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 I'm pretty psyched to be hosting the next BaltimoreDC NARP. I figured I'd "vent" my excitement by blogging about it in some fashion each day until the NARP arrives. The topic of today's post will be: Why did I want to host a NARP?
Let's face it; for those of you who have attended a NARP, it's a pretty big undertaking, right? You got tons of people coming, some of which you know well, and some of which you don't. You need a fairly ample supply of food around for some quick grill meal making, let alone a seemingly infinite supply of snacks on hand nearly all the time. You need a space big enough to comfortably house people who will be crashing and staying over. And you need a fairly good number of systems set up for play. So the decision to be a NARP host can be a little daunting.
In considering whether I had the stones to step up to the task, and whether I could even come close to doing as good a job as my predecessor Hitogoroshi, I thought about where I live, which is basically bumblefuck northern Baltimore county. To many of the local Baltimorians, this is a bit of a hike in an out of the way area. But when I thought about all the people who would be driving from DC and VA, I realized the distance for them to my place wouldn't really be that much farther than it was to get to Hito's place.
2009 was a rough year for me personally, and in anticipation of 2010 being much better, I wanted some way to celebrate, and with a group of people who would appreciate the style I like to celebrate in as much as me. I have been to few parties that have been more fun for me to attend than the previous NARPs, so this seemed like a good decision. When talk sprang up about having a NARP at the beach in Ocean City, I wanted to provide people with an opportunity to attend a "traditional" NARP that wouldn't come with a lot of financial obligation. So I made the choice to volunteer my place and host the next NARP.
I hope to see as many of you there as possible. There was some confusion about the date, and I'm sorry that Agent Moo got kind of screwed out of coming as a result (although there's still a chance he can make it.) I'm excited and the preparations are well underway. At the moment there are at least six planned TVs/monitors to be set up, with more possible.
For those who will be coming: What are you most looking forward to?