I've been around for a long time now, but not too many people on here actually know that much about me. Since it's trendy at the moment, in no particular order...
I passed up free pizza so I could play a video game for longer.
I maintain that Enslaved is the most underrated game of the generation.
When a message was sent out to the DtoidUK e-mailer that people were needed to preview Enslaved: Odyssey To The West
at Namco's London offices for Destructoid, I jumped (not literally; see below) at the chance. I didn't know anything about the game, but I'd always wanted to write about games (again, see below).
was what Dale North later called "the most flowery piece of writing we've featured." To say I loved the game would be an understatement. However, in order to cover as much of the game as was possible in the three hours we were given, I had to make the ultimate sacrifice: I did not partake in the free pizza provided by Namco.
I could smell the pizza. I was very hungry, having travelled two and a half hours to play three hours of video game without pause.
I had a preview to write. I did not stop playing. Everybody else stopped. Everybody else ate the pizza.
This is the true meaning of JOURNALISM.
I have started Legend Of Dragoon eight times but never completed it.
Get the reference, win a prize!* *prize is metaphorical
I've never gone further than the ghost pirate ship. Every single time, something happens to stop me from playing. The first time, I was only renting the game and had to return it; my parents weren't persuaded to extend the rental. The next time, the TV broke. The time after that, the PlayStation. The time after that, the memory card corrupted. And so on. I've simply never gotten to the end. Something always gets in my way. Currently, my copy is scratched and freezes.
When I was 12 I convinced my school to start a newspaper, just so I could write a video game section...
I say "newspaper". My school had never had such a thing before, so the result was actually a bunch of A4 print-outs crudely stapled together to make what would be more accurately described as a "newspamphlet". Still, as it had been my idea and I had pushed hardest for it to be made, I was allowed to write the video game section I so desperately wanted. I averaged two sides of A4 per edition, though the teachers in charge not-so-tactfully reduced my pieces down to a third of one page each time. I was the first person to write for the 'paper' and I was the last person to stop, after all others had lost interest. I actually wrote for two editions after the paper had been stopped; apparently, nobody had the heart to tell me, so I sat in the IT suite every lunch break, writing away.
... and I left school at just 14, when a teacher said "writing about video games is not a real job"
'General studies' were lessons in which teachers with no particular area of expertise would try to prepare us for "adult life", whatever that is. During one of these lesson, aimed at teaching us how to apply for work, a substitute teacher informed me that, despite me waving several copies of PlayStation Power in his face, writing about video games was not
a legitimate career path, that I was "stupid" for thinking so, and that I needed to choose a "real" job for the purposes of writing a mock job application letter destined for no real place of employment. I stood up, walked out of class, out the front gates and home. That was the last straw for me. I never went to school again.
My school wasn't especially good. One teachers put me in detention because my brother had annoyed them; he was Head Boy of the school, so they couldn't be seen to punish him himself. I dealt with the headmaster telling me that they weren't moving me forward a year in English simply because "it would make class numbers uneven." I survived arguing with a Religious Education teacher who told a whole class of children that Christianity was "the only correct faith." I fought against the sports teachers forcing us to have communal showers. (One of them frequently "supervised"; yes, he did turn out to be a paedophile, to the surprise of nobody.)
"Don't be stupid, writing about video games is not a real job." That broke me.
I'm think pretty handy with a camera
Destructoid EU Community Manager Beccy Caine with Dtoider JJMcCallum being shown one of Rami Ismail's new games at Rezzed 2013. Shot with an all-original 1977 Canon A-1 using Ilford XP2 400ASA black & white film, in near total darkness; the iPad's screen was the only light source. 1/15th of a second is not easy to shoot hand-held.
I was given my first camera when I was 4- or 5-years-old. Some random point-and-shoot 35mm thing. I don't know why it was given to me; I had probably shown some vague fascination with my father's photography equipment, which dominated our garage. As I recall, the only frame I took with that camera which came out clearly was a photo of our kitchen cupboards. Hardly Cartier-Bresson, but some 20 years later, I've had photos of various styles published in international magazines, on many websites and on... boring packaging for some supermarkets. Okay, it's not always glamourous, but it's something. The thing I really like doing is on-location, spur-of-the-moment portraits, not that a plate of crabcakes cares about such things.
I'm probably best known for taking pictures of people wearing weeaboo Halloween costumes, aka cosplay. Not a scene I would have gravitated towards naturally, but I have many friends within that community and when cosplayers know you have a camera, inevitably they're going to ask you to take pictures of them. Sometimes it's good, clean, silly fun. Other times
it ends up with me spending three weeks staring at Photoshop—a programme I detest and refuse to use on any of my own projects or jobs—for someone who's not actually paying me. If you're thinking of getting involved with this community in any way, here's a pro tip: learn to say "no".
Professional alternative model and cosplayer Masubi at London Film & Comic-Con. She wasn't actually posing for anyone and I was just shooting whatever looked interesting on the show floor; I noticed how she kept flattening her wig at her shoulder, anticipated and snapped. Luckily the light happened to be perfect at that moment, too, and she really liked the image.
For two years, I could barely walk. That didn't stop me from working at gamescom for Destructoid.
The DtoidEU team arriving in Germany. I'm the dick in the Squidbear t-shirt.
I woke up one morning with a horrendous pain running down my left leg. I spent most of the day laying on the sofa, thinking I'd just pinched a nerve and would be okay by the next day. A year later and even just getting out of bed was a struggle; leaving the house was absolutely off the cards. Eventually, after far too many scans, the cause was found. Two vertebrae and two nerves had shifted, coincidentally at the same time, leaving all the nerves leading to my left leg and parts of my right leg crushed. No particular cause; it can happen to anybody at almost any time. Just pure bad luck.
I went through pretty hardcore surgery, requiring such specialised skills that the NHS could not provide a suitable surgeon anywhere in the UK; I had to be taken private, instead, and waited for a man from France to have a spot available on his one-month-per-year trip to England. After having nerves repositioned and vertebrae sliced up, I could walk again, albeit with some permanent loss of feeling in my left leg and a very weak back; it is inevitable that I will be in a wheelchair by the time I'm 50.
A couple of months before I was due to have my surgery, gamescom 2011 rolled around and Destructoid wanted a few more people to help cover it. Hollie Bennett knew I knew my way around a camera, so I was asked to be a cameraman. Having always wanted to go to a large game show like this, and not wanting to let the team down, I said of course I could do it. I didn't think to mention that, actually, I was struggling just to get to the bathroom. Ordered a new camera, flights were booked and off we went. I didn't intend on spoiling the trip or our coverage by telling anybody that I wasn't really in any fit state to do it.
When we arrived at our hotel, the first thing I did was throw up.
On the first day of filming, I was so delirious from pain that I forgot to press 'record' for the first two videos we did.
I exhausted my supply of painkillers within the first 48 hours; we were out there for a full week.
My camera overheated at the end of the second day, corrupting the memory cards and losing every interview we had done. Hollie Bennett re-booked all the interview for a single hour the next morning, before filming the third day's regular schedule. We had to run between appointments to fit it all in. Ever try to run when one of your legs and your back don't work?
It turns out gamescom is roughly three and a half times the floor size of E3. You know how every games journo says covering E3 is hard work? Gamescom is literally
more than three times that. That's a lot of walking. I was carrying all of the video and audio equipment for our two-person team, every day.
Suffice to say, after getting back home, I told the crew I was done, quit Destructoid (I was also writing as a front page intern at the time) swore a lot and didn't get out of bed for several days.
Still did it. Every interview was done. We arrived at each appointment early. All the content came out fine. It hurt, it could have permanently crippled me, it was stressful and we all were sick of the sight of each other by the end of the week. I've said it before
and I'll say it again: I rate gamescom 2011 as the best week of my life and if I was asked to go through it all again I'd agree without hesitation.
I make/fix/wreck electric guitars
Latest creation, a few spare bits and pieces and a friend's unwanted body, bolted together and given a quick paint job.
Everybody needs a hobby. Since my knees gave out and put a stop to my teenage dreams of being a professional wrestler, I picked up guitar. I very quickly became obsessed with knowing all the different models of electric guitar and what every difference means. Within six months of first picking one up, I had bought additional guitars to take apart and 'experiment' on. Now, when I want a guitar for a new sound, feel or look, instead of buying one I get my tools out and make one. Sometimes I make instruments entirely from scratch, other times I make them by buying parts of broken or unwanted guitars and fix them up together. I've now been making, fixing, modifying and writing-off instruments for nine years. There is no part of any electric guitar or bass which I can't fix, remake, clone or, as is sometimes the case, fuck up further.
I have never played a Zelda or Metroid game for more than 10 minutes; I have only played one Mario game for longer.
Though the original Game Boy was my first gaming system, it is fair to say that I have very little love for Nintendo. In my town, owning a Nintendo home console system automatically made you an outcast; everybody bought Sega, until the release of the PlayStation, at which point everybody jumped to Sony and never looked back. I have never seen a NES or SNES in person and have only seen and used a Nintendo 64 once. I have seen, but not used, a GameCube, and I have used a Wii approximately twice. I own a 3DS, which I bought exclusively for Dead Or Alive Dimensions
and have not turned on in over six months.
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
is the one and only Nintendo 'staple' which I have played for any real length of time. When various other Mario, Metroid and Zelda games were given out on the 3DS as part of Nintendo's Ambassador Program, I played each for approximately 10 minutes before deciding that no, they weren't for me after all, and promptly deleted them.
Sorry, Nintendo fans, but I just don't "get it". Though I do still love me some Kirby and Pokémon Blue
I begin every year by playing Final Fantasy VIII again
What a 70-hour game amounts to.
Most people go to parties on December 31st. I sit at home, hover a curser over 'new game' and press 'X' at midnight. The very first thing I do each year is watch that opening FMV, confirm Squall's name and fight Ifrit. FFVIII is the first game I play each year and I don't play another game until I have completed that file. I have done this every year since the game was released here in 1999, and will gladly continue to do so every year forthcoming. This is the video game which really started it all for me, and so it does, every 12 months.
I have Mr Destructoid tattooed on my arm.
I don't have a lens which will focus close enough, so enjoy my attempt at using a PS Vita to photograph my own arm in a room with a single working lightbulb.
I've been meaning to write a blog post about this for months, but never got around to it. Possibly because I feel that it doesn't actually require explaining; anybody who knows Destructoid and knows me will know why I had it done.
I've not always been terribly happy. To cut a long story (slightly) short, I used to be on a prescription of antidepressants so strong that it is now considered harmful and no longer legal to prescribe such an amount in this country. Bad times. A few years ago, my friend and Destructoid alumni Hollie Bennett told me to check out something called a "podcast" she would be on, called "The Podcastle", on a website called "Destructoid". Listening to that podcast genuinely changed my life.
Every day, when I wake up and stretch out or rub my face or reach to open the curtains or whatever, Mr Destructoid is there, grinning at me. He is my reminder, at the start of every day, that there are good people out there, people who make me happy, even the ones whom I barely know. It is a daily reminder that no matter what happens that day, we can always STFUAJPG!