About us.

Ryan 9/26/16:  I am arbitrarily updating this, as everyone else’s info is way out of date.  Brice never calls me anymore, so even through ideas he is no longer a contributor.  If he is still alive, he is welcome at any time.  You never know with him though.  His mom used to call me to make sure he was still alive when we were roommates.  I’ll just assume he’s doing super secret spy business or something.  Brice’s life is an epic adventure that needs not be understood by us.

The blog also works a little differently now.  I am the only one who enjoys writing, so I do all the writing.  I get together for round table discussions with Mike, Walter and Chris that become the articles and my brother Dustin is the rare hardware consultant.  I present to you the current BE lineup:

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From left to right: Walter (Laguna), Mike (JiffyMaster), Ryan (UnilateralOptimizer), Dustin (Dustin) and Chris (AllenNebraska).

A little about each of us and how we contribute:

Ryan:  I do the writing.  There is no editor, so you can lay the typos and mistakes right on me.  I have devoted a good chunk of my time for the past 5 years to this attempt to provide something like the detailed articles we used to see in gaming magazines.  I do hours of real research, interview anyone who will talk to me and purchase all of the games and hardware out of pocket.  These days I’m more interested in researching the development of games and understanding the hardware than actually playing them, but I still rack up quite a few hours across multiple systems.  I am a casual WoW player and a hardcore Souls player.  I also spend a great deal of my time finding ways to play unreleased games or games that are no longer available.

Mike:  Mike is our Master at Arms.  If it bleeds he can kill it, in reality or in game and his beard takes no prisoners.  For us Mike is that guy that plays the really hardcore shooters that the rest of us suck at and tells us if they are good or not.  He will also kick your ass at any kart style racing or vehicular combat game.  He has very little time for JRPGs and will also be the voice of reason if we are all making the huge mistake of playing a game like Final Fantasy XIII because we are fan-blinded.  When it’s a steaming pile of crap, you can count on Mike to call it like it is without restraint.

Walter:  Walter is like an encyclopedia of otaku culture.  It’s not that he’s seen the most anime, he’s seen the choicest anime.  A gourmet of JRPGs and also a lover of classic James Bond films, Walter is the embodiment of that ‘super-geek’ that touches all disciplines of geekdom.  When I visit Walter’s The Crow-esque attic apartment, I am always greeted to the sounds of an underground internet radio station that plays only the choicest video game soundtracks selected by those in the know.  He will play the RPGs that are just too hardcore even for me and then describe them to me in detail, so I know what I’m missing.

Chris:  Chris is a man of infinite patience while playing video games.  He will grind longer and harder than any non-bot on the internet and get that rare thing that you have never seen before the hard way.  I cannot even count the number of games that were over 20 hours long that Chris has finished in a single sitting.  He’s like a machine that only does one thing; beat numbers out of monsters until it equals win.  He will also play almost any game with me and usually becomes better at it than I am.  So when everyone else I know was not willing to take the Dark Souls plunge with me, Chris was ready and willing, held back only by his crappy PC.

Dustin:  My brother Dustin is kind of like Robert Duvall and Michael Caine’s characters in Secondhand Lions.  He’s like your wild uncle that goes on crazy adventures and comes back with rare treasures.  From early childhood my brother and I began collecting old game systems we found at garage sales.  We were collecting consoles before the concept of collecting something as bulky as that was a thing.  The benefit of this is that Dustin collected what are now some of the rarest gaming systems at a time when they were considered garbage.  He has nearly every commercially released game console from Intellivision to the portable PSone with screen.  As a wedding gift, he gave me a Sony Xpedia Play phone.  That’s that Playstation phone with game controls that you saw once at E3 one year.  My brother found one and was just like “Oh yeah, I found this, here you go.”  Needless to say the rarest hardware required for these articles was mostly provided by Dustin.  He even has an Atari Jaguar with Alien vs. Predator and the original number pad covers.