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Hamza CTZ Aziz's blog
destructoid  Shark

10:51 AM on 01.06.2015

This shark is heading off into the open ocean

After nearly nine amazing, wonderful, and crazy years, my time at Destructoid has come to an end. I fell in love with this place ever since I first laid eyes on it, finding myself entranced by the gonzo writing style Niero produced in secret while working at his then day job. I will always love this website, all of the people I've had the pleasure of working with, and most of all the insane community that formed around us. We all had a hand in building something unique here. Something I'm confident in saying that changed the status quo when it came to how the games industry would be covered.  

It's a bit surreal having to write these words. A goodbye of sorts even though I'll still be around, checking in on the site, and seeing where things go from here. I'm excited for the track the site is heading on. With a renewed focus on doing the type of content that made Destructoid so special back in the early days. I'm confident the current team under the leaderships of Jordan Devore, Steven Hansen, Andy Dixon, and especially with Jonathan Holmes as Editor-in-Chief, can get us there. Hah, I wrote us. Once a Dtoider, always a Dtoider.
I started at Destructoid not because I wanted to be a great gaems journalismst, become part of this big industry, or anything fancy like that. None of us from the early days had that delusion. I was just lost and pretty depressed in life at the time, trying to figure out my future. Dtoid looked like a fun thing to be a part of when I discovered it and straight up, I lucked out big time getting involved with all this.
Long story short, Niero invited me on board out of the blue, and I found a new home that I felt I belonged to. It was an incredible feeling having an avenue to talk about something I loved when I was at home or needed to pass the time during my then day job. Never did I imagine this would turn into a full time gig, let alone end up in charge of this place eight years later.
I've grown up a lot thanks to my time here. Where once I could count the number of friends I had on one hand, I can now get overwhelmed simply thinking about the friends I have ALL OVER THE WORLD. Where once I was a depressed sad boy, I now want to spread joy to all those that I can. Where once I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I now know exactly who I am, and what I'm good at. 
Dtoid offered me a chance to grow and experiment in ways most jobs would never allow. I got to find myself ... believe in myself. I'm not perfect. I don't claim to have all the answers. And there were plenty of missteps along the journey. That's all part of growing up, to being human. 
My leaving is nothing against Destructoid. It's just personally, I feel it's time I see what else is out there. I'm dying. Like, dying in a "I'm human" sense, not because I have cancer or anything ... well I don't think I have cancer. Oh god this is a terrible joke. Point is, I'm mortal and I want to make the most of my existence with this thing called life.  
I have a plan for the future and need to grow from here to achieve it, simple as that. Parting ways has been an idea I've been wrestling with for a long while now. It was actually right before E3 2014 that I finally committed to the thought, determined to make the big trade show my last on the media side. I love the games industry, I still want to be a part of it, and wherever I end up next will let me continue to do that, hopefully. I wasn't in a rush to just split though. I took my time so I could leave the site in a state that -- on the backend of things at least -- it wouldn't know I'm even gone. 
I'm choking. I'm choking on air and feel tears swelling around my eyes now. It's out of happiness. Thinking about how once upon a time we were the scrappy underdogs that Nintendo wouldn't even give the time of day to whereas now we see Destructoid quotes appear on Nintendo games pretty regularly. That still blows my mind to this day. 
More importantly, I'm thinking about all the people that have become my friends through this journey, and through the friendship have helped shape who I am, whether they truly know it or not. Colette, Dyson, the Burches, YTMVK, Carnage, Leigh, Husky, Chester, Samit, Becca, Hollie, Maddock, Linde, Mxy, Joanna, Ali D, Conor, Max, Bill, Steven, Brett, Fronz, .tiff, DMV, Dale, Dixon, Jordan, Jake Harder, Jake D, Venom, Curtis, George, Genevieve, ARC, Lizzie, Carol, Chris, Meagan, Sebastian, Razak, Renelly, Chad, Alex V, King Friday, Joe Ark Sun, Dope, Fabien, Kovic, Shaun, Oshry, R3Y, Mikey, Brandon, Ray, Laura, Tara, Julio, Armando, Miguel, Hardin, Dustin, Justin, Yamilia, Jacq, Tim, Beccy, Stan, Nick, Lisa, Aubrey, Salisbury, Harrison, Regina, Jenn, Neal, Neil, Shannon, Jared, Jose, Cutie Honey, Jesse, Larsen, Sam, Bryan, Drew, Nathan, Rami, Nigel, Steph, Drake, Michelle, Bob, Karen, Casey, Eric, Ali, Neuman, Andy Eddy, David, King3Vbo, Jennie, Tina, Brian P, J, other J, Rubens, Togail, Stella, Caitlin, Faith, Taylor, Kristen, Stone, Alissa, Goebel, Long, Varian, Kye, Koh, Jessalyn, Dakota, Shannon, Danny, Rachel, Ben, Andrew, Kranzl, Tony, Kohler, Steve, Carboni, John Lee, Jermaine, Eric, Guitar Atomik, Carlos, Zac, Kyle, Darren, Danny, Edith, AngelsDontBurn, ArrestedDeveloper, S-Kill, Ben, BahamutZero, BigPopGamer, blehman, BlindsideDork, Casey, CannibalCalvin, Zimmerman, deiga-the-semivaliant, Adam, DJDuffy, Sterling, Nicholson, Professor Pew, mid3vol, Mel, Marcus, Amarisse, MrSadistic, GRIMECRAFT, Neonie, Qalamari, Rio, Jayson, Chanh, Sharpless, Snaileb, Powers, AJ, Jason, powerglove, Gamegoblin, Volcanon, and of course, Niero. Plus so so so many more names that I feel like a giant asshole for not being able to recall them. I'm just so thankful for all of you.
I guess my point in this word vomit of a goodbye is that life is a journey. You don't get there alone. I want to experience more, explore more, and enjoy life more. I'm going forward towards the next chapter of my journey, scared and excited at what the future holds. Thank you. For everything.

4:29 PM on 10.06.2014

Some new things

Oh wow this is the first time I'm writing in our new C Blog editor. Hey look at how much easier it is now! Do you all like it? Any issues? 

Anyway, just wanted to share some new things on what's up behind-the-scenes. Right now you've probably noticed a new face on the front page. Wrenchfarm is all official and stuff now, look at his first post talking about the surprise hit, Shadow of Mordor

We've also leveled up Occams from mod status, and he's going to be right alongside Bill and Beccy on all things community. We brought on Occams as Andy Dixon is getting a new role/responsiblity going forward, and he'll be sharing the specifics on that soon.  

On the video front, the Twitch channel is back and running. It's not going to be like anything it was before back when Carnage, Venom, Pico, Foom, etc were running the show. That being more of a TV structured thing. It's going to be way more free form, and it's open to everyone that's on staff this time around. So maybe Andy will stream in his pink robe, or Brit will play JRPGs. We have no exact formual for it yet, intentially. We did want to at least get things going again. 

As for other video stuff on our YouTube, you may have noticed it's been all over the place. We're just experiementing, seeing what really works and takes. 

Other things are happening, though I don't want to talk about it until we're actually in the middle of it. Though maybe you've noticed what I'm alluding to already before I even wrote up this blog. HMMMMM. 

Whoa I just noticed the word counter to the right of this blog editor. Neat. 

Oh, I will at least tease we're going to be talking about a site redesign next month. I'll ask for your suggestions/ideas shortly before discussions happen. 

As always, ask me anything. 


8:35 PM on 07.31.2014

Just sharing some thoughts


So there's never a dull moment when you work in the wonderful world of video games. For instance, I just got finished with a move! That Dtoid HQ we had in SF is more or less done. For now at least. Why? Well San Francisco is getting more and more stupidly expensive. So we bailed! Thankfully the way we operate we don't need a central HQ to work so everything is functioning as normal.†

The "studio" we had has been moved over to Max's place, where he and Bill have been making some great content for our video efforts. They're still trying to settle in with the new setup, and we're aiming to start up our Twitch channel again potentially near the end of this month. The idea for how we approach Twitch this time around will be a once a week live show of whatever new game(s) were released that week. It'll be Max and Bill as the hosts, and we'll likely have random guests from our staff to industry people jumping in.†

Podtoid should start up again sometime shortly after Twitch is going too. It's always been rough making a podcast happen with multiple people in different time zones, so for this next version it's going to be the team we have in San Francisco in one room recording. And on video too! Hardline will continue as normal by the way, just expect less of me in it.†

As for the front page in general, we're working on a plan to hopefully help shift gears a little. Part of that plan means giving our veteran writers more time to work on deeper and richer content like original features and more reviews again while we bring in some new blood to focus more on the news/PR stuff so the veterans don't have to worry about that cycle as much. I think we'll be doing an open call for new writers, but we already have some people in mind so we'll see.†

Otherwise, I'm deep in the middle of organizing everything related to PAX. It looks like we'll have two events to throw with some great partners. And we're going to have a panel! It's not going to be a purely Destructoid focused panel this time around though. More of an entertainment panel with some other industry game pals. More details on that once PAX tells us the day/time it's happening.†

Lastly I saw Guardians of the Galaxy two damn weeks ago and for whatever dumb reason we've been under embargo until the movie opens tomorrow. Been dying to talk about it!

Oh yeah, go ahead and ask me anything.   read

10:47 AM on 06.09.2014

E3 2014: From the perspective of a Shark

Iím writing this on my flight down to Los Angeles for E3 right now. Iím excited. Itís nice knowing that events like this can still make me excited eight years into this career. Though itís an even mix of excitement between seeing new games, and seeing all the wonderful friends Iíve been fortunate enough to make that are located all over the world.†

This is going to be the first E3 that where weíre sending our smallest team ever. Dale North, Brett Makedonski, Darren Nakamura, Steven Hansen, Max Scoville, Bill Zoeker, and myself are all the people we have flying in. We also have Michael and Mike from Flixist for our video production needs to support Max and Bill as they do their video thing, and theyíre already based out of LA.†

I remember our first few E3s we would have EVERYONE out. People would also say we were an army, and it was kind of nice walking around with such a large crew. Those were wilder times for sure, and weíve changed a lot since then. The game industry has changed even more since our start as a company, and thatís partly why weíre not really worried that we have a smaller team at the show.†

Take a look at the E3 show floor plans today and compare them to just 10 years ago. Itís a bewildering difference. Thatís not to say everyone wonít be hustling and busting ass 12 hours a day. But weíre being smarter than ever about what we're going to cover. We have a good idea of what needs new previews and interviews over doing something where simply posting a new updated trailer would work. A new, for example, Armored Warfare trailer? Sure weíll post that. Write another preview for it? Haha no. Weíve picked our battles wisely.†

Weíre only a minor part of the E3 coverage equation though. Itís the home team that will be really putting in the most work, especially on Monday and Tuesday. Jordan, Andy, Chris, Brittany, Kyle, Jonathan Holmes, Patrick, Abel, Alessandro, and others will all be crucial in getting content from the press conferences on the site, and then navigating through the sea of assets that will be flooding our inboxes come noon on Tuesday, the second the E3 doors open. I canít thank them enough.†

As for me, Iím probably the most stressed out of everyone since Iím responsible for all the awards we do. I do them for every show I go to, and E3 always ends up being the hardest to predict. We have 12 categories this year, with a max of ten possible nominations for each. I have to narrow our lists down, then hand out the nomination cards to all the booths. Itís a process that takes up all of Tuesday, and parts of Wednesday and Thursday.†

Thereís some games we KNOW that will get nominations beforehand and theyíre already set. Largely because weíve seen them at past events/meetings already. Like The Witcher 3. Yeah thatís getting a Best of Show and Best RPG nominations already, thatís set. Thatís not to say it will win though. Thereís so many unknowns that it makes it hard to predict. I have a list of 14 potential games that are under the Game of the Show nominations or so right now just based on guess work/predictions. A list that has to be narrowed down to 10.†

Really the biggest hurdle is from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. At this point I know what everyone has to show, even the unannounced stuff, I just canít talk about it until the game companies make it public (or shit ends up leaking). Itís the big three that have the biggest cards to deal. What will help ultimately is by Dale, Brett, Darren, Steven, Max, and myself seeing the unknowns in person and then debating it with anyone as needed to figure out the final parts of our nomination process.†

Iím stressing. But itís a good stress. Iím excited. I hope you stick with us for all our E3 coverage. Like always, feel free to ask me anything. Though it's E3 right now so I'll be really late in getting back to you all. Probably this weekend.   read

5:42 PM on 05.17.2014

What's going on behind the scenes

I'm going to focus on E3, as really our inboxes are just flooded with all things E3. Dale and I are splitting duties, he's focused on getting all the appointments in order while I manage and prep the team we have heading down to E3. Fact: We have the smallest team ever heading to E3 this year. It's funny, the first few E3s we went to we pretty much had our entire team out there. We were known for always bringing a crazy amount of folks to shows. These days, we go lean, largely because we've grown to realize you don't need an entire army at these shows. A majority of the work that gets done at E3 is by the home team, which Jordan is leading.

Dale is actually busting some serious ass, because on top of having to coordinate our appointment schedule that's growing and growing like crazy, he was also at the Pre-E3 Judges Show. Wait, Pre-E3 Judges Show? What's that?! For the last several years now, a handful of game companies will converge at a location (typically Santa Monica) to do a showcase of all the stuff they'll have on demo at E3 for a select group of press. We're seeing the content early because these companies know how hectic E3 itself can be, and want a chance to make sure the judges get proper time to experience the new product. After E3, judges then vote on the various categories for the Game Critics Awards.†

I didn't attend this year so I don't know what new outlet was added, but every year you can knock some outlets off of the list. From last year to this year's show, there's no more OXM, Penny Arcade Report, or Revision 3.

In more personal stuff, I was just playing the new Wolfenstein. I can't talk about it until our review goes up Monday night, but if you read my preview about it a while back, well, my feelings haven't changed that's for sure. Also been playing Transistor, another one I can't talk about until later on in the week (embargo!).

Anyway, that's been most of my Saturday thus far. You all want to do another AMA with me? I can try and rope in some of the other writers if you leave them a specific question too. :)   read

6:54 PM on 05.03.2014

On Twitch

Why we're shutting down our Twitch efforts as you've known it? Because we couldn't afford it any longer. Since day one, the amount of money we put into Twitch has always been more than we've ever gotten out of it. This was never about making money, with Twitch or anything else at the site, but at some point we needed to be breaking even at the very least, and we just didn't see it happening any time soon despite our best efforts. And because of it we just couldn't afford to pay Phil and Spencer anymore, and what we even could wasn't much in the first place, just ask them.

We really didn't want to let Phil and Spencer go, and if things are able to change in a significant way where making a daily show makes sense at all in the future we'd love to have them back. I know they'll keep streaming though, and follow them on Twitter to see what their own channel will be about. Also buy their shirt:

The Twitch channel isn't going dark permanently, and it'll come back down the line, just not as a daily thing anymore.   read

8:24 PM on 04.20.2014

How I get exclusives for Destructoid


For context, the guy feeding me is Nigel Lowrie of Devolver Digital and we were goofing off waiting for some of my people to come through and demo some games. It was the second day of E3 and we were over at their camp (more or less) across the street from the convention center. They had barbeque going on, and campers filled with their upcoming games to show off, like Hotline Miami 2.

There's this ... mode people working trade shows just go into. We don't really eat, we're not really human, we're just kind of on autopilot. So going outside away from all the people, noises, smells, and having some real actual good food in our bellies while checking out rad games was easily the best thing anyone could have experienced at a show like this.†

It's weird, we seriously just mistreat our bodies not on purpose, it just kind of happens. Any food we do eat usually ends up being a quick snack from a nearby corner store for breakfast, and the evenings are filled with dumb finger foods. Oh and alcohol. Loads of that.   read

11:45 PM on 11.13.2013

Hi, I'm the CEO of Destructoid - AMA

Hi. So, uh, what's new? Lot's have changed around here, huh? Like, I'm the CEO of this company now. What the fuck is up with that?

What's the best way I can say this? My life has been just bonkers lately. I got bumped up to the dude that runs this place, someone extremely close to me passed away, some big names left the company, I brought back this idiot, and what else? Oh, we're in the middle of two major console launches. This has been my last two months. There's more, but you get the idea.

Why am I telling you this? Well, for starters this blog is long overdue. I hope you understand now just a little as to why I've been quiet for the most part. Just so much going on, especially with the stuff I didn't expect before saying yes to Niero on becoming CEO. Holy shit I'm responsible for the financial stuff now? I have to make sure people get paid on time? FUUUUUCK.

Anyway, I want to get back to really engaging with all of you. I've been making more efforts to get into the comments on the front page, but that's usually pretty focused to the story (or adding to whatever jokes/gifs you funny bastards make happen). I want the communication to be as open as possible. I love that Char Assnibble (haha I'm a CEO) called us out. Kick us in the ass sometimes, as a reminder. We haven't forgotten about you, just, you know, there's so much happening. So much.

Like Dtoid HQ over here in San Francisco. We threw our couches on the street (for real) and have transformed our living room into a video set. We're about to rebuild it from the ground up thanks to the arrival of Max, in fact.

So I'm sure you have a lot of questions. With the start of this blog, I want to (hopefully, fingers crossed) do a weekly Ask Me Anything style blog where I try to answer whatever the hell you want to ask in the comments below. So yeah, come at me bro.   read

11:48 PM on 01.01.2013

F2P game nights EVERY night

There are a ton of great free 2 play games out on the market now, so it's easier than ever to play with others. So what do you think of doing nightly F2P game nights? We have Team Fortress 2sdays now, which does great.

All these games are F2P: Super MNC, League of Legends, Hawken, Blacklight: Retribution, DOTA 2, Tribes: Ascend. What else? Plus, we can get these games streaming over on Streamtoid if there was anyone willing to stream, or even shoutcast. Eventually I'm hoping this will all lead into a bigger idea I have with tournaments, but first things first.   read

5:20 PM on 12.31.2012

My top 10 games of 2012

It's funny being in this business. Ask anyone and you'll find out that most people end up talking about videogames more than they actually play them. Usually that's been the case with me, but this year I played a lot more games than ever, most to completion too. I'm really proud of that fact. It's one thing to talk about games, but it's a whole different level to talk about the games when you know them inside and out.

So it was really hard this time to narrow down my top 10 of 2012.

#10: Sleeping Dogs

I knew from the first second Square Enix/United Front Games showed us Sleeping Dogs that I was going to love it. I love these type of open-world experiences, and it's a perfect blend of the realistic approach the GTA series takes with the wackiness of the Saints Row franchise.

What really made the whole experience for me was the Hong Kong setting. We're so used to the American-like environments of other open-world games that Hong Kong felt unique and totally alien.

#9: Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami is such a dark and violent experience. While there are tons of gory games out there, the minimalistic approach developer Dennaton Games took made the gruesome acts you perform all the more shocking, forcing the player to imagine the worst. And that's all contrasted by the psychedelic visuals and one of the best game soundtracks of the year.

#8: Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Treyarch went above and beyond what it means to make a Call of Duty. They took some bold risks creating a killer story that incorporates player choice, and overhauled a multiplayer system that's been duplicated countless times by copycats. Plus, the multiplayer features some great weapons, and some of the best map designs since CoD 4.

#7: Super Hexagon

Without a doubt, Super Hexagon is one of the most addicting games I've ever played. It's so simple, and it's that simplicity that drives me crazy ever time I make a stupid mistake. I can stare at my phone for hours as the crazy visuals warp my mind while the killer music makes me want to get my groove on.

#6: FEZ

FEZ is a love letter to the 8-bit era, offering a simple and inviting world that will make your head spin as you realize just how deep and involving things can get. And no matter how frustrated you will get, it's hard to stay mad as you stare at the beautiful visuals while taking in DisasterPeace's splendid soundtrack.

#5: Max Payne 3

It says something about Rockstar Games that they can revive a franchise like Max Payne while keeping the core essentials of the series intact this day and age. No extreme makeovers, instead giving us an amazing dark and depressing story, plus fun combat mechanics all presented on an amazing game engine. I hope a lot more studios take from Max Payne 3's page by seamlessly integrating cinematics and gameplay in the future.

#4: Halo 4

I was so relieved after completing the first couple of missions in Halo 4. I, like many others, were legitimately concerned of a new studio taking over such a beloved franchise. Like I said in my review though, 343 nailed it. It still feels like a Halo game, while integrating new elements that make for an addictive first-person shooter. I'm still in disbelief at how practically next-gen the visuals look.

#3: Far Cry 3

I didn't see this one coming. Hell, I don't think many people did. Sure, there was a nice level of hype surrounding Far Cry 3, but I was just so focused on all the other first-person shooters this year that I damn near missed this one. I'm so glad I didn't. Yeah, the story is a bit lame, but that won't take away from how amazing the overall experience is.

It's a first-person shooter where you are free to take on the world as you see fit. And it's a living, breathing world. I will never forget how I was attacked by a random tiger while trying to sneakily take out a pirate camp once. I freaked out and gave away my position by firing upon the tiger and was about to get surrounded by pirates. So I ran towards the camp, and watched as the pirates and tiger shift focus onto each other, giving me the chance to regroup and attack while all everyone was distracted.

#2: Journey

I've never been as moved by an experience quite like Journey. To the point that I immediately started a second play through after the credits rolled. It's such a beautiful haunting world, one that I can play through over and over again and never get bored. It features one of the most engaging multiplayer components around too, something that I hope to see more of in games.

And its message of the human life cycle is something that I won't forget either, especially that last area. You know what I'm talking about.

#1: The Walking Dead

I never imagined that I'd like an Adventure game quite this much. The Walking Dead isn't just another zombie game. It's about humanity. It's about humans as they struggle to survive against increasingly hostile odds. From zombies, from the world, and most of all, from other humans trying to survive.

Lee Everett is you. You are this guy, once on his way to jail, now the ward of a hapless little girl. You have to make choices, ranging from bad to shit, and often with no time to worry about the consequences. Whatever you end up doing, it's all to keep a little kid safe and to show her the way in this new scary world.


And now, I want to replay a bunch of these games after talking about them. While I was pretty proud of all the games I played in 2012, I still didn't get to see everything. If I have one New Years resolution, it's to play EVERY game I can in 2013.

So what were YOUR top 10 games of 2012?   read

12:07 AM on 12.28.2012

Did you know my name means I'm The God of Sex?

Everything makes so much sense now. So so so much sense. Tonight on Twitter @Katamayadamcy looked up what her name means on Urban Dictionary. So I did the same thing and oh boy.

The traditional meaning of my name falls under number 2 on the list, being brave, with a lion's heart and such. It's the third meaning I had NO idea about, but everything in my life now makes so much more sense after reading it:

Foremost known as "The God Of Sex" An individual renowned world wide for his expertise with sex and highly sexual acts. One such as Hamza has been known to have sex with more than 30 girls at one time, even stimulating a maximum of 8 at once. Hamza's usually have enormous genitalia and can produce litres of semen in one ejaculation. Characteristics of Hamza's are cool, popular, attractive, instaclimatic (when girls see Hamza's they reach their sexual climax instantaneously) strong, athletic, charming, generally amazing at every aspect of life. Once an individual has had intercourse with a Hamza they are suggested to stay bedridden for a minimum of 2 weeks because of the mass vaginal damage.

The examples of how to use my name in a sentence are equally priceless:

Girl 1: Holy fucking shit Hamza is the best lover ever
Girl 792: Yeah he wrecked my pussy
Girl 3275: I wish my husband was Hamza,
Girl 94: I don't, if he was my vagina would be no more

Thank you, Internet. Thank you so much.   read

9:01 PM on 10.30.2012

I am the king of journalisms

We get a LOT of stuff sent to us on a regular basis. Here's what I've gotten in the last week and a half alone.   read

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