The Craziest Emails & Messages Received By A Video Game Journalist

People that are into video games are really effing serious about it. A significant subset of the video gaming audience prefers to immerse itself in video games to the exclusion of all other media/hobbies/interests, they spend a lot of time in online environments such as forums and fan sites and media newsfeeds waiting for eye-catching headlines that may or may not be true to pop up so that they can argue about it in the ‘comments.’

Because they spend so much time in these environments, over time they begin to become confused, feeling as if ‘people whose names they see online from the world of video games’ are actual people that they know and whom they should discuss on a personal level, possibly write emails to. Video games might be one of the only entertainment media where the people who write about the medium receive more attention than the people who develop products within the medium.

“Hello from a USPS worker who follows you on Twitter! Now I know where you live. Not too far, I can stalk you.”

Most people who like video games feel like ‘becoming a video game journalist’ is pretty much the best/most ideal career path. Seems like they think they will just get to play video games all day, shake hands with some guy they saw on G4, get free games and stuff. This might help explain the fixation hardcore fans have on people whose job it is to write about video games.

As a result of this fixation I receive a large volume of  emails/comment forums/formspring questions/tweets etc. from people who have either become ‘fans’ of my work, are consulting me re ‘how do I become a game journalist,’ or who harbor a murderous rage toward me such that they wish I would commit suicide/stop working forever because I am stupid/ugly/a bitch/wrong about [popular core audience-targeted game]. It is constantly fascinating and alternately validating and ‘depressing as fuck’ to receive such a high volume of communication.

I have received a mail suggesting I should marry the sender when we are sixty and something to do with that they would/wouldn’t wear bow ties, can’t find the mail. I regularly receive drunk mails from a friendly Scottish guy with an aggressive brand of humor. I have received a mail about how I destroyed someone’s life somehow, by writing a bad review of something maybe.

On two different occasions I received text messages from Twitter followers [maybe a single Twitter follower] reading simply ‘=O)’ and then ‘;o),’ seems like this person had ‘culled’ my cell number from some professional correspondence of mine, thought it would be totally chill just to send me a ‘kawaii’ fucking hello emoticon face or something on my personal fucking cell phone, seems the ‘winky smile’ just made me fly into a rage. I did not respond the second time.

I have multiple portraits of me drawn by people who have been longtime readers of my blog. They were pretty good actually, felt touched that someone like devoted that much time to rendering a likeness of me, but felt kind of concerned about the artists, wondered if they had a lot of ‘irl friends’ or whether they should like diversify their lives. Asked one of them gently something to that effect, he said he was mad happy with his life and that online friends were ‘real’ friends to him, and that he didn’t see the need to like ‘get out more’ or do other things since the things he was doing were so fulfilling to him.

Found that someone had gone and made ‘Zazzle Merch’ of this portrait of my face [drawn by a different person]/ Don’t think anybody bought the ‘Zazzle Merch.’

One time I got a package in the mail, it was a US Postal Service box, feel like it was probably just ‘press materials’ being sent to me by a video game company. On the box someone wrote:

I’m glad I moved to a new neighborhood.

Still I respect even my weirdest fans and don’t want to like ‘call them out’ or quote them directly here in fear of making them feel as if they are ‘being roundly mocked’ by me or something. Except for the other day when I got POSSIBLY the weirdest email I have ever received in my career as a game journalist.

It is too long/insane to reproduce in entirety, but the subject line is “Gaming — reply to my son who loved your article and runs the reactors on an aircraft carrier.” From what I can gather, a person read and ‘loved’ one of my articles and sent a link to his father, his father wrote his son a scathing reply and copied me.

Seems the dad is really vehemently opposed to video games, thinks they might be like ‘drugs’ or ‘mind control.’ His letter begins:

Interesting, but the author is totally ignorant of human consciousness and the abilities scientists now have for mind influence/control.  She is so far down the rabbit hole she can’t see the sun any more. Once she gets pregnant and has a chance to do real life instead of the addictive virtual bullshit, she won’t be writing articles like this any more. Or if she play violent games, she needs a trip to an emergency room in a rough part of any large city.  That is one regret I have with you and Sam, is that I did not give you that experience of seeing the results of physical violence first hand.

Damn. Wonder how the son feels being like ‘dad I liked this video game article,’ and the dad being like ‘hi son, wish I had let you see someone get killed.’

The dad apparently does not like the constraint element of a simulated environment, says that if a game does not allow you to ‘go to France’ or ‘build a log cabin’ then it is like intellectually subjugating you/’ good training for people in jobs like the military who have to stay inside a really tight box.’

Life is not like that.  We came here on this plane to become unlimited beings. Tricking people into spending thousands of hours agreeing to someone else’s limitations is acceptable only to humans who have succumbed to their programming.

Feel like this dad needs to chill.

The CIA stopped mind control research in 1980, simply because they developed the capability to do anything with the human mind that they wanted. They then went into the implementation phase, and have never stopped.  Mind control is not limited to intelligence agencies.

Then he drags the illuminati into it:

To be blunt, games were developed by the illuminati to keep the masses stupid. They billions in profits are just the payoff to their lackeys for developing this for them.

Damn/whoa. There is a lot more stuff about how pets get sick from toxic food, how the dad wishes his son had used his gaming time to study metallurgy, about how many receptors there are in the brain, and then he concludes:  “Still think there are no social costs to gaming?  Wait until the players of Grand Theft Auto have a need to put their gaming skills into use on the streets to survive.”

I thought gamers who wrote me emails were pretty crazy sometimes, but it seems like the craziest letter comes from a guy who hates games. Tried ‘Googling’ him… found out he ‘likes’ a Facebook page called ‘Dear Lord, please give me the strength to not slap an idiot today……Amen’ and that he posted an unanswered query on a Mac OSX forum about his files disappearing. TC mark


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  • tao


    • christopher lynsey


      • Molly Oswaks

        lmao, or something.

      • Sinisteragent


  • Open Emotion

    Oh dear christ, that's mental… What a nut-job :O

  • rayah

    I am laughing and facepalming as I read this. I've had this happen a few times and I'm only a community manager for a video game company. I think my favorite one related to work (there have been worse ones related to my e-fame in World of Warcraft, but let's NOT go there) as the time some guy who posted on our forums found my Amazon wishlist I made for my mom for last Christmas and sent me video games with little notes printed on the receipt talking about the plot depths he enjoyed and hoped I would enjoy, too.

    Yeah, no bro. Just no.

  • Mark Duval

    Wow. Weird email.

    And that's horrible about the UPS package. Good thing you moved indeed.

  • James Henderson

    The dad's doing more to look like the utter wacko here, not the son he's accusing of being one. I mean, the CIA? Mind control? The frikkin' ILLUMINATI? Being into videogames and enjoying them is a lot more healthier (at least mentally) than being a conspiracy theorist that thinks that everyone's out to stop him from being himself and believing you're in a John Carpenter movie (They Live, for those that haven't seen it. It's awesome.)

    As for writing games journalism folk e-mails and formspringing them etc., yeah it is kind-of a good way to connect with them, but for me it's just gamers talking to other gamers. Only difference is that one has it as a hobby and the other's based a profession on or around it. I'm somewhat of a fan of Formspring and I've given you a fair few questions on it (nothing uber-personal mind you, living on an entirely different continent's kinda really ruled out the “OMG YOU'RE SO COOL LET'S HANG OUT SOMETIME!” sorta crap – not that I'd say that anyway, I've real friends for that), and yeah I did send like one e-mail your way (think it was around post-Bombcast 2 and you were getting a lot of flak for it, so i only sent it in because I knew it'd get drowned in a sea of hateful comments) but that's about as far as it goes. I hate e-mail and I hate snailmail – in a world of internet and instant messengers I prefer that sense of immediacy they bring to the conversation – but if it's absolutely necessary and it's the only mode of contact, sure I'll go with it.

    That being said though – just lol. That's about everything I have to say on the matter.

  • Paul

    That dad is awesome. He's like the freaky-left paranoid hippie mirror of The Great Santini.

  • endgame

    well except the guy that works at USPS every bit of this article happened online so while I agree that that was slightly scary I think that you're overreacting. I mean you're laughing at a guy who thinks his online friends are real (or something) for him and yet you are treating online users as real users. they are just some IP addresses babe. seriously. you are in no more danger than a movie star is. actually you're much safer than they are. and did you ever hear about bad things happening to movie stars? I didn't.

    • Urael

      And why, exactly, do you think Movie Stars spend fortunes on security for their homes and families, and on personal bodyguards? Sheer paranoia? Keeping up with the Joneses? Fighting off a frenzied media? Simply to clear paths through throngs of admirers in a way that won't damage their appearances? If bad things aren't happening – or at least threatening to happen – then you tell me why all that money is being spent.

      Also, you should be made aware that calling someone 'babe' when you aren't personally dating them is entirely too familiar a form of address. It's a little bit creepy, and shows disturbing signs that you aren't even paying attention to what Ms Alexander writes:

      However, I do agree that the 'real users' complaint is perhaps taken too far. Internet users ARE real users. You can still connect with people. Most of my friends live in geographically diverse locations, not the same city as me. However much I miss meeting up and messing around in their houses or various pubs I will fight anyone who says that my IM chats, emails and Facebooking is merely 'playing' at friendships.

    • Bob_d

      Inappropriate is inappropriate regardless of the medium (like the language of your own message).

      “did you ever hear about bad things happening to movie stars? I didn't.”
      Clearly you aren't paying attention, then – actors and musicians have been attacked and even murdered by deranged “fans” in the past, and even though people in the public eye have gotten really serious about their security in recent decades, deranged obsessives do still manage to harass, break into the houses of, and even attack, celebrities. Anyone who does work in the public eye (which, thanks to the internet can be just about anyone) is a “celebrity” for potential stalker purposes, and I can't fault anyone for being concerned by correspondences they receive, even by something as simple as inappropriate over-familiarity in the virtual realm.

  • Jelescu Bogdan

    and btw I'm jelescubogdan on twitter. just in case any of you fan freaks think I said something bad about/to her and now you want revenge.

  • Urael

    Dear Ms Alexander.

    i am also a Scottish citizen and while I wouldn't count myself as a 'fan' of yours, I do very much enjoy what you write. What little we see of it on RPS, anyway.

    Am mildly irked to hear about the Scot with the aggressive sense of humour. I suspect he is from the west of the country, likely from that charming cultural ghetto we call 'Glasgow', and would like to point out that he does not represent the many fine people I know that live here. In fact, if you care to share any details of his identity that you are aware of, I'll do my best to arrange a suitably firm and long-lasting intervention for the lad. If there's anything we Scots won't tolerate it's one of our own besmirching our country's international reputation; that's a job properly held by the English.

    • Leigh Alexander

      it's ok, i dig the scotsman, he's funny and not creepy, just attentive

      • Urael

        Ah, grand. THAT sounds more like one of us. God knows what kind of patter he's coming out with when he's drunk, though. The mind boggles. :)

  • Jonathan

    Yeah, any chance that USPS comment is just a prank a guy puts on every package? I mean I've had one of those but saying they were following me on My Space.

  • Bob_d

    As a game developer, I can totally verify the Illuminati connection. If you convert the routing numbers on my paychecks into letters it reads, “Keep up the good work. Love, the Illuminati.” I'm ok with that. They're much better employers than the Satanic Conspiracy that controls the film industry, even if they don't pay nearly as well.

  • Charlie Reed

    Well, people really can be quite mental. Though I do think that USPS thing could just have been a joke. I know I would have found it amusing, but I can see why one might not. Anyway, great article.

  • Thom Wong

    That…was disturbing.

  • G-rac Ushdugery

    Who in there right mind would want to become a videogame journalist.

  • Alsoreadsaltreport

    Seems like Leigh is channeling/ripping-off Carles from Hipster-Runoff or something…

  • Tiff Chow

    The weirdest fan mail I got was from a polyamorous couple (joint authors of several polyamory books) who sent an e-mail, subject line “My oh my oh my” saying that they saw me on CO-OP and thought I was “the bee's knees” and was “keen romantically and otherwise”. JOY.

    • Leigh Alexander

      lvml, LUCKY YOU

  • Nathan Cocks

    Thankfully all I get is Facebook friend requests. My sympathies are yours. :)

  • Michael Huttner

    Now i feel kinda creepy for sending you A Facebook friend request. Feel free to ignore it.

  • Brycehscs

    i dont get any of this!!!

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