By Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman
In an arena that many say is impossible to break into, Alex "Sharky" Ross has successfully launched his own website, essentially from scratch, and taken it sky high. Sharky Extreme is one of those websites that people look to for the truth...be those benchmarks, screenshots, or just the latest news from a certain company. There aren’t many of those websites. We decided to find out exactly what kind of person it takes to rise to the top so quickly.
Name: Alex Ross
Rank: All American
Serial Port(?): Editor-in-Chiefy
I understand you recently moved to America? Or has my brother been drinking too much again? I don't know how much he's drunk recently but he's actually telling the truth. I am now the proud owner of an 0-1 Visa and am a Legal Alien for three years. It happened so fast after a trip here and now I'm exorcised.
I used to be a Brit. Now I'm an Alien.
What prompted the move? The bright lights syndrome. And the fact that I feel for an American girl. Joan was settled in LA and well I figured what the hell with free local calls.. I'll move.
Oh crap.. there was the issue of starting a new web site too.
Wow...very impressive. Most girls just try to get the guy to go cross-town. :) Hehe- yeah I know. This one at least allowed me the joy of going by plane. I didn't have to swim or anything.
I gotta ask...Sharky Extreme..Voodoo Extreme... :) Ok.. Yeah original eh? I know and soon to be American Extreme.
Well the thing is that... people (the strange ones) remember me from 'something' Extreme and so I guess I felt like if I used the 'Extreme' part they might remember. Plus it caused a fuss.
The fuss was caused by rumors about you leaving Voodoo Extreme, I think...care to explain what really happened? I really enjoyed working over at Voodoo Extreme for the best part of a year. And considered Mr. Wilson a fine upstanding gentleman. Due to adverse weather conditions things didn't quite work out and I was left out in the cold when it came to the 'crunch'. Loosing the friendship wasn't at all fun either. But I'm glad to see him doing well now and I wish him all the luck in Utah.
Did you think your site was going to be as successful as it has been? Well to be honest it _had_ to be or else I would have had to stay in the UK and work in Bath (that’s a shit place) for PC Gamer. So I did it for the romance.
How was working for PC Gamer? The UK mag was and is way better than the US one (once you get by the adverts). The articles are funnier and the atmosphere is something I won't forget. IT was the same as when I worked for CGW in the UK. I do still have mates at IGN but only Brits.
You've been in the gaming industry for a long time...how did you get started? Hey..in gaming press...2.5 years is long :) Long time? Well 2.5 years. 1 year in print and 1.5 years in Web hell. I got started writing reviews on the Commodore 64 when I went through a 'boredom' phase back in the 80s when there was little else to do. Back then I wasn't any good and just too young to be taken seriously. Then when I became 18 I was allowed to drink and it all changed. I stopped writing and had a life. 2.5 years ago I stopped doing Vodka and decided I was bored and would give back what the Commodore 64 gave me. I love games and I like writing. So it was a 'natural' thing I guess for me to have a crack at.
What was your life before the games came back? Oh it was EXCELLENT. (careful). I was quite a little raver in the early 90s. I liked to go to the big summer gigs (music festivals) like Glastonbry. I used to date girls and I also tried to become a pro Footballer (Soccer to you Excomunicados).
Oh there was University. I have a degree in Economics and Geography, which really helps me in my work. Benchmarking video cards.. I'd never be able to get by without that Geography part.
So..what is your life now? (aka..life of a webmaster) Well right now it's all systems go in terms of work. I've got two lads and one gal that work with me and together I think we're a good crew. There's about 8 systems here and I'm usually working on 35 things at once and spreading gossip on the phone. The site seems to be doing well and so far we've not had any death threats.
hehe You're one up on us, then :) (Shit what do I have to do?)
Hardware. :) TNT vs. V2? Ok well I'd say in today's climate the Voodoo2 is still (especially in SLI) the best bang for you buck (sorry to use that awful Americanism). It really is considerably faster (in SLI) than the TNT and although the image quality isn't as 'perty' as the TNTs, you count the frags with a Voodoo2 and just look at the image quality on a TNT. If I had $99 I would get a Voodoo2 (and a pack of Chewing gum). Don't get me wrong though (my ass is now firmly shifting on to the other chair) the TNT is a solid product but I usually end up playing games on a Voodoo2 SLI combo due to the higher frame rates.
Where do you think the future is in video chips? On the Motherboard and I think there will be more 3Dfx/STB type mergers. I for one have a sneaky suspicion that Creative and nVidia will tie the knot. As for who's going to have the 'best' there is in 99... well I recently met with 3Dfx and it 'seems' as though they will have a product that not only beats the TNT2 for sheer speed but will do so at 32bit. It 'might' even have Texture Compression, a Geometry co-processor and a tea-maid. For now... well I'm still using a TNT with 2 Voodoo2's soon to be replaced by a Voodoo3.
What's your pick in sound cards? Ah.. that's easy. I love music and all but for a PC I want 3D Sound Card that really is advanced in terms of the hardware and the API. That's why I would always go for the Diamond Monster Sound MX300. Half-Life sounds so much better on that board than anything else- including the reverbtastic SBLive! So you'll be much MUCH happier with the Vortex 2.0 based sound card. A very cool piece of kit indeed. Aureal have done themselves proud.
What about processors...will Intel still be the top? Well AMD does indeed have some super sexy stuff up their sleeves... (road map going up tonight) but the trouble is, can they deliver??? The K7 really does blow the socks off but delay after delay... And then there's Intel. OK Intel to stay on top. That's my tip for '99.
What will your system be a year from now? :) Hmm. Noisy, hot and full of coffee stains. Apart from that it'll have the 'next next' 3Dfx thing in it. Maybe a couple of PowerVR Series 4 cards. An Intel CPU of some sort. I know that a year from now we'll be going in to the 600's for sure and maybe close to 700. It'll probably cost more than a car or something and require refrigeration. I bet I'll still be playing Quake III Arena as well.
How do you justify having the people who's products you review advertising on your site? Well so far so good on that score...I mean they have usually signed contracts months in advance and we actually have a clause in there indicating that their sales and advertising department are NOT allowed to harass or try to change ANY editorial. I guess there's always going to be some that think strange things about there being an ad banner and then a few days later a review but I hope my reputation is good enough to let it slide. I have to say it's NO different to when I was in Print. Same old story and same old conflict. These companies actually come to me in pre-alpha stage and ask me to evaluate it for them. I STILL tell the 100% truth and sometimes they take my advice and sometimes they don't. And then the fact that there's three of us on the site that do hardware.. well we 'spread it out'. Everyone’s' reputation is important to them and I know they think the same way I do about credibility.
What are your favorite games? How long have you got? Ok... on the PC:
on the Dreamcast:
on the N64.
Hey...Amiga? :) Shit how could I forget???
OK I really liked Attack of the Mutant Camels.
Wow...I can't believe you remember!! Hey I told you.. I had NO-LIFE and was a strange child. 'before' I discovered Oxygen.
My all time fav though. Hmm don't laugh OK? Pitfall 2 on the C64. I was really young and well it was cool back then.
PITFALL?! Ok sod Pitfall. I think I've clocked more hours in Quake2 than any other game.
I was trying to be original and well a bit retro there but guns get the better of me. Rockets.
What are your favorite websites? OK. Easy. I have to say Blue's News is my most visited haunt. His Out of the Blue makes me think that there's hope for me yet and that I'm not the only wacko around. I of course dig loonygames 'cos you are so different (plus you're cool as you got a death threat). Then I used to like this site called Cyrellis but I liked it so much I begged both Craig and Amer to come work with me. AnandTech is a fine place as well. Redwood’s 3D News. Other than those above I have to say I have too little time to 'surf'. I figure the less 'online' fraternizing and reading I do the better I behave. Plus I was getting pissed off at the amount of 'familiar' articles I could have sworn I'd seen on some site called Sharky Extreme elsewhere...
Thanks! :) And check out Sharky Extreme!!
- Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman is an associate editor for loonygames.
Credits: Community Profile logo illustrated by and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Community Profile is © 1999 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is just a bad idea. We have lawyers.