I originally hadthis post about the HotSpot, and this one about Jeff mushed together, buteach needs to be its own separate thing.
I wanted to say a few words about Jeff. For about the last year or so that I worked at GameSpot, just before I left for Blizzard, Jeff was my boss.I worked primarily as a reviews editor for him in that final year at GS. Most of you know Jeff as that funny off-the-wall guy who charismatically carried On The Spot with Rich, and also my own podcast, the HotSpot. And he is that guy. The side you might not know is the Jeff who wouldn't hesitate to go to bat for his people. I wrote quite a number of reviews while working for Jeff--not all of them were particularly flattering of course. And once in a while some angry marketing flack, or on occasion, producer would contact me, irate over my lambasting their game. All I ever had to do was forward them to Jeff, and he'd bite the bullet for me--he'd deal with their angry tirade and shield me and all the other reviews editors from all that nonsense.
So what you say? That's his job as head of the reviews department, right? Well here's the thing. He stood by me even when I was in the wrong. Some of you may remember the gaffe I made on a certain high-profile review, regarding certain online features of the game. That was totally my fault, and my oversight on a high profile game. Even though it was a relatively innocuous thing that didn't materially affect the rating, it turned into quite a fuss, primarily because fanboys of a certain major game company think the review scale for that company's games should run from 9 to 10 instead of 1 to 10. And if a review dare drop below 9, the facts and assertions in that review better be bulletproof, lest you incur their eternal ire. In this case, it was not.
So it was scandalous and embarrassing for GameSpot to deal with that mistake. And Jeff could have easily thrown me under the bus. But he didn't. We had a discussion about what went wrong and how I missed it. I told him what happened, and that I was terribly embarrassed by the whole thing. He and I then sat down together and tested the specific features I missed. He agreed with me that they were immaterial to the score, and then we added the amendment to the review. There was no yelling, no threatening, no passive aggressive bullsh*t. He treated me like a professional, worked together with me to make it right, and discussed how to avoid making that mistake again. If there was any fallout or angry phone call from the publisher on that issue, I never heard or knew about it--he or one of the other senior editors handled it, because they always believed it was important forthe reviews staff to be independent and not worry about outside pressures.From start to finish, he stood by me and my work even in the rare case that it wasn't up to GameSpot's high standards. And I always appreciated that.
It's what makes it extra sad to me that Jeff was dismissed. Apparently there was no one above Jeff in the GameSpot hierarchywho would do the same thing for him that he did for me -- stand by him and the work he did.