Michael Eric Garling (best known under the handle GoldenEyeRa) (born April 2, 1990, Sydney, Australia) is a Australian-born editor and reporter of videogame-related news. He writes articles for various Australian counter-culture fan-sites, currently Final Fantasy Insider and Kingdom Hearts 3 US. He has also worked for various other websites of varying fame, from the position of editor on the independant forum haunt FF7-DoC to Australian Correspondant at Mike "TSA" Damiani's prestigious The Hylia.
Websites and Notoriety
Garling's internet notoriety under the handle GoldenEyeRa has led to varied critical reception from his peers, as his rise to prominence began as a humble poster on the videogaming culture forum GameFAQs. Since then he has stayed with the forums for four years at various capacities, and wrote his first ever online published article for the site's then-infant column 'The Top 10'. The article was republished on two further occasions since its conception. In the May of 2006, Garling began employment at Final Fantasy Insider, the first website he applied to, beginning his career as a lowly reporter alongside forum celebrity Reynaldo Anthony, the site's founder and still-webmaster after nine years. He has since gone on to work on various related projects and areas of employment.
Final Fantasy Insider
Garling's involvement with the site began on the 15th of May, 2006 as a deputy reporter. He would become the site's news manager within three months of this, and within six would become the site's sole news editor and reporter. During his time with FF Insider, the website's total amounts of traffic have steadily increased due to both an incline in reporting fluency and a newly designed, increasingly professional outlook.
In February, 2007, Garling caused some controversy over a mediocre review he gave to the newly-released Final Fantasy XII. The title, which holds a formidable 92 at Metacritic, was reviewed as a '8.1' (out of a possible 10) by Garling, citing that "...for that casual RPG fan who left Final Fantasy when it stopped innovating, I’m afraid it still isn’t time to pick it up and try again". He concluded his review by using the now-infamous analogy, "This tired old man may shine up good with his new hair and suit, but remember that it’s still the same old man underneath."
Garling has indicated that he may look to expanding his horizons and leaving his position to a competent successor, yet he "...still (hasn't) found someone that (he would) feel comfortable leaving the site with."
Garling's involvement with the site has led to respect from various outside sources, many of them sourcing his work and coniving guerilla reporting techniques. Notably, six months after beginning employment he discovered an illegal upload of the press-only trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The leak was spread worldwide following his discovery, with Unlimited Gamer stating "The latest trailer from Final Fantasy 13 which is actually released a bit early, much love to GoldenEyeRa over at FFinsider.net, especially since he does all the work while Rey lounges!"
In the latter half of 2006, Garling was brought on to become news editor of the flailing Dirge of Cerberus fanpage, FF7-DoC. Then-webmaster Reynaldo Anthony used the opportunity to train Garling as an independant news editor here, before promoting him to the same position at Final Fantasy Insider.
In November, 2006, the site was sold to an alternate party for personal reasons, and along with that sale, Garling was removed from the position of news editor. For several months the forum's remaining members were without administration, until Garling returned in February 2007 and wrote an expose article revealing the secrets behind the site's sale and what this meant for the remaining 900-odd members. Garling eventually gathered a group of moderators and was able to rebuild the site as its last remaining administrator. Today the same user-base is self-sufficient and Garling remains as an advisor.
In 2007 Garling had a brief stint as the Australian Correspondant to videogaming celebrity Mike "TSA" Damiani's The Legend of Zelda fansite, The Hylia. He remained with the site until their retooling later that year, as Damiani moved on to begin his newly established Zentendo, a Nintendo-centric site that has official ties to various companies such as Midway.
In a conversation with fellow Zelda-entrepeneur, Jason "JC" Tiny, Damiani expressed interest in further co-operation with Garling at Zentendo, but stated that "...he's too busy with his other projects, so he won't be able to dedicate the time."
Kingdom Hearts 3 US
Since 2007, Garling has been news editor at the small-scale Kingdom Hearts fan-blog, Kingdom Hearts 3 US, which is dedicated to a more personal-style reporting that is dedicated to reporting the facts in a professional manner. The site is owned by Reynaldo Anthony, and was ran by young webmaster-in-training, Ash Barnes. Barnes would be referred to as "GoldenEye's protege", but would eventually leave the site in April 2007 to pursue a life in rural Northern Territory, Australia.
The site was created as a lead in to the next major Anthony/Garling collaboration, Kingdom Hearts Globe (created by Barnes), but with Barnes leaving and Anthony's dissipating interest, Garling says "I'm unsure as to what's going to happen with all the work that we had done with the project, but the designs are still there if anyone wants to lead them."
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