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3:23 PM on 05.08.2015  

4 years of Destructoid: Mushy words from an about-videogames writer

('dis an anniversary post, not a goodbye post!)

 

Hello friends and sex bots. Four years it’s been now. Two as Features Editor. Long time, eh? When I started with Destructoid -- May of 2011! -- United States president Barack Obama was still serving his first term and not yet so very old and haggard. I was a stone or two lighter myself, the bags under my eyes then just shallow ocean swells, not yet ruinous eggplant-tinged trenches.

I started writing here almost by accident. I’ve only done weird jobs. I power washed sidewalks in San Francisco’s nearest thing to a red light district for a while. I believe I was still doing that when I started. But I’ve always written and a pal trying to get into games writing passed along a call for San Francisco-based writers. So I emailed in on a lark, helped out by the fact that I was born in and had never left the city.

I met Niero downtown in a coffee shop a few blocks away from the baseball stadium the Giants play in since fleeing Candlestick’s (RIP) uncaring, wild winds. I arrived early and took a seat outside. This was stupid because Niero had arrived earlier and was seated in a corner inside. After an unnecessary wait, he came out and found me. And that was it. No interview, really. Jumped right into an explanation of the publishing back end, told me that I could wear whatever clothes I want, and, like, there I was writing for Destructoid.

A very happy accident. This is my job now. I’m not sure the italics on “this” quite covers it. Writing, talking to you guys? My job. Playing videogames? My job. Going to Tokyo with Dale? My job.

And it is a job, mind. Being creative, entertaining, and just good or even competent, day in, day out, on deadline. It’s hard! It occupies a lot of mindspace, always. There’s not really an “at work” and “not at work” for me, because at 2AM I might not be able to convince myself to go to sleep until I fill a draft page in Google Docs about Pokemon X/Y’s oligarchical leanings. That ideas doc is endless, some more fleshed out than others. Some won’t ever get written and some have been kicking around in my head for a couple years waiting for me to get it right. Writing is hard. Thankfully we get to goof off here and write bad jokes about Toad or fake amiibo posts with Photoshops of my dog.  

The work part isn’t the only inextricable bit to my daily life, though. I didn’t start as a community member. But being a part of Destructoid, from the first time Occams welcomed me with a handful of baby kisses and a decoder ring, has had a pretty huge impact on my life and I kind of take it for granted. And it isn’t just radical travelling opportunities, or making friends with lovely co-workers/colleagues, or the fact that I’m going to get to play with Dale’s new corgi puppy (CoCo!!!) all the time.

It’s the communty, too. I don’t have “fans” or feel larger than life, but it’s novel to look back on how many actual friends I made through the community aspect of Destructoid, from the Outer Heaven chat days to comment sections to Twitter. People I still talk to, in some cases daily.

I started a games writing site (Awesome/10) with Zwuh (Andy Astruc), former contributor Fraser Brown, Darik “djhkirschman,” and whatever Arlo’s username was (he wrote one thing), that I put a good year into concurrently with Destructoid (2012, more or less, prior to me taking over as Features Editor here in May 2013). Andy and Fraser kept on for another year with other talent we drummed up. Turns out original, critical, funny games writing/features/scoreless reviews are not the most money-making or marketable thing. We kicked ass, though. Damn. And had a hell of a time.

JimmyX is somehow still here and I love him . Stealth is on Twitter. Karu tried smuggle himself to a Viewtiful Joe fan event in Japan by sneaking into a business man’s suitcase and was killed by airport security. L0LFAQ’s wife won everything in the divorce and he works in a bowling alley, thankfully not making enough money for an internet connection.

I took Matt “LawOfThermalDynamics” Kim to meet Swery (Deadly Premonition, D4) the first of many times I ended up hanging out with Swery, then drove Matt back home to Santa Cruz that evening. I got pulled over for going like 81 in an empty 65 zone, but was not given a ticket, as I am white.

Skateallday101 went from refusing to show his face online, let alone meet with us despite living fairly close to San Francisco, to renting an in-law unit in my mom’s backyard for like a year and he would always text me about how nice my mom is. I hope his Destructoid avatar is still a picture of a truck. It’s not even his truck. Just a stock/professional photo of a truck.

I’ve gotten dinner with ricochetguro when he was visiting SF and Fluxtations, who hails from semi-close Max Scoville-territory, Northern California. I can’t wait to have a beer with radiopools when he visits again soon.

Right now I live with two of my best friends, the minds and technical skill behind A la cartridge, and I owe crossing paths with them both to Destructoid.

That’s of course to say nothing of the amazing e-lationships, folks who’ve been well-loved side characters, the Groundskeeper Willies and Hank Scorpios of my waking/online life. Longtime folks like Occams and Flintmech and Isay Isay, new folks like KanjiLikesBoys, Kanye (FlythnLankx whatever the fuck your name is), Julien-G, the horrible people of the Forum, and, really, anyone who’s enjoyed things I’ve done or said something positive to me or done a good joke on-line.

That saying something nice in the comments thing, it really helps. It does. It’s nice. So many people want to tell yell about how I should be fired (preferably out of a cannon) because they disagree with my opinions on videogames, or want to send me detailed PMs about how they will assault and do murder upon me. Especially because Destructoid has done nothing but grow in my four years and since its inception. It opens the floodgates a bit more for shitheels. And can make us all feel a bit looser as community goes. But it’s still here and will always be here. Even the folks that no longer make Destructoid their home, those relationships carry on from Facebook to meatspace meetups to whatever.

Do do everything you can to foster those, though. I love to have fun posting on-line with my friends and I hope you do, too. And if you’re ever in San Francisco, let’s go out to eat.

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5:10 PM on 12.01.2014  

Birth

Birth from A La Cartridge on Vimeo.

 

Howdy folks. I was going to link to my second to latest cblog, in which I waxed poetic about the year anniversary of the death of A la cartridge, but my cblog profile page is disappeared or my broken computer is not displaying it properly. (Hey, turns out, the latter! Of course!)

Anywho, just wanted to share this video from the folks behind A la cartrdige. I hope you enjoy it. We did. 

No, I'm not pregnant, mom. 

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10:55 PM on 11.03.2014  

Oodle and noodles: Read some books, run some jewels

Hi.

 

Zombie Orwell's blog about skullfucking navel gazing books by people that are basically this guy or, just as bad, Jonathan Safran Foer or Dave Eggers or David Foster Wallace or whatever, reminded me that on my flights to and from Paris (I'm back), I spent most of my time finally getting through Crime and Punishment, which is a heavy book.

Damn, though. It's good. Even without the no longer radical, streaming and surreal peek at internal monologue and strife (also, hey, an actual meaningful murder and its repercussions), Dostoyevsky's prose is good and his plotting is on point. Good tension, good pacing, between all the fainting spells and wrestling with the human condition. 

I've tried to read more this year because I used to read voraciously and now I feel like I'm way more dumb because I've hardly read anything in recent years. Fiction, anyway. Plus every time I've picked up a book this year I've been so lucky as to get a, "Oh, right, reading is kick ass and good!" feeling, like with Crime and Punishment

You should read, too. But maybe for knocking off rust, stretching out old bones, Crime and Punishment is a bit intimidating, like coming out of retirement to fight a 20 year old Mike Tyson. Well, I read two other good books, both started on plane rides, this year, both of which are more modern as well. You should read them.

Typical American.

I don't know why I own this book. I don't remember buying it. I picked it off the shelf at random needing airplane fodder. Turns out, it's damn good. It's the story of a Chinese immigrant come to America to study engineering, and what happens throughout the rest of his life. Definitely recognized notes here that my mom et al have gone through since coming to America at the end of the 1960's, but you don't have to be an immigrant to find this interesting, provided you are human and capable of empathy.

If on a winter's night a traveller

Damn. I bought this book from Italo Calvino probably 7 years ago out of novelty after reading one of his short stories ("The Spiral"). It is, I was told, a novel written in the second person. It's also some tight fucking prose. And aside from the (well done) second person business, it's also a bunch of separate (but connected...) stories strung together in the One Thousand and One Nights vein, transitioning constantly right before climax. To be talented enough to write like (parts of) 8 different really good stories, and use 'em all up in one novel? Ballsy. This is some 8 1/2 level writing, too, sort of pretending at authorial confusion/struggle while actually being fucking ace. 

 

There you go, read a fucking book for once. A good one, not some Game of Thrones shit. <3

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3:06 AM on 10.29.2014  

RIP Steven Hansen, 10/31/2013

Why do I only write cblogs on or about Halloween, apparently? My last one was Halloween two years ago.

Anyways, just getting weepy over the impending one year anniversary of the last episode of A la cartridge, RIP in pieces. That was a weird, fun show to do. I appreciate all of voi who still say kind things about it. We had some grand plans of bringing it back (we being my two good friends who shot, edited, and otherwise made the show while my dumb ass droned on in a monotone, nasal voice), Kickstarter and all (food costs money!), but I guess it's a bit on the back burner for now. That's a food joke. You cook food on burners, as with a stove top.

How are voi doing? I stayed up until 1AM Euro-time to watch Game 6 of the World Series only to see the Giants blow the would-be-winner and cough up 8 runs at the onset. Rough. They'll probably still win it all tonight, though. 2010 and 2012 have removed lingering 2002 fears and feelings.

Paris is neat. Played some more Bloodborne, The Order, Type-0 HD, some other things. Wow, though. People sure are carrying water for The Order. Lot of upset folks that I was a bit bored by the well dressed but bog standard third-person cover shooting bits. I don't think I made any bold opinions? I left open the idea that the game could be good, that the demo wasn't representative, that vertical slices aren't helpful for this type of game. People are upset. Comment sections are weird sometimes.

Anyways, much of the next three days is going to be spent in meetings at Games Connection, which is happening concurrently with Paris Games Week. Lot of weirder, smaller projects to play and tell voi about rather than the E3/expo-like PGW. I'll probably still go play Smash Wii U, though, if it isn't nightmare busy. I played some other things yesterday at PGW, but am not sure if there's anything to front page about them. Like, what more can I say about LittleBigPlanet 3? It's LBP. I could talk about the cool pinball level with its Nicolas Winding Refn blue and pink neon aesthetic, but you'd probably be better served seeing a video of it. Writing about games is weird most of the times.

I will make a photo gallery of all the slightly raised show floor platforms I keep fucking tripping off of, though.

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2:30 PM on 10.31.2012  

Halloween tips



Just the tips...

Halloween is tomorrow. Technically today for some of you. Let me, Screamin' Hauntsen be among the first to wish you a happy night of ghosts and goblins (or of Ghosts'n Goblins, your plans depending). Some things to remember as you go about it:

1) Razorblades may make candy tastier according to science, but I strongly urge you not to eat candy that isn't factory sealed or otherwise appears tampered with.

2) Don't smash pumpkins (unless they're yours). I know the band Smashing Pumpkins is all the rage with kids these days, but let's not aggrandize vandalism.

3) Keep your mouths closed at all times, lest ghosts do unsavory things to your face.

4) If someone -- or something -- jumps at you unexpectedly, it's okay to take a swing. It's even possible you're on camera, so you can become a YouTube hit!

5) If you arrive to a party with a phoned-in costume, it's legal in 37 states for fellow party-goers to strap you in a stockade and tickle your feet. In nine states, you may be buried alive. Don't try and play the odds, put some effort into your costume.

6) Make sure you finish off all of the pumpkin-themed food and drink you've been collecting this month, because it goes bad at midnight. If there's any left over, a dracula will come to your home and give you a lecture on waste, then he'll impress your loved ones and they'll probably ditch you to hang with him instead.

6A) Don't try to hide pumpkin-themed excess by feeding it to your gremlin after midnight.

7) Don't drink anything you didn't mix yourself.

Happy Halloween!   read


6:28 PM on 06.30.2011  

Please allow me to introduce myself

Who am I? Steven. I'm a San Francisco native who seems to have stumbled into a writing position here at Destructoid. How droll. I like to look critically at games and deep beneath my craggy, cynical, sarcastic facade is a hopelessly naive idealist that values words like "integrity" and "creativity." I drive a Nissan Sentra and have an adorable, plush Kirby hanging from my rear view mirror.

COOKING

I love to cook. My avatar [was] a picture of me tossing some homemade pizza dough up in the air.

I'm first generation Italian-American. Familiar with that archetypal, non-English-speaking, Italian grandmother hunched over a giant pot of sauce for 9 hours? That was my grandmother. And me by extension. Minus the old lady bits. I always try to cook with the freshest ingredients and make everything from scratch, and I try to expand out of my comfort zone to a lot of the other foods I love (a lot of Asian stir-fry, for example).

SPORTS

I love football first and foremost, followed by baseball. Though I've lived in SF my whole life, I'm a St. Louis Rams (football) fan, which I'm sure is appropriately shocking to anyone who follows the sport. Thankfully, I have redemption in my city as a San Francisco Giants (baseball) fan - they're leading los Tigres as I type, in typical, stressful Giants' fashion. I'm also a San Jose Sharks (hockey) fan and an LA Lakers (basketball) fan. ....And Brian Wilson just blew his second save in a row. How disconcerting and uncharacteristic. Though those are the major sports I follow, I like, appreciate, and occasionally watch several others. Like most people, I'll watch the World Cup (and root for Italia). I also like to play tennis on occasion.

GAMES AND MORE FROM JAPAN

Before I lose a lot more readers, I should probably transition into video games. I like them. I have a serious love-affair with JRPGs and I seem to be masochistic because I play grind-heavy JRPGs (Persona 3, Resonance of Fate, I have a Final Fantasy XIII platinum trophy, etc.). My favorite Final Fantasy games in the main series are VII, IV, VI, and XII, in no certain order. I don't know anything about Western strategy games, but I love Final Fantasy: Tactics, and Valkyria Chronicles is one of my favorite games of this generation.

"Action" and "Adventure" (Uncharted, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid, etc.) games are probably my next favorite after JRPGs - I lump "survival/horror" into this category, too, though I'm pretty terrified of survival-horror games. I enjoy TPS and FPS, but I don't do much competitive online play (well, none, really. It's rare). I'm very much a single-player gamer and liable to get tired out on derivative shooty bits. When I say FPS, for example, I mean something more along the lines of Bioshock, Resistance, and the upcoming Prey 2 or Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

I also love anime, but I'm going on too much. Hopefully you'll all get to learn more about me in moderation, rather than turning this into a cram session of my interests. Unless the special "Things Steven likes" Jeopardy! episode is tomorrow (spoilers: it's not), the former is the better method. Feel free to ask any questions, which I may or may not answer.

Oh, and I have a Twitter with no followers. Get in now, before it's cool, thereby making yourself all the more hip. (WARNING: I may use an excessive amount of insufferably cute smiley faces in Twitter posts)   read







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