Hi, TheFeed readers, I'm Stephen Johnson, TheFeed's lead editor, and it's time to meet me. I was brought up in Southern New Jersey, went to college in Boston. and have lived all over the country since, but I like Los Angeles the best. Before I started working at G4 I was a freelance magazine writer (among other things), and I wrote for a variety of publications including a tip sheet for a racetrack, Performing Songwriter magazine, Art Collector international, and a number of well known publications of dubious reputation. I've been a gamer for a long time too.
With fellow G-Fourian Mike D'Alonzo, I wrote for ridiculous puppet oriented parody The B-Team for Flycell mobile and created internet series Time Suck for the Cartoon Network's now-defunct website Super Deluxe. Lately, I've been making short horror films with my friends. If you do nothing else today, check out my directorial debut, "The Prey,"and let me know what you think. Because I live in Los Angeles, I also write screenplays that Hollywood studios come heart-breakingly close to purchasing. I have a wife and child, and that's the best thing ever.
Interview: Stephen Johnson, Lead Editor
By: Brian Leahy
You've been around since the beginning of TheFeed. What was it like at its inception?
I was here when G4’s blog was called “The Word Hole,” so I’m O.G. When we first switched to TheFeed, we didn’t have any readers, so we had more freedom to do ridiculous things that didn’t make sense and were probably only funny to the writers, so we covered product launches in the plumbing and air conditioner industry, wrote in the style of H.P. Lovecraft, put babies in microwaves, kept everyone appraised of advances in Prostate Health, wrote long essays about how much the planetoid Pluto sucks, and put pancakes on everyone’s heads. Now we don’t do that kind of thing as much because we’ve gotten a little more serious in our intent, although we still like to inject a little ridiculousness sometimes. It’s the internet, after all. You can’t be too serious.
What do you do here at G4 and what's your favorite part of your job?
I’m an editor of TheFeed, which means I research and write stories about the video game world, popular culture and the occasional monster attack. I like the coffee best. I think Billy mentioned Free Bagel Thursday in his interview, but I think the public needs to know this: G4 gives us free coffee every day of the week. I’ll drink that stuff all day; I just don’t give a f***. But to be serious: The people. There isn’t a greater group of people anywhere than my co-workers.
What is favorite video game of all time and why?
I’ll say Grand Theft Auto III, because that wasn’t just a great game, it was a game that forever changed the definition of what game-greatness is. Plus, punching hookers. I really liked Ultima III waaaay back in the day, again, a genre-changing kind of game, and Fallout 3. I have spent more total hours in that game than any other single-player game I have ever played. Those games are all the third games in their respective franchises. I'm not sure why.
You consistently say that your ideal phone is the Jitterbug. Does this mean you don't much care for the iPhone, Android, or any other smartphone?
I used to think the excitement and hype that surrounded new cell phones was ridiculous and depressing, and that people are trying to fill some kind of emptiness at the center of their beings with telephones and gadgets. I used to think that having an entire industry devoted to and dependent upon taking advantage of that lack evidenced a kind of spiritual and emotional bankruptcy that physically hurt me to think about.
But then they put out that application that lets you change other people’s iTunes playlist with your phone, and it was like a veil lifted, and suddenly, I wanted an iPhone, badly. Not just for that application (which is a minor thing) but for the world of possibilities it represents and the coolness I’m denying myself by sticking with a three year-old Razer. I’m going to get an iPhone as soon as I can force myself to set foot in an Apple store.
If you could only teach one thing to all of your readers, what would it be?
Video games are fun, but go ride your bike once in a while too.
Does Mario sleep in a giant mushroom?
Mario sleeps in the giant mushroom that grows in the dreams of the children of the world.
Where did you work before G4? If both jobs were animals, which kind would they be?
When I was 15 I worked in a kite store in a beach town. I was the only employee, and one day I forgot the keys to the store, and rather than call my boss, I left the place closed and spent the day in the arcade playing Paperboy. I told my boss that no one bought a kite all day. I’m not sure whether he believed me, but I got really good at Paperboy, and that’s a hard game.
The kite store job would be a sleek and sexy lady-panther and G4 would be a mystical unicorn…but a unicorn without a horn. Before you ask, no, it’s not a horse. It’s a unicorn without a horn. There’s a difference.
As the King of Uno, what are your stately duties? What other characters would you like to bring back?
As the King of Uno, I rule over reverse cards. I’m mad with power. I’d like to revive The Worst Rock Journalist In the World. That was a funny one.
Can you do your best impersonation of a console fanboy to tell me that my choice in console sucks and that my mother is stupid?
Love to: "Your choice in gaming console is suspect in my eyes. This choice is more than a preference; it’s a reflection on you and your sexual orientation. While I am enjoying video gaming on my superior system, there are no enjoyable games on your system, so you are more likely to be found in an alley, enjoying sexual congress with other men.
Your console of choice is proof that you enjoy sexual congress with other men.
I have heard rumors regarding the fidelity of your mother, but her corpulence is obvious to all."
You've done a lot of interviews. Which interview was your favorite and why?
I liked interviewing Uwe Boll, because people are so wrong about him. He’s not trying to destroy games with his movies. No matter what you think of his work, the guy genuinely loves video games. And he’s crazy, too, but in a good way. I also liked interviewing Lord British because he’s a personal hero. I did a short interview with Milla Jovovich, and I can’t remember what she said, but I enjoyed standing near her. She smells really good.