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Meet Stack Up's Writers

Curious about the folks behind reviews, Stack Up updates, and other gaming and mental health-related articles on the Stack Up blog? Here is our awesome team of volunteer writers. Click on their names to find all of their posts!

L. Sahara McGirt | DarthSagaSwag | Social Media Manager, Editor-in-Chief

Sahara has been playing video games since the age level of 5, when they were just tall enough to stand on a chair at the bowling alley and play games like Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, and Space Invaders. They're a fan of any game that looks like it might be interesting. They've played 100s of games by now at level 30 and hope to die while gaming. As the Social Media Manager & EIC at Stack Up and a Navy Veteran, they have experienced how gaming can help Veterans and Active Duty Military members maintain their mental health.

Stephen Machuga | ShanghaiSix | Stack Up Executive Director, Game Reviews

Stephen, as the CEO of Stack Up, has long loved video games. You can check out his bio on the main Stack Up website here. While the rest of you may know him from his streams his presence at events, we here know him for his reviews in the latest game he got the chance to play. Whether he's talking about an indie that he found interesting or a AAA game, he loves to talk about games as much as he enjoys getting them into the hands of Veterans and Active Duty service members everywhere.

Roberto Nieves | Deputy Editor | Game Reviews

Roberto Nieves is level 33, living and playing in Long Branch, New Jersey. He's been playing games since the days of using channel 3 and cartridges. He has played everything from the biggest games to the smallest title. Shooters, racing, strategy, he is wide open to different experiences. Every game has a unique story to tell and has had an impact on his life. Games have helped him find his best friends, discover parts of himself, and learn new things from different people. He has written for Marooners Rock, Dual Pixels, and Game Rant.

Fernando Da Costa | Deputy Editor | Game Reviews

He's been reviewing games for close to a decade, with bylines across the interwebs. JRPGs are his absolute favourite. It’s a love that began as a kid, watching his dad play. He'll also die on the hill that Lunar needs a remake - "do it, cowards." His wallet dislikes him, but his credit card company sends him a muffin basket each year, so there’s that. When reviewing, he tends to pay too much attention to narrative as he loves a good story. As an aspiring author, he lives and breathes words. He considers the Nintendo Switch the best console due to its portability. He can usually be found playing it with a nice cup of coffee beside him - it’s an addiction.

Laura Collins | Writer | Game Reviews

Laura, or "Blue," tends to write about games and mental health. Farming Sims and RPGs are usually her favorites, but she is a fan of most genres in some capacity. Writing for Stack Up became a way for her to help and to hope, and a light at the end of a tunnel in a darker period of her life.

Ad_Twindad | Writer | Military Life & Game Reviews

Growing up in Oklahoma, AD_Twindad has been a nerd forever. Never one to shy away from a new hobby, whether it be video games, Magic: The Gathering, Warhammer, 3D printing, and now streaming. He is also an avid sports fan, cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Braves. He joined the Air Force in 2008 as an aircraft maintainer and then retrained as a special mission aviator on the CV-22 Osprey and has been flying for 10+ years. After multiple deployments and several PCSs, the father of twins still enjoys the chance to play or stream after everyone has gone to sleep.

Michael Stern | Writer | Game Reviews, Tabletop Gaming Coverage

Michael, 38, is a Veteran of both the Army (UH-60 Blackhawk Mechanic) and the gaming

community. He has been playing video games (both PC and Consoles), tabletop, and

board/card games since before he could walk. Hailing from a large family of 6 kids, Michael,

being a middle child, always entertained himself through gaming when he could get TV time.

After leaving the Army due to a medical injury, Michael has found comfort and healing in the

gaming communities, especially with Stack Up. Michael was a 2019 Air Assault with Stack Up,

attending the PAX South convention, and has been a part of the community ever since. After

attending the convention, Michael went on to do multiple streams for charities, including Stack

Up. Passionate about gaming, very talkative, and finding ways to help others all helped Michael

find his way to being a writer for Stack Up News. He believes in Stack Up’s cause, so much so

that when asked to start a new Stack group in the Chicagoland area, he instantly accepted the

role as Stack Lead! To this day, Michael owns working consoles ranging from the PS5/Xbox X

back to Atari and proudly displays them in his home, alongside his Military medals, various

fanboy artwork, board/card/tabletop games, and his Pauly Shore signed t-shirt.

ItsMeNik | Writer | Game Reviews, Movies & TV Reviews

Nik is a variety streamer and content creator on TikTok and Twitch who plays mostly FPS games, enjoys tattoos, and hiking. He comes from a Military family with his father serving in the USMC for 15 years. He is a father of a 12-year-old son and an almost 2-year-old daughter. When he is not gaming he likes to hang out with family, play basketball, and as of late write reviews on video games and anime. He is a very outspoken individual and loves to meet new people. As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety, he is excited and thankful to get to work with this organization to support others dealing with similar obstacles. Teaching has always been a passion of his so he tends to help friends who are trying to get into the streaming or content space by providing any tips or tricks he has learned. Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare was the first game to really get his attention as a kid and it's really what drove his passion to play video games. He just recently turned 31 in February of this year and currently stays in Arizona enjoying the scenery. He looks forward to meeting many new friends with Stack Up and hopes you all get something from these reviews.

Andrew Mullin | Writer | Tabletop Gaming Coverage

Andrew Mullin joined the Army in 2012 as a Combat Medic. In 2018 he transitioned to being a Chinook pilot. He has two combat tours in Afghanistan and a DSCA tour in Puerto Rico. In 2020 he started writing for a tea company. A long-time video and PC gamer, he was first introduced to board games during a trip to a local game store and has since been hooked. Prior to his last deployment to Afghanistan, he was introduced to Tabletop Role Playing Games and has (allegedly) smuggled dice into various countries in order to play. Now he is a forever Game Master for both in-person and online game groups playing a variety of TTRPGs and board games.

José "StrawHatRican" Morales | Writer | Game Reviews, Movies & TV Reviews

Born in 81’, José “StrawHatRican” Morales spent 21 years in the island paradise of Puerto Rico before enlisting in the USAF for six years as Security Forces. Now past the adventures in the Caribbean and the American West, José writes about the things he loves the most - cinema and video games. When not complaining about the meta of live service gaming or the faults in his favorite films, he can be found enjoying the great outdoors of Colorado, reading Spanish lit, and learning more about the joys of cooking.

Ben Nobles | Writer | Tabletop Gaming Coverage

Ben, 34, is an Air Force TACP veteran of 6 years who now works in Finance. Living with his two small children and frontline editor (other title being Wife) out of Charlotte, NC. He loves spending his dwindling free time exploring and playing games of all sorts. To include Tabletop Wargaming, TTRPGs, euro games, and even whatever silly pet-based thing his daughter wants to play. Ben likes to think that he has played enough games that he can quickly get a good sense of what any particular individual would have fun playing. When you need someone at your table to crack the Rosetta Stone that is your game's rulebook, Ben may just be your guy (results will vary). Just be careful, he has a tendency to rule-lawyer hard for his benefit. Finally, woe to his gaming opponents when he hits his Ballmer Peak, better get one more beer in him fast.

Taylor Starks | Writer | Game Reviews, Tabletop Gaming Coverage

Taylor is an active-duty Navy Hospital Corpsman (2013-) who has lived all over the world and

worked with all kinds of people. He's a massive nerd who loves to travel and experience all

kinds of new things! Born and mostly raised in Kentucky, he loves being outdoors and exploring

nature. Being a Corpsman, he has a passion for helping service members and veterans to live the best life they can. His biggest nerd passion would easily be Star Wars. Whether that be in the form of books, games, comics, or obviously films. If it's Star Wars, he has to check it out!

Dustin Perkins | Writer | Game Reviews, Tabletop Gaming Coverage

Dustin is an eight-year veteran of the US Coast Guard and an enthusiastic tabletop gamer. First introduced to Stack Up via the Air Assault program, he now serves as a writer and reviewer of tabletop games, as well as the Stack Lead for the Toledo Stack. Dustin enjoys gaming, spending time with his six children, and vacationing. He is passionate about tabletop gaming and loves sharing his experiences through his reviews.

Koin | Writer | Streaming Coverage

Koin has always loved writing and gaming, is a long-time advocate for mental health, and is truly passionate about Stack Up. Some of her first loves were Yukon Trail and The Sims, and her love of written roleplay forums turned into a love of RPG video games. The Dragon Age franchise sits at the top of her list right now, though her recent obsession with Baldur's Gate 3 is giving it a run for its money! While not a service member herself, Koin's father and stepfather were both Marines in the Vietnam War, her husband is an Army vet, and she has other numerous friends and family in various branches of the Military. Stack Up's cause hit home, and after her first fundraiser in 2021, she wanted to get more involved. Now, not only does Koin recruit and support other streamers with their events as part of the Influencer Relations Team, she also volunteers her time to help write up Streamer Spotlights to shine a light on some of the amazing streamers that have helped support what Stack Up does!

Junoh Seo | Reviewer | Game Reviews

Junoh Seo has a passion for both writing and video games. With over 300 games on his Steam account collected since 2013, he enjoys a wide range of genres and is eager to try out new games, but often finds himself coming back to a handful of his favorite titles. With Stack Up, he aims to combine two of his passions, producing written content that can appreciate the distinct storytelling of video games.

Doxology | Reviewer | Game Reviews

Donny Blankenship is a 30-something Military Veteran turned full-time variety streamer. After 12 years conducting Search & Rescue in the US Coast Guard left him with PTSD, he started using gaming as a therapeutic outlet. He spends his time delicately balancing a marriage of 15 years & being a dad to 7 kids with gaming and work. Donny doesn’t shy away from his testimony of faith in Christ as well as the role people can play in each other’s lives to bring a positive and encouraging impact. He works very hard to make every person he meets feel loved, valued, and never alone.

Brad Pietzyk | Writer | Mental Health

Brad Pietzyk served in the U.S. Army for nearly 15 years until he was medically retired due to mental health concerns at the rank of Major. Brad is a graduate of the University of Nebraska, Missouri University of Science and Technology, and the University of Southern California. Brad lives in comfort in Oregon with his wife and two children. He is an avid player of Final Fantasy 14, RPGs, and strategy games.

Robert "Bob" Bagby | Writer | Game Guides

Robert "Bob" Bagby, aka ZiplockBob, is a U.S. Army Logistical Veteran. His favorite games are JRPGs and Dynasty Warriors games. However, he prides himself on his mid-tier fighting game skills. He is the Chattanooga Stack Lead. Between all the number crunching and min-maxing in gaming, he decided to transfer those skills over to writing game guides to give other players an inside track to actually cleaning out their backlog.

Chad Christian | Writer | Tabletop Gaming Coverage

Meet Chad Christian, a.k.a. TapRackBang. He's a USMC infantry Veteran. He loves gaming of all kinds, with tabletop games taking the centerpiece. He's been working with Stack Up since 2018 as the Dayton, Ohio Stack leader and recently began writing tabletop game reviews for us as well. Stack Up helped him greatly when he needed it most and continues to be a cause worth supporting.

Colla Triti | Writer | Streaming Coverage

Colla Triti's gamer name is a variation of Meok, completely dependent on the games she plays. She also writes under two pen names: LostInQueue for fanfiction and Colla Triti for original fiction, streaming articles on this site. She's an artist who has run her own business for the last eleven years. It seems like a lot, but the creative field is where she feels most at home. If she decides she can do it, she's ready and willing to take the steps and setbacks to get to her end result. For her, success lies in the journey. Everything she has her hands on is open-ended; there isn’t only one way to do whatever it is she's looking to do, and that brings her life.


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