By Judith Meyer
Managing Editor/Days
When Chip Loan was a youngster, he spent plenty of time playing “Asteroids,” chasing what he remembers as “that obnoxious UFO around the screen.”
As an adult, Loan favors more realistic gaming, and is looking forward to the November release of “Modern Warfare 2.”
For Loan, games aren’t a casual interest. He’s immersed in the life, and recently created, a site where he critiques games, shares tips and industry news, and blogs on recent releases.
Creating the Web site has helped him focus on his physical and mental recovery from cancer.
In 2000, Loan’s right leg was amputated just above the knee to prevent the spread of synovial sarcoma. He was still in high school. Then, last March, the residual limb was infected with a strain of Staph, and more of his leg had to be amputated.
It’s been a long haul for Loan to sort through the emotional and physical pain of cancer and amputation, suffering through bouts of depression and extreme boredom.
Last year, Loan met Monika Langley, and changed his life.
“It wasn’t until I met Monika and her kids that I started to grow up and put things into perspective,” he said. His hospitalization in March really “drove the point home that I had been lucky to still be alive.”
Filled with a greater sense of purpose, Loan launched in April, and found he really enjoyed the global contact with other gamers, and reporting on news that’s important to the gaming industry.
Although he reaches for his favorite “Call of Duty 4” most often, Loan occasionally plays “Donkey Kong,” one of the first games he ever played, out of pure nostalgia.
Loan hopes — eventually — to turn his game site into a full-time (and profitable) venture, hoping to fulfill his goal of becoming a respected game journalist.
The battle he’s been through in real life is greater than any virtual battle on screen, and he’s determined to stay focused on what’s real.
Name: Chip Loan
Age: 28
Hometown: Sabattus
Education: High school, some college
Occupation: Dispatch assistant for Hannaford; creator and editor of
Relationship: Monika Langley (we’ve been together for a year tomorrow)
Why game? Why not? It can be an expensive hobby sometimes (cost of games and consoles, etc.) but it’s a great way to pass time and meet new people who enjoy the same hobby you do. And it’s great for competitive people like myself.
Are most of your friends gamers? Definitely.
What’s your favorite game? Tough question. Right now I’m playing a lot of “Call of Duty 4,” but that will change in November when “Modern Warfare 2” releases.
Why? It’s one of the funnest games to play online with others. A very well put together game. Plenty of trash talking to be had. Haha.
What’s the worst game to ever hit the market? “E.T.” Anyone who has played knows what I am talking about. It’s too bad I’ll never be able to get the time I wasted playing that game back…
What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? I just want to connect with others who enjoy the same things I do. If it becomes successful enough I’d like to be able to do it full time. Eventually.
What do your subscribers most want to know? Gamers are rabid when it comes to knowledge. They are probably the most educated group of consumers. They do a lot of research to make sure the game they are buying is worth their $59.99.
You write about software and hardware. What (or who) do you rely on for research? I rely on a lot of people. I scour the news feeds of over 100 Web sites a day to find the most important or interesting stories.
If you ruled the gaming world, what would be your ideal existence? I’d love to be a respected game journalist. Someone who can get credentials to gaming expos or conferences to report on the gaming industry. Hmmm, I’m pretty sure the SJ could use a tech/gaming section, hint hint hint.
What do you eat when you game (junk or energy food)? I try and stay away from junk food. Keyword try. I’ll chug a Red Bull or some green tea to keep me going if I need it.
Much has been said about excessive gaming and its negative effects on developing teens, which you’ve blogged about. Should game time be limited? I’m a little partial on this one. My parents were cool enough to buy me a Nintendo for Christmas as a kid. But games today are so much different, more immersive and realistic, so you have to factor that in as well. I think everything is good in moderation. If your hobby negatively impacts the important aspects of your life it’s no longer a hobby, it’s an obsession.
Is there an argument that gaming can be positive for children? Teens? It was definitely a positive for me growing up. And I’m sure there are a lot of parents out there who would rather have their kids in their living room under their supervision then getting into trouble. There have been a million studies on the subject. I’ll get back to you when I get my Ph.D.
If you could tell parents one thing about gaming, what would it be? Keep an eye on what your kids are playing. Be a responsible parent. Just like anything else, talk to your kids. Ask them about the games they play or want to play. Do your homework.
Same question, if you could tell children one thing: Your parents aren’t always in the know when it comes to new technology. Help them out.
Do hard-core gamers own a Wii? Yes and no. Most of them probably bought them to try them out. But the Wii doesn’t really have any “hardcore” titles available for it yet. That may be changing in the near future with games like “The Conduit” and “Dead Space.”
Other than gaming, what do you do for fun? Write, read, play with the kids. Just try to enjoy what’s going on around me and not get caught up in the rat race.
[email protected]
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