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Featured Gamer: Joey Alarilla

Our relationship with Level-Up! Games can be safely described as a love-hate type. When I was still in college and the president of a school organization of the largest I.T. University in Asia, Level-Up! threatened to send me and fellow org officer and GameOPS member Karlo and Red to jail because of a small "misunderstanding". That was a time when Level-Up! Games was still marketing their fishing game err... a social networking type MMOG game called OZ World.

After we've cleared everything up, Level-Up! Games continued on supporting our school organization even until now, 4 years after I've graduated. But just recently, we had another misunderstanding. I don't need to elaborate but let's just say it has something to do with GameOPS and a clown blowing things out of proportion.

But as they all say, past is past. So now that's everything's ok, let me introduce you to one of our featured gamers for this week --the multimedia head of Level-Up! Games, Joey Alarilla!

1. Could you tell us something about yourself? How old are you? Where are you located and what are you currently engaged in?

I'm the Multimedia Head of the leading Philippine online game publisher Level Up! Inc. ( As head of the Multimedia department, I create and oversee the company's strategy for online, video and mobile content and services. I'm also a tech blogger ( for Singapore-based CNET Asia. Prior to joining the corporate world, I was the multimedia editor of, handling, among other responsibilities, its gaming news site

2. When was the first time you actually played a video game? What's the name of the game and game system? What or who made you play?

The first system I played on was the Famicom -- yup, the Family Computer. I played Galaga and Road Fighter. It was my uncle who owned the Famicom and got me hooked on video games. I also played on the Game and Watch a lot -- the titles I owned included Popeye, Octopus, Fire, and Lion. I mastered Popeye to the point that I played it with the Game and Watch turned upside down, much to my dad's consternation, heh.

3. Do you own a video game console? If yes, what system? Was it your very fist console? What video game platform do you prefer? (PC, Consoles or Handheld)

I own several consoles and handhelds, including the Xbox 360, PSP, DS Lite (well, it was mine before I told my daughter I was giving it to her; now it's hard to borrow it from her), Xbox, PS2 and GameCube. I'm still hoping to get a Wii and a PS3. You could say I'm platform-agnostic, and yup, I've also spent lots of hours playing PC games.

With Girl Gamer Sofie Garrucho

4. What is your favorite video game? Why?

It would have to be Jade Empire and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, both of which were developed by BioWare and both of which I played on the Xbox. I just love RPGs, and both these games feature incredible writing and great characters. I also enjoyed being able to choose whether to follow the path of good or evil, and how this affected your relationships with characters and the outcome of the game. Let me tell you, these games did a great job of making the characters come to the life, making me so fond of my companions that it was heartbreaking when I had to kill them when I tried following the dark side and found them opposing me.

5. How about a particular video game character, who's your favorite? Why?

I'd have to say Master Chief. I played the Halo trilogy, and enjoyed kicking ass as Master Chief every time.

6. Do you play online games? What are your current and all-time favorites? Are you part of a clan or guild? If yes, can you give us some info about your guild?

The first online game I played was actually the beta of Star Wars Galaxies -- and to think I downloaded the client and played the game using a dial-up connection! I was also weaned on Philippine Ragnarok Online, but I never found the time to go on to become a high-level character. Lately, I've been playing Hello Kitty Online, which Level Up! is publishing in the Philippines. It's a great way to bond with my seven-year-old daughter Sam.

7. If you were to convince a friend or co-worker to play video games, how would you do it? Would you do crazy stuff just to convince him or her?

I actually believe that everyone is a gamer. They just don't know it yet. So, no, I wouldn't do anything crazy. I'd just tell people to keep an open mind and try playing a game that I think they'd like. Usually, people who say they don't like playing games just haven't found the right one for them yet, but when they do, they'll quickly fall in love with it. Just ask my non-gamer wife Ellen, who loves playing Bejeweled and Dynomite.

With Cherry Kubota

8. Did playing a video game make any difference in your life? Do you have any personal video game related story that you can share with us?

Playing games has been a big part of my life, including helping me earn a living. I wrote game reviews and covered the gaming industry when I was a tech and gaming journalist, and it helped that I had a passion for games -- in fact, I was writing games as a labor of love because it wasn't my actual beat before (then launched a gaming news site.

I also founded an organization called the Asian Gaming Journalists Association, which was based in Manila but included members of different nationalities in five countries: the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and India. Our aim was to make gaming a legitimate news beat in the country and across the region, while promoting responsible gaming as an advocacy. I got to travel to different places covering gaming events or being invited as a resource person, including visiting Mumbai, India to become a speaker at a gaming expo, launch the Indian chapter of AGJA, and take part as a guest expert in a podcast on the future of online games that was recorded there and posted on

Now I'm working for Level Up!, producing content that caters to the needs of our community of online gamers. So I've been lucky all these years to do something I love -- and get paid for it.

9. Have you ever bought (or played) a pirated copy of a video game?

As part of AGJA's advocacy, we promoted the use of original games. This meant shelling out hard-earned money to buy original PC and console games at DataBlitz or shops in Greenhills like Celtex.

10. Any last message you wish to impart to our readers?

I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to practice and promote responsible gaming. Gaming is fun, and you learn a lot of real-world skills by playing games and interacting with fellow gamers, whether online or bonding with them in real life. Our passion for games, however, should never be an excuse to neglect our real-life responsibilities, whether at work or in school. I'm proud to say that responsible gaming is an advocacy of Level Up!, so as we always remind students: play hard, study harder.

11. Any greetings and link-love to your friends?

Hope you could visit my personal blog at And do check out these great gaming blogs:,,,, and
Featured Gamer: Joey Alarilla Reviewed by Jepoy on 11/23/2009 02:47:00 PM Rating: 5

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