Interview with Jason Priestly

DSC_0072.jpgStopped by the Mario Kart launch party at Rockefeller Plaza today and snagged an interview with 90210's Jason Priestly!

Are there red and blue shells in real race car driving?
[Laughs] Uh, not really. Not so much. There's not a real comparison between the two, but Mario Kart is a lot of fun and that's really what it's for. The whole point of video games is to have fun, it's about having fun with your friends. And the Wii, I've found, is more fun for a lot of people than any other gaming platform.

[Link] Interview: Jason Priestly on Mario Kart Wii
[Link] Flickr: Mario Kart Wii Launch Party (with Chace Crawford, too!)

Interview: "Fatal1ty" -- Model, Athlete, Nerd?

One of my first writing assignments at AOL Games was an interview with pro gamer, Johnathan 'Fatal1ty' Wendel (yes, that's a numeral one). I got his digits, gave him a call on his cell - he was in the middle of playing some shooter with a bunch of friends. Really staunchly against the image of a 'nerd' - touchy subject? Calls himself an athlete... hrm.

Anyway, the interview went alright, he was a pretty cool guy. Ended up not winning the 'Quake 4' tournament that year. Oops?

The article is no longer online, so I've posted the full piece here.

"Fatal1ty" -- Model, Athlete, Nerd? (May 2005)
We talk to pro-gamer and media darling Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel about setting an example, the gaming revolution and abstaining from the 9-to-5 job.

Johnathan Wendel, better known as ‘Fatal1ty,’ does what every kid really wants to do when they grow up. He plays video games and gets paid to do it. He's won over $500,000 by winning gaming competitions, practices eight to ten hours a day (right now for the upcoming Lanwar tournament) and – as he often points out -- still finds time to play tennis. Does this make him an athlete? Or some kind of super nerd? We ask him to fill in the blanks.

Who knew that playing video games would turn you into a role model? Crazy, huh?
Growing up, I always wanted to be competitive at whatever I was doing, but also be a good role model. When I grew up, I had my role models, too, like André Agassi and Michael Jordan -- anyone who was a hard worker and very competitive. But I understand that when you get to this high level, there’s this big responsibility that I have to be, and I want to be, a good role model for other people.

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Interview: The Man Behind Lara, Toby Gard

Updated links to new GameDaily URLs. // Sept. 17, 2007

As part of our coverage for Tomb Raider: Anniversary, we managed to secure an interview with Toby Gard, the original creator of the game's leading lady, Lara Croft. Phone interview, but still interesting. My boss assigned this piece to me roughly an hour before the interview was scheduled to take place - needless to say I was a bit frazzled. Thank god for Wikipedia. That thing is a lifesaver.

I was talking to my boyfriend as I did research for the article. He quipped that Gard was probably a pervert - Lara Croft is ubiquitous for her curvaceous body*. Heck, she was played by Angelina Jolie in the film adaptations.

Toby turned out to be a really down-to-earth guy who was staunchly against the 'sexy' image that the production company wanted her to have - he cited that as one of the reasons he actually stopped working on the Tomb Raider franchise for a while (I asked him about it in the interview). All in all, I got some pretty solid quotes out of him - and the chance to speak to Lara's creator was damn cool.

How do you think Lara will adapt to new generations of gamers?

Well in the first game, literally I was thinking about someone who was really almost psychopathic, really dangerous. But her goals were modern. Tomb Raider is about exploring history, and history is always something that you see people interested in, or at least I hope would stay relevant. As long as we retain that myth and that uncovering then I think people will stay interested.

And as long as she continues to age well.
Ha, ha. That's the great thing about [her] isn't it? You don't have to worry about that.

*We shamelessly ran another feature for the Tomb Raider tie-in, a quiz called How Well Do You Know Lara's Assets?", in which our readers were asked to match an screenshot of Lara's beautiful bosom to the Tomb Raider game it appeared in. Did I mention that I wrote the raunchy question and answer set for that? (blush)

Interview: Fred Willard’s Hot for Brains

Updated links to new GameDaily URLs. // Sept. 17, 2007

This one was actually really fun - it's one of the few interviews for GameDaily that I got to conduct in person as opposed to over the phone. When my boss first told me that I was interviewing Fred Willard, I recognized the name but couldn't match it with a face. Naturally, I Wikipedia-ed him. Turns out I knew him as the wacky father-in-law of Ray's brother, Robert, on 'Everybody Loves Raymond.'

I got to the hotel and was escorted upstairs to his penthouse suite. I introduced myself, we sat down and chatted a bit about the game (he was trying to beat a minigame as I walked in - the lead 'graph in the interview isn't a lie... :) ) before I started the recorder. He was a superb interview - very easy to talk to, funny, talkative, cute in that 'I'm old and I don't know much about video games but they're great!' way. Definitely an entertaining experience.

Was video game voicing a lifelong dream?
It’s a lot of fun; it’s the kind of thing I love to do, to put your voice on something. In this, it makes you sound very intelligent. I’m the head of this Hot Brain institute, so people will think, “Gee, Fred Willard, they must have gotten him because he’s so smart!”

Interview: Showdown with Young Jeezy

Updated links to new GameDaily URLs. // Sept. 17, 2007

I talked with rapper Young Jeezy over the phone about the PS3/360 fighting game, Def Jam Icon. The interview was... brief, to say the least. I had a hard time getting him to elaborate on his answers. Still fun, though. My boyfriend, a fan, was jealous.

So what do you think of the final product?
For the most part, it turned out good, but it was like, people wouldn't know that it takes that much time for the voiceovers and all the other shit.