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Get To Know Our Team: Andrew – Customer Experience Manager

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Get To Know Our Team
Andrew
Customer Experience Manager

Hi, everyone! Wynn here again. Welcome back to another Xbox Insider Team interview. Today’s chat is with Andrew—a Customer Experience Manager on the team who definitely has more Xbox 360 games than you do.

How’s it going, Andrew?

Ha. Going well, Wynn. You didn’t have to call me out like that right from the top.

If there’s one thing I want Xbox Insiders to know from this interview, it’s that you are Xbox 360’s #1 fan and supporter. It’s like that meme. If there are no more Xbox 360 fans, then we can know you’ve shed your mortal coil.

I can get behind that.

But before we dive into your 7th gen obsessions, let’s take it all the way back. Give us the backstory. What started your interest in games?

I’ve been playing games my entire life, even as a very small child. I’m dating myself a little here, but my first console was an Atari Pong home console.

That’s about as OG as you can get.

Yup! And I’ve been playing ever since. All the way from Mario to Halo, which is really what got me heavily into the Xbox ecosystem.

Did you find your love for the 360 before or after you started here?

Before. I was on that train immediately. You remember the Xbox Live Arcade when it first launched? I was sitting on my console every Wednesday getting almost every single game as it came out. It’s really my love for the 360 that made me want to start working at Xbox. I grew up in rural Ohio, so it wasn’t really a big tech hub.

So how long ago did you get hired?

I think around 13 years ago or so. Right at the start of the 2010s I got hired to do Twitter Support for Xbox. I was one of those old agents where we’d reply to tweets or DMs with our initials.

Oh wow! I actually did something similar when I was in the retail stores. If you clicked “Support” on Outlook Mobile in like 2015-2017, you may have talked to me. It’s a tougher job than people might think.

Yeah, you talk people through so many different issues every day. You become a very well-oiled support machine after a while.

Absolutely. If I tried hard enough, I could probably remember some of the error codes.

Same here. I remember many.

So, how long did you did work on Support?

Well, I did the Twitter stuff for about six years. Worked my way up the ladder before I moved over to a program management position on the Support Team. Then, I did that for a few years before moving to the Insider team where I still kinda do a lot of support. So, really in some ways, I’m still Support, but I left the official “Support” organization back in 2021.

Is there anything you’re currently working on that you can tell the Xbox Insider community about?

I’m not working on too much for Xbox Insider specifically right now, though I’m always trying to improve the features we flight through the program. I guess the most interesting stuff I’m doing—that would also be interesting to this audience—is that I’m working on all of our legacy Xbox 360 services.

Okay, that’s sick.

Yeah, I’ve been on that team for a while now and it’s something I’m extremely passionate about. I believe we have to do everything we can to best preserve and appreciate our history before we can truly move into the future.

I’m fully with you there on that man. I know I joked about it before, but I want to let our readers know that you do have almost every physical Xbox 360 disc.

Well, every North American disc. I don’t have a PAL or JPN 360 yet, so I don’t purposefully collect those at the moment.

My JPN 360 is collecting dust, but I have a bunch of Visual Novels that I should play sometime on it. Since we’re talking about your favorite system, do you have a favorite moment in time from working on it since you’ve been here?

Man, I’ve done so many things actually for the Xbox 360, but I can’t really talk about most of them; even in retrospect. But I do have one of my most cherished game collections items from working here.

Let’s hear it.

So, when I started back in 2011, I was already pounding my drum about much I love the blades on the old 360 dashboard.

I think if you listen hard enough, that’s a chorus of voices from our community shouting out in agreement right now.

Haha. I still think it’s the greatest console operating system of all time. But yeah, I was really passionate about telling everyone I could how much I loved that OS. Fast forward to around 2017-2018, I had just transferred over to a new CSS role, and I was talking about my love for the blades with my new team. Well, a long-tenured teammate showed up at my office about a week later. Turns out, he worked on the hardware team, and he had an old 360 that still had the blades dashboard on it stored in his archives. He gifted it to me and now It’s one of my favorite things I own. A true gem in my collection that means a lot to me personally.

I love that so much. I would give a not-insignificant portion of a paycheck to figure out what all we have buried in offices around campus. So many cool systems hidden away.

Yeah man. Some people have held onto some really cool stuff for the entire 20-year run.

Okay, let’s move on to some of the more rapid-fire stuff.

What’s a game that’s had the biggest impact on you throughout the years?

Hmm. I’m not sure I can pick just one. But there’s an evolution in my tastes and my interest in the medium over time. Like Pong was my intro to games and I thought it was pretty cool, but the first Super Mario Bros. is when I knew I was going to be playing them for the rest of my life.

It’s hard to understate just how revolutionary it was to have played that in that time period.

Exactly. It paved the way for so much. Even growing up my favorite game, and probably still my favorite game of all time is Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. I would play that game over and over and over. I never get tired of it. If I move more into my adult life, I think that the ones that impacted me the most are Portal and Braid. Portal because it taught me to actually enjoy stories in games, and Braid because it was the first really challenging puzzle game I played. It unlocked design-language in my mind that I just didn’t have previously.

You’re picking just banger after banger. I’m surprised by the Portal pick though. Not because it’s not a great game, but I know you’re what I like to call a “mechanical purist” when it comes to games.

Oh yeah. I really can’t stand text in my games. RPGs are my least-favorite genre ever. I just want to play the game. But the way Portal gave me the mechanical depth, but also kept me interested in the over-arching story from moment to moment gave me a better appreciation for narrative in games.

As someone who probably has more RPGs in my collection than any other genre, my knuckles might be changing colors, but I respect your opinion.

Let’s move on to music though. Favorite albums of all time?

I have twenty-one records framed and hung on the wall of my living room that are the best music ever pressed. But for the sake of brevity, I’ll go with Illmatic by Nas and The Undisputed Truth by Brother Ali.

I could have never in a million years have guessed those answers.

Haha. You expect the typical like Aerosmith or Nirvana? Nah, most of what I listen to is rap and hip-hop from the 80s through the 2010s.

Honestly, I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t those.

So, now I’m curious. How does a white guy from rural Ohio get into this style of music?

I saw the video for Fight the Power on MTV when I was seven years old. It was immediate. Flav drew me in, and Chuck taught me lessons. From there it was a wrap. Rakim, EPMD, LL, De La Soul; you name it, I was listening to it. I definitely got made fun of for liking this type of music growing up in the area where I came from. It wasn’t really until 2Pac blew up that people started getting a little more into it. But even then, I’d try to show someone the new Tribe Called Quest record and they’d call it wack because it was still too different from the hip-hop that was finding wider success at the time.

I love when people go really deep into their musical leanings. I mostly listened to whatever my dad was listening to growing up. It wasn’t until high school that I got into my own music tastes. Lots of “scene” music. Post-hardcore, metalcore, etc. Anything on Rise or Victory or Sumerian. I have so much of that era of music.

I have a ton of CDs. Like, probably over five thousand of them back home in Ohio arranged by release date. I knew just about everything there was in the hip hop world from the 80s until 2010. But there were like 10 different albums dropping every day and I couldn’t keep up anymore.

Five THOUSAND?!

Yeah man. I spent like all of my money as a kid on CDs. I remember this one time I skipped a school field trip to walk to the record store and get the new Ghostface album.

That was the era before Spotify and everything. How did you even find that much music?

In the mid to late 90s, a rapper named Big L got me really into the underground scene and I’d listen to radio from everywhere. 888hiphop.com, PhillaFlavaDrop.com, Rhymesayers.net, I was super into this stuff. I’d go watch battles and see people before they blew up. It was just a world I was fully immersed in.

Dude, I want to spend another hour talking about all of this, but we gotta wrap up soon. Especially since this next question I tailor made for you.

Do you have any TV shows that you always have on in the background?

Ha! Okay, you got me. Yes, I’ve probably had 4-5 episodes of Friends playing on my TV every day for as long as the show has been off-air. Well, that and South Park.

Way back when I originally had the idea for these, the reason this question came up is we had like three meetings together in one day and there was always a show on in the background of your camera. I’m definitely not a “can just listen to it” kind of guy, so I thought it’d be fun to see everyone on the team.

Honestly, I could probably recite a few of my favorite episodes.

Now that’s entertainment. We could maybe charge for that.

Okay, moving away from media, do you have any hobbies outside of the house?

I’m really into sports. I took vacation days to watch the beginning of March Madness. I watch a lot of college football as well.

Wait. I know this one. O-H!

I’m Ohio State’s worst enemy.

Whelp! That backfired. Haha.

Yeah, I’m a Michigan fan.

Even better! You had a great year.

For the first time in my lifetime, yes. I was ecstatic.

Any other teams you enjoy? I won’t risk guessing the Bengals, the Reds, or any other Oihio-based sports entity.

Good! Because I’m all about teams not from my state. Bills, Tar Heels, Penguins, Celts, Pirates. Can’t say I have too much hometown pride there.

Oh. I also really enjoy MMA. I get a group of buddies together and we watch all the PPVs.

As an Atlanta sports fan, I sometimes wish I hadn’t grown up with my hometown teams.

All right, well we’re out of time. Any final thoughts for our Xbox Insiders?

This is going to go back to that idea of preserving history. If there’s a main point in what I’m doing, it’s that I focus on history over the future. I want in 60 years people to still be able to access their games library, and like hand down their Gamertag to their grandkids or whatever. That’s my ideal dream state. My games collection is the most valuable thing I own other than my house, and I know that a lot of people invest their time, money, and energy into these ecosystems. I want to do everything I can to ensure we’re respecting that investment and enabling people to keep playing long after we’ve turned to dust.

That’s powerful stuff man. Incredibly stated.

Andrew, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with everyone today. It’s been great!

Thanks for setting this up, Wynn. Until next time!

Xbox Insiders, be sure to be on the lookout for more content all throughout February including more interviews from the team, a trip down memory lane, and so much more. All of our 10th Anniversary content can be found on our Hub Page.

Until next time! Wy\nn/

The post Get To Know Our Team: Andrew – Customer Experience Manager appeared first on Xbox Wire.

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