I interrupt my slacking off on that favorite game publishers blog to bring you an important announcement, and some heartfelt thanks. This day, February 12th, 2013, marks the 5th anniversary of my signing up for GameSpot. Ironically enough, it is also the 21st anniversary of my favorite platform game, Super Mario Bros. 3, but that's not what this blog is about. I'd like to take a trip back in time, to why I joined, what I ended up finding myself doing here, and give some shout outs to some amazing people met through this site. Now, let us begin.
First off, it started in the end of winter during the 2007-2008 season. It was a slow, dull time in life, I just mostly played games (either on the DS or on the PS2, outside of the DS I had no current-gen systems whatsoever). I normally would go to my local library daily to play RuneScape since that was the craze at the time. I loved going to GameFAQs to look up FAQs for games, even just reading them and reading the tone of text the writer uses was enjoyable, for I dunno what reason. That led me here.
Here, I found users could rate games, and it seemed to be something GameSpot loved to highlight. I signed up for an account here using the only username I had at the time: my RuneScape username. Being 15, I was very uncreative and corny, so I just went with it. I began logging in now and again to rate the games I'd played, and what I was playing at the time. Then, I wrote my first review, for Pokemon Pearl. At the time I had given it a 9.0, but this score has since been slightly lowered to 8.5. Review can be found here (where the score for the review still sits at 9.0).
As you can see from reading that reviewed (for that that bothered to do so, much appreciated if you did), I still have the same linguistic style as I have today. That really hasn't changed. I've gotten better with detail, as well as wording my points I make, though, and with actually spacing out parts of an otherwise WALL OF TEXT. But I was satisfied with the review and it motivated me to stay around the site more. Which led me to finding unions.
The Discovery of Endless Possibilities
The first union I EVER found was actually shortly after I had joined, but it was literally a one-time drop by. I had been playing both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II a lot at the time (fantastic games in my opinion), and so I found Kingdom Hearts Experience. That didn't last long. I had also played a lot of Pokemon (if 700+ hours on Pokemon Pearl counts as a lot, I'll leave that up to you to decide!), so I joined the Pokemon League Union. That lasted much longer than KHE, but I wasn't big on the metagame, which was people at PLU talked about a lot, so I slowly became disinterested. For the first half-year I spent here, I barely logged in, and wandered aimlessly or rated games when I did.
But then summer 2008 happened. In June before school had gotten out for that year, my friend Ismael had at the time showed me some fanmade Sonic RPG games. I was huge on Sonic at the time. HUGE on it. Although I admit I was very... angsty about my interest at the time, to the point I wish I could go back in time just to punch myself (kinda like how Simon opens a rift in space to punch Rossiu in the face during the second half of Gurren Lagann ^^). Well, I logged into GameSpot in August to find... news on an official Sonic game, an RPG, coming to the DS. I was estatic. To think one of my favorite characters in gaming (and he remains so to this day), in a genre never challenge before by developers. My ignorance to what's happened when Sonic tries new things took hold, and I became gleefully ready for the game.
One time, I was up one night over at an uncle's in Vermont (I live in Massachusetts, just FYI). I was on GameSpot, looking through news updates on the game. I went to the page for the game, and found on the side, unions tracking the game, and found a little union called SonicSpot. I had joined sometime during September before the game's release but lurked before I actually began posting. While I took a brief break from the union in 2009, I went back and haven't left since. Just like being a Sonic fan, I can never really leave SonicSpot, I always end up back there for some reason or another.
The Union That Got Bigger Than I Could Ever Have Imagined
So up until March 2009 things were relatively normal for me, still. I found a home I occasionally posted in, continued to rate games, and occasionally review 1 or 2. I got a PSP at the end of 2008 (sadly was stolen and I don't own it anymore) and I played a lot of games for it, eventually reviewing a couple. In March, I found a union called the Nintendo DS RPG Union (not a member there unfortunately, due to the place dying :/). I happily joined and became one of the more active members there (and even an officer), alongside world-ender-49 and Grim_Heaper94. I decided I wanted to make my own union. If someone like world-ender could run a union, I can too, right?
And so I made a Nintendo-based union, since at the time, I was too scared to join one for the large scale they had, and I felt like the members there wouldn't really welcome me. That, and I just didn't like some of the unions' lack of tidyness (TGNGU, I'm calling you out, WHAT UP WITH ALL THE STICKIES?? ). I asked Ender and Grim to be charters very, suddenly. I also asked 2 other charters who joined, but never ended up showing up. I also recall a thread going up on the main boards (I don't even remember which of the three of us made it, probably Grim) for the union, which drew in a user named Dudersaper (love that guy ='D). We quickly drew attention from other members. We grew fast, getting 500 members in just... wait for it... THREE MONTHS.
Along the way, we got a lot of attention from the leaders of several other Nintendo unions, and being inexperienced as a leader, it seemed like there was competition. Regardless, the union blossomed with many amazing members, like mastetofthedark, MarioGirl64, the-silent-hero, CrimsonMaher, kjhg53, ktulu007, Soniczero1993, Dgalmun, bladex8, supergt1, sonic__323 (now using the account CountBleck12), sackboy15, rockbandlife, papermariofan57, shadowchronicle, SoraX64 and SO MANY OTHERS. Seriously, that's just the 2009 all-stars! Maybe we don't always get along, but honestly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much, for making All-Out Nintendo the union it became. Without that union, my experience here would not have been the wild ride of amazing moments it's been made into! It is currently sitting at 1600+ members and 300,000+ union board posts, and while it's not entirely "active" at the moment, it is far from dead, and it would be AMAZING to see more faces there!! ^_^
The Daily GS Life of Brandon the Cloud
For the next 2 years, I would randomly be around GS, helping some unions with their activity, making reviews, checking stuff out all around the site. I must've joined dozens of unions, and I've been an officer in at least a dozen notable unions over my 5 years here. I got into using GIMP to design sigs, which I used to make my own sigs, and notably got worn out doing sigs for too many other people. I eventually got so many reviews recognized by GameSpot's upper community members (see also: Jody and the gang!) that I became a Top Reviewer as per the nomination of a user or two. In fact, the first review I ever had featured was for... Final Fantasy III DS! I was also picked as a "Remarkable Member", which I don't know when exactly that happened but it was sometime in 2010.
There's been a lot of random things I've done over the years, my blog consists of so many random garbage blogs where I talk about GameSpot stats or blogs where I put so much time and thought into which were those passionate Top Lists I loved to do so much. I couldn't begin to tell you all the experiences I've had here, as there's just too much to list. However I will say it's been a wild ride, and anything you're curious about you can always ask~!!
Along my time here, I've become a huge fan of Touhou phenomenon, watched tons of anime (more often than I ever really did before), among many other things...
Shout-Outs: The Members That Made This Place Awesome
So, so, so many users I've met here, and honestly, I talk to a good number of users outside the site, through Skype or similar. I would like to share with you a list of members I know to this day who have helped make GameSpot, actually pretty f**king awesome. There's so many people I could put here, but I'll stick to those I still know are around here.
2nd is someone many of you probably know. He's a really kind guy, very considerate, always willing to engage in conversation. A true veteran of the site if there truly could be one nominated. He deserves to be a moderator in his own right and is probably the most helpful user the site has who isn't a moderator outright. His well-deserved Ranger status is just one point of note at how great this guy is. It's been a pleasure knowing him the last 3 years I've known him, and I hope to keep him as a friend in the future.
THIS MAN RIGHT HURR. I met this guy day 1 of All-Out Nintendo going up. He's just, AWESOME. He had the most creative sense of humor at the time I knew him, and I still see him in various places. It's been almost 4 years since meeting him, and he can still be funny to this day. He's really respectful, has a lot of great interests, and is sexy with his ability to play instruments. He makes excellent sigs, even made a couple for me before, and he's one of the greatest members AONU has ever had.
Katie is quite a character. I've known her since joining SonicSpot, but early on when I barely knew anyone, she was "that girl with the Yoshi avatar". Now, I know her as "the woman that knows how to go really in-depth ranting about games and actually be entertaining to hold a long conversation with in walls of text". She has a knack for posting long rants for topics, and tends to end up with interesting discussions through them. Some of her more rage-induced ones are downright funny. She also makes reviews, and some of her SonicSpot reviews are some of the best reviews I've read on the site, bar none.
The Great Indie Gamer Rant Panda Commander Geoffrey Kage Dun the 53rd of Larknots, Landon is a man who is clear-cut, to-the-point, and loves to be snarky and cynical. But he's good at what he does. He's a fountain of information, keeping tabs on things more reliably than I can ever care to be. He's hilarious, creative in his ideas, but with a maturity to his passion for video games you don't see every day. There's so many thing this man has gotten me to do off-site and on, I couldn't picture being on the internet without kjhg. He was one of a couple people that made me care more about user reviews. He gave me the idea to do LPs with him and another user I'll be listing later, on YouTube. He is the man, 'nuff said.
A man of no remorse, he isn't afraid to say the tough things, and he isn't afraid to be critical, without being whiny about it. I know him alllll the way back from the Pokemon League Union, and of all the members on GameSpot I still know, he was probably the first person I saw around a forum on GameSpot. He's a very mysterious, but also interesting person, with many different tastes, and can come out of nowhere with the most witty of replies to others on the boards.
The leader of Social Cafe, Julian is someone who unknowingly motivated me to be a better leader for my own union, be more openly accepting of many different kinds of people to the union, and all around the entire social aspect of GameSpot, I adopt many policies from him (though I don't always follow, unfortunately). He still shows up around him own union to this day, and I like seeing him, as he's someone outstanding I've known for over 3 years.
Sometimes, this guy just doesn't get enough credit. Top-notch reviews, engaging blogs which I honestly need to review more of, and very passionate about games. I used to talk to him quite often, and he's a very cool, fun guy to talk to about games. Always up-to-date, always very able to discuss a game at great length, and is always sharing the experiences of his hobby with the GameSpot public, this guy is somebody whose stuck around and kept a following of blog visitors for many, many years.
Probably one of the hands-down nicest people I've met here, he's just so... NICE. To everybody. I've talked to him countless times in the past about some deeper things involving how nice one can be to one another, and his high activity here on GameSpot is good to see, as if I ever had to call anyone here on the site my rival, it'd be him! ^^ I've known him since the early days of All-Out Nintendo, and helped him with him own union for a long time before it died down, but I'm glad to see him sticking around.
Otaku among otakus, great designer among image designers of GameSpot, and a general thought-provoking individual. He's gotten me to second think when I need to, and questioned the things that no one else bother to question. He's also humorous, witty, and can pull from anywhere for comments that you wouldn't expect. I love when he makes suggestions, since he tends to do them very thoroughly and helpfully. Another well-deserved Ranger position, he is the original user I call Shadow. I don't call anyone else "Shadow" even if their name is just "Shadow". He is Shadow and that is that.
This man has changed so much since I met him. Originally a brutal-minded person that loved talking about ripping apart the things he hates, and very vocally calling out those things at EVERY GIVEN OPPORTUNITY, he's really calmed down and matured since then. He's even opened up to things I've never really thought he could possibly like. He used to hate anime, but now he finds stuff he geniuinely really likes. I've known him since SonicSpot days, and he's like a faraway brother to me. Shame I don't talk to him as much off-site as I used to (which could sometimes be hours at a time daily), but I still talk to him plenty enough as me, kjhg, and him all have a joint-LP channel on YouTube in the form of GamingStooges (SHAMELESS PLUG, BUT PLEASE CHECK US OUT?? ^^)
I honestly think that's about it. I've met so many great users along the way as well, and I appreciate the time I've spent talking with all of you, really!! Now for a final breakdown, here are some stats as of this blog's posting, that are the build-up of FIVE YEARS of being here:
Level 51 (28%) ~ Alien Hominid (coulda been much higher-leveled, but you know, point losses and stuff)
Forum Posts: 108274
Blog Posts: 410 (this one included)
Rated Games: 443 (added this one because, it's the reason for my account being here at all!)
Well, after all of that, I thank you for putting up with me all this time! I hope to see many of you on the forums, have a great week! Please stop by All-Out Nintendo (my union), and Otaku Table (my user-created board, hobby-based), if you please!! ^^
~Brandon the Cloud
Dang I hit my 5 year too but was not on till now. Just wanted to say nice to see you again man and glad to see your still active. :)
That's quite a history you have there Cloud, and I remember some of this stuff from your four year anniversary blog, but you're not the only one that's had a history on here. I've been here nine long years myself and I think it's about time I list my history too. ;P
Aww that's so kind of you. I couldn't just not saying anything after lurking your blogs for the last couple of months.
AONU will always have a place in my heart here on gamespot and I'm sure that is the same for many others here.
You all need to watch our LPs. They are funny, good, involve spinning right round (like a record), and sexy. Sometimes to the point I have to censor the naughty bits (I'm kidding by the way, I don't think we've LP'ed a game that had something like that in it....yet).
GamingStooges deserves more attention. At the very least, you guys deserve more than 23 subscribers (one of which I am).
Anyway, congrats on making it to 5 years, and stay awesome.
That caught my attention right anyway. But anyways, good job on being on this site for 5 years. You have become an hero.
damn, that's quite the history! hope you continue to stick around ^^ i hit 5 years back in September, but i haven't done nearly as much as you :P
I hit 5 years on GS back in October of 2012.
I'm with @raahsnavj The users keep me around GS more than anything. Despite being an officer in two (2) unions, I barely deal with them anymore. Every-so-often, I'll see an article that's worth reading and dropping a comment on.
In any case, congrats. I hope you're able to forge an interesting path as you continue on GS. Me? I'm just kinda' hangin' around anymore.
This May I hit 8 years... You know what I've learned? GS blows and gets worse every day. Why do I come back? because I haven't quit gaming yet and what other options are there? the internet is full of crappy gaming communities. This one historically has been the 'least' sucky. This last years policy changes unfortunately have almost made it a clone of everything else out there.
The users, like Cloud_765 and yourself, keep me coming back to GS. Once in a blue moon, I'll see an article that'll interest me enough to read and maybe post a comment on. Once in a blue moon.
@raahsnavj I stand by this statement. Although I have found myself moving away from Gamespot and using sites like Giant Bomb much more lately. Heck, the last time I posted on Gamespot forums was back in late November 2011.