I write. Game guides, mostly. Check GameFAQs for my name if you'd like to see what I've worked on.
I grew up a pretty diehard Nintendo fan, then I actually grew up and have discarded such connection to labels. I currently own a Wii, 3DS, PS3, and a respectable quality PC.
People in the industry I respect are Shigeru Miyamoto, the late Gunpei Yokoi, Eiji Aonuma, Koji Kondo, Nobuo Uematsu, Shoji Meguro (and most of the Atlus Persona team), Ron Gilbert, Tim Schaffer, Gabe Newell (and the rest of Valve), Jeff Portnow, Jeff Gerstmann (and the rest of GiantBomb), Yahtzee Croshaw, and probably a bunch of other guys who I can't think of as I write this.
I enjoy a decent hodgepodge of games. Action adventures, JRPGs, games that try something new and different, puzzle games, story-heavy games, and a few FPSes. Although I've found it tough to get into online multiplayer games, I'm not at all against trying to change that.
Outside of games, I enjoy TV, movies, anime, and music. For TV, shows that try something new, particularly in a sci-fi or comedic aspect, appeal to me, which is why my #1 show of all time remains Mystery Science Theater 3000. Movies, same deal, only I also have a taste for *bad* movies (as my love of MST3K will attest). Anime I've cooled off on a bit since college, but I still respect the medium and have favorites even among new stuff. For music, I love video game based music and instrumental, and I currently play flute in a local community band.
As a final note, I'd like to say that I was taken into the fold of this community at PAX'10 by two of my friends from college who are members in good standing. On the first night of PAX, I went drinking with several members of this community, and I'm happy to say I became an inductee because of it.
It's no secret that former Silicon Knights president and current Precursor Games Creative Officer Denis Dyack loves his projects. Prior to the release of Too Human, the man had a nice sabre-rattling with NeoGAF which resulted in him being banned from the forum. A brave man for taking on the vastness of the Internet by himself to be sure, and it seems he still has a sore spot when it comes to pre-emptive criticism.
Two Best Friends Play, the duo of AMERICANS who routinely regale YouTube with their humorous game-playing premise, have become quite active in the gaming community since their inception two years ago. In particular, they have become vocally supportive of various crowdfunded projects, such as DiveKick, Kaiju Combat, and Shovel Knight.
Once the news of Shadows of the Eternals came down, the Best Friends were pestered into a statement on the game. After all, they were just fresh off a playthrough of the game's spiritual precursor: Eternal Darkness. Who wouldn't want more of that?
Apparently, Pat of Two Best Friends wouldn't. Or at least, he offered words of caution for his fans on their Facebook page:
"Shadow of the Eternals is the new crowdfunding initiative by the remains of Silicon Knights, Dyack included, to make what is basically Eternal Darkness 2. They are asking for money, straight up, on their website. They do not have to hit their goal. They can merely say they will make do with the money donated, and take it, and go make whatever. In addition, they are merely taking raw donations on their website, not even going through something like IndieGoGo, which has rules about how to present your product.
Dennis Dyack and Silicon Knights are people who took Too Human and delayed it for years all the way from a PS1 game into a shitty 360 one. They're the ones who are alleged to have embezzled money from Activision in the process of making X-men Destiny in order to fund the Eternal Darkness 2 demo they are showing off to try and get donations. A crew of people that had to have Nintendo come on board and clean up parts of ED1 during development because they were running it too sloppy. Not to mention what a jackass Dyack has been over the years
They're running the donation drive on the assumption that donations will built episode 1 of 12, and that 1 will clearly do well enough to support development for the remainder, some of which are promised via pledges.
I wouldn't trust them with a dime of my money. They're unreliable at best and outright crooks at worst. My opinions are my own (hell, Liam and I got into a huge argument over this, he thinks I'm paranoid as shit), but considering how many people are posting about how excited they are for this, I felt I should put it out there. You should think twice before giving them a single dollar, and if you have, seriously think about trying to get it back.
I'm aware there's a lot of love for Eternal Darkness, and it's pretty good, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't use your head."
Now unfortunately, this statement was made at almost the exact time the actual Kickstarter for the project went public. Regrettable, leaving egg on the face of the Best Friends, but what's surprising is that Denis Dyack himself personally had some words for Pat:
"I think the best way to address your comments is with facts to clear up any confusion you may have on what is happening here:
You say "They are asking for money, straight up, on their website. They do not have to hit their goal. They can merely say they will make do with the money donated, and take it, and go make whatever. In addition, they are merely taking raw donations on their website, not even going through something like IndieGoGo, which has rules about how to present your product.”
We announced a kickstarter yesterday. As stated in our terms of service and our Paul’s CEO latest press release:
"Our community’s involvement has gone well beyond our expectations, with over one thousand pledgers joining our Community Forums to discuss the game and its development,” stated Shawn Jackson, COO of Precursor Games. “We are seeking to raise $1.35 million dollars on Kickstarter. By combining this goal with the tremendous contributions already on our own website, Precursor Games will be able to provide an opportunity for gamers to create games that they want to play.”
“Some people may ask what happens to the pledges on our site if the Kickstarter does not move forward, and the answer is simple: We will issue refunds on our site if the project does not reach its goal on Kickstarter,” said Paul Caporicci. He also emphasized that both campaigns will run in parallel with the same reward tiers.”
I am sorry you did not like some of my past efforts. I always did try to do the best I could - many mistakes were made - I acknowledge that. I can assure that I have learned from my previous experiences. I know there is more to cover here and I will be addressing other issues in the future. I think it is important to get the facts straight on the crowdfunding campaign before moving on to the other issues.
Precursor Games has nothing to do with any of that past and was built from the ground up to interact with the community and digital distribution. We are looking toward to future and hope that others can see the potential of what we are doing.
I hope this helps.
Pat followed up this response with a rebuttal of his own:
"Mr Dyack, I'm glad you saw my post, but I do have to make a few things clear. I do not want your donation drive for a new game to fail, and I certainly wish you no ill will personally. Far from it. However, Matt, Woolie and I have very publicly pushed for several kickstarters in the past, and seeing the huge amount of people asking us for our thoughts on your new project is what prompted this post.
In addition, I felt pretty stupid when I found out when I had made the post, you folks had in fact started a kickstarter a day earlier. I made a comment mentioning such in the comments below the original post.
I'm certain you're all very talented and nice folks. I also feel very likely that you have the best of intentions with this project. That being said, you cannot possibly honestly say that -
"Precursor Games has nothing to do with any of that past" when on the kickstarter page you clearly list the following as one of the very first selling points in your pitch-
"Shadow of the Eternals is a psychological horror game made by the creators of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Reqiuem,"
If it had nothing to do with any of that past, there wouldn't be so much overlap between companies, and that's more or less where the issue lies. Unfortunately, the way that the public has received news about you and your former companies projects in the past has been poor, to say the least. The entire system of pledges for a product is built on trust in those making said product, and trust in you folks is quite low, as you have a long history of incredible delays, under-delivering and most recently engaging in a disastrous lawsuit that utterly destroyed the company.
Hell, I still remember your personal involvement in the nonsense of "Owned by Too Human" back on Neogaf. I certainly don't think you're a bad guy Mr Dyack, but for an undertaking such as this, credibility is by far your most valuable commodity, and both yourself personally as well as anyone involved with the history of Silicon Knights has very little at this point.
I'm sorry if my post had seemed like a personal attack, or was seen as a desire for you or your project to fail, but I have a responsibility to the people who come to this page and watch our videos to avoid misleading them into the "give everybody your money it'll be fine" fantasy that many have fallen into with this kickstarter phenomenon, even passively, even by not saying anything at all. I felt it was my responsibility to warn folks of what I believe to be real dangers.
So, once again, I wish you the best Mr Dyack, and I hope you and your team have success in both this and your future endeavours. I will gladly purchase your game on release, should you get there."
It seems the pain of past burns simmers gently beneath this exchange, despite the professionalism exhibited by both sides. We'll see how this develops as the Shadows of the Eternals project moves forward.
You can see the entire exchange for yourself on the Two Best Friends Play Facebook page.
For some people, the topic of "which game required the most work" will be easy as remembering their latest time sink. For others, this may be a reach deep into the past back when they had the time to deeply plumb the recesses of video games before they got a life/job/family.
Although it's the latter case for me, I'm fortunate in that I have well-documented evidence of all the work I put into the games I love (shameless plug), and it's simply a quick read for me to remember the greatest time sink of them all.
The year was 2000. The fifth hardware generation was winding down as Sony prepped its next big thing to take more of the market from Nintendo. Microsoft's first entry into the market was just announced and Sega was still attempting its best to be relevant. Also, most of you lot were still in elementary school.
Also, every computer in the world died.
As for me, the world of the university opened up before me. I was in my second year, no longer a wide-eyed, bushy-tailed freshman. No, the world was now truly my oyster, and there were a metric ton of experiences waiting for me to de-bushify my tail. So, being the intrepid youth I was, I spent the majority of my newfound freedom on the Internet and playing video games shut up in my room in the dark.
It was on that same Internet that I ultimately discovered the community of GameFAQs. I hardly need to introduce such a site to the readers of Destructoid, many of whom I'm sure have spent plenty of time on the site, if for nothing else than perusing the brobdignagian archive of FAQs and walkthroughs.
Of course, we all have our opinions about the community these days, but this was 2000 GameFAQs, back when the community numbered in the mere thousands, assclowns were the exception rather than the rule, and site creator Jeff Veasey was still young and actively involved in discussions, rather than the Howard Hughes-like recluse he is today.
Last known photograph
It was here that the bug of writing truly bit me. I realized that I too could copy down all the strategies on beating video games into a text file, thereby saving gamers tens, maybe twenties of dollars in strategy guide purchases. My e-wang would swell and gorge, and I'd truly find my place in life.
Oh, my naiveté.
Unlike some other writers, I had a vow to encapsulate within my guides everything you may ever want to know about a game. It was only after I began that I realized that everything is a lot of things.
My first project was one Rare masterpiece entitled Perfect Dark. Certainly a fair amount of time was spent pulling together the myriad threads of a game so big it required the N64 Expansion Pak to play properly, but help came from varied sources as strategies and the like popped up on the forums, so I can hardly take full credit for that guide's size.
No, the true glut of lost nights and urine-saving came from the development of the appropriately-named Quest Corporation, and via the publishing of a young and still hot-blooded group of nobodies known as Atlus USA.
Yes, that Atlus, some time before I begged to have their Jack Frost babies
The Ogre series will likely never rise out of niche-dom. Hell, it's barely in the same class as Shin Megami Tensei. Still, niches are meant to be filled, and this series had, and still has, its fans.
Most people knew the series only tangentially once Square consumed Quest and Final Fantasy Tactics games started squirting out. The gameplay from that series was a concept begun by Quest in the Ogre series. Still, that was Tactics Ogre, and the true Ogre Battle fan (note: remove preceding pretentiousness later) is only interested in the main real-time strategy portion of the series.
Also known as "screw those grids"
It was in Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber that the series shone. Of course, much of that shining could be attributed to the fact that the game was really the N64's only good RPG, but shining is still shiny nonetheless, and my RPG-starved bones feasted ravenously on this offering.
It was early into the game that I decided that, yes, I truly needed to make a guide of this game, if for no other reason than to have a place to chronicle all my thoughts and ideas regarding ways to best condition my troops, place my units, and liberate the kingdom of Palatinus.
It has been said that the despairing wail of my parents' hard-earned tuition payments could be heard that day.
Unheard over the vicious shrieks of freaking Hydras
It would be three months and two complete playthroughs of the game before I could consider my guide anything close to complete. Three months of plugging away at documenting every item, every unit, every character, every battle. Let's not forget that these are college months. This wasn't like an hour a night because I have school or work. These are long "whenever I'm not in class" hours. Stopping every few minutes into a mission because I had to document something meant a half-hour mission turned into two hours.
Such was my labor of love. When those three months were up and the guide was "complete", I still tinkered away at it here and there over the next year or so trying to refine it. In the end, I moved on to other projects that struck me, as I suddenly remembered that there were other video games out there.
All that said, do you know what the worst part about all of this is?
I'm still not satisfied with the end result. My writing was atrocious back in those days, for one thing. My organizing left something to be desired. Also, I didn't really document any good general strategies for making a proper battalion. I mostly just stuck to mission-specific strategies.
This is where I note that, eleven years later, I'm still working on the damn thing. Oh, I have a job and a life now (allegedly), so no more seven hour sessions with the game, but with the game now available on the Virtual Console, it's easier than ever to boot it up and spend some time with Magnus Gallant and his ragtag band of misfits.
I'm still not ready to present what I've been working on all this time, as it's going to require at least one more playthrough to round it all out, but who knows what the next dry spell of games will bring?
One more mission. I can do one more mission, right?