Gamer Spotlight: Russell Holly


Russell Holly (Author, Managing Editor for Mobile Nations)

Russell Holly is a father of 3 and the Managing Editor for Mobile Nations, covering all manner of tech, gadgets, VR and gaming for their family of sites including Windows Central, iMore, and Android Central. He’s also an inspiration to those looking to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, chronicling his journey (and 340lb weight loss) here. He’s a published author and has made appearances on many podcasts and television news programs.

What is the first video game that you remember playing?

“I have a lasting memory of playing Iron Tank on the NES with my Uncle at a very young age. I’m sure he owned many other titles and I’m sure I played as many as he’d let me, but the memory of cruising around in the tank and blowing things up is something that has always stuck with me. It was a lot more colorful than many of the other NES games at the time, which likely had a lot to do with it being so stuck in my memory. I still own a copy of that game to this day!”

What are your favorite games of all time?

“My first “favorite” game, which I define as something I just couldn’t put down and have lasting emotional ties to, was TaleSpin for the Sega Genesis. I saved up and my Mom ordered it along with Sonic and Knuckles, both arriving on the same day. I got myself in trouble on multiple occasions staying up much later than I should playing TaleSpin, likely because I was such a huge fan of the show at that age.

Next up is probably Riven from Cyan Studios. I loved MYST, but Riven was the first game my friends decided needed to be connected to the biggest screen we could find to fully enjoy the visuals. We had a laptop connected to a 60-inch television (something very few people in my neighborhood had at the time) and shared navigating the world and solving the puzzles together for days.


Halo 2 has a special place in my heart as well. Every aspect of that game, from the flawlessly executed adrenaline cycle combat to the killer soundtrack, swallowed me whole. Halo was a lot of fun, but dual-wielding and the expanded story really drew me in and help my attention for quite a while. Plus, being able to play against friends at parties was a ton of fun.

My most recent favorite is, without a doubt, Horizon: Zero Dawn. The work done on that game continues to blow me away. It’s challenging in all the best ways, the story is incredibly moving from beginning to end, and the world created for the main character to explore is the most beautiful thing you can experience in gaming today I think. “

Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?

“I try to balance my hobby time between cycling and cooking. I love being on my bike, and love finding new ways to challenge myself physically through that vehicle. It’s something I’ve come to really appreciate as time to myself to just sort of think, but also a great tool for keeping myself healthy. I’m also a novice in the kitchen, but love spending time learning and exploring there. I enjoy challenging myself to find new recipes from cultures I’ve never explored before, as well as playing around with my backyard smoker in the summer and fall.”

Do you and your children play video games together?

“Oh, absolutely. We game in a several ways together. My kids are part of a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign that’s been going on for nearly a year now, which they love. We regularly have tournaments in the house for Super Smash Bros and MarioKart on the Switch, as well as the occasional co-operative attempt in Overcooked. But we also explore VR worlds together, most recently through the Oculus Quest and Oculus Go.”

img_1524How do you make time for gaming with a busy family life and career?

“I am deeply fortunate to be able to work from home most of the time, which often means I’m here when the kids get home from school or I get to drop them off in the mornings. I’m able to guide their educational path in a way that I’m happy with, but also able to surprise them with a new game when it’s clear they’ve had a rough week and need to relax with the family.”

What is your proudest moment as a parent?

“This year is a transitional one for all three of my kids, and I have not stopped gushing about how proud I am of each of them. My youngest is moving into an International Baccalaureate program in middle school, my oldest has decided to pursue a biomedical program in high school, and my middle child was accepted to an amazing opportunity in Europe for a couple of weeks. I’m rarely in a place where I’m not proud of each of my children, but to see each of them make such tremendous strides for themselves at the same time has been deeply rewarding for me.”

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