My name is Scott. I've been playing video games since my hands were big enough to hold a joystick. I started with the Atari 2600, and graduated to the Atari 800 computer where I taught myself how to program in BASIC. I eventually got a NES, and later a Game Boy. The first summer I ever worked, I was a CIT at the day camp I attended. I worked all summer long to save up enough money to buy the SNES the very day it came out.
I attended college at the University of Pennsylvania. I was introduced to the internet my freshman year in 1993, and I fast became a console pirate, purchasing a copier and downloading ROMs off of IRC channels. Good times. In my senior year, I purchased the N64 as soon as the street date was broken, and skipped classes for the next three days to play Mario 64. I also bought a used PSX the same year.
After I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and a degree in Psychology, I was accepted to Digipen. I was part of the very last class that attended the school in Vancouver, before they moved the campus to Nintendo of America's HQ in Redmond Washington (across the street from Microsoft). After completing the program, I got my very first job as a programmer at Ubisoft.
I lucked out with Ubisoft because they were actually opening a studio near my hometown in NYC, so I actually landed my dream job and got to live on the east coast near my family. I worked on Batman: Vengence. I met a number of cool people, but the only one I still keep in touch with happens to be a buddy of mine who was the lead designer on "Army of Two." He is without a doubt, the greatest game designer I have ever had the privilege of working with.
The studio in NYC didn't pan out for Ubisoft, and they decided to fold the team up to Montreal. After living in Vancouver for a year and a half, I decided I had enough of Canada, so I stayed in the NYC office, which transformed into GameLoft. I stayed there until me and the buddy I mentioned landed a job at 3DO. We both moved out to Redwood City and started working there.
3DO wasn't a great company, but it wasn't terrible, and I met a crew of people who became some of the greatest friends that I have ever had. I worked on Dragon Rage, which was being led by Kudo Tsunoda. He told the execs that it was going to be an Army Men game with an art asset swap, and it would take 6 months to complete. The truth was we were building a new engine from scratch, and it would really take a year to get it done right. When the six months were up, the execs asked for the game, and we weren't even close to finished, so we had to do 12 hours days, 6 days a week until the game was finished. 3 months later, nobody cared about it anymore, and it went straight to the budget bin.
3DO closed down very shortly after. While I was at 3DO, I got to know two people who amazed me: Howard Scott Warshaw and Tod Frye, two of the original Atari 2600 programmers. Getting to meet them and talk with them about "the good old days" at Atari was an amazing thing to me. (I totally recommend visiting Howard's site, Once Upon Atari and ordering his DVD about what those days were like.) I still run in to Howard infrequently at retrogaming conventions and it's always a delight.
After 3DO, I worked for a THQ studio that used to be called (oddly enough) Pacific Coast Power & Light. It's known as Locomotive games today. I was put on the WWE Crush Hour game, the game that was designed to mix the WWE up with Twisted Metal. I created the game's shell and character selection screen. It was actually a pretty cool game, but THQ's love for WWE had cooled down when the game was close to finishing (right after WWF became WWE, the ratings started to tank), so they rushed it and laid off the whole team.
Wishing to return to the east coast, I applied for jobs that I could find there, and actually lucked out with a job opening at Firaxis Games in Hunt Valley, Maryland, home to Sid Meier. When I got there, they were toying with the idea of remaking Pirates, and were prototyping a lot. The results were mixed, and Sid decided to get involved with the development personally. They knew they wanted to make a console version, and they put me on the small team responsible for porting the game to the Xbox. I had doubts about the game, and I wasn't enjoying the tasks I was being given (such as working on the in-game glossary), and things didn't work out. I made a lot of good friends there who I miss working with.
By this time, I had been with four companies in six years, and my girlfriend at the time was in the middle of going to school to get her degree, so I did something drastic: I grew up. I ended up looking for any available programming job, and accepted a position with a UPS owned software company as an algorithm designer. I've been there since 2005, I get paid more money, and work fewer hours than I ever did as a game programmer. But I really miss the creative environment and working with people that I have a lot in common with, i.e. a love and passion for video games.
I am currently own and operate StrategyWiki, which strives to become the best online source of video game guides and walkthroughs anywhere in the world. I am now living in northern Maryland. Welcome to my blog.
So... For some reason I felt funny about posting this here. I haven't been a very active member of the community lately (primarily due to having a baby...), but then I was like, "If this community doesn't appreciate this, no one will."
So... here, I'll just let the video speak for itself. No TL-DR here. I'll be happy to answer questions if any of you have some. Enjoy.
That's right, all you mid-atlantic peeps, get ready for the latest and greatest NARP to occur since... well, the last NARP. It's November 4th, 5th, and 6th. Responses are flowing in, and it looks like this is going to be a very well attended NARP. Folks from every corner of the north-east are gonna make it, and if you're in the area, you should too.
As a host, there's nothing I want more than for people to have a good time, have plenty to eat, and have plenty of games to play. There's a lot of things that I can directly impact to make the party great. But one thing that makes a great NARP that I have no control over is attendance. Simply put: the more D-toiders under one roof, the more awesome it is. Why? Because D-toiders are simply the coolest of the cool when it comes to the video game community. All of the NARPs that I've ever attended have proven that over and over again. So if you're part of this community, and you live in the area, you owe it to yourself to be at the NARP, if only for one day if not the whole weekend.
Since the D-toid community grows continuously, here are some tips for new NARPers who want to get in on this shindig:
1) First and foremost, I can't stress this enough, subscribe to the dtoidbaltimoredc google group (http://groups.google.com/group/dtoidbaltimoredc) to get every juicy detail about everything we do as a group, from NARPs to MAGFest and beyond. Hell, subscribe even if you're NOT coming to the NARP.
2) Come prepared: Comfy sleep locations are limited (although considerably expanded since the last NARP thanks to my moved-in gf's added furniture), so pack a sleeping bag and pillow just in case. Toothbrush and towel not required but highly recommended. Also, if you have any pet allergies, it's probably a good idea to pack some kind of anti-histamine...
3) Bring cool shit! Be it beverages you like to drink, or games you love to play, or that rare copy of Virtual Boy Space Invaders that I want to buy from you! There will be no less than seven TVs up and running, but you're welcome to bring your own TV/monitors and accompanying systems. I'm low on cool Xbox 360 and PS3 games, but I've got a plethora of everything from any generation before then. Extra food is also always welcome.
4) Just have fun. I guarantee that if this is the first time you come, you will be leaving with about 7 to 10 new friends that you didn't have before.
That's about all I can think of. Any other details that you need can be gotten directly from me, or through the google group. Hope to catch you there!
Another Baltimore/DC(/VA/NJ/NY/PA/DE) NARP has come and gone. Speaking for myself personally, it was a fantastic time from start to finish. For the sake of those who could not make it, here are a collection of 42 candid shots taken throughout the event (I'm the one in the "I'd Hit That" t-shirt). I'm not the greatest photographer... My fondest memories of the weekend include:
* Tino introducing me to the magic that is the recreation of the first Castlevania in Harmony of Dispair on XBLA
* Eeking out the rare win every now and then against Topher in Puzzle Fighter.
* Topher trying to get the Bearcow in the most frustrating level of Everybody ♥s Katamari until 5 in the morning, (only to do it the next day on the PS3)
* Watching my Street Fighter tournament-attending coworker duke it out against Nick in SSF4
* Watching my gf discover the joys of Pac-Man Vs. on the GameCube (and screaming every time she got caught)
* Changston's ridiculously delicious taco dinner (and equally delicious scrambled eggs breakfast)
* The surprise gifts given to Topher in honor of the first season anniversary of his incredible animated series, The Journalism Show. (FYI, they were homemade hand-puppets of Takayuki and Akiko)
* Cooking Mama competition... 'nuff said.
* Dong Dong Never Die is a hit!
* Driving to pick up pizza at 11pm - the only time the entire night when the sky opened up and the rain just poured down.
* Tetris Battle Gaiden very late into Saturday evening
* Tino can sleep through anything...
After much anticipation, and a general smooth execution, the second Baltimore/DC NARP has come and gone. Most everyone has written to confirm that they had a great time, and I personally thought this NARP was a step up from the last one. Kudos to Dyganth's heroic efforts to procure a Kinect on Saturday morning for everyone else's entertainment. Here's a rundown of my personal highlights from the weekend. Pardon the liberal use of first names rather than handles.
* Discovering pictures of Hito in the actual ThinkGeek catalog.
* Trolling Tino about how much better Nick Chester is than him at Pac-Man CE DX... and just about everything else.
* Seeing Dance Central for the first time (Bloody's videos)
* Coming upstairs and finding Scott playing Moon Patrol on the Atari.
* Playing SSF4 with Nick and Hito, and laughing at Tino and Mark for playing the same exact game on their iPhone just to unlock Dee Jay.
* Watching Tino play through Super Meat Boy (and watching all the deaths on the replays)
* Changston exploring my neighbor's xmas decorations, temporarily losing Changston at the grocery store, and tasting the ramen he made for everyone that night.
* Nick Chester's rendition of "Mama Said Knock You Out"
* Watching players attempt to get through World 1-1 on the hacked Super Mario Bros. levels.
* Taking on Topher in Super Puzzle Fighter and eeking out a win or two while watching Changston play ParaPara Paradise out of the corner of my eye.
* Playing the Family Guy PS2 game until 3:30 in the morning for no good apparent reason.
* Tino discovering Special Project Y (or S.P.Y.) in MAME
* Me discovering Encore of the Night on Tino's iPhone (as well as Bug Panic on Topher's)
* Changston's chocolate chip pancakes.
* Watching Jon absolutely crush all on-comers in Soul Calibur IV unless they were Yoda.
Picture is unrelated. Just... why would you make a Pikachu themed fighting stick? Worst cross-over ever... or is it? COMING SOON: CAPCOM VS. POKEMON!!!
Just a few days left for me to prepare for my second time the Baltimore/DC NARP host. I'm making a list, and checking it twice. There's systems to set up, food to be purchased, and quite a bit of cleaning to do ;)
Hosting a NARP is something I consider a privilege; a way to give back to a community that gives me so much. I'm involved (at various levels) with a number of websites, but I don't even go this far for my own website. There's something different about Destructoid. I don't know precisely what it is, and I can put it into words for you, but if you're on here reading this, I think you probably know what I'm talking about.
In a few days, people will be coming to my home expecting to have a great time. It's the kind of thing where, if that happens, it's because of each and every person that attended. But if it doesn't happen, I take it as a personal failure. That's why I will be doing my utmost to ensure that everything goes smoothly, that people can play all of the games that they'd like to play, and that everyone has enough to eat and drink.
I live by myself at the moment. I have over six consoles, and two PCs capable of emulating many more of them. But I can only play them one at a time. When I think about a NARP, I think about every single one of my gaming devices in use simultaneously. And that's a great feeling, to be able to share that with everyone.
At no time will there ever be a moment when I think to myself, "Man, there's so many people, I hope no one else shows up." I want as many people there as I can pack in to my humble abode. At no time will I ever say to myself, "Man, this has been going on for so long, when are they going home??" Frankly, I never want it to end, and it's only because of the realities of real life and needing to wake up for work on Monday that I think anyone ever leaves.
So if you're in the area, (and by that, I mean a reasonable 3 hour drive), you should consider coming. The Baltimore is home to many of Destructoid's key members, and they will be there. It will be impossible for you to have a bad time. Hope you can make it. See the original announcement for more details. You won't see that joystick at the NARP, but I do plan on having quite a few relics that I have lying around up and running.
P.S. Extra breakfast pancakes for you if you bring a pretty single lady for me to meet!
2 more days to go until the guests will be arriving for the MD/VA/DC (+ PA) NARP, and the house is still in a bit of upheaval. But I'm working on it. The big thing is that I will be having maids over tomorrow to clean up the house from top to bottom before anyone arrives. People who I've shared this with have often asked me why I don't have the maids over AFTER the party. Well, the truth is I have neglected some of the upkeep in certain areas of the house, primarily downstairs, and it really is in need of some TLC. Cleaning up after the party will be easier if the house is starting from a good point.
Tonight will be mainly about cleaning off many surfaces, like the kitchen table, the coffee table in the living room, etc. It's amazing how much clutter I have. But I am positive I will be able to stash it all away during the party.
The next task will be to do a superficial test of all the systems, make sure they work, count up all of the controllers, etc. I managed to find my second GBA SP, and charged both of them up, so they are good to go for the Zelda: Four Swords fest.
There's been a lot of Bomberman talk in the email thread lately. I would honestly love to provide everyone with the opportunity to play 10 player Bomberman on the Saturn, but I neither have the multitaps or enough controllers on my own to make that a possibility. I only had one chance in my life to play it with 10 people, and it was the most Bomberman fun I've ever had in my life. It gets quite literally insane.
I haven't really gotten any responses to my recently posed questions, so I won't ask anything specific here, but if you have any comments or suggestions for the party, please share them. Thanks.