Meet Team Nerd Bacon
Here at the Bacon, we recognize hard work when we see it. And nobody works harder than Team Nerd Bacon. As a single cohesive unit, Team Nerd Bacon has taken a new approach to video game reviewing with entirely unbiased, informative, and often humorous video game and hardware reviews. We’re not a video game powerhouse. What we are is a family of video game lovers. Our team is comprised of a variety of writers, all with their own unique styles of writing. Without further hesitation, I would like to introduce the world to Team Nerd Bacon!
Nerdberry – Founder, Lead Author, Marketing
28 years old, hailing from Wake Forest, North Carolina (10 miles north of the state capitol, Raleigh), Nerdberry works full-time as a salesperson and technician for a local pressure washing company, NC Power Wash & Paint, in addition to serving tables full-time at a local sushi & burger restaurant, The Cowfish. When he’s not at work (which is almost never), he’s focused on video games. Nerdberry recalls playing Sonic CD on the Sega CDX as the spark that lit the fire and led to his obsession with video games. Although Sonic CD was the start, and is a personal favorite, Super Mario 64 is held closest to his heart, as the game was released during that age where no video game is too hard and patience never runs thin. Nerdberry may have never dreamed of operating a video game website, but he sure as hell does now… and he couldn’t be happier.
Worst Game Ever Played: Super Nova, Sega Genesis
The Cubist – Founder, Lead Author, Technician
“The Cubist” is actually the secret identity of Patrick, an unemployed yet charming 29 year old who lives with his parents in the heart of Wake Forest, NC. When he’s not playing games he spends his time as a de facto caregiver and homemaker. Although an old-school junkie at his core, that doesn’t mean he isn’t excited to see the 8th generation get underway. As of late December 2013 it would seem that The Cubist enjoys the distinction of being the only Nerd Bacon-er with the entire 8th generation under one roof. With his vast collection spreading throughout the house like a virus (much to his aged parents’ chagrin), he is frequently and easily overwhelmed by his own nerdom.
Cubes has a highly prized collection of video game stuff. Besides the new 8th generation equipment, he counts the Neo Geo AES, Neo Geo CD, 2 Atari Jaguar CD add-ons, and the TurboGrafx-16 CD add-on as his most valuable pieces of hardware, followed by the SNES game Castlevania: Dracula X and demonstration/promotional (yet fully functional) copies of the 3 Legend of Zelda games for the Philips CD-i: Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, and Zelda’s Adventure. Also of note are his unopened Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 e-Reader cards, both Series 1 and 2.
Best excuse for playing video games at otherwise inopportune times? “My kid wants to play!”
Variand – Author
Variand is a 29 year old software QA Analyst living in the great Raleigh area. Surfing the web one day he came across Nerd Bacon and sparked up a conversation with The Cubist and Nerdberry. Their shared interests led to a solid foundation and Variand’s expertise led to a stronger relationship. Variand hold’s no game sacred and claims that “every game is an experience and a lesson in an ever evolving world of digital entertainment worthy of analysis and comparison.” No particular person or game is responsible for his love for video games, instead the dreamers, fighters of convention, artists, and storytellers of the gaming industry are responsible for his passions.
“I’ve been playing games for over 25 years. An analyst by nature, I’ve always sought to figure out what makes some games great and others… not so great. I took this passion to the next step by taking college courses on game design and programming, where I would eventually go on to unofficially teach and revise the Game Programming curriculum, and win the first three annual “Semmy” digital media awards for “Best Video Game Creation” from St Petersburg College. While I was never able to land a career within the game industry, I still like to practice designing games in my spare time while waiting on some of the new games to come out.”
Watchman, 33 and still counting, lives in Des Moines, Iowa, where he works for an insurance company. RPGs are one of his personal favorites and he recalls Chrono Trigger as the one game he holds closest to his heart. “Like a good book, I can pick it up and replay through it every couple of years.” A true throwback to the old days of video gaming, The Watchman got started in the video game industry working at Babbage’s – before they were bought out by GameStop – and at GameStop for many years. He attributes his critical eye on gaming to his time working at those stores. In 1990, his Uncle Jim got him and his sister a Nintendo Entertainment System, which started the video game train that he is currently still riding. While surfing the web one day, The Watchman came across a Nerd Bacon ad and thought it would be a fun way to stretch out his creative muscles and write about a subject he loves.
Ganondorf vs Robotnik vs Bowser: “Ganondorf is the most villainous of all villains. He wants to plunge Hyrule into totalitarian darkness, and has the means and ability to carry out those plans. Bowser once had grand designs for ruling the Mushroom Kingdom, however now he is singularly focused on the goal of kidnapping Peach. Robotnik is regularly defeated by fury woodland creatures. I am also unsure of what his ultimate goals are. Robotnik needs to sit down and really think about what his direction in life should be, and how he can get there.”
ChronoSloth, or Justin as he’s known out in the real world, is 22 years of age and comes to us from Henderson, NC. Beginning at a young age, Justin’s family has always been supportive of his gaming enthusiasm ever since noticing his interesting in the NES at a mere 2 years of age. Just 2 years later, he’d receive a Super NES with none other than Killer Instinct. And get this, he also plays games with is grandma! How cool is that? Starting with his first foray into the world of RPGs, Final Fantasy VII, it has become a tradition for Justin and his grandmother to play through every Final Fantasy release since.
ChronoSloth counts his 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4 and Demon Souls Deluxe Edition among his most valuable items. When asked to comment about the worst game he’s ever played he had this to say: “X Blades is a piece of shit!” More from the man himself, “I’m a huge fan of PlayStation and Nintendo, JRPGs, fighting games, and collecting video game merchandise. If I had two wishes, I’d wish for a proper Final Fantasy VII remake (Editor’s Note: This one came true!) and Dark Cloud 3. You can add me on PSN (CloudStrife37) or Miiverse (also CloudStrife37) and talk to me about games, or have me beat you at them.”
Doobs, 28 years young, and Nerdberry actually met each other in Wilmington in 2011 and their passion for being nerdy about video games popped right out as they ignored their girlfriends – these girls were roommates who were responsible for introducing Doobs and Nerdberry. Doobs is a A+ and Net+ Certified Lead IT Technician and pays for Bud Light Platinum beers and Xbox Live downloads with his hard-earned dollars. Doobs’ obvious passions are the Castlevania series and his beautiful 7 year old daughter, both of which take prominence in his life.
“I try to get my daughter interested in the games that I grew up on, in hopes that she’ll become a video game nerd and not be a whore like her mother. I grew up in Patchogue, NY (home of Blue Point Brewery) and moved down to Wilmington, NC at the age of 19. I had a shitty job working at Hollywood Video for 2 years that fueled my video gaming needs. I got to rent games for free so I was able to try something without worrying if I hated it. I have been playing video games for a quarter of a century, literally. While I may not play as much as I used to, my jimmies still rustle when I see a trailer for a game that looks great. Responsibility sucks when you want to bang out on games all day, but that’s life.”
Doobs is a welcome friend of the Nerd Bacon community and is a solid team member.
Worst Game Ever Played: Ikari Warriors II: Victory for the Road on the NES. Worst. Gift. Ever.
Living in the beautiful San Francisco Bay area, this 30-something year old gives credit to his grandfather for fueling his video game love when he gifted an Atari 2600 to him when he was a child and letting him play his NES whenever he visited. Super Mario Bros 3 is a personal favorite and will always hold a special place in his heart. Frozen Mallet spends his free time with his wife, twin sons and their daughter.
What is the worst video game you ever played? X-Men on NES. This had to be the most disappointed I have ever been with a game. There weren’t any internet sites back then to look up reviews. A lot of time we were dependent on word of mouth and some kid at school told me that the X-Men game coming out was going to be amazing. In my mind’s eye I pictured Wolverine slashing through enemies and Storm electrocuting guys left and right. Then I brought it home from and saw that my parents had paid full price for a game that looked and played like Professor Xavier’s full adult diaper.
Gingerbot – Author & Reporter
Gingerbot is a fiery red-headed gamer who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Yes, she might be Nerd Bacon’s youngest writer, but don’t let that fool you. She has a passion for anything PlayStation, going all the way back to the mid 90s. Her brother is responsible for getting her into video gaming, even though he’s younger than she is! A Jedi Knight at heart, she has ventured into other worlds such as the majestic Skyrim and equally grand Sesame Street (on the PS1). While she originally called Maine her home until moving to NC in 5th grade, Nerd Bacon is her second residence and we welcome her with open arms!
What game do you hold closest to your heart?: Star Wars Battlefront II for the PS2. I have very fond memories of playing this game with my brother on Saturday mornings!
InfiniteKnife – Assistant Administrator
InfiniteKnife, known in the real world as Jarrad, is a 32 year old from NY, then NC, and now Reno, NV. Resident Evil 2 may have sparked his interest in horror games, but it was Super Mario Bros. 3 that kicked off his greater passion for video gaming at around 5 or 6 years of age. Jarrad thinks that bumping floating question mark blocks to reveal fire flowers or hammer suits would be awesome, and frankly I think it’d be difficult to find someone who wouldn’t find the experience utterly amazing! Remembering Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as one of the hardest games for the original NES, co-founder The Cubist is enthusiastically inclined to agree.
From the endless blade himself, “I was born and raised in NY, moved to NC in 2004, and Reno, NV in 2016. I have never owned a Sony console, though I have played plenty of PlayStation/PS2. When I’m not playing games, I play poker (I’m in the WSOP record books), baseball, softball, and golf. Baseball is definitely my favorite sport so I will have some baseball game reviews coming to Nerd Bacon. ”
Justicescooby – Author
Shane, a.k.a. Justicescooby is a 16 year old coming to us from New York. Although he can’t pin down a favorite game, he’d choose to be Darth Revan (post evil ending) from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic if he could live inside of a game. One of his worst gaming experiences in recent memory is Redshirt, published right here at Nerd Bacon.
Shane’s first console was the popular Nintendo 64, though he’s recently shifted to primarily PC gaming. Besides video games, he also enjoys acting, singing, and maintaining his game-related YouTube channel – be sure to check it out here.
Straight from the mouth of…well…someone…
“Nike Halifax lives in a cave on the surface of the sun. When he’s not being burned alive, he writes reviews, instigates revolutionary coups in disenfranchised third-world-countries, and aspires to be better than you. He’s 22 years old. Or a thousand. I dunno, what’re you askin’ me for? You think I know the guy all personal-like or some shit? He don’t tell me shit about what he does, I just get the reviews in the mail and he asks me “you gonna have these out by next week?” And I tells him “yeah, just don’t get yer fuckin’ guts all twisted up, you lousy rat-bastard.” Strictly business. That’s it. I know nothin’. He comes to me with blood on his hands, and I’m not sayin’ he does, but when he does, I just mind my own business and ask him when the next review’s in. That’s all I know.”
THEbipolarBear, better known as Dylan in real life, is an almost 17 year old from Montpelier, Virginia (close to Richmond). Although currently hard at work in a local Subway restaurant, he aspires to become a writer one day (which is great for those of us running The Bacon). Dylan got his start in gaming via his much older sister’s boyfriend while playing games like SSX and Burnout together. When he snagged his first console, the original Xbox, he discovered Spider-Man 2 which Dylan credits with getting him interested in the Marvel universe, particularly the eponymous character as well as Deadpool.
Speaking about himself, Dylan fills us in a little more: “I am going to be a senior in high school, graduating class of 2015, and I aspire to be a writer of some sort. I have a mildly-successful YouTube channel that I post on occasionally, just for fun, and I also have a thriving career in my school’s NJROTC, but my proudest high school endeavor was having a prosperous relationship with a girl. My beautiful girlfriend of 2 and a half years, Mia, is my best friend and my biggest supporter. That’s all I’ve accomplished so far, but I have quite a bit of time left to spend on more of life’s adventures!
Sean, or Steroid Gamer as he’s known around here, is a 24 year old freelance filmmaker who also works in a distributing position in a warehouse. He remembers Resident Evil 4 as his first “M” rated game, opening his eyes to the world of survival horror at only 16. Sean grew up on video games, playing games like Yoshi’s Story with his sister. When asked about what game would be his choice to live in, Sean looks to the Mass Effect franchise, drawn to the idea of leaving our current world and venturing to others, even beyond our own galaxy. He humbly admits that he’d probably just randomly wander and inform people of his favorite place to eat on the Citadel. Hey, wouldn’t we all? His least favorite game is Ico, and although he accepts that people may hate his preference, the whole reason he got involved with The Bacon was to have a platform to voice his opinions. And that’s what we’re here for.
Here’s a little more about why Sean loves gaming, from the Steroid Gamer himself, “I’ve loved playing video games as far as I can remember. For me the best part is the escape that comes with playing a game. Each time you turn the game on you can leave the world behind (and all it’s problems) and enter a world full of endless possibilities. The interactive story that a game can tell is one unique to the genre. Movies tell great stories that you can watch, books tell great stories you can read, but VIDEO GAMES can tell the great stories you get to LIVE!….or playthrough I guess.”
Sarus Vakarian, otherwise known as Sarah, is a 21 year old Customer Experience Coordinator who joins us all the way from Sterling Heights, Michigan. Closest to her heart is the original Tomb Raider from 1996, which her dad introduced her to at the age of 7. Having always been drawn towards strong female characters, Sarah was instantly on board with Lara Croft’s character. Her dad even fashioned guns out of cardboard so that she could play as Croft both on and off the screen.
The Mass Effect franchise really kickstarted Sarah’s passion for gaming and also serves as her choice of games to live in, namely as an Asari. Who doesn’t want to have a tentacle-head and live for a thousand years? Sarah’s first console was an original PlayStation, which incidentally houses her least favorite game: SpongeBob SquarePants: Supersponge; a game she describes as making her “bleed internally.”
Sarah elaborates more on her aspirations of becoming a writer along with other personal details, “I have big aspirations to become a writer (I’m actually writing my first book right now) and plan to finish school with an English degree so I can teach as well. I have three pet giraffes (well, they’re beanie babies), named Topper, Tiptop, and Frankie. I also have a real pet, a pitbull-lab mix named Emma and a boyfriend named Steve. Our idea of a romantic date night is setting up our consoles and playing video games next to each other while splitting a plate of spaghetti. I feel exceptionally blessed to be a part of the NB family because NB allows me the chance to do what I love and it just doesn’t get any better than that.”
Action Zero, also known as Donovan, is a 24 year old who joins us from Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Donovan calls Doom II his measuring stick for how much he’s grown as both a gamer and a person, going from fearing its sound effects as a child, to daring to attempt it with cheat codes, to moving through it legitimately just shy of Nightmare difficulty. He got his start in the world of video games a little differently than most of us; as a youngster who was often grounded, he found himself reading through his dad’s impressive collection of gaming magazines including PC Gamer and Electronic Gaming Monthly in order to pass the time. It was here where he first began vicariously playing these games via the strategy guides, absorbing information that was eventually put to good use as he began acquiring the games themselves.
Donovan’s first console was a Sega Genesis with the Sega CD add-on, and nowadays he considers his desktop his most valuable gaming possession. When it comes to worst games ever, Twisted Metal 4 is near the top of Donovan’s list, citing it as being, “cliched, stupid, and generally unwelcome in its series.”
And now few words from the man himself, about the man himself: “I spend a lot of time reading, writing, and planning games to play with my friends. I’m hard-working and dedicated, but also laid-back and easy to get along with. I love to tell a story and spend many idle moments trying to work toward filling in the blanks of some of my ideas. I love many kinds of music, know the value of a good game, and know that if I’m given open-ended questions, it’s best for me to stay focused and concise, otherwise we’ll be here all day.”
Rhutsczar, also known as Brandon, comes to us all the way from Santa Rosa, California. A 23 year old writer/promoter, Brandon came to us out of a desire to write lengthier, more in-depth reviews. He enjoys being on the production end of video games, stemming from his childhood experiences with the original PlayStation. His worst gaming memory is of Quake 3, while one of his favorites is Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, where he would choose to be Vice when asked about what video game he’d most like to live in.
A few words from Brandon himself: “I actually keep quite busy. I am a writer here at Nerd Bacon, admin and main author on Media in Review, and a main writer over at Neon Vision Entertainment, and now a script writer for Watchmojo.com. If I am not doing anything my brain yells at me until I do. Just remember, Noblesse Oblige. I pray for your continuing service as a savior. I’m also trying to jump into the business world and hopefully you will be hearing more about that soon. Maybe a film or series? There will definitely be more from me soon.”
student 20, otherwise known as Eric in the real world, calls Des Moines, Iowa his home. Born in 1975, you’ll always be able to figure out how old he is no matter how old this information is. When not gaming, Eric is a housekeeper, a cook, and a freelance GM for Ford.
When it comes to games, he holds several dear to him, including Space Quest, Dragon Quest III, Final Fantasy VI, and both the Half-Life and Portal series. A true oldschool gamer, his parents introduced him to the world of home gaming with a Pong machine, an Atari 2600, and the classic NES. As far as bad games go, he considers Final Fantasy XIII to be especially egregious, describing it as “insulting to the player” and “offensively bad,” among other things. When asked about what brought him to Nerd Bacon, Eric quibs, “It’s nice to know that not all of those ads [on Craigslist] result in weird sex, creepy stalkers, fraud, and death.”
Finally, a little more about Eric in his own words: “I’m in a happy, committed relationship with a wonderful woman who I love with all my heart. I love to cook, and I find housework relaxing. My favorite genre of video games is RPGs (especially Action-RPGs, especially Fallout 3/New Vegas). I’m an avid tabletop gamer, and my favorite tabletop games are Pathfinder and Mutants & Masterminds, although I like pretty much everything that has a little structure. I’ve been an anime fan since Astroboy, and my current faves are The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-On!, Tasogare Otome × Amunejia, Another, Accel World, and a bunch more. I hate apostrophe abuse more than is reasonable (you never, ever, ever use apostrophes for pluralization – ever. Apostrophes are for contractions, possessives, and to indicate missing letters in colloquialisms. Those are the only English uses for apostrophes. Go back to any teacher who taught you otherwise and punch them – real hard). I’m an English Major – no surprise there.”
ZB, alternatively known as Sam, is currently a 26 year old freelance writer. Earthworm Jim is a game that Sam holds particularly close; he discovered it at a young age but gained an entirely new and different appreciation for it as he’s grown and matured, a process that many of us have gone through and can relate to. When asked about living inside of a video game, he gives us a very specific scenario: the Mushroom Kingdom or South Island (from Sonic) due to their relative peacefulness, with himself as the giant ape from Rampage to really shake things up. The cherry on top? When night falls, the air is filled with Music C from the NES release of Tetris.
For the time being, Sam counts Night Driver as his least favorite game and a boxed Lost Vikings 2 (with instructions) among his most valuable gaming possessions. Apparently, he also has a pretty sad story behind his possession of Bonk’s Adventure for a weekend.
Sam gives us a little more insight into his gaming proclivities: “I have been a video game owner since I was four years old. I grew up on a steady diet of NES and Genesis, with the oddest assortment of games either console had to offer. Other than the Mario games I didn’t have or even know about most of the classics. I was aware of Zelda and I had a friend that would bring over Sonic 1-3, but aside from that I had never played Castlevania, Megaman, Punchout, Metroid, or any other staple franchises. Instead I had games like Wolverine, Back to the Future, Jimmy Connor’s Tennis, so on and so forth (I exclude Sega mainly because my games weren’t as obscure for that console that I can remember). I began collecting around 2003 when flea markets were still flourishing with gaming paraphernalia. Since the pool has dried up over the years I find myself clamoring to grab anything I can at prices I would have once scoffed at.”
Doc Croc comes to us from the East. A 100 year old loner, she credits her brother and a Windows 95 machine for getting her into gaming. Her first system was a PlayStation, though Pokemon Emerald remains closest to her after spending years with it to master different playing styles. Among the Doc’s most valuable items are a C64 and the game Lords of Conquest.
When asked about hypothetically living within any game’s universe, she chose the extended life expectancy offered by being Unitron Master in Biomotor Unitron. When it comes to worst games ever played, the award goes to Fable II. And when she isn’t playing games or mastering programming languages, she’s reading over our site requirements, which always earns extra points with us.
Here’s a little about Doc Croc from Doc Croc herself: “I was lucky enough to be around during the early 90s when gaming was awesome, which meant I also got to experience some great systems during my childhood; the Commodore 64, Sega Genesis, Playstation original, and the Nintendo 64. I also used to go to this arcade that was at a nearby mall a lot and managed to beat The Ocean Hunter with my brother before they tore it and the mall down. Now as an adult I can’t even walk into GameStop to buy games anymore because I get stopped by morons for having boobs.”
Abyssal Oblivion, otherwise known as Jesse, is an 18 year old from Tuscon, Arizona. A full time student and cashier, it was WWF Attitude for the PlayStation that jump started his interest in gaming. Jesse hold Fallout 3 in high regard, remembering it as an expansive and gritty experience. His first system was an original PlayStation where he spent a lot of time with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. One of the worst games he remembers is Frogger: The Great Quest for the PS2.
When asked to tell us more about himself, Jesse had the following to say: “I’m geeky, love comics, video games, and film. Most of the time, (when I’m not working or going to school) you’ll catch me watching YouTube, maybe watching movies, writing poems, or playing video games. I’m pretty relaxed and laid back, the type of guy that really doesn’t care too much about what other people think. I’m also not a jerk, I consider myself a pretty nice guy who knows how to treat people right. … My passion in life is to become an Elementary School Teacher (still plenty of time for video games!) and become a successful writer and video game journalist.”
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