I can honestly tell you that the boredom I suffered back then steered me into one of the greatest decisions I would ever make in my life and would put me in the position I’m currently in.
Five years ago to this very day I joined Destructoid. I didn’t know a single person, I didn’t even really know what the website was “about” other than sarcastic people discussing video games. I was working an incredibly boring job in Charlotte, NC, I had a LOT of free time during work, and I had seen the site through Digg.com (lol, remember that? Of course not, no one does.) and Dtoid’s overall attitude towards video games was spot-on. That attitude of course being: vidja games is cereal bizness.
I hopped into the community blogs and found this culture of gamers who were just like…me! People who loved video games, appreciated the history, and were able to express viewpoints and opinions in a funny, entertaining way. It was like that old tale of the lonely minotaur who one day discovered other minotaurs like him playing in a meadow. So I wrote my first blog post, it was about how big budgets could kill the Guitar Hero franchise (Hey, five years later…called it!). I had people comment on it and engage in conversation about what I had written! I had actually found a place where I could talk video games with people that I was on the same level with!
I noticed one guy who I thought wrote funny stuff that went by the name -D- on the site. So, what do I do? What anyone would do. I creepy stalkerly sent him a private message saying, “Hey man, you seem cool, here’s my IM name, chat me maybe?” And what did -D- do in response? He wrote me back!
We ended up talking a lot over the next few weeks, which would become the next few months, and what used to be boredom at work was now filled with me writing blogs on Destructoid with people that I had become good friends with. OVER THE INTERNET. Kryptinite, Hoygeit, Snaileb, Tazar, bhive01, BahamutZero, BronxBomber, itemforty, CharlieSuh, BigPopaGamer, PheonixBlood, Coonskin, electro lemon, Cowzilla, DVDDesign, DJ Duffy, HarassmentPanda, RockVillian, BlindsideDork, P0werGlove - these were their names to me. It’s hard to tell your friends in the real world that a guy named Snaileb and you had a funny conversation that day about Dynasty Warriors.
Anyone that knows anything about the Internet knows that all relationships are eventually escalated to the point where you have to actually “meet.” Face to face. Man on man. Physical. Human. Interaction. In 2008 an opportunity would arise for such a thing: PAX ’08. To this day, that was one of the most fun times of my entire life: running around Seattle for four days with friends I had made over the last year doing nothing but playing video games and drinking. Ah, would that this hoodie were a time hoodie.
But let’s not get lost in the point of this story. The point of this story is people with a passion for video games were connecting. Which brings me to the other person who is responsible for where I am today: Ron Workman. That sentence is probably going to haunt me.
If you don’t know Ron, he was the Destructoid Community Manager at the time. Ron has the amazing ability of doing something I don’t even know that I can describe adequately. He loves people, and for whatever reason, Ron took the time to reach out to me. I remember getting a phone call from him one day. I had been on the site like five months and here he was, out of the blue, calling me and talking to me about…nothing, really. I think the call lasted half an hour and it was just 30 minutes with someone who, to me at that time, was a celebrity, and we were talking like I had been a friend of his for ages.
In the fall of 2009, me and Ron flew to Los Angeles, CA to stay with -D-, who had just moved there from Upstate NY, for some little game convention called E4All (sp?). Also, Ron was being interviewed by a production company called g-NET for a special they were doing on SyFy for Gears of War 2. I had never been to LA before and there I was with two guys I had met over a video game website driving down the 101 about to head to a shoot for a Gears of War TV special. It just seemed too cool for a guy who grew up in North Carolina to be doing all this stuff.
Like I said, that’s what this story is all about though: connecting with people who have the same passions as you and doing cool shit with them.
Fast-forward to now, I actually live in Los Angeles and am a Producer for g-NET. I make trailers like this
. I’m roommates with -D- (Dennis). It’s still surreal.
I even get to go to E3 every year! In fact, this year I ran into Jim Sterling and said, “Jim! It’s me.” He looked at me for a second. “Butmac!” I said. “Butmac!” he laughed as he gave me a tremendous bear hug.
I feel like I write this as a graduated member of the class of Destructoid 20XX. Work hard at what you’re passionate about, surround yourself with people that you enjoy, and don’t stop playing video games.
Thank you, Destructoid.