“Blanket Fort Chats” is a semi-regular column featuring women and nonbinary game makers talking about the craft of making games. In this week’s post, we feature Philip Jones, a nonbinary games professional best known as the editor of the queer cyberpunk adventure 2064: Read Only Memories and the expo hall director for the LGBTQIA+ games convention GaymerX.
Miss N: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into making games?
Philip: I’ve known I wanted to be in games since I was very young; I’d been writing and podcasting for fan and news sites since I was twelve. I first launched my own podcast project at 16 and went on to have the subject of the game’s creative director on for three exclusive interviews. Kept a couple contacts and soon met Toni Rocca [GaymerX Convention President] online.
I was barely 18 and just came out as gay, and was fascinated by the potential of queerness in games, especially professional work. She enlisted me and I haven’t looked back since. Before that, I was a theater kid dealing with a sad queer life in Texas, doing whatever I could to put off the “grow up and get a real job” future staring me down that I knew I’d never survive in.
Miss N: Can you describe your your earliest memory of playing games?
Philip: Plenty of them. Playing the Ms. Pac-Man machine they had at the laundromat. Random babysitters that had N64s or computer games, mostly car racing or Disney. Lots of educational games. The SEGA Pico. All the late ’90s PC games. Fuzion Frenzy on Xbox. Tony Hawk and Mario Tennis on the N64 they had at McDonald’s.
By the time I was six or seven, I got a computer and was playing pretty excellent games, Roller Coaster Tycoon and Need for Speed, lots of LEGO games haha. Eventually, my best friend got a Gamecube and introduced me to games like SSX Tricky, Pikmin, Super Monkey Ball, and XG3. When I was nine, I finally got my own Gamecube with SSX 3 and Mario Kart Double Dash. Then, a Gameboy Advance SP with Golden Sun, Pokémon FireRed, Yoshi’s Island, and Sonic Advance. Soon, Harvest Moon, Smash Brothers, Mario Sunshine, and Animal Crossing.
Most of what I’ve mentioned remains on my favorite games list. Then I got a Wii, found the internet, and I was in deep. Some of favorite memories are the late ’90s/early ’00s SEGA arcade machines they had at Chuck E. Cheese. Crazy Taxi, Emergency Call Ambulance, Jambo Safari, Magical Truck Adventure, and Wild Riders. All very influential.
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