Some say he never sleeps and eats only gourmet amaretto cupcakes. Others claim he's a hyperactive optimist. To citizens of the Destructoid empire, though, he's Captain Starkey, Intergalactic Games Journalist.
Disclosure: In my undergrad at the University of Minnesota, I did do PR and event promotion for Microsoft. It does not and has not affected any of the pieces I have written, but it is something that you, as a reader, should know.
Okay, look. I can kinda be a little obnoxious about how long I've been a fan of Destructoid. I get that. Sometimes I just can't help but bring it up. It's just... it's been such a significant part of my life for so long, that I really don't remember what life was like in the before time... in the long long ago.
Back in 2005 some friends and I started putting some serious time in creating our own gaming website. We were really green, didn't even have the faintest idea what we were doing really. Still we did the best we could.
One day, one of our readers mentions Destructoid. he said that there was this rebel site that was doing a lot of what we were working on. The difference being they actually had some cash and a small cadre of elite word warriors. I added it to my usual rotation of news blogs and kept careful tabs on the growing army of little green robots.
By December of 2006, the zany folks on the forums (looking at you Poopface) convinced me to sign up, if only to kill time here and there. Soon after that I hopped on the vent server where I said precisely nothing. I still remember running through Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy while listening two guys by the name of Puppetpallmitch and Namelessted trading Pulp Fiction quotes.
Towards about April of 2007, the forum goers of yesteryear started pushing my 16 year old self to fly over 2,000 miles, to a city I'd never visited, and share a hotel room with a bunch of random guys I met online at PAX. I told my mom about it, and she didn't see any problem with this plan. After a summer of mowing lawns I skipped out on my first week of classes to go play games in Seattle.
My god... what a week...
All at once I met people I'd been following for the better part of two years, I met about 30 people for the first time in real life, I took my first trip alone, and I got picked up by the cops.
I didn't technically do anything wrong, but I was in a hotel room with Hamza, Niero, Collette and pals when they received a noise complaint. They noticed alcohol in the room and saw two people that looked a bit younger than the rest -- myself and some dude from Canada. They escorted me back to my room with King3vbo and Bacon Sandwich at the 6th Avenue Inn.
That's just one of few dozen memories from that trip that stick with me to this day. One night, Earnest Cavelli and I talked about how broken the American healthcare system was. Lauren Wainwright and some other folks took me in for a few days after another guy I supposed to stay with screwed me over. I went to see Dale North play with his band the 1UPs -- I still have a signed album.
King3vbo and I took a stroll down to the Seattle Fish Market, I wore the Dtoid helment for the first time -- the OG Silver one. Hell while he was more than a little drunk Hamza and I got into some conversations that, in hindsight were pretty messed up.
I got my introduction to more varied board games like Munchkin and Apples to Apples. I learned who Fruit Fucker was. I met Gabe and Tycho. I talked to Chris Priestly for a good 30 minutes after a Mass Effect demo, and I almost put myself in the hospital by chugging an obscene amount of Bawls.
More important than all of that though? When I first stepped onto the show floor, when I saw the lights and the people and the games, I felt like I had found a new home. I felt like I belonged somewhere.
Now, I'm not going to lie and get all gushy and pretend that I was one of those alienated teenagers that never had friends. Quite the contrary. But this was different. I found a brand new world in that convention center. It opened my eyes and set me on the path I'm taking now. Most game journalists will tell you that if you legitimately want to be in this business, you're probably insane. It's long hours with no set schedule for very little money. And yet... now that I've finally got my fancy college degree and everything, instead of doing all those other things I wanted to as a kid, I'm here. I'm doing this.
Yeah I'm insane but it's only because something got into my bones six years ago, and it hasn't let me go since.