From PAX Prime 2010, one of my all-time favorite Destructoid group photos
Yesterday was officially my last day at Destructoid.
I've been happy and proud to call this place my Internet home for the past four-plus years. I still remember writing my first post -- impressions of the demo for MLB 08: The Show -- in my dorm room. It heralded the arrival of serious sports gaming coverage on Destructoid, and although some of the words make me wince now, I remain proud of it because it was something unique on this site, and because it reflected a major part of who I am and the kinds of pieces I like to write. In a different way, my most recent and final Destructoid article -- a summary of Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 tech demo -- was also very much a "Samit post," as Jordan likes to call them.
In the 1,569 days -- that's 4 years, 3 months, and 18 days -- from February 22, 2008, through June 8, 2012, I brought Destructoid readers coverage of sports games, simulation and arcade; editorial and on-camera content; on-the-ground coverage from E3, PAX Prime, and PAX East; a talking-head appearance on national television; incredible stories on over 60 weekly appearances on Podtoid; and previews of all kinds of games from press events in New York. I've loved it all.
But most of all, I've loved the people, whether they're staff, behind-the-scenes, or readers. Destructoid has always felt unique and special because of its community, and I don't know any other website like this -- where writers form real-life friendships with readers, whether local or across the country. I know a lot of Destructoid readers by name; that comes from spending time with them at events like NARPs and PAX, through groups like Dtoid New York.
I will miss Destructoid's people the most, and I will miss working with them. I can't yet say where I'm going from here, but if you keep up with me on Twitter, you'll find out very soon. You can at least rest assured that I'm staying in the gaming industry.
I don't want to list specific people here, because I'm sure I'll forget someone, so I'll just say this: I want to thank...
(A) all of my Destructoid co-workers, both past and present, for making this awesome job even better, and for helping me to become the best writer I can be; and
(B) anyone who has ever read, commented on, linked, and/or responded to something I've done here -- whether it was an article, a podcast, a photo, or something else -- for making me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile.
Keep being awesome, Destructoid. I'll try to do the same now that I'm gone.
Hey, look, it's a c-blog from me -- for the first time in a year!
If you follow me on Twitter, you witnessed some amazing generosity today on the part of the co-hosts of Rebel FM (a podcast that you should already have been listening to). It's generosity that, by the way, I have done nothing to deserve (except purposely prevent myself from getting excited about Xbox 360 games because I didn't own the console). I met the three guys -- Arthur Gies, Anthony Gallegos, and Tyler Barber -- at PAX 2009. I watched them speak with countless fans and RFM listeners at a loud, hot (temperature-wise) get-together at GameWorks, never complaining or looking like they were having anything but a wonderful time.
That's because they're three of the nicest guys on the planet. You know how I know? Because of the following story. Yesterday evening, Arthur contacted me to ask for my address; he told me a package would be arriving today, so I should "FUCKING BE THERE TO ACCEPT IT." But he wouldn't tell me what was in the box, and I became particularly curious when the FedEx tracking information told me that it weighed 14 pounds.
This is what arrived at my house around 11 AM today:
And this is what was inside it:
Oh, and here's my feeble attempt to put my feelings into words.
Arthur, Anthony, and Tyler: I cannot begin to thank you enough for this. I'm a writer, so you'd think I'd be able to express my gratitude somehow, but I'm failing miserably. So…thank you.
And while I'm at it, I'd also like to sincerely thank everyone else who has sent me a gaming gift through the web recently. I've lost count of the number of games that people have gifted to me on Steam: Portal, BioShock, Torchlight... the list goes on and on, and again, I feel terribly undeserving of being showered with gifts. I write for a videogame website -- that's all, you know?
So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thanks for reading my work on Destructoid; thanks for following me on Twitter; thanks for listening to my rambling incoherence on Podtoid; and thanks for giving me games (and now, an entire gaming console!) because I don't have the money to buy them myself and you want me to experience them. I appreciate all of it tremendously.
I'm not gonna lie -- I kinda didn't want to do one of these blogs. I've been tagged by at least four different people on Facebook for one of those goddamn "25 things" notes, and I flat-out refuse to do one. But since this is only 10 things, I'll make a special exception for you, the Destructoid Community. And yes, I know I'm late to the party, but I wasn't finished with this last night. Sue me.
Obviously, some of you may already know one or more of the following facts about me, but that's just the way the cookie crumbles. Sorry.
1) Before I became an editor here at Destructoid, I went by 'BrOnXbOmBr21' on the site (and pretty much everywhere else on the internet). In fact, that's my username on the forums. I came up with it when I was in tenth grade. Here's what it comes from: I'm a huge New York Yankees fan, and the team's nickname is "the Bronx Bombers." As for the number, well, on the Yankees of the mid- to late-nineties, right fielder Paul O'Neill was one of my favorite players; his number was 21. I have no idea why I decided to go with the ridiculous alternate capitalization -- it's so childish -- but now, I can type "BrOnXbOmBr21" unbelievably quickly, since I've been doing it for seven years or so.
2) I hope this doesn't come off as pompous, but ... I've always been pretty smart. I started reading at a rather young age, and for most of my early years (like, all through elementary school), I didn't have to try very hard to do well. Unfortunately, that had the undesirable side effect of making me quite lazy -- and let me tell you, there comes a time when you simply can't just get straight As anymore without studying. Not taking scholastic success for granted is a damn hard lesson to learn.
3) I love to read. When I was younger, I devoured books -- I'd read whatever I could get my hands on, and I was the kind of kid who'd secretly be reading under the covers with a flashlight well after his parents told him to go to bed (their stern warnings of "you'll ruin your eyes" had no effect). Sadly, I don't spend nearly as much time with books as I used to -- college took away all the leisure time I had for books, and frankly, when you're already doing a ton of reading for school, you don't want to (or have the energy to) read things for pleasure. I'm hoping to rectify that this year.
4) This one is sort of intertwined with #s 2 and 3. I have a tremendous thirst for knowledge, which is why I still read a lot (it's just that nowadays, most of my reading is done on a computer screen, with the medium being the internet instead of books). I'm the kind of guy who can spend an hour on Wikipedia just browsing and learning about new things (whether that's Americanhistory, physics, or classic rock). It seems obvious that my zeal for reading -- especially at an early age -- is why I became so good with English and its proper usage. I didn't become great at spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc., through English class or anything; I just read a lot. But because I do like to know things, I'm the kind of person who will make a note if he sees a word he doesn't know in something he's reading, and then look it up later. That's why I have a sizable vocabulary ... or at least I like to think so, anyway.
5) Like many of my colleagues, I always dreamed of a job in the videogame industry. But I never thought it would happen -- mostly because I consider myself a rather mediocre writer. Knowing the ins and outs of the English doesn't magically make you a good writer; I fear that it's one of those things that's innate (or if it isn't a natural thing, then it's certainly something that's very hard to coax out of someone or teach). My writing may not have comma splices, but I can't see it ever being as engaging (or entertaining, for that matter) as the work of any number of the Destructoid editors -- especially because I tend to be very verbose. But I've begun to come to grips with that.
6) I'm a very musical person. My mom is a musician -- she sings and plays the harmonium -- so I guess that's where I got that from. I've been singing since I was a little kid, I took piano lessons for five years or so, and I've been "playing" guitar for the past six or seven years (I put the word in quotes because I don't really play my guitar all that often). Don't get me wrong -- I'm no naia-the-gamer (that woman is talented!) -- but I've never taken any guitar lessons, and I was always able to figure things out (on both piano and guitar) by ear. I think I have some characteristics of what's commonly referred to as "perfect pitch", which certainly helps. For example, I can often hear pitches and identify them without any external reference (like, I'll hear a bell ring, and be able to say, "That sounds like a D to me"). And I can produce notes without, say, a pitch pipe (ask me to hum a C, for example, and I'll do it easily). But of course, my laziness (see #2) prevented me from ever getting good enough to do anything with my musical-ness; when I was taking piano lessons, the most common thing my teachers would say to my mom was something like, "Samit has a lot of natural talent for music -- he could be really good if he just practiced for more than fifteen minutes a week." Oh well.
7) I'm 22, and so far, I've managed to escape even mildly serious injuries. I've never broken, ruptured, torn, fractured, or even sprained any bones/joints/organs/ligaments -- and it's not like I always sat inside playing video games. When I was younger -- like, up to the last two years or so of high school -- I spent a lot of time playing sports outside with neighbors. I played Little League baseball for ten years (age 5 to age 14), I used to ride my bike everywhere, I'd play basketball at the park or throw a football around -- and I still managed to escape unscathed.
8) I'm very introverted. I didn't really have any friends from grade school all the way through to the beginning of high school; I was picked on by my classmates a lot -- usually for my nerdiness, I guess, but also because I was (and still am, in many ways) kind of an awkward kid. Sure, I have friends now, but that's the kind of stuff that stays with you forever, and while I was always shy to begin with, the teasing caused me to retreat into my shell and stay there for longer than I would have liked to.
9) The counterbalancing force to my laziness is that I'm something of a perfectionist. I'm the kind of person who doesn't believe in half-assing things -- I'm one of those "if you're going to do it, then do it right" people. But I'm also slow when it comes to getting things done, so while I might craft a great finished product, it'll take me forever to do so. For example, I don't know how Nick and Jim bang out news articles in 10 or 15 minutes. Usually, even a minor news article will take me half an hour, at minimum -- but of course, the fact that I'm a huge procrastinator factors into that. I was always amazed how my friends who were in AP English in high school could just crap out essays in twenty minutes and get good grades on them -- I'm an especially slow writer.
10) I watch an absurd amount of television -- video games aside, I probably spend most of my free time watching TV. In fact, I don't usually hang out with my friends on weeknights, because there's almost always a show to watch. For example, I watched House at 8 PM tonight, followed by 24! I'm also really "into" other forms of media -- namely, music and movies -- and I've got rather specific tastes. I'm really interested in the "nuts and bolts" of filming -- for example, I always stay through the end credits when I see a film in the theater, just because I want to see stuff like the filming locations and the music used in the movie.
Hey, everybody. I've already mentioned the following notes to many people: if you're an editor, you've seen the first announcement, and if you're on the community emailer, you've already seen the second one. Regardless, I wanted to keep everyone in the loop, so here goes...
Trip to India
Tomorrow, July 10th, my family and I are going on a vacation to the motherland. We'll be there for almost four weeks; I'll be back in the States on Tuesday, August 5th. I've been looking forward to this trip for a while, and I know it's going to be awesome. I haven't been back in six years, and most of my family resides there, so I'm sure there are going to be plenty of the requisite "My, how you've grown/changed" exchanges. I just hope I don't die of heatstroke or drown in a monsoon or something -- who would bring you updates on Madden NFL 09 then?
We'll be flying into New Delhi and staying there for four days, and then we'll head "home" to Kolkata, which is where my parents grew up and I was born. I don't yet know what the "internet situation," as I like to call it, is going to be like in India. When we went in the summer of 2002, I only was able to check my email a few times during the trip at "internet cafes" (they're pretty ubiquitous, but at the age of 15, I wasn't quite brave enough to strike out on my own in Kolkata; there are over 4.5 million inhabitants in the city proper, and over 14.5 million in the metro area). So I'm likely going to be away from Destructoid for the duration of my trip. I think you guys'll manage; I'm more worried about myself. I expect to be pining for Dtoid from the moment I get on the plane.
Now, for my second notice, which you could call a megaton announcement...
SAMIT SARKAR CONFIRMED FOR PAX!!!
I hope to see all of you there! From what I've heard, there will be Rapetraps™ galore...
Congratulations on winning the contest! I was born in 1986, so the number in my head this time was 86. The closest was manta, who guessed 52; the runner-up, to whom mix will donate his coupon code, was...
He guessed 34. So manta, please send me a PM or email (samit <dot> sarkar <at> gmail <dot> com), and I’ll pass along the coupon code. As for you, BahamutZero...you’re on your own, buddy; go bother mix about it by PMing him — his forum username is “Mixmastaspig”.
Seriously, though: I really appreciate you donating your coupon code to the second-place guesser, mix. Let me know if you want to do something similar in the future.
To everyone else: thanks for playing, and better luck next time. But who knows? Maybe next time, I’ll get a coupon for a game I actually want to buy.