Nu: First, let’s get one thing out of the way: many gamers prefer to be known by Gamertag only; it’s an identity all to itself. “TriXie” seems to be one of those. Larry Hryb is Xbox Live’s “Major Nelson,” but “TriXie” seems to exist unto herself. Do you have a real name, or does that remain under wraps?
TriXie: My real name is Christa Phillips. I did keep it under wraps for a few years, but the LA Times did a story on GamerchiX in September, so I had to reveal my true identity.
Nu: We’d all like to think that playing games for 8 hours a day is what it’s like working in the Xbox division, but there is real work to be done! What is your job title at Microsoft, and what does the job entail (a typical day in the life of TriXie)?
TriXie: I don’t even have an Xbox in my office. The only gaming time I get is when I’m at home. My job title is Xbox LIVE Community Manager. A typical day for me is figuring out what titles to play for the next Xbox All-Nighter, Family Game Night, GamerchiX Ladies Night, etc. Or talking to Rhoulette and Jinx and figuring out when the next Frag Doll Friday will be. I deal with hundreds of emails both on my ‘Christa’ account and my ‘TriXie’ account. I go to meetings, make plans for upcoming themed promotions (like My Mom’s a Gamer, or Back to Old School or Valentine’s Day). I may choose a new Xbox.com forum moderator, or start a new forum area (like Gamer Parents and Family Gaming), write a Gamer Spotlight, commission a new article from Xbox Dad or Elle, or film a Community Confidential episode for Inside Xbox. Several times a year I travel to report on gaming events. This week Video Monkey and I are headed to Phoenix to cover the Madden Bowl. The week after that we’re covering the Grammy Awards in LA. And on March 1st I’m doing a keynote presentation at a conference at UCLA.
Nu: Wow! Looks like February is going to be busy for you, but exciting for us!
When did you start at Microsoft, and what was your job title, then? If it was different than it is now, how did it evolve into the position you now have?
TriXie: I started at Xbox in February 2002 as a contractor, and became a full-time permanent MS employee that July. I started as a Technical Writer doing documentation. I wrote the first Xbox LIVE manual. I started writing the Gamer Spotlights (and using the pseudonym ‘TriXie’) soon after Xbox LIVE launched. My work with the community grew as the membership grew. Now my goal is to help all 10 million LIVE members find games they like, learn how to keep their kids safe online, connect with fun people to play with, and let them know about cool stuff happening in the larger community and with smaller groups.
Nu: In your “Family Fun Day TriXie Travels” blog post, you mention that you are a college dropout. What were you going to school for?
TriXie: I have actually dropped out of college three times. I’ve studied all kinds of useless liberal arts stuff: Literature, History, Film, Folklore, etc. I loved school and if I could go to class and write papers the rest of my life I’d be a happy girl. But I gotta put food on the table…
Nu: Don’t I know that!
What would you be doing if you weren’t working for Microsoft?
TriXie: Hmm. If Microsoft were to disappear tomorrow I’d go back to school most likely and support myself as a freelance writer. Maybe I’d try writing a novel.
Nu: My kind of girl! Maybe someday TriXie and NuAngel can co-author some books! …Wishful tihnking? Ah, well…
How long have you been gaming?
TriXie: Since Santa brought my brother and I Pong in the ‘70s.
Nu: How is your office decorated?
TriXie: I’ve attached a picture. I don’t think you could really call it ‘decorated.’ This was taken in the fall (as you can see from the trees) and it’s twice as bad as it was then.
Nu: What’s playing now? (What music do you listen to while you work?)
TriXie: Right this minute I’m listening to my Howling Wolf, BB King and Robert Johnson playlist. After that I think some Springsteen will be in order. I need a little Bruce every day.
Nu: Which games are you playing most, in your free time, right now / plan to play a lot over the next couple of weeks?
TriXie: On Xbox 360 I’m still playing Zuma. And Boogie Bunnies. I’m planning to play Bioshock soon… but I scare pretty easily.
Nu: What have you learned about web-writing and dealing with the masses that you may not have known going into this position?
TriXie: The most surprising thing I’ve learned is that people who win prizes often act like jerks. They are rarely grateful and often demand special treatment or extra stuff. A couple winners have been wonderful exceptions to this, but they are few and far between.
Nu: That’s a revelation! I didn’t know people could be so ungrateful. I was honored to be the winner of Major Nelson’s HEROES Giveaway in December-January. I intend to post pictures and share my joy as soon as it gets to me (it has “arrived” it my address, but I actually moved the day before it arrived, and my family has yet to forward it!).
Finally, do you have any additional parting words?
TriXie: Remember, if someone acts like a jerk on Xbox LIVE, use the tools in your dashboard to file a complaint. We can’t punish the bad guys if we don’t know who they are!
That’s it! That concludes the second issue of Star Light! Let me give the BIGGEST thank you in the world to TriXie! Taking time out of her clearly busy schedule to answer the questions of a site online for less than a month! Thanks, TriXie! Remember, Better Know a Gamer introduces you to people you may not know, gamers from all walks of life. Star Light will feature well known names and faces in the industry!