Six Questions with Chris Brown
Chris Brown loves games. Chris Brown loves his wife, Kelly. Kelly Brown loves games. A match made in heaven? It would certainly seem so, and their mutual love for videogames has launched this couple into the broader gaming community with their site The Married Gamers. The site is exactly what it sounds like – a place where a married couple talks about games, both in their blog and in a regular podcast. And if anyone’s keeping their trivia cards up to date, Chris and I are also from the same town, a fact I didn’t know abuot until long after first working with him. Today, he’s answering six questions.
1. When you’re not running The Married Gamers, what is your day job?
Chris: I am in charge of managing serials (magazines/journals) at a religious university library in Fresno, CA.
2. How did The Married Gamers get started?
Chris: In 2007 my wife & I had some major relationship problems and looked like we were headed down (rather quickly) towards a separation or divorce. At the time I was learning the podcasting ropes for a comic & political blog I was running, and suggested we try podcasting about video games as way of sharing a common interest. So in August of ’97 The Married Gamers was born as a way to open up dialog between one another, learn tools to listen to one another, and relearn how to value, get along, and respect one another.
In the close to three years since, I’m grateful for the fun times we’ve had as podcasters and video game community leaders, but most of all I’m eternally happy that the experience, work, and process has healed our marriage and our love for one another…..and video games.
3. What do you think makes a strong online community?
Chris: First and foremost it’s creating a community that feels empowered and is respectful of one another. Folks want to feel like their contributions (whether it be posting, starting game nights, or meeting up in real life) are important to the community.
As a site owner of The Married Gamers we try to attract polite folks from all walks of life, but I’m more or less hands-off as to the shape of the community other than having to remove trolls or spammers.
4. What’s the game that you love the most that your wife can’t stand?
Chris: That’s a tough one because I’m thankful that my wife, Kelly, is willing to try games now that she might have thought she wouldn’t like. I would have to say Halo 3, not because she hates the story, but because the game makes her a little queasy whenever she tries to watch me play it.
5. What is your favorite gaming community site besides The Married Gamers?
Chris: Since we are also partners with the awesome site GamingAngels, I will choose some other great communities (but please do yourself a favor and check GamingAngels out!). I am a happy community member at a lot of great sites, but two I wanted to highlight are Talking About Games and GamerHusbands. Talking About Games has a robust community and a little something for everyone. The community is prolific there and their forums are robust. Gamerhusbands is a smaller site, but the community there is dynamic, interesting, and shapes much of what the owners & podcast hosts do. In a way I’m a little jealous of the Gamerhusbands because they’ve really done a good job of linking their Gamerhusbands Radio podcast with their online community that many sites haven’t really figured out, including The Married Gamers.
6. If you could have your dream job in the game industry, what would that job be?
Chris: I think I’m required to say be a community manager, which would be a hoot at a company whose games I like and whose way of doing business I respect. However, I’ll instead mention that I’d love to write an officially licensed Left 4 Dead comic or help extend the Valve brands into other media, like television.
Chris Brown runs The Married Gamers website and podcast with his gaming wife, Kelly Brown. You can find out more about the podcast and their website at TheMarriedGamers.net. To hear more from Chris, follow him on Twitter.
Six Questions is a weekly Q&A with gaming community site leaders. The goal is to meet the folks who start online communities, to learn about why they do it, and to hear their different perspectives on what makes for a strong online community.