It was 2002. I browsed GameSpot every day, reading every review and posting religiously in the forums. The first time I ever took a day off of work to play a video game was after I read Greg Kasavin's review of Neverwinter Nights, a game I was hooked on for months afterwards. PC Gamer was the magazine that originally sparked my love of games writing, but Greg was writing on a different level. When I read his reviews, I understood what it was like to play the game without needing to experience it for myself.
And thus, my passion for GameSpot only grew. Eventually, I would become a volunteer moderator in its forums, under the tutelage of Bethany Massimilla and Jody Robinson. I wrote scores of reader reviews for GameSpot, and soon began to write for a now-defunct site called Inside Gamer Online, along with Carolyn Petit, who would later join the GameSpot editorial team. Then, under the guidance of Sterling McGarvey and Will Tuttle, GameSpy brought me on as a freelancer; my first paid review was for a game called Crime Life: Gang Wars, starring hip-hop group D12. I gave it one star.
All the while, I continued my volunteer duties in the GS forums until the fateful day in 2006 when I got a call from Jody Robinson. A position for tournament coordinator had opened up, and GameSpot wanted me to apply for it. So I flew from Baltimore to San Francisco, interviewed with Jody, Hank van Niekerk, and a number of other people, and then took the red-eye back to Baltimore that night. A few days later, I received a job offer, which I accepted. Then, with equal parts terror and excitement, I packed up my car with everything that could fit in it and I drove 2300 miles across the country to start a new life.
Tournaments weren't long to last. Fortunately, I had already begun to transition to the editorial team by the time they were dropped entirely. Alex Navarro was my champion: he liked my work, and trusted me with some big games early on. It was surreal to sit in a room with all these people I admired so much: Jeff Gerstmann, Ryan Davis, Brad Shoemaker, and other great writers and personalities. I was the awkward newbie. I couldn't even walk through the video studio without tripping over equipment, and I cowered in the presence of video game giants during my first appearance on The HotSpot, the GameSpot podcast.
A lot has changed over the (almost) nine years I have been with GameSpot. You've probably heard some of those stories, so I won't recount them here; suffice it to say, I've seen things. I have also come to know a huge number of excellent people. I hesitate to try writing a comprehensive list of those that have become dear to me, and were instrumental to my growth, both personally and professionally. This essay is already too long, and I'd be horrified if I overlooked someone. But those people know who they are, and they gave me confidence, guided me through sticky circumstances, and believed in me and my work.
You know where a post like this must be headed. The time has come to pursue a new course. It's never an easy choice, but I think it is the right one. Soon, I will be joining MMOG developer/publisher Trion Worlds as a writer. I'll still be available to write elsewhere for the time being (if you need an author, keep me in mind!), but day in and day out, instead of writing about games for a living, I will be writing for them.
And so I move ahead once more with both terror and excitement. I won't have to pack up a car this time, but it feels no less a momentous occasion. I hope you'll stick with me as I begin this new journey. Soon, critics will be reviewing my work...a scary proposition indeed! Through it all, however, I will continue to play games and write about them; how could I not? It is through games that I have met thousands and thousands of wonderful people, and besides: an author is made by his audience. Thank you to everyone who read me, believed in me, complained about me, and supported me. I couldn't have done it without you.