I was an award-winning videogame journalist, and then I became more of an essayist and culture critic; before that, I was a community manager, kind of in the Internet’s earlier days. My background was in theater, but I ultimately majored in Northwestern’s fiction-writing major, which exists. At other points in my life I’ve worked in an art gallery, done SFX, and replaced Molls McAleer as a celebrity gossip columnist. Now I occasionally moonlight as an indie-game voice actor.
I started writing about games professionally in 2005. Here are some links to things I’ve written:
- Nonfiction, “Playing God: On Death, Motherhood, and Creatures” (Unwinnable, Kotaku)
- Nonfiction, “Allow Natural Death” (Unwinnable)
- Explainer, “Finding Your Voice” (IndieMEGABOOTH)
- Nonfiction, “My Mother’s Dog” (Bygone Bureau)
- Column, “The Year the Pause Button Died” (Slate)
- Column, “Guppyguff is the most expansive real-world ARG in games history” (Slate)
- Retrospective, “Chop Suey Got Gaming for Girls Right” (Vice Motherboard, Rhizome)
- Review, “Animal Crossing: New Leaf” (Paste)
- Review, “Lethis: Path of Progress” (PC Gamer)
- Humor, “The Evolution of April O’Neil” (The Temper Temper, Jezebel)
- Nonfiction, “All The Spaces Between Us” (Kill Screen Magazine)
- Blog, “On Consuming Media Responsibly” (Medium)
- Essay, “I Was a Teenage Sexist” (Unwinnable)
- Blog, “The Rolodex” (GamaSutra)
- Interviewee, “Games are a Faith-Based Pursuit: A conversation with Jenn Frank” (Rhizome)
- Interviewee, “The Critic” (CultureRamp)
- Listicle, “Jenn Frank’s Top 10 Games of 2014” (Giant Bomb)
- Feature, “The Essential 100, #78: Mystery House” (1up.com)
- Blog, “Sean Bean Stabbed” (Evil Beet Gossip)
I got my start in 2005 as a Chicago-based freelance reviewer for Electronic Gaming Monthly. In 2006 I relocated to California to join Ziff Davis as its Community Manager, a role I held until 2008. Back in those days 1UP.com was the online “social umbrella” for magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly, Official Playstation Magazine, and Computer Gaming World, as well as 1UP’s own users. (During those years I was probably better known for my infrequent appearances on Retronauts, a podcast for old people.)
Since 2008, other reviews, games criticism, and creative nonfiction have appeared in the pages of Kill Screen Magazine and also online at Paste, Unwinnable, Vice Motherboard, GameSetWatch, Gameranx, 1UP, WIRED GameLife, Slate, The Guardian, and even once at the New York Times.
I’ve also provided the voice for three video games, Super Hexagon, VIDEOBALL, and I Am Dead. (Thanks to the honors Super Hexagon received, I am technically a BAFTA nominee.) I lent my voice, too, to an anthropomorphic inhaler in an educational cartoon for kids with asthma.
I graduated from Northwestern University in 2004 with academic honors and a degree in fiction writing (yes, that is a real thing); my concentration was Russian lit. For the next two years I worked as a Chicago-area actor and musician and at a toy store/art gallery. I’ve also, at points, acted in stage productions in Chicago and San Francisco, and done SFX for indie movies.