Most reality show contestants are vying for a chance at fame and fortune. As the winner of the second season of Sony's The Tester, Matthew "Gaymer" Brown sees his new game testing job as a chance to escape the spotlight.
The Tester is a reality show produced by Sony for the PlayStation Network in which a group of competitors competes for a chance to join the PlayStation team as a tester, arguably one of the lowliest jobs in the gaming industry. Despite the lack of glamor associated with the grand prize (which this season also included a Sony Bravia television and a $US5,000 signing bonus), the contestants battle passionately for the position.
In Brown's case, that lack of glamor was a major draw.
Matthew Brown was an overweight child, but as you can see from his photo and his "Get to Know You" video from The Tester's website, he's grown out of it.
Matt is well-known in san Diego as a gay activist, recently winning the title of Mr. Gay San Diego at an annual event benefitting the Harvey Milk Foundation. It's a role he's quite proud of, but he's ready to leave the spotlight to follow his dream.
"I've actually been in the spotlight in my own community for a while now," Brown told me in in an interview following the airing of the final episode of The Tester 2. "So I'm used to being scrutinized by the public eye. My goodbye to activism and this win is the last hurrah for that."
While many people would relish the spotlight that's been shone on him, Brown sees this new opportunity as a way to get back to his gaming roots.
"It's kind of a back to my roots thing. I've always loved gamers/ They're who I feel more comfortable around," explains Brown. "I'm actually really excited to be going back to being someone who is just starting out in the industry. I'm quite excited to be going back down to the bottom and starting over."
Many of you have been following our continuing coverage of The Tester's second season. Some of you may have noticed Brown lurking in the comments section, following every word of my weekly liveblogs. He watched me tear apart his competitors, make fun of his desire to show the judges his leadership skills - a desire that nearly backfired on him, and he saw me call him the contestant I hated the least during the final episode, when he stole victory away from leading competitor Scooter during a play through of Killzone 3.
Matt had nothing but nice things to say about most of his fellow competitors. Mo Chocolate was prone to doing funny, childlike things that had them all in hysterics, at least until episode seven when the remaining competitors were exhausted and on edge, making the decision to force him out. Scooter, the season's most bearded competitor, is the nicest man you'll ever meet. Ches-Ka, the woman whom I teased in the liveblogs for not having much of a personality apparently got "the short-end of the editing stick." Apparently she was a "feisty Italian" who once woke Gaymer up by rubbing her breasts in his face. The camera crew, unfortunately for her, did not make it in time.
Out of all of this season's contestants, only one was on the receiving end of negative remarks by Brown, and no one could blame him. Big Fazeek, the most hated of all The Tester 2 contestants, was a larger-than-life curmudgeon with a foul mouth that didn't seem to have any idea how to act in a mature, adult fashion.
Big Fazeek and Matt didn't clash much in the show proper, but the extra footage reel from episode three shows a major confrontation between the two that highlights Fazeek's childish behaviour.
"I've had more problems with him after the show than during the show," Brown explains. "He certainly doesn't like any of my behind-the-scenes commentary." Apparently there have been angry phone calls and text messages. Such is the price of fame.
But it's a fame that Matthew "Gaymer" Brown gladly leaves behind as he takes his first steps on this new journey, with his first days as an official PlayStation tester coming next month.
"It's like a weight off my shoulders. I feel like it's a chance to go out and do what I want and accomplish my dreams, and I'm going to take that opportunity."