Welcome to this week’s installment of “On a Geekly Basis,” a feature that profiles awesome geeky people and things!
This week we want to introduce you to Ashley Hagood, creator of Robo♥beat, a science fiction, fantasy & video game blog .
I used to be a nerd, until I graduated from college. But even in high school and college, my interests were all pretty specialized and therefore geeky. Since college, I’ve become a gamer and fallen in love with science fiction and fantasy even more than I already had, so I’ve grown to be much more of a geek in recent years! But they go hand-in-hand sometimes.
From the time I was in middle school, I knew I was way more bookish than most other people. But college really solidified it for me, because my friends were also into science and liked to analyze everything. We started watching documentary shows together and discussing all of these outlandish alien theories, which propelled me into full-blown geekdom. It’s nice to have a support system for this kind of thing! And I think having your personality and interests reflected back at you from others can help you figure yourself out, which was definitely the case for me with all of this nerdiness. It was like I finally embraced it.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Before I could physically write, I would tell stories to a tape recorder and make sound effects by rustling potpourri or, for storm sounds, flushing the toilet. It was really classy radio theater stuff.
I got into video games in the past few years, which actually started from reading a Facebook status update from a friend of a friend, of all things! (I messaged her to thank her, because now video games are my career. She didn’t know it at the time, but she changed my life!) It got me intrigued about video games and immersing myself in other worlds, and then I just fell in love with games as a storytelling medium. Plus, even though I’m a pen-and-paper (or keyboard) type of writer, I’ve always been interested in sound effects and freedom of exploration (like choose-your-own-adventure), so games compelled me for having those extra immersive dimensions.
I just started blogging last summer (in 2012). Initially, I just thought it would be fun to geek out through blogging, and I decided to make my site as polished as possible as a resume-booster. I wanted to get into the video game industry but didn’t have any relevant writing out there, even though I was a freelance writer. I didn’t think anybody would actually read my blog. In fact, Robo♥beat is a random name I came up with for a test blog before going for the real thing, but people started leaving Likes and subscribing right away, so I didn’t want to abandon the blog for another one! I’m glad I kept it, though. I really love the name now.
Blogging ended up being so much more than I expected. I’ve also met so many amazing people online through WordPress, etc. It’s opened up another world for me. Plus, I’ve found other writing gigs and even my current video game-related job largely from opening up about my interests through blogging.
Part of me wants to say The Princess Bride, because as soon as two fans meet, they instantly start quoting at each other. They can go for a long time, it’s hilarious. But unfortunately I’m not at the endless quote level with that film, even though I love it!
My very favorite fandom is Mass Effect. It’s my favorite video game series, and as soon as I meet someone else who likes it, we have so much to talk about. It’s a great ice breaker. I always want to ask, “Who did you romance?” and, “Were you Paragon or Renegade?” The conversation can just go on and on. The lore is really rich, too. I’m currently reading the books, and I go crazy for the codex entries… which is pretty rare for me in a video game! And besides all that, Mass Effect is a really special, emotional series for me that I’ll continue to play for many years to come.
My main blog is Robo♥beat, where I write about science fiction, fantasy, and video games. That’s my baby. I also write for Geek Force Network every Saturday, which is such an awesome project put together by the guys at At the Buzzer Show. It’s a bunch of geeks coming together to create content about the things we’re passionate about.
Choosing just one is so hard! If I have to pick, I’ll go with the Doctor from Doctor Who. He would have so many incredible stories to tell, he’s always charismatic, and his endless curiosity would make him really fun to get to know in person. I tend to be pretty shy, but I have a feeling the Doctor would make me feel at ease right away!
Before I was a sci-fi/fantasy geek, I was into history. That’s what I studied at college, along with literature. I would obsess over other cultures and time periods just like I obsess over Star Trek and Doctor Who now. In college, I was super ridiculously into the space race to the moon. Seriously, I felt like I knew everything about the first astronauts and their missions. I still have garbly audio recordings of all of the missions on my iPod, which sometimes start playing from shuffle when I’m driving in the car with other people… which always makes everybody laugh.
Other than sci-fi, fantasy, and history, I love music. I played piano and flute growing up and in high school, and nowadays if I’m not at home or at work, I’m probably at a concert. I felt like the luckiest person alive last year, when my two favorite bands – Spiritualized and The Jesus and Mary Chain – both came to San Francisco within a month or so of each other. These are two bands that are a little older, so I didn’t think I’d ever get to see them live. It was the stuff dreams are made of.
I’m also a major Anglophile and watch a ton of British television. I’m from California, but I moved to London when I was 19 to go to college. It was the scariest thing ever, because I didn’t know a single soul there. I can be impulsive like that. But it ended up being the best experience of my life, and I made fantastic friends I still know today. I’m back in California now, but I look back on London and my college (Goldsmiths!) as the place where I transitioned from weird teenager to even weirder adult! It’s definitely where I embraced my inner geek, so I’ll always love it for that.
Do you consider yourself a geek/nerd? Are you a Dungeon Master, gamer, cosplayer, have a geeky podcast, blog, or an extensive action figure collection? Are you a comic book writer/artist or storeowner? Do you make geektastic films or viral videos? Are you into geeky crafts or creations? We want to hear from you for a weekly feature on our blog!
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