Staff Bio: Chris Pankonin

Name: Chris Pankonin
Nicknames: Pank, The Commish, the Boss, Vinnie Mac
Location: Omaha, NE

Three Favorite Genres:
Sports (Basketball/Baseball/Football)
Survival Horror
First Person Shooters

Three Favorite Games:
NCAA Football
Grand Theft Auto 4
Resident Evil 4

Favorite Console: Xbox 360

Other Places Their Writing Can Be Found:
411mania
Inside Pulse

Bio: If you’re wondering who got this whole thing started, it was me! In 2001, I took over as the Lead Editor for 411mania.com’s games section. At first, I just wrote reviews and news pieces before taking over a primarily “behind the scenes” role in which I hired a majority of the guys that currently write for DHGF, including Alexander Lucard and Bebito Jackson. In 2004, we packed up and moved to InsidePulse.com. In late fall that year I completely fell off the face of the gaming map, as responsibilities in my “real life” job were just too much to meet the demands of leading the talented staff I had put together. I stayed away from writing on the ‘net until the winter of 2007, when Alex and Bebito approached me to get the band back together and launch DHGF!

Q&A Question #1: Bebito Jackson Chris, you’ve been to E3 several times before major changes were made to the show. Ya know, back when E3 was this huge deal. What was your most memoral moment during any of your visits there?

I loved E3, both years I went will beexperiences I’ll never forget. Probably the most entertaining story is when I sat V-I-P with Snoop Dogg. Fo Shizzle!

At the time we had a great relationship with Microsoft’s PR department, I think it was in 2003. He set me up with a private appointment time with Microsoft Game Studios, which was in this private, back room in the convention center. They had these little suites with nice couches, including a waiting room before your scheduled appointment time. As I’m sitting in the waiting room, taking it all in Snoop Dogg comes in with a couple buddies and sits down right next to me!

He was on his phone, and then absorbed by his posse so I didn’t get a chance to talk with him, but I got a slight nod as he sat down next to me. It was at that point I felt like I had arrived in the video game industry.

Ironicially, the appoitnment session that followed was also a major highlight too. I got to try out Fable, Voodoo Vince, and all of the launch sports titles of the ill-fated XSN (Xbox Sports Network).

If you ever get a chance to go to E3, take it!!

Question # 2: Alexander LucardYou’ve been doing this longer than any of us. What’s been the most rewarding and the most frustrating part of video game journalism for you?
It might be a cliche answer, but when I write a review and people take the time to write back with any type of feedback, I love it. Playing video games has always been a hobby rather than an occupation, and even the sniff of feeling like a legitimate source inside the industry feels great.

To this day, its still a thrill to receive a game in the mail to review, and opportunities such as E3 and other giveaways and promotions that I’ve worked with companies on has also just been incredible. I went into this area expecting nothing other than the opportunity to write about video games for fun, and it turned into trips to Los Angeles/Santa Monica, thousands of dollars worth the free video games, the chance to meet and listen to some of the industry’s biggest names ever, and the opportunity to work and write with some seriously talented writers that became friends along the way.

The most frustrating thing are the companies, and more specifically the public relations people that were awful to deal with as I tried to build our sites along the way. Now that I’m in my career in the real world, I realize just how much money and resources these companies have budgeted for the sole purpose of getting their games/product out on the streets. The Internet is the primary way most people, especially gamers, make their choice on whether or not they’re going to go out and buy something. Why they still, or ever resisted, and why they expect us, if granted to practically lie in order to maintain the relationship is wrong on so many levels. Some things never change, but I do think things are at least getting better and I hope they continue to do so.

Question #3: Guy DesmaraisYou’ve been in the industry for a while, so you must have had some funny feedback over the years. What’s the most memorable reader feeback you ever received?

My all-time favorite, and I think I still have it SOMEWHERE, was when I simply posted screenshots of WWF Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain for PS2 back at 411. I just posted some simple screenshots, not even an article, review, nothing, and some kid sends me and e-mail saying that he wants to be a wrestler and if I could talk to Vince McMahon and ask him what he needs to do to get there and if I could have Vince call him.

I don’t care how young you are, why in the world you would even think about making the connection to a guy posting screen shots of a wrestling game on a video game web site would be close personal friends with Vince McMahon.

Question #4: Bryan BergAs a fellow sports gamer, which sport would you say translates best to the world of video games?

I do love sports games, and I think historically football has always translated pretty well. Back in 1990 I loved Tecmo Super Bowl and just how simple it was, and as systems evolved, so have football games. Just look at the crazy Madden sales.

I must say though that baseball is starting to evolve too, the analog stick controls are a step in the right direction to make it really authentic. Hockey and Basketball both have put out solid efforts too. Football wins, though.

Question #5: ML KennedyLJN made many games for the NES. Most were terrible. Which was the worst, which was the best, and why?

LJN, wow I remember them from back in the day seeing the little logo in the corner and I can honestly say I didn’t realize just how many game they made that I actually played!

I always had a love/hate relationship with Back to the Future. I remember playing it constantly, but never getting very far whether it be death by non-sensical moving plate glass windows those damn movers kept walking around in the streets with while I was trying to skateboard, dammit! I also seemed to get thrown down the bar a lot..really random old memories. I’m going to give this the nod as the worst, solely for the fact that it always ticked me off.

Keep in mind I was very young when LJN was in its prime, so I’m going to say any of the plethora of WWF titles they released would be my favorites. I was a huge, obsessed wrestling fan at the time so I got a lot of mileage out of all of those wrestling titles. Trying to play them today, they suck, but I even remember spending hours on WWF Wrestlemania Challenge and getting those NES’d versions of all the wrestlers theme songs stuck in my head. Talk about a throwback!

Question #6: Frederick BadlissiYour love of sports game is known. Quite known. I’m wondering, however, what genres outside of sports you like, and if there are any particular stand-out titles that personally typify excellence in said genre for you.

I’ve always loved the Survival Horror genre, I’ve beaten every Resident Evil, as well as 0, 2, 3, 4, and Code Veronica for Dreamcast, and Silent Hill 1, 2, 3, and 4. I can’t wait for 5 to come out. Resident Evil 4 was probably my favorite of all of them, and unlike many I was actually late to catching on and beat Nemesis/RE3 FIRST, discovering how much I loved the series, went back and beat all the others. I also beat Silent Hill 2 before Silent Hill 1, I’m backwards like that I guess!

I also end up buying practically every big FPS shooter, and I can usually beat those too, most recently Halo 3 and COD 4, along with Gears of War.

I don’t like RPGs, I’ve tried a few times but they’re just not my style.

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