As you know by now, Jeff Gerstmann has left GameSpot. As I cope with the loss, I can't help but wonder, where will he go next? What quests await him? What scores will he settle honestly and unflinchingly? For answers to these questions, I will delve not into Craigslist, but into the little known past of Jeff Gerstmann - critic at large.
Born in South Africa to a sharp-eyed jeweler named Hank and his wife, Sally, Jeff seemed a normal child until one day, his 11th birthday, Jeff and his friends found a cobra in a field. The other boys, all visibly afraid, beseeched Jeff to attack and kill the beast. Jeff, unphased, stepped toward the snake, and declared:
"I shall not fight this cobra, though I will tell you, as far as cobras go, the one before me is most unimpressive. Its pattern is mottled, its hiss grainy, and it brings nothing new to the species. Its spread hood and angry stare are both cobra clichés. I give it a 5.5."
Awed by his brave words in the face of danger, the other boys cast disparaging looks at the snake and turned to find more interesting playthings, such as rocks and empty bottles. The cobra, dejected, began to slither away before Jeff stopped it and said, "Be not depressed, gentle creature, but rather strive to be more than an average serpent. With my guidance, you could someday be a 10."
And so the snake joined him and learned to think outside the box of instinct. It set aside the things it new to do easily, and began to learn behaviors that would set it apart. One day, as Jeff was eating grapes ("6.0", "6.5", "Mm! 8.5") and Megatron (so Jeff named the snake) was playing dead, Jeff spat a grape seed many feet, at which point Megatron sat up spreading only half a hood, which in the cobra world is the sign of epiphany.
Megatron reared back and attempted to spit, but the loogie stuck to his bottom lip and hung venomously as the snake wiggled its head back and forth in shame and disgust.
"2.0," said Gerstmann, "but a 9.0 for trying."
Inspired by his master's praise, the snake practiced his technique day and night in between his other chores which included cleaning, sweeping, and procuring Doritos and Mountain Dew...until one fateful day.
Jeff and Megatron were walking through the bush, when a full grown lion crossed their path. Jeff chastised the beast. "What kind of lion shows itself before attacking? And is that a squirrel tail between your teeth? You probably stole that from a house cat. You are not the king of beasts. You are the 4.0 of beasts."
The lion, perfectly aware of his sub-average status, didn't even flinch, but rather thought "I may be a 4.0, but he'll taste like an 8.5." As the lion prepared to pounce, a miracle happened. Megatron reared up, and meowed. Caught by surprise, the lion's eyes opened wide, presenting the perfect targets to the cobra, who spit twin torpedoes of venom right into them. The lion bellowed with fury, rolled onto his back and clutched at his burning eyes.
"Holy hand grenades, Megatron! That was incredible! Truly, you are now a king among cobras, a true ten-point-oh. Go now, and teach your brood what you have learned, for I can teach you no more."
With that, the snake bowed low, and slithered off into the bush. And that is how Jeff Gerstmann created the first African Spitting Cobra. After Megatron had left on his own journey, Jeff regarded the lion, now looking dejected through bloodshot eyes, and said "Be not depressed, gentle creature, but rather strive to be more than an average lion. With my guidance, you could someday be a 10. I shall call you Mufasa." The story of Jeff and the Lion King is also an excellent tale, but one for another time.
So what does this mean for the future of Jeff Gerstmann? Only this, dear reader: That it is not the destination that matters, but the way. For wherever Gerstmann goes, he shall walk the path of the 10.0.