In the autumn of 1995, I interviewed for a writing position on Edge magazine. I had no experience in publishing; I’d spent a year since leaving university writing manuals and design documents for the developer Big Red Software, but I was desperate to be a journalist. Although I hadn’t read Edge that much, everyone I worked with treated it like a holy text. It felt like a long shot. Then Jason Brookes turned up late for my interview, was friendly but distracted throughout, and at the end set me a writing task before disappearing completely. I assumed I had failed. Over a month later however, he called me and offered me a job. This was my first inkling that Jason had his own way of working.
Three days ago I got a call from Simon Cox who joined Edge just after me and later became deputy editor. Jason had been ill for three years – he died in the early hours of Monday morning. Between long difficult pauses, Simon and I swapped a few stories about our time on the magazine. I put the phone down and cried, and thought about Jason. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
Jason Brookes began his journalism career at the cult Super Nintendo magazine SuperPlay, under the tutorage of launch editor, Matt Bielby. He’d originally applied for a job on the Sega magazine, Mega, but editor Neil West soon realised Brookes was a complete Nintendo fanboy and pushed him Bielby’s way. “From the start, we were influenced by Japanese magazines – not just games mags, but women’s mags, car mags and anything else we could get our hands on – as well as Japanese comics and anime,” says Bielby. “What struck me about Jason was just how much he knew about and loved Japanese culture – and gaming in particular, and Nintendo especially amongst that. He knew more about all of it than the rest of us put together.