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.
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!