MI6 Conference: Emcee Geoff Keighley Grew Up On Gaming

Jun 26, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Geoff Keighley, the emcee of this week’s MI6 Conference, got an early start to his career as a gaming journalist.

At age 12, growing up outside Toronto, the young video gaming aficionado sent a letter to gaming company Sierra Online detailing his love for its adventure games. What happened next is the stuff of Hollywood movies.

Mr. Keighley, now 27 and the host of Spike TV’s gaming news show “Game Head,” heard back from the company asking if he’d like to play early versions of the games, essentially making him a beta tester. It didn’t get much better than this.

“I tested all of their adventure games. The first game I did was ‘Ecoquest,’ an adventure game about a kid in a rainforest, and then ‘Leisure Suit Larry,'” he said. “I would say, ‘This is too hard, or too easy,’ or ‘There was a bug in this game.'”

His good fortune and persistence continued. At 13, he spent time on CompuServe game message boards, posting hints and tips on video games. An editor from Computer Games took notice of Mr. Keighley’s writing strength and asked him to write game reviews for the magazine.

Now he writes about games for Business 2.0 and Entertainment Weekly in addition to serving as emcee for M16, a conference that covers the marketing and promotion of games. “I’m sort of an evangelist and will introduce different speakers and present some opening remarks,” he said. “The idea of rewarding these marketing people is so important because they launch campaigns of the magnitude of any Hollywood motion picture and they don’t get near the attention they deserve … These people were here in the mid ’90s, when [gaming] was the red-headed step-child in the entertainment business.”

As the host of “Game Head,” which appears Saturday nights on Spike TV, Mr. Keighley covers game previews and also reviews games. The show goes on location with game developers and creators.

“Game Head” premiered in the fourth quarter of 2005 and regularly garners a 0.3 rating in the male 18 to 34 demographic. To grow the audience, the network plans to develop “Game Head” interstitials that will appear throughout the day. The show is also available online in its entirety at gamehead.spiketv.com. It goes up on SpikeTV.com on Sunday mornings.