Oh hello. I didn’t see you there. I’m Kenneth Shepard kotaku‘s new permanent author.
In case you don’t know me, I’ve spent the last three years writing about the video game industry over at fanbytes as a staff writer, and I did so through the lens of oddity, communityand introspection. I’ve also written about these things in places like polygon, IGN, insert magazine, Gayming Magazine, and many other places that I will not list here. But if you’ve been so kind as to read my words over there, you’ll find all of that over here below kotaku, also. But on top of that, I’m here to help out in ours Tips & Guides Section where we talk about the how and why of how we play video games.
I started out as a reporter for local news. What started out writing for my college newspaper eventually became its director and then worked for my local newspaper for a while. The end goal was always to get a job writing games, but I think writing about people has fundamentally influenced a lot of how I think and talk about the industry. While I used to be interested in watching giant corporations battle it out in the name of market domination, I’m now more interested in what games mean to us as a culture of gamers and developers. I tell people the best question I’ve asked in interviews when I was working for the newspaper was, “What does this mean to you?” and I watched someone light up when they answered. I like to keep that mindset when I write about video games and what they mean to people who aren’t sitting on a plank and bragging about record winnings while laying off half their workforce.
Aside from writing about video games, I also talk about them Normandy FMa bi-weekly retrospective podcast that I co-host Destructiveis Eric Van Allen. If the name didn’t tell you, we started out as a mass effect Podcast that ran through BioWare’s entire sci-fi saga, with episodes walking through each game beat-by-beat, alongside incredible guests from across the industry. Making this show was a huge influence on my critical voice as it shifted so much of my thinking about games, narrative and player expression to really dissecting a specific moment rather than trying to broadly sum things up.
In the years since, the show has evolved into a general video game retrospective. We continued for cover dragon time, Jade Empire, The last of usand Final Fantasy Xand are currently a few episodes away from completing our recap Cyberpunk 2077. In the new year we start playing through the kidney series, which is exciting because it’s the first time I haven’t played a game in the series before we cover it.
Gosh, what else is there to tell about me? Pokemon is my vice in life, and I have a specific set of six Pokemon that I consider my core group (Raichu, Palkia, Latias, Beautifly, Torterra, and Houndoom). Before the pandemic, I lived in cinemas and was caught watching everything that was being shown, good or bad. I’m still trying to adjust to seeing movies again, but that transition back to when theaters reopened has been an ongoing process. Before I wrote about games, I was well on my way to becoming a music teacher and teaching high school choir (I clearly have a knack for choosing career paths with extremely stable job markets), since every gay teen sings in their high school choir to begin with 2010s were caught up joy understand and is probably in therapy right now trying to forget Matthew Morrison’s performance of Blurred Lines. I don’t make music professionally anymore, but I sing a mean show tune in my car and pay too much for a replica of Ellie’s guitar The Last of Us Part II sometimes not to play.
before kotakuI lived in a small town in Georgia with my 16 year old Yorkie Chihuahua named Lily, who has my heart and soul. I don’t know how she’ll react to city life when we move to New York, especially at her grumpy age, but I’ve worked a long time to bring us here. I started writing about the video game industry as a wide-eyed college student in 2013 with a terrible review by Grand Theft Auto V for my university’s work (which luckily got lost to time and the website redesign), but what I didn’t tell most people at the time was that I started writing about video games because I was sure the Career would take me out of the suffocating confines of small town Georgia and into the big city I so desperately wanted to live in. Years in college, a pandemic, health issues and later a layoff, I am writing this from G/O’s New York office as a staff writer kotaku. I can see the tall buildings from the window and hear the hustle and bustle of the city below. For most of the time, looking at a city skyline felt like taking your family to a nice restaurant. It was a special event that you knew would set you back for a paycheck or two. Now? As soon as my work day is over, I go into town knowing that I’m not just passing through anymore.
So as I write this, it’s a time of quite significant change for me. Going from writing for one website to writing for another is one thing, moving your whole life to the city you’ve dreamed of half your life is quite another. To a fresh start in a new, exciting place. Both in the big city and here at kotaku. See you on the front page.