Its been five years for Neiro and Destructoid, the staff has grown and gone through changes, and so has the community. In the past five years we have seen people come and go, we have formed friendships, bonds, and for some even found love (I'm looking at you Stella and Mikey). Each of us has our own personal story to tell when it comes to how Destructoid, and its community, has changed our lives. Here is mine.
I had been lurking Destructoid for about a year before I met Bob "Necros" Muir during my second year of college. He encouraged me to write up CBlogs, chat in IRC, and get on the forums. I was reluctant at first, because of school work, and my self deprecation "Who the fuck wants to read what I have to say?" I thought to my self, "My opinions wont matter" etc. But I got the courage to do so and wrote a few cblogs and started chatting on irc. At the time I was known as RHWeeeeee6 on DTOID, a relative unknown, avid FailCast listener, and still kind of a lurkrer, though id did get a shout out during Bob's 3rd year anniversary video. Around that time I became tired of my handle and decided that I needed a fresh start on the internet, JohnnyViral was born. My new handle, my new name, my new identity of sorts. I hadnt changed, but something about the new handle felt right, felt like it would stay with me for a long time. I re-introduced myself to DTOID during the 10 things you dont know about me cblog deal. After this I got into the forums a bit, got in to IRC and started a bit of a cblog series where I recapped the latest episode of Red vs Blue.
A month or so after this I started my first Dungeons and Dragons game with Analoge, Ryu89, Crocbox, King3vbo and Cataract. We started it from a chat we had on irc and we each thought it was a cool idea so we did it. After a bunch of games Croc came up with the idea to record a podcast, because to us our weekly banter during our DnD games was funny enough to share with the rest of you. 321GoCast was born, knowing fully that we were basically a FailCast spinoff by naming ourselves something that Hito would always say to speed up the recording when things started to take too long.We decided that we didnt need a format, that we would basically not feature anything about the community and not actively seek guests (that aspect fell apart pretty quickly). The podcast about nothing became a reality and to this day is still running with 38 released episodes, a charity event and official pins given out at PAX East 2010.
Speaking of PAX East 2010, skipping most of the year because it was kind of uninteresting, suffice to say I met awesome people, like Kauza by winning a cblog contest he posted up and like Stella Wong.But PAX East 2010 was the experience that brought it all to fruition for me. Though most of the people who were there and had been at Prime before were telling me stories about how much better Prime was and all that. But to me, it was my first PAX and I finally met so many of the people that I considered my friends on DTOID, plus after a month or so of Cataract telling me how awesome THe Protomen were, I saw them live, and they blew my mind. I saw and met MCFrontalot, and Anamanaguchi. Cataract, Analoge, Bunnie, Hamza, Sammit, Nelson, Chewie, Dyganth (though I didnt know him yet, and forgot i met him), Danl (same deal for him), Powerglove, ScottyG, Mr. Ponce, Funktastic, Kauza and tons of others. Hanging out with them at that small UNO's, drinking, eating, talking, laughing, was an experience that I wont ever forget and would not change for anything. And from all the stories that I heard about PAX Prime I promised everyone that I would go.
Months went by, 321GoCast kept going, our first DnD game died, and we tried to revive it, which didnt work. 321GoCast did GLee cast, we had Grimm on, Kauza on, Sean Carey on, and more amazing guests. I was on AnimuCast, I had a "successful" podcast and I had a pretty big number of people who knew and cared about who I was. PAX Prime was couldnt come fast enough.
PAX PRIME, oh man, I already said a lot about this in a previous CBlog, but it is still worth mention. Prime was amazing, it was... I cant even describe how I felt before, during and after, it was such an unbelieveable experience. Getting to wear the Mr. Destructoid helmet, was a great experience though it became nerve wracking during Saturday night, but getting to strut around the con center was such a fun experience, I would definitely do it again. Meeting so many DTOID people, Tactix, Stella, Mikey, King3vbo, Pangloss, BleachBoy, Ali D, Icarus, John Solgrim, Sean and his wife, Zodiac and her husband, Maya and her lobsters, Diverse, Hollie, Pew, Crocbox, Zen Albatross, Neiro and countless others. The Chapel Bar, Game Works, and The Rock Bottom, were amazing after con places to hang out with these people. All of those after hours experiences though were nothing in comparison to when I went up to the mic, said my name and a very loud cheer went through the crowd. A cheer, for me, from all these people who until recently were strangers and didn't even know what I looked like? It was fucking beautiful, and I was touched, I had to try and not tear up. I wanted to go up to each person who cheered and give them a hug, and thank them for it. Anyway, before I start making this into an even bigger love fest I will move on to why I wrote this cblog.
During the past year, after PAX Prime, my life spiraled out of control. My life here on DTOID was amazing, but my life outside of DTOID was shit. I was doing terribly in my college classes, I was in a sort of depression and a vicious circle of self loathing and self deprecation, which came to a head one night in November, where I broke down and just let all the sadness out. During that night and the previous nights I had been hinting through my twitter that I was not feeling so hot, and Stella came to my aid, she listened to me rant, listened to my problems and gave me some good advice, because of Stella I got my act together and after a month of working on it I came back stronger and better, and back to the JohnnyViral that you all know and love. And I cant thank Stella enough for that.
And now a few days after PAX East 2011 I write this Cblog because its the 5th anniversary of a site that has made my life so much better since the day I joined it. I have met so many friends, so many people that I care about and that care for me. Destructoid has brought me friends, people to game with, a form of success that I has not had before, and a recognition that I so craved a long time ago. It has even helped me plan out what I am going to do after my college life ends (get ready Portland, JohnnyV is coming). Destructoid is one of the best, if not the best thing that has happened to me in the last couple of years of my life, as I said before, I may be the angriest person on the planet but whenever Im around the DTOID community, the anger subsides and I can let myself be happy. And for that I thank you guys, Neiro, and the staff. Thank you so much.
See all these fuckers up there. I love every single one of them.