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It gets better...

So, it's been more than two years since I actually wrote something on my GameSpot blog, and that was when I was still an employee of the site. Crazy how time flies.

As everyone is fully aware, this wonderful site had some pretty heart-breaking news this week when I sizable chunk of the staff was let go. It's a really tough thing to swallow for everyone. It's never fun losing your job, especially when it happens so suddenly, and sometimes without warning. Most, if not all, of the people let go this week were people I used to work with so it I felt doubly disappointed when they all started tweeting (or facebooking) that their employment was over.

I was a victim of one of the previous layoffs two years ago and it definitely bothered me. For starters, because I was working in the US as a foreigner, I was deported back to my native Canada. Having just lost a job I loved then being forced to immediately leave the country was no easy task. I had just moved into a new place the month before and had just settled in when the hammer dropped. Luckily, my landlord was understanding and I wasn't put in any awkward scenario as a tenant.

When I was laid off, GameSpot and CBSi was going through a lot of changes. It was only days prior that they announced the Giant Bomb acquisition. It was incredible news. I thought I would finally get the opportunity to work on the same floor as the same former GS editors I grew up reading. While that didn't come to fruition, I still visit the site on the regular and enjoyed seeing how the site (and Giant Bomb) has evolved since then.

The point of this blog isn't to look back at the disappointment of the last few days, but rather highlight the potential of the future. There isn't a single person who was let go that isn't talented at what they did. You may have disagreed on their views on a particular game, or felt that they appeared awkward/uncomfortable in front of the camera, but they all excelled at something so many strive to do but only few have the raw talent to do on a regular basis.

If you look back at the (long) list of former GameSpot "personalities", from editors to producers and everything in between, that have have called 235 2nd St. their home, you will notice one thing. Most, if not all, have gone on to doing bigger and better things.

My experience as the (short-lived) Sports Editor for the site helped me get at job doing sports full time with EA (my current role is the Content Manager for EA SPORTS). The stuff I did on this site helped my name get out there and it's crazy when people at my current place of work stop me to let me know they enjoyed the stuff I did while an editor here (even if that was now more than two year ago). At the same time, I got to work with some wonderful people and learned a lot of cool things which have helped me in my current role.

I am certain that everyone who suffered a loss of employment this week will bounce back stronger than ever. Regardless if they continue to do similar work for a different site, or move into a new role within the Games Industry, the resume they have built over the last few years will put them above others. For some, I hope they take advantage of "funemployment" and enjoy the time away from the "internet spotlight". At the same time, I don't think we'll be waiting very long for them to tweet out "Hey, guess what?! I'm now doing X at company Y!"

If you follow any of these incredible people here, on Facebook and/or Twitter, please let them know just how thankful you are for their service. Letting them know that you appreciate what they've done will put a smile on their face; even the smallest of gestures can go a long, long way.

At the same time, don't be discouraged if you're one of the thousands (if not millions) of people who aspire to work in this field down the road. Yes, it's really tough; yes, there is little job security (but that's applicable for pretty much any job outside of the government), but there are things to be learned from all of this. Like so many things, jobs evolve and learning how to stay head of that evolution is what will make you stand out. Hard work pays off, believe me!

I look forward to what the present staff at GameSpot churn out in the coming weeks and months. I expect fantastic things from the staff because there are still some pretty awesome people here. This site isn't going anywhere, regardless of what smaller sites will speculate. As for those who are no longer GameSpot employees, welcome to the club! ;-) But, in all seriousness, I cannot wait to hear what you do next and I would not be surprised if we bump into each other here at EARS (EA's Redwood Shores campus) or at an industry function in the city (eg. the monthly boardgame nights a few of us have been attending lately!)

So, what podcasts are you listening to?

About two weeks ago, I posted a short blog curious to find out what TV shows people were watching and the response was interesting. There was quite a variety of shows that people watch so I wanted to try this again but with something different.

I listen to a lot of podcasts. On weekends or when I'm at the gym, I'm listening to podcast of somesort. Since I listen to a lot, I wanted to list them out for everyone and find out what podcasts other people have in their MP3 players and if there are any in particular that I should be listening to but am not.

Be forewarned, this list people is long and even contains some 'rival' podcasts. I've grouped them together so if people are interested in finding them on iTunes, it shouldn't be too difficult.

So here goes:

Comedy Related

  • The Adam Carolla Show
  • The Comedy Button
  • Jay and Silent Bob Get Old
  • SModcast

Sports Related

  • ESPN: Around The Horn
  • ESPN: Pardon The Interuption
  • ESPN: The B.S. Report
  • Radio 5 Live: Fighting Talk
  • The Guardian: Football Weekly
  • The Grantland Network - only a few though (Mens with Blazers and any of the TV related podcasts)
  • Jason Whitlock Podcast
  • BBC World Service's World Football

Gaming Related

  • The Hot Spot - although I'm watching it now instead of listening to it on my iPod
  • The Giant Bombcast - their 3 hour podcasts can be really taxing and often take me a couple of days to listen to
  • A few IGN Podcasts - Podcast Beyond and Game Scoop (their Nintendo and Xbox Podcasts are not that interesting)
  • Irrational Podcast
  • A Life Well Wasted - although there hasn't been a new episode in a very long time (nearly 2 years)
  • Rebel FM
  • Weekend Confirmed

Geek Culture

  • The Geekbox
  • The Hey Ash, Watcha Podcast

Music Related

  • Paul Van Dyk's VONYC Sessions Podcast
  • Tiesto's Club Life

Other

  • This American Life
  • IGN's Knockin' Boot - Relationship Podcast (like listening to the odd dating advice they give.)

As you can see, I have quite the collection and yup, even podcasts from other gaming sites. In my defense, I think it's good to hear what other people in the gaming press have to say as there are so many interesting people in the industry with very different opinions. Both Rebel FM and The Geekbox were spin-offs of older 1Up Podcasts, which used to be the the industry standard before various people left that site.

The only thing that is really lacking for me is a good sports gaming podcast. I used to really enjoy 1Up.com's Sports Anamoly Podcast that was hosted by Todd Zuniga. I've heard that he and a few ex 1Up people started the 4th String Podcast but haven't caught an episode yet. I tried to listen to Gamesradar's Sports Podcast but not a big fan of the one person format. Sports and sports gaming should be discussed in groups and having one guy either talk to the audience solo or have an hour long interview with someone from the industry is a bit bland.

So now that you've seen my list, are there any podcasts that I'm missing that I should be listening to? No topic is out of reach. If you think there is an excellent podcast that people should be listening to, now is your chance to let me and others know. Heck, if you have a podcast and want some exposure, now's the chance!

What are you watching?

Really short posting. Just curious to find out what people are watching. Currently I've been following Archer after some people at work and on Twitter couldn't stop gushing about it. I also am trying to catch up on the Showtime program Homeland and am almost finished the third series of Skins. Surprisingly, Skins even with its faults is a really good show and need to find a way to keep watching it (Amazon Prime only has the first three series available).

But is there a show I'm missing that I should be watching? I do watch quite a bit of television, so chances are that I've seen most of what is considered "hot" right now but maybe I'm missing something.

You Can't Steal on the Internet

So, it's Saturday night here in wonderful San Francisco. I am patiently waiting for 12:30 so I can hopefully watch my boy Novak Djokovic kick some Nadal butt when I noticed a twitter posting from Bitmob.com's Dan Shu.

To summarize, a certain member of IGN.com's community posted an article entitled: Dark Souls isn't hard, gamers are just stupid and impatient.Oddly enough though, four months prior, back in October, a member of Bitmob.com's community posted an article entitled: Dark Souls isn't hard, gamers are just stupid and impatient.

If you look at the cached IGN blog post and the Bitmob article, they are the exact same, including the same images. While the Bitmob article only had a small handful of comments, the IGN article got a lot of comments and the so-called writer was commended for his fantastic writing skills.

Thankfully though, to IGN's credit and the people who handle their community, when the original author of the article (William Harrison) claimed infringement, they did the right thing and took down the blog in question almost immediately (hence why I linked the google cached article above). As of this writing though, the user at IGN (RatedMGodfather) still has a blog on the site but chances are he won't be blogging anytime soon.

This just goes to show that if you try to steal anything from anywhere on the internet, you will get caught. If you have ever been tempted to 'borrow' something from the internet in the hopes of reeping the benefits, you may want to reconsider.

Some Recommended (Sports) Video Game Reading

A couple of days ago fellow GameSpot Editor, Tom Mc Shea sent me a message on AIM linking a Grantland.com article by Tom Bissell. Mc Shea had sent it to me shortly after our Arcade Sports video we posted on the site went live but I only recently (meaning this Sunday evening) got around to finally reading it and I must say, it's quite interesting.

The article is entitled Kickoff: Madden NFL and the future of video Game Sports. Yes, the article is long and focused primarily on the Madden series but I strongly suggest that anyone interested in video game production read it. Even if you have zero interest in sports games (which I'm noticing is a very large number of GameSpot readers), you should still read it because it gives a lot of incite on both the series itself and video game production that many people may not know.

I hope those of you reading this blog get a chance to read the article and let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear/read them.

BTW, I hope y'all have had a chance to watch the video Tom and I did regarding Arcade Sports games. Be sure to comment in the video to let us know what your views are regarding the sub-genre.

[video=6348909]

Writing is Hard

When it comes to writing for work, I almost never have "writer's block", but when it comes down to writing something personal, I can't formulate a paragraph to save my life.

I have been trying for the last few days to do a "Reflection on 2011" but what I managed to write so far -about 900 words worth- feels jumbled and probably really uninteresting. It will probably never see the light of day so let me just sum it up here:

2011 was Crazy!

Why?

  • Got a new Job (GameSpot)
  • Moved to a new Country (America and California)
  • I am Still not Used to American Culture (People go into Saunas and Steam Rooms fully clothed)
  • Californian Drivers don't understand the concept of the turn signal on any of their roads
  • I Got Stuck in a foriegn city with practically no knowledge of the language but wasn't worried at all (Yokohama when all trains going into Tokyo were halted because of an incident)
  • I really enjoy travelling and hope that 2012 gives me even more opportunities to do so.
  • I work around some really interesting people who I still know almost nothing about. (hope to change that in 2012)
  • I love doing video interviews and already have a go-to question that I try to incorporate into every one that I do.

[video=6322973]

I did this interview on my third day of work, hopefully I've improved since then!

That pretty much sums it up. There are a few more personal things I could have added but those would not interest anyone. Now it's time to look forward to 2012. I am eager to be visible on the site and interact with everyone I can, as much as possible. I'll try my best to Blog more often and post as much as I can Fuse; but if you really want to keep me in your loop, I strongly suggest following me on Twitter@fakeimmigrant(I post a lot more frequently there and I need the followers!)I've got a few ideas up my sleeve and if you guys were paying attention to the video content we had over the holidays, expect to see content similar to that.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2012 and be sure to stay glued to GameSpot.com for great things...tell your friends!

Do you have questions for Yoshiaki Koizumi?

Hey Everyone!

I am conducting a Q&A with director Yoshiaki Koizumi and wanted to find out if any of you had questions you'd like answered regarding the upcoming release of Super Mario 3D Land. Since this is one of the bigger 3DS games launching in only a matter of weeks, this could be a great opportunity to field some questions you may have.

I already have some of my own but I want to hear back from you guys since there is bound to be something I missed and I don't want to forget some important details. So, if there is anything you really want to know about the game (heck, even about Koizumi's history with Nintendo and his other games), please post them below or send me a PM and I will compile them. I need to submit these questions to Nintendo of America by Friday so please don't delay.

Thanks!

-Marko

A Special Kind of Accomplishment

It's been a pretty busy week here at GameSpot HQ. A number of people, like myself, are finishing up the final bits for Japan; I've had a number of Sports-related previews go up (check out the Sports Beat Blog for all my good stuff) but I also managed to accomplish a pretty interesting feat.

I've owned a Nintendo 3DS since launch (give or take about a week) and while I use it all the time, I don't necessarily use it for playing games. I like to track how active I am on a regular basis, so one of the cool features I enjoy taking advantage of is the 3DS' Pedometercapabilities. Even before moving to San Francisco in July, whenever I went to work at my old job, I would keep my 3DS in my pocket to keep track of how many steps I took during a given work-day. I only tracked my steps from when I left the home that morning until I got home and I continued that tradition when I moved here and began working at GameSpot.com. Although I frequent the gym about 5-6 times a week, I never kept track of my steps in there, this was primarily just for when I was working.

Well, today was a fairly "momentous" day for me. Only a matter of hours ago, I finally took my millionth step with the 3DS in my pocket:

Achievement Unlocked

Yup, I have taken over 1 million steps in just about five months. I don't really know if I would consider this much of a feat, but it was something I wanted to reach and to see how long it would take me. I didn't have a time frame goal but considering I reached 1 million before leaving for TGS, I feel kind of good.

At the same time though, the fact that my 3DS was more-or-less a 250 dollar Pedometer is saying something.

Has anyone else reached 1 million steps with their 3DS...shouldn't we get some sort of prize from Nintendo? In any case, now it's time to prep for 10 million steps.

Allow me to introduce myself (or reintroduce...)

I have been struggling as to how I would approach this Blog posting. How do I introduce myself to the GameSpot masses as the newest member of the Editorial team? Do I go into length regarding my past with the site, my love of games and how I arrived in The Bay Area? Nah, none of that is really that interesting.

Perhaps I begin by stating what I'll do as GameSpot'sSports Preview Editor (my actual title is a lot longer). The hopes and dreams I have to ensure that the Sports side of the site becomes the reader's de-facto source for all things sports related? I'm no politician, so I don't want to make any sort of promise I can't keep.

So how do I make myself known to the masses? The easiest way possible:

Hi, my name is Marko and I am GameSpot.com's Associate Console and Sports Previews Editor.

I might be the new Sports Guy for the site, but that doesn't mean I just play those kinds of games. Just look at my GameSpot username, it's a combination of two of my favorite RPGs. For now, you won't see too much of me on the site but as we move through July and August and the Fall Sports Games release schedule, expect to see me doing what I can to give you the information you crave. Heck, don't be surprised if you also see me covering non-sports games. I love everything.

So feel free to drop me a line here on Gamespot! Also, if you want to chat on Twitter, my handle is @fakeimmigrant. Don't be shy!

Weird, non-gaming related, request

Hello All.

I'm really sorry for not blogging in while, times have been tough with a frantic work schedule coupled with some really incredible games that I am trying to play. I am coming to you all today in the hopes that you can help a person out. Don't worry, this is not any sort of 'please donate me money' requests. It's actually part of a contest.

I have recently submitted a video for a Canadian Travel contest entitled 'Best Travel Job Ever' and in order for me to get the attention of the judges, I need votes.

If you would be so kind, would you head over to http://besttraveljobever.com/carlos and vote for my video.

The actual voting is fairly simple, just register your e-mail (you don't have to actually participate in the contest, unless you want to and live in Canada) then vote. You can vote once a day for up to three videos.

I am trying to break into the top 25 but I can't do it without the help of others. I have already sent out numerous requests to family and friends around the world but the more help I can get the better. Even if you don't like my video, please vote anyway or at least comment that you don't like it. Any sort of attention is great.
Once again, the site is http://besttraveljobever.com/carlos. Help a fellow gamer out!


Thanks in advance and if I do happen to win, I'll be sure to give a shout-out to all those who helped!