Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

Change sucks. Oh, we in the Western world like to brag about how we master change, how we live for the new and the different and take it all in stride but the truth is, we don’t. We eventually adapt and absorb it but any change — even a good one — is always a wrenching one. The feedback on the new site design and editorial direction shows that, with the e-mails running about half and half between “I love it” and “You guys suck, go back to the old stuff!” If you haven’t seen me much on the site in the past three weeks it’s because I’ve been absorbing some massive changes in my own life and coming to grips with a number of decisions that have resulted in the column I never wanted to write: my farewell to GameSpy.

I joined GameSpy on February 10, 2003 after doing a couple of freelance reviews. I think it was my first review for the site (Survivor Ultimate) that ultimately ended up getting me the job. I remember sitting in a conference room in the old Irvine offices sitting across from Sal “Sluggo” Accardo (who would be my boss for most of those six years), Dave “Fargo” Kosak and other editors who have since moved on to bigger and better things and getting grilled on why I decided to have my wife play Survivor Ultimate in addition to myself. I answered that I hated the TV show and I was interested in incorporating a fan’s perspective into the review to see if it might appeal to someone who enjoyed the show more than someone who was approaching the game cold (it didn’t). That was enough to overcome even Fargo’s objections to my temperament (he called me a “loose cannon,” something that gradually morphed into my in-office nickname, “The Angry Bear”) and make me a PC editor.

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What followed was six years of dream-come-true for me. While many editors like to tell people who ask about games journalism that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, that’s not entirely true. Oh this job is certainly a lot of hard work (I still haven’t caught up on all the sleep lost in six years of writing until 3 a.m. during E3) but our dirty little secret is that doing this is exactly as much fun as you think it is. I’ve never for a moment lost sight of how lucky and privileged I’ve been to see the things I’ve seen, do the things I’ve done and meet the people I’ve met, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve reveled in those moments as well. Very few people get to do what they truly love and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I very often looked around at what I was doing or where I was and just boggled at how awesome my life was at this moment.

I knew that I had come to someplace special during my first week here. First, the place sported a 10-foot archway in the shape of the Quake logo as an entrance. Second, on the Friday of my first week here, I see our IT guy and Fargo setting up a series of PCs and monitors on long tables. Assuming that there was some sort of corporate demonstration being set up, I ask if I can help. “Sure,” Fargo answers. “Test the fog machine and see if you can get it working.” Fog machine? I had come the week of a “Beatdown,” a GameSpy tradition where the entire office hangs out for the weekend, orders six metric tons of pizza and junk food and plays multiplayer games for 48 hours straight (at the time the hot game was Battlefield 1942).

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