that’s sometimes difficult is that I have less time to play the games that I want to play recreationally, because the games I’m reviewing for work take priority. Yeah, life’s tough. *cue violin* It is really important for me to find a good work-life balance, though - and I make an effort to do so.
You post a lot of pictures of food. Do you like to cook?
I do, and I try to cook as healthily as possible. I link a few good books and websites here.
DEAR HEX WHICH IS BETTER PS3 OR XBOX KTHXBAI
I like all of the consoles ALL OF THEM
Will you be reviewing <insert AAA title here> on Good Game?
Chances are if it’s a big-budget, well-known game - yes, it will be on the show.
What did you think of <insert name of game recently reviewed on Good Game>?
It takes a week of long hours and hard work to put together a review on the show. Gaming, capturing all the game footage, logging all the footage, writing the review, re-writing, editing, filming, re-editing… the finished product is something I’m really proud of. So why not check that out first - rather than asking me to give you another personal review via twitter? :P All of our reviews are up on our website - and now also on our YouTube channel!
When is <insert game here> coming out?
Honestly it would be quicker for you to Google it than to wait for a response from me.