Meet the Staff: Jen

There’s a new Deputy in town. Well, Features Deputy, Kris is Features Sheriff. You see, Jen has joined the editing team as Assistant Features Editor, so I thought that the best way to introduce her would be a Meet the Staff! Oh, and I’ve added in a bonus question(!!) for this special edition. You don’t get much better than this.

[drop2]Name: Jen Allen

Age: 26

Birthplace: Hampshire

Living now: Swansea

Gamerscore/Trophy Level: 123088 (might be higher by now!)/Level 7

Random fact about yourself: As a child, I was asked to leave the Girl Guides before I was pushed/kicked out. It’s not as bad as it sounds! I disagreed with too many decisions and the guide leader was a bit power mad.

Q: You’ve been gaming most of your life, but what was it that started it all off?

A: A Commodore 64. My parents bought me one when I was 6 part as an educational aid, part as  a fantastically fun Christmas present. From that day on, I was pretty hooked. A couple of years later they bought me a Gameboy, then a Sega Megadrive after that. Along the way, I was a total mercenary of a child and would be extra nice to the neighbours’ kids so I could play on their Sega Master System and my babysitter’s brother so I could play on his NES. As I grew older, I saved up many pennies for a Sony Playstation and discovered the joys of RPGs. I regularly played or owned pretty much all consoles bar an Atari Jaguar, Lynx and a couple of other systems I can’t think of at the moment. Used to be a big MMO (EverQuest mostly then World of Warcraft) and Counterstrike player but not much of a PC gamer now. I’m a big Xbox 360 gamer these days.

Q: Apart from gaming and being our Assistant Features Editor, what else do you do for fun?

A: I’m a big cinemagoer and visit the cinema nearly every week. I’ll see pretty much anything at the cinema as I just enjoy the experience. I also enjoy cooking, reading, walking (live near some great beaches and forests!), socialising. Started getting more into keeping fit too. The usual really!

Q: Have you had any embarrassing moments that you’re willing to share?

A: Hmm, once when I was at college, I choked on a glass of water and felt thoroughly embarrassed once I’d recovered! It was a Friday afternoon and everyone was quite relaxed, the tutor included (who was a family friend too). I was messing around and chatting a bit too much so the tutor threw a small stress ball at me as a joke. The problem was that I was in the midst of taking a large gulp of water and was taken by surprise. So I choked on the water instead! It sounds incredibly lame but I had huge trouble breathing and all I remember was seeing everyone looking at me a bit worried but not doing anything to help! I recovered. My tutor was probably even more embarrassed than me! Yeah, sorry it’s not more exciting.

Q: What do you do for a living to fund your gaming and the extortionate cinema prices?

A: I’m a self employed writer. I spend much of my working day writing news, features and reviews for a site focused on the iOS market. I also do a few other bits and pieces for other places too but that’s my main income at the moment.

Q: We call you Jen mostly, but sometimes we call you Haly or Halycopter… where did that originate and do you have any other good nicknames?

A: Haly is a shortened version of my original tag, Halycona. Halycona came from a typo. Years ago, I liked the word Halcyon and used it as my name in RPGs like Baldur’s Gate. When I first played EverQuest, I needed a name for my character, a female troll, I decided that adding an a to the end of the word would sound more feminine. In my haste to start the game, I typed too fast and ended up with Halycona so I stuck with it. Then when I started playing Counterstrike I needed a shorter name so I went with Haly.

Halycopter is a recent addition to the group as Haly sounds like the start of Helicopter, hence Halycopter.

Q: Does any of your family game or are they not interested?

A: My Dad’s unfortunately no longer alive but when he was, he tried hard with games. He loved me talking about them and watching me play them but he was never very good at them! He loved the idea of flight sims but could never find one that he could manage on his own. He did quite enjoy Return to Castle Wolfenstein though despite being awful at it.

My Mum is a big gamer though. When I was a kid, we would always play Columns and Bubble Bobble together. We still play Bubble Bobble sometimes now too. She was a big Tetris and Zoo Keeper player too. In the past few years, she’s picked up a love of the Dragon Quest series. Over the course of about 3-4 months, she sunk 200hrs into Dragon Quest VIII completing pretty much everything possible. She’s moved onto Dragon Quest IX and VI on the DS now. She had a brief infatuation with the Wii but due to a disability, she finds the motion controls too painful for any length of time unfortunately.

Q: How did you find TSA and what was so special that made you join up?

A: Now this is an awkward one. You see, I genuinely can’t remember! I remember visiting the site regularly when it was a PlayStation only site then stopped for some unknown reason (I wasn’t a big games player for one period of my life so it was probably then). I returned to regularly reading in the past year or two and found myself wanting to get more involved by commenting and on Twitter as the community felt refreshingly mature.

Q: Which is your favourite game of them all and why?

A: Final Fantasy VII. It came along at just the right time in my life. I had all the time in the world to devote to it which was ideal. I spent the entire Winter, after receiving it for Christmas, breeding chocobos and doing everything possible within the game. Loved the characters (although couldn’t stand Aeris!) and the challenge of the boss fights. For numerous years afterwards, I’d return to it on a yearly basis. Sadly these days, I never seem to have the time!

Bonus Question: What is your favourite games console or platform?

A: The Playstation 1. I was a big Sony fan until this generation and nothing could better the Playstation 1 in my eyes. Just its sheer wealth of quality RPGs like Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VI (although it was a port), Suikoden 1 and 2, Vandal Hearts, Star Ocean 2….ahh so many happy memories! Also my first experiences with Gran Turismo, Crash Bandicoot and Tomb Raider were brilliant.

Q: Would you like to address the readers? Formally, of course (only joking, say what you like)!

A: I have no idea! I’m not much of a public speaker unless I’ve been drinking. As it’s morning while I write this, I’d best not start! So, just hello really! Thanks to the great community for making this a lovely site to visit. Also, I apologise for my excessive use of exclamation marks in this! I exclaim when I’m nervous! Honest!

Well! There’s Jen for you! You’ll most likely (not) see her editing our articles behind the scenes, or you will see her writing some of her own. We hope for many exclamation marks, strange tales of choking on water (I didn’t know that was possible, was Jen technically drowning?) and tpyos that become tpyocopters, or something like that.



  1. Hi Jen. Is the head ornament for your safety or ours?

    You’re a brave one, living in Abertawe. 8-)

    • you never fail to amuse ahaha :L only the welsh will really understand your swansea joke though

      • nothing wrong with abertawe gents :P

      • It’s not Swansea/Abertawe that’s the problem. Jen’s… you know. From over there *points across the border* :-P

  2. PS1 ruled, simples, and hello Jen, very nice read :-)

  3. Marry me?

    • …and this is why female gamers will live in fear until there is balance.

      Cuff him and take him away. :-)

      • I thought they lived in fear of you?:p Also i think the TSA dungeons are currently being cleaned due to a certain member using them for the wrong reasons.;-p

        But seriously Peco, that is a tad bit inappropriate. Have a nice day.:-)

      • Inappropriate? Really?

        My apologies then.

      • Steven, I think you have trouble identifying what is said in jest sometimes.

      • yeah, that was just a joke in good taste, i wouldn’t call that inappropriate. i’d say its more of a compliment.

      • Yeah, settle down, Steven! hahahah! Jen didn’t say “yes” so there’s still time.

    • Hahahaha

    • Didn’t seem inappropriate to me, made me laugh though ;)

  4. Where did you get that hat? I want one!

    • I heard rumours ofa Sonic hat, I’d go for that.

    • It was on last Christmas but they’ve sold out since :(
      I’ve also got a Kirby hat from Toykotoys and was very tempted by a Sonic one too!

  5. Hi Jen, i’ve seen a few of your articles/ reviews so it’s nice to find out a bit about you.

  6. Nice to meet you, Jen – that’s one great book you have on the armrest of the chair :)

    • I never realised Space Invaders had such a huge manual

      • Ha! Actually 1001 videogames you must play before you die. It’s scientifically proven that it is the greatest book in existance, and surpasses any text that has gone before it.

        I’m joking, of course, but it is good :)

  7. Nice to meet you Jen. FF7 is also one of my all time favorite games and helped me to get into the RPG genre.

  8. good read, and nice to meet you. But seriously water! I’ve choked on a polo sweet and a 5p coin before (how I don’t know) but not water! that’s more of an achievement than embarrassment lol :P any ways nice read and cool hat :)

    • Please tell me this was at the same time. Please tell me someone recommended you dislodge the polo with money and all you had was a five pence piece.

      *prays to ‘God of Comedy Gold’*.

    • I’m guessing that if you replace ‘choked’ with ‘inhaled’, it might make more sense. That’s what I’ve had happen (various) times!

  9. OMG, i follow her on twitter :O

  10. nice to meet u Jen=)

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