The Mommy Gamers

Helen A. Lee

Like pretty much every other kid of the ‘70s and ‘80s, I spent a lot of time at the arcade and roller rink in my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas. I defeated Joust and racked up high scores on Centipede while taking breaks from skating to “YMCA.” My family also owned an Atari 2600, so my childhood also included all-night marathon bouts of Space Invaders and Asteroids at home. Later on, I got a Nintendo Entertainment System, moved my dad’s TV into my room, and spent my spare time with Link and Zelda and Mario and Luigi.

But I wasn’t serious about games. At Wellesley College, where I majored in Political Science, the only ones I can recall playing were Minesweeper and Tetris. I got my Masters in Journalism from Columbia University in 1995, and I’m pretty sure all I did that year was eat, sleep, watch “Earth 2,” and write stuff. At Columbia, for some reason, I opted to go into a new track the school was offering – New Media.

The first company that liked my resume once I was out was Sendai Media Group in Illinois, which was hiring an online editor for its movie magazine. So, I packed up my little blue Honda Civic and moved to the Chicago suburbs. I soon realized that Sendai’s main money-maker was this magazine called Electronic Gaming Monthly. My corporate culture was full of gamers. So I let the guys I was working with on re-introduce me to gaming. I bought a co-worker’s SNES, lost complete days to Civilization II, played fighting games after work, and spent my weekends in my office being fragbait in Doom II and Duke Nukem 3D.

Ziff-Davis Publishing swooped in and acquired Sendai in 1996, moving me to the gaming side in the process. To my surprise, I suddenly became the first-ever female editorial staff member at EGM (it had some great female employees, but no women writers), acting as a liaison with During my year as EGM’s online editor, I wrote daily news, attended E3, did a
huge piece on gaming controllers for the annual, and became the first journalist to approach Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Entertainment for an interview.

At the end of 1997 I was laid off – but that job re-ignited my love of video games, and ever since then I’ve been a gamer. I loved the Sega Dreamcast and was fond of the Sony PlayStation, today I’m really more of an XBox fan, and I play a lot of mobile games too. I’m still terrible at shooters, but I do enjoy a good game of Halo now and then.

Although today I write about a lot of different subjects for multiple publications, I have dabbled in games journalism since early 2010 (that’s when EGM folded the first time – I couldn’t imagine writing for anyone else while it still existed!). I started working for one gaming website start-up, and then another, and once those ceased operations I found a home at The Mommy Gamers.

I am grateful to Marcia and Desirai and Carrie for letting me join this hilarious and wonderful crew and to be a part of something so special. I hope to be a worthy member of this little community, and I look forward to continuing to writing about games and sharing all the geeky things I love.

Contact Me

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On Twitter @hellonw

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