Meagan Marie is a true renaissance woman; she works in the gaming industry, is an avid
cos-player and is an accomplished journalist and reviewer.
Q) When do you think your love for comic books and games started?
I am really lucky to have grown up with two brothers and a dad that’s an engineer. Don’t get me wrong, I am a geek by my own accord, but having a family that enjoyed the same things helped foster it into a passion. I started playing video games when my dad brought home an NES. He wasn’t really interested in it as a gaming system, but wanted to see how it worked and played. My brothers and I played the thing to death. When my dad brought home the original PlayStation, everything changed. He also brought home Tomb Raider. My brothers were at an age where they didn’t really see the merits of playing as a hot chick, so I
swooped in and took over in their stead. I was addicted pretty quickly. After that my brothers had to fight to get the controller out of my hands. It snowballed from there and I began to be the one buying the newest gaming systems, with my brothers hunkered down in my room after dark watching me play. Those are still some of the best memories I have with them.
As for comics, I have to thank my brothers and Lara again. My older brother was big into collectable card games like Magic and Star Trek growing up, so we were always going to hobby shops to pick up booster packs for him. One day while wondering the isles I saw a Michael Turner Tomb Raider cover… and I was sold. I started collecting anything with Lady Lara in it (ask my brothers, I had a shrine at one point) and that evolved into collecting anything that Michael Tuner illustrated. When I was old enough to appreciate more than just the art, I expanded my horizons to all Top Cow properties. Nowadays I am big into Top Cow, Aspen, Wildstorm and Vertigo books.
When it comes to cosplay, that was a natural evolution of the gaming and comic hobbies. I started two or three years ago and haven’t looked back since. I was doing regular modeling work at the time and was getting bored with it, as I had
no incentive to make it a job – I just wanted to make cool images. Cosplay got me excited again and I already had all the fantastic local contacts to set up shoots for my new costumes. I am also getting into anime and manga, which I have a girlfriend to thank for that. The only geeky thing I think I don’t indulge in at the moment is table-top games, but I am sure I will cave at some point in time.
Q) When did you start with cos-play and what was your first costume?
I first got into cosplay in 2006. As I mentioned I have been playing video games my whole life, but up until that time I was a solo gamer. I never ventured online to post on forums in order to keep up with the latest news or chat with other gamers. Ironically, my only method of keeping up with the video game world was in my issue of Game Informer each month, and now I work for them!
When I started slowly working my way into the online world, I began to join video game enthusiast groups and make friends with fellow gamers.
This is where I was first introduced to cosplay. Many of the female gamer friends I made online dressed up as their favorite fictional characters and frequented conventions. As soon as I found out what it was, I was hooked. I can still remember idolizing some of the girls for their fantastic talent and accuracy in portraying their characters.
Looking back, I had unknowingly been cosplaying prior to my introduction to the hobby. At that point in time I had several years of modeling under my belt – something I did for fun and to create unique images. Part of the draw to modeling for me
had been the thrill of stepping out of my shoes for a period of time, to be something or someone else. I slowly started putting together themed shoots. One as an Ice Queen, and another as a Harem Girl were my first real experiences in “costume play.” After I was introduced to the world of cosplay formally, I knew I wanted to take it to a whole new level.
I started off rather tentatively. Lara Croft seemed like the most appropriate costume for me to start with, as I will sadly admit that I pretended to be her more than once without occasion when growing up. Her costume was easy enough, but looking back it was not nearly as successful as I though it was at the time. Still, I had a blast wearing it to my first convention, where I was one
of only two people to dress up. I still have not professionally photographed the costume, because Lara Croft is one of my video game heroes and I can’t bring myself to document my work till it is perfect.
Things have increased at an exponential rate from there. Next I moved onto a Wonder Woman costume. I bought the official DC Comics ensemble, and modified it to make it look a bit better. I am slowly learning how to sew and create props, so my costumes are getting more ambitions with time. Now, I cosplay every chance I get. I currently have over a dozen costumes completed and twice as many on my to-do list.
Q) You are a writer for Game Informer Online. How did that come about and any tips for people trying to
break into being a reviewer?
I have a bit of a strange story when it comes to how I ended up with a job in the gaming industry. In high school, when I found out that GI was published in Minnesota (my home state), I made my mind up that I would work for them in the future. Video games have always been an interest to me, but when I entered college they became my passion – the industry fascinated me and I knew that I needed to be a part of it. I am an artist by nature, and so I decided to go into graphic design with the hope of someday working as a designer for Game Informer. I also pursued a minor in Journalism, hoping to expand my options for
working in the industry. If that did not work out, I made up my mind that I would move to California and try to get work as a UI (user interface) designer at a development studio.
Even though I did not know where I was going to work specifically, I dedicated every single project I could to video-games in college. I made a Chocobo sculpture and a Super Mario tribute in my metal-working class, did my senior ethics project on restrictive video game legislation and developed a history of Nintendo timeline for a branding class. I knew that even if I ended up with a journalism position, my graphic design portfolio would reflect how much I loved video games – and passion goes a long way in this industry.
I applied at Game Informer my sophomore year in college. I made friends with one of the editors online via Myspace, and he told me they had a position open. I stayed up all night reviewing a game and submitted my application and writing
example the next day. A few days later, Andy McNamara called me and told me that he could not be responsible for taking me out of school so close to graduation, and to apply again when I finished school. I was devastated, but I waited another two years, worked my ass off in school and kept working on my portfolio.
In the meantime I joined a small blog – then called the Girl Gaming Network – and used it as a way to hone my writing skills. Journalism school can teach you a ton, but nothing beats actual writing experience. The site has evolved since then, and is now called the Girls Entertainment Network. I do both feature and news work for them. I think working with GEN was one of the more
influential things that helped me to get a job. I paid a ton of money out of my own pocket to travel to events for GEN, and got experience interviewing and spent a ton of time networking.
As soon as I graduated, I had a full portfolio of both video-game design projects and video-game writing pieces. I applied again at Game Informer the day after I graduated. When I finally got Andy on the phone he told me that they had no positions open at the moment, but I asked if it was possible for me to stop in anyway. Andy agreed to meet with me, and I went in for an interview the next day. I applied for both a graphic design position and an editor position. They had me mock up some pages for the magazine, and took my writing samples. The interview went very well, but I still did not hear something back for several weeks. Eventually – two months after I graduated – I called Andy and left a message saying I was going to actively start pursuing a job in California
through a career center at the Game Developers Conference I was attending the next week. I got a call from Andy a few hours later with an offer to hire me. I guess the long and short is that it wasn’t easy, but it was well worth the time it took to secure the job!
Now I get to do an array of stuff every day. I play and preview games, write news stories, cover events, conduct interviews and get to travel. That is probably the best part. I was able to attend the E3 and the Tokyo Game Show last year, which was a major highlight for me.
As far as advice, the general tips I give out are to showcase your personality in your writing, to practice writing and self-publish your work, to make it out to events and network, to apply everywhere and to never give up! Persistence and passion is the key.
Q) Who has been the coolest prson you got to talk to so far in covering video games and attending onventions?
That’s tough one. Meeting Shigeru Miyamoto before I worked at Game Informer almost ame me a heart attack…but then I got to play a game with him after getting the ob and that was even more cool. I also was able to interview and have dinner
with Nobuo Uematsu, which was a big treat for me since I am a huge fan!
As Imentioned above, the Girls Entertainment Network evolved from the Girl Gaming ntwork. It started as a gaming-specific blog but turned into something that caters to all forms of geekdom. Currently we cover video games, comics,
cosplay, anime, manga, gadgets and the collectable toy culture. I now cover comics since I get tired of writing about video games all day! Nearly all of our writers are female, as are half of our readers. Not having many female friends growing up that understood my hobbies I find the website a bit of a refuge. I love being able to talk about the new Star Trek movie, then transition into makeup tips without a second thought. But don’t think that we are segregating ourselves from the males. Both genders are welcome to join and enjoy GEN!
Q) I saw that one of your recent cos-plays was an original creation called Aetheria Earhart. Have you
ever thought about creating any original stories based on her or some other character?
Funny enough, the costume was inspired and put together at the request of a friend who was in need of a model for a project he was undertaking. A ringleader for Scrub Club Records, he proposed that I put together a costume based on a character in a tabletop RPG (Time Paradox) that he was creating. So technically, she already has a story!
But as far as my own work, I can’t deny I have the urdge to dabble in writing in my personal time. I would love to pen a comic series or write and design a game at some point in my life.
Q) If people want to know more about your or check out your reviews where should they go?
You can find my work on Gameinformer.com or Girlsentertainmentnetwork.com. But if you want to learn more about me in general, http://www.meagan-marie.com is the best resource!