Boy, that would have been awfully obtuse, wouldn't it?
I'm going to do my best to avoid turning this into a massive weep session. I've already started and scrapped writing this message more times than I can count, so instead of putting endless thought into this, I'm just going to say what I feel and leave it at that.
The five years I've spent at GameSpot are arguably the most important years I've spent in my life. Prior to this gig, I'd never had much of a real job. When Jeff and Greg and the rest of the crew back in 03 gave me--some skinny, 21 year old punkass who'd never done anything but freelance for a few scattered sites--a legitimate chance, I'd never envisioned that this would turn to be the job that defined me, that gave me a place and a career. I had no idea that I'd actually make some semblance of a name for myself here. That anyone would actually give a crap about what I did or what I wrote. I still find the notion kind of unbelievable, actually. Reading all the messages people have been sending me since the word got out has been utterly mind-blowing. It's one thing to enjoy what you do, but it's quite another to know that others enjoy what you do. It's gratifying, and I'm thankful for it.
I could probably spend the next several hours giving individual thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way, but most of them know who they are and have been thanked in more personal fashion, so I'll skip the acceptance speech from hell. Instead, a general thank you to the staff (both former and present) for letting me be a part of the dream that is/was GameSpot. Also, thanks to you, the reader. I'd be nothing if you folks didn't come back time and time again to read the junk I put out, and I can't tell you how thankful I am that you did.
Leaving completely sucks, and believe me when I say I'm in no way joyful about my departure. Well, OK, that's not entirely true. There is a certain sense of...freedom that I'm feeling now as I envision an endless string of pantsless weekdays. Still, if I'd had my druthers, I'd have probably rather stayed precisely where I was, doing what I was doing. But circumstances don't always work out the way you'd prefer, and things change, often not for the better. My time here was finished. I was conflicted about that notion going into the holiday break, and that notion turned into fact with startling clarity as soon as I came back from break. It was a frightening and painful experience to let it go, but I had to. If you love something, set it free, and all that junk. I don't think this one's ever coming back, though.
Of course, I'm not going to disappear into obscurity--at least, not without a fight. You'll probably start seeing my name start appearing on bylines relatively soon. I'm not doing anything full time just yet, but we'll see where the wind takes me. In the meantime, if you need to get in contact with me for any reason, my new e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you want to read my assorted ramblings about whatever, I am keeping a personal blog at The Head Of Alfredo Garcia. Stop by sometime if you want to read about what I think of practically everything except games. I'll give you a hint: I hate all of it.
And lastly, let me just make one thing as crystal clear as possible. I hold no ill will, issue no blame, take no umbrage with any of my former co-workers on the edit team. These guys are some of the hardest working, upstanding, straight up cool mother****ers I've ever met in my life, and as long as they're around doing their thing, GS will continue to live and breathe--there will still be a soul there, underneath whatever ridiculousness might be on the surface these days. There is no GS without those guys. The GS content crew is a family, and no one can change that.
Before I duck out, a few stats to chew on from my time here:
Number of reviews written: 733
Number of video reviews produced: Somewhere around 100
Number of video features appeared in: Dozens
Controllers broken: 7
Debug consoles broken: At least two that I can remember (sorry Ricardo!)
Number of console launches experienced: 5 (not including N-Gage and Gizmondo, which absolutely, positively don't count)
Number of weekend birthdays spent at the office: 2 (thanks PlayStation 3, Wii and Rock Band launches!)
Number of E3s covered: 5
Number of hours of sleep lost while covering said E3s: 280
Number of delicious sandwiches consumed during work hours: Too many to count
Pounds gained over the last five years: 45
Favorite review ever written: It's sort of like choosing your children, but I'd have to say that Super Mario Galaxy was probably the piece of writing I was most proud of just for clarity and overall quality. For pure comedy, while Big Rigs is obviously the fan favorite, I think my Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green review was my favorite, mostly for the opening paragraph, but there are some good chuckles elsewhere, too. My only regret with that one was that it was published before I'd learned the skill of brevity.
Favorite video piece: Regarding Robocop. Tim Tracy took my hours of ridiculous footage and turned that thing into something magical.
Worst review ever written: Read any of the first five to ten reviews I did for the site. They're as boring as they are barely informative. I was still learning the craft at that point. I think I've gotten a touch better.
Review that caught me the most flack: Probably Advent Rising. I will still never understand what anyone saw in that game. It was like retarded Star Wars with a broken frame rate. Now there's a box quote for ya!
Biggest editorial regret: Never giving Burning Questions proper closure. What can I say? I snapped.
Biggest non-editorial regret: Lack of travelling, specifically to Japan. Would have loved to have gotten one TGS trip in.
Thing I'll miss least about GS: Apart from the current unpleasantness, I'll say the commute. Nothing sucks more than driving an hour through traffic to work every day, especially when you're accustomed to carpooling and then suddenly end up having to do it all by your lonesome. *cough*
Thing I'll miss most about GS: The dozens and dozens of awesome people who have come and fled over the years that helped make GS a terrific place to work during their time. You know who you are.
And with that, I bid you all a fond adieu. It's been real.