Meet The Reviewers

Meet GamingPolo's reviewers!


Michael Lafferty
Michael Lafferty spent 20 years laboring as a journalist before shucking that underpaid, overworked gig in favor of new life adventures, and work that would leave him smiling at the end of the day. His exploits in the video gaming world decry the cliches foisted upon him as a child that life "isn't all fun and games." It certainly can be, especially when combining the love of writing with playing games. If you would like to say howdy, he can be reached at
Louis Bedigian
Louis Bedigian is what normal humans refer to as "obsessed." He waited in line for more than eight hours to get a PlayStation 2. He watched Tech TV for more than 20 hours just to see a few minutes of footage of Munch's Oddysee and Luigi's Mansion. Despite being one of his least-favorite games, he rented Zone of the Enders twice in March. Not for the game itself, only so he could beat the MGS2 demo again! And again! And again….

Through the years of obsessing over games, Louis found something else to obsess over: writing. Expressing his cheers and jeers about games turned out to be just as fun as actually playing them, if not better in some cases. His love of games and writing is what brought him to GamingPolo Online and he couldn't be happier.
Steven Hopper
Steven Hopper didn't get into video games until his parents bought him his first Nintendo console at the ripe old age of three. However, since then he has been playing video games non-stop, forfeiting nearly all signs of normalcy. He is currently pursuing a BA in Theatre and a minor in Journalism at Albertson College of Idaho, but somehow video games keep getting in the way. In his free time, he enjoys video games (duh!) and banging out chords (poorly, might I add) on his Gibson Les Paul guitar. If you care enough to contact him, email him at
Michael Knutson
When I was real young my parents owned an Atari 2600, and I got to play on it ever so often. When I was seven my parents bought me a NES, which really got me hooked on gaming, playing Mario, Zelda, and other classics. Then I moved on to the SNES, PSX, and now to this generation of gaming consoles. I also enjoy playing PC games from time to time. I started writing on a PC hardware site when I first started going to college, then my friends and I got tired of it so we moved on to other projects. I worked on a well-known site and other small sites before working here. When I am not playing games I enjoy hanging out with my friends, going to parties, and doing many other things.
Nick Valentino
Nick Valentino was born and raised in Oxford, England in 1976 and fell in love with video games when, at the age of 13, won a Nintendo system in a Ramones sound-alike contest (he couldn’t resist Super Mario at the time). Thinking he could make it big in the music scene in America, he moved to Los Angeles at 18 and found himself writing for PSM magazine for a year because “the Playstation demands my attention so often that I willingly bow to it like the slave I am.” He still lives in Los Angeles with his wife Claudia and is also the singer/songwriter for a Radiohead-inspired band called SoulStatic. You may contact Nick at
Natalie Romano
Having come from a home with four video-game-obsessed big brothers; Natalie developed a long love affair with the gaming world. Now Natalie is the proud owner of a PS2, a Dreamcast, an Xbox and two very sore thumbs. She once worked as an NBC Studios tour guide, was a Hawaiian Tropics Girl and modeled for several department store catalogues before she found herself as a contributing reviewer for the Official Dreamcast Magazine (her dream job). Natalie lives in Southern California and currently has her own column in the Campus Scene newspaper called The Film Reporter.
Angelina Sandoval
The sister-in-law of fellow game reviewer Nick Valentino and a hardcore gamer who just happens to love writing and games with a passion. She was once a serious contender for Miss Teen Pasadena--until a broken leg forced her to sit out the judges’ final verdict--and was the cheer captain of the Varsity cheerleaders at Kennedy High. After a failed audition to cheer for the Denver Broncos (insert airhead cheerleader jokes here), she came back to study at the local university in Southern California to become an English Literature teacher. She counts Halo, Grand Theft Auto III and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 as her all-time favorite games. You can send complaints, praise or the occasional thanks to
I've been playing video games since the days of the Atari 2600. I remember the day when my Mom came home with the Atari and a copy of Pac-Man. My world has never been the same since. I've owned nearly every console system ever released, and if I didn't owned it I've at least played the games. I can't even recall a single game magazine out that I didn't have a subscription too. You can reach me at
Eduardo Zacarias
Eduardo Zacarias has been playing video games since he learned how to crawl and pick up an Atari Pong paddle. Since then, he grew up playing video games and competing (and winning) various game tournaments in various arcades in Southern California. Dubbed “Nice Guy Eddie” by the loyal arcade fan groups in the neighborhood, Eduardo continues his ongoing love for games with the Xbox and PC. He is currently the Opinion Editor of the campus paper of his local university (CSUN) and lives off campus with his dog Sam. You may contact him at
Anise Hollingshead
Anise's obsession with computer gaming all began with her family's purchase of a computer in 1995. Upon her husband asserting that it would only be used for work and educational purposes, Anise promptly went out the very next day and bought King's Quest 6. Her life has never been the same once she realized that books could actually be played out interactively (adventure games) on the computer. Although a relative latecomer to computers, she has since made up for lost time. Alas, adventure games are few and far between these days, but she has lately discovered the joys of strategy gaming (interactive dollhouses, albeit with armor!). As a parent of three, Anise is highly interested in children's software and firmly believes you can never have too many kids' games lying around. She also homeschools her youngest daughter and therefore is always searching for great educational programs to supplement her curriculum.

All time favorite games: King's Quest 6, Monkey Island series, Day of the Tentacle, Caesar III, HOMM II, Orly's Draw a Story, Zoombinis, Mathquest with Aladdin, Putt Putt Travels Through Time, Cluefinders. Drop me a note on your favorites at
Chris Oder
I could detail a long list of gamer cred that goes back to "ye ol' 2600" but the truth of the matter is that I freelance write about video games because it's easy to explain when someone asks me what I do. Who really wants to hear what an Information Technology Auditor does at work? Nah, the real glamour is in having my name as the byline on a review of "New and Ever So Slightly Improved First Person Shooter Game!" My nefarious plan to avoid blank stares as I explained my career began a few years ago when I concluded that I should let the world know what I think of the latest video games. I'm so sorry that my decision has subjected you, the reader, to my deluded ramblings. When it comes to game selection, I play and appreciate games in every gaming genre. I do however have a tendency to gravitate to RPGs, quirky games such as Katamari Damacy, rhythm games (Beatmania, DDR, etc.), and games with outrageous controllers like Guitar Hero and Steel Battalion.
Code Cowboy
Tom got his start in gaming with pinball and Pong in the 70s. While he loved playing Atari at friends' houses, he opted to beg his parents for the fancier Odyssey 2 game system. In high school, he owned a Timex Sinclair computer which was his first taste of programming his own games. As the years went by he graduated to Coleco and a Commodore 64 ("Mom, I swear I need it for college!"), while spending weekends feeding tokens to Gorf, Tron and Tempest. As newer systems like Nintendo, Genesis, TurboGrafx and Playstation came along, he got them all. Now a programmer/analyst (hence, the name- Code Cowboy), he still owns all of the games he grew up with-- and looks for ones he never had. Someday, he hopes to get an Atari 2600 of his very own. One can dream.
Dakota Grabowski
I must admit the one thing that many find hard to do - video games are an addiction! I have been in love with video games and the entertainment they have provided since the Sega Genesis. Sure I had a NES but at the time, 32 bit was the way to go for kids my age. Now after owning every system and collecting video games for the last several years, video games have brought me into a career that I adore - journalism! I began writing in 2001 for almost every Xbox fan site out there and have taken a worldwide tour of coverage with sites from Japan, Australia and even Europe. In the summer of 2005, I moved to New York to study screenwriting with Michael Chase Walker, Director of Children Programs at CBS in the late 80s, to advance my knowledge of writing. Currently I am playing my Xbox 360 non-stop and my gamertag is Caspel. If you have any questions, you can contact me at
Derek Pettinelli
Derek's first gaming memory is the Spectravideo, although he doesn't remember it much, but his next system, the NES was a major part of his life. Later he moved onto the Sega Genesis, which kept him busy until fall of 1999, when he received a PlayStation and N64 for his birthday and Christmas respectively. The Dreamcast was next for Derek, which turned out to be one of his favorite gaming experiences of all time. The GameCube and Xbox at launch were the next purchases for him, and although he no longer owns the PS1 and GameCube, he got more than enough play out of his Xbox until the purchase of the Xbox 360 in February 2006. He currently attends college and also enjoys watching movies, listening to music and working with computers in addition to gaming.
Gabe Boker
As a child, Gabe, unlike his other siblings, had a great passion for the arts. Whether it was in the form of music or movies, he was always keen on innovation. When Gabe was a young chap he was introduced to gaming in the form of the Atari 2600. He was blown away by the concept, and despite his unconcealed denial, he has been addicted to virtual entertainment since. This is only half of Gabe's story though. He actually enjoys critiquing on games more than playing them. Call him crazy, but if there's a game you want the low-down on, you know who to call (no, not Ghostbusters). All hate-mail should be sent to
John Wrentmore
Just like any typical gamer, John focuses completely on isolating himself from the horrors that surround him, better known as Society. When not reviewing, John enjoys quoting memorable movie monologues ("You take the red pill…and I'll show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes"), doing laundry for the elderly, and subjecting himself to the spirited sounds of Tenacious D. If you wish to contact John and be consumed in his hallowed company, you can email him at
Justin Raymond
Justin Raymond has been gaming since his childhood days, rescuing many damsels in distress, taking a lot of trips through the Mushroom Kingdom, besting a case of Deja Vu, or whatever might come along. Yes, it all started with the NES, for JR at least, but his love for gaming has not hindered. An owner of nearly every past major system, and currently supporting the Xbox, he now is enjoying the reviewer's life.
Ken Reilly
Ken's love for gaming started before his family owned a game system. He remembers visiting friends, because they owned an Atari. The first system his family owend was a TI99/4A. He also has fond memories of playing arcade games at all the campgrounds growing up. Then the NES was launched, and once again he had to find friends who owned the system until he could save up to buy his own. He been there for every system launch since, spending many nights waiting in line to get a system or game the day it was released. He later realized that his passion for the progression of the gaming industry was as strong as his passion to play games. To leave feedback, or just talk games, send an email to
Kevin “BIFF” Giacobbi
Kevin (a.k.a. Biff to his closest friends) has been intrigued by video games since Pong and Space Invaders were introduced. When Atari released the 2600, a whole new world was born. Now old enough to call thirty-something, he is still mesmerized by the latest technology, hoping it will continue to grow. "I can remember playing Atari's combat for hours thinking this is the greatest war game ever!" Now multiplayer gaming over the Internet is by far the best thing since sliced bread. His favorites are first person shooters, simulations, adventure, and anything that requires a quick trigger finger.
Mike David
Having sucessfully saved the planet Earth at least 200 times is a true testament of exactly what it takes to be a man at the top of his game. The whole thing started at an early age when I piloted my star fighter in the Intellivision hit "Astrosmash". Once the Intellivision went the way of the Dodo, I was fortunate enough to get a Commodore 128. Many nights were logged with my father as we mapped out the dungeons of classic RPG's like Bard's Tale and Legacy of the Ancients. Videogames took a back seat to girls when I hit High School, but all that changed when the Playstation and Sega Saturn came out. Since then, I have purchased every game system that has come down the pipe and actively look to the future of gaming. Like most of us reviewers, I have always wanted to write a book, but with a busy life, the next best thing is to write about games. I like most games but not the racing ones (unless combat is involved) or the sports titles (I'd rather go play it for real). When not playing games, I can be found playing out back with my two sons or watching the Mariners with my wife. You can reach me at
Rob Watkins
Rob’s love for gaming all started when he got an NES for Christmas. It was just a casual hobby until Final Fantasy VII came out, and then it became an obsession. Because of that game, he is what he is today. Originally from Eagle, ID, he now attends the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID. Only ninety percent of his time is spent playing video games, unfortunately. The other ten percent is spent going to class and collecting comic books and action figures. There are only three other loves in his life besides video games: drawing, writing, and his girlfriend of four years. He likes all types of games, but some of his more recent favorites are: Command & Conquer: Generals (PC), Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO (Xbox), Mechassault (Xbox), War of the Monsters (PS2), GTA: Vice City (PS2), and Resident Evil Zero (GC). These are just recent favorites. His Xbox Live Gamertag is Materia Keeper and you can contact him at
Scott “M Balmer” Kuvin
I was "Tha Wiz" in my past life, owning just about every game system growing up, playing games and talking about my past gaming experiences in my childhood ... but since getting laid off at my management job, going back to school, and changing careers to an embalmer, I now live my life helping with the deceased by day and creating virtual deceased online with action titles and MMORPGs by night. If you have questions about an action game, MMORPG, or shooter, feel free to shoot me an e-mail to See you in the battle arenas …
Brock Smith
Dylan Platt
Michael Callon
Shaun Altschuler
Steve Mazzuca
Matt Eberle
Ronnie Hobbs