9 years. That’s almost David Bowie’s Five Years twice in a row. I haven’t been here all 9. Lordy, I can’t remember how long I’ve been here. 5 years? 4? Maybe 6? Jesus, time flies and the memories and moments blend together until only the highs and lows remain clear. But oh the highs…this place has given me so much. More than I could ever put into words, really. I’m not articulate or clever enough to do what’s in my heart for this place justice. I can talk about people though. I mean, that’s why we are all here. The people make this place. The staff, the community. This is supposed to be a top 9 but that number seems cruelly small. Dozens of people, some still here and some gone have made this place home for me. What you see below is just a shard from the Dark Crystal that is my mind.
- SteezyXL – For me, Steezy represented the new generation of gamers. He was younger than me. He was quicker than me. He was stronger. He knew things. Combos. Codes. The secret language of cats. He was supernaturally talented at most games we played together. I grew accustomed to losing to him. I took solace knowing that as the sun set on skills (cough cough) as a gamer his sun shone brighter and brighter. To top it all off, he was a fantastically kind and friendly guy. If I am the T-800 terminator robot which, lets be honest here, I am then Steezy is the T-1000. Only instead of trying to kill each other we played Halo and Marvel vs Capcom 3. I take solace in knowing that people like Steezy are part of the new generation of gamers.
- Beyamor – Most of you probably don’t remember Beyamor. He’s been gone a while now from Destructoid but I remember him very well. He was strange and lovely and kind and reading his words and talking to him made me feel like I was in the presence of someone who would make this world better. Also, I had the pleasure of meeting him at PAX a few years back and home skillet was fucking handsome. Think of an L.L. Bean catalog model with a touch of shyness and a nerd. Beyamor inspired me to dream bigger and laugh harder. I’ll always be thankful to him for that.
- Corduroy Turtle – I remember the first time I heard Corduroy’s voice. My first impression was that this guy thought I was full of shit. His voice was deep and even and I felt it cutting through my weird jokes and quietly smirking at me. Such is the nature of the human brain and playing video games with relative strangers. Corduroy is quiet but in a thoughtful way. He doesn’t waste words. I always respected that about him. His Buy It Report blogs are fucking brilliant and I highly recommend that y’all look them up and feel the beauty. Cord Turt (as I never call him) is my friend. A genuine bonafide friend the way friends should be with deep laughter and comfortable silences and being happy you know this person exists in the same world as you do.
- Elsa – When I met Elsa at PAX, I felt like I was meeting a rock star. She was delightful and graceful and had the warmest smile. Her and her husband blended seamlessly with the crowd of eager millennials all clamoring around kiosks and wearing carefully selected pop culture t-shirts. They were thriving. I have seen Elsa wade into a comment section that, to put it lightly, was a clusterfuck and handle it with an ease and intelligence that I can only hope to acquire as I move through life. I look up to Elsa as a moderator and as a Dtoider. I respect her. Simply put, she’s the best of us and her presence here makes Destrutoid a better place.
- Andy Dixon – Randall Emery Avery Ivory Livery Dag Nasty Skip-bo Alijouwan Mercedes Dixon. He’s the glue here. He works so hard. So fucking hard. Having been on both sides of the fence now with Destructoid and seeing how the sausage is made, I can’t even imagine how he does it. A wife, 2 kids a job and the community here. It’s obviously a labor of love. But I like to think that he gets it back too. I always wanted a brother or sister close to my own age. The ones I have are all significantly older than me. While I adore them, I can’t share in their lives the way I could with someone closer to my own age. I never got that sibling. But I did get Andy. You all know Andy. We all love Andy. Pink bath robe. I will never see another pink bath robe without thinking of Andy Dixon. Now you may be asking yourself, “Occams, how many pink bath robes will you see throughout the course of your life?”
Many, many pink bath robes.
- Knutaf – Ever met someone who was so kind and nice that you suspected that when no one was around they jerked off to footage of the twin towers collapsing? That’s Knutaf. Only when no one is around he plays Dark Souls or Geometry Wars and drinks cranberry juice. Knutaf is maybe the nicest human being I have ever met. Being around him makes you feel lighter. His enthusiasm and attitude and just raw compassion for other people makes you feel like a fraud with your pessimism and cynicism. Like we all took the easy way out and Knutaf is living a real life made of pure joy. When I die and go to that great Lisa Frank fuck palace in the sky, I fully expect Knutaf to be there waiting with an enthusiastic, "Yeah, dawg!”.
- Garethxxgod – Gareth is sorta the person who made me go from liking this place to loving it with everything I have. He’s not here anymore but back in the day, he was really into playing online with folks and interacting. So much so, in fact, that one night I took a big step in my personal development and joined him on Xbox Live for a game. Now you have to understand that I had never, ever done this before. The thought of it was terrifying to me. To talk to someone over Xbox Live and play a video game with them and be myself? Sounds exhausting.
But with Gareth it never was. He was kind and funny. Sensitive and raunchy and loved horror movies and was just a swell guy. He never judged me even when I was awkward trying to figure out how to be myself online and had the best laugh. I miss talking to Gareth. I don’t think he ever knew just how much he helped me. I was so fortunate to be able to walk beside him for a bit.
- Stevil – Remember that scene in Time Cop where Ron Silver meets other Ron Silver and they touch and melt into a screaming goo pile? That is Stevil and I. When I first started reading his stuff and interacting with him, I was blown away. He picked up on all my references and served his own right up. He wrote so well. Like a writer. There was passion, structure, personality. When Stevil wrote something he put himself out there. I loved it. And now he’s back. Stephen, eh? He’ll always be Stevil to me. In a better world I would drink reasonably priced beer and just shoot the shit with him for hours. I feel like he could easily make me piss myself with laughter and I love that about him.
- Alphadeus – Ever met someone gifted? Like not just good at something but truly gifted? I did when I heard Alpha play piano. Destructoid’s resident muse and awesome human being has given us the gift of his songs for a while now. He created albums, that’s albums plural of songs inspired by community members here. He composed a song for me. Let me repeat that: he composed a song for me. I don’t even know how to respond to that. What a gift. What a timeless, beautiful, cherished thing that is. I’d trade all the art books in Japan for that song. It means the world to me and Alpha did it not for a commission or the praise but out of the kindness of his heart. All of you should go check out his Youtube channel and just listen to what he creates. Its poetry in my ears and in my heart. I can never repay Alpha for the kindness of my song. I just feel so honored to be a part of his creativity.
These are 9 people who have done much to make Destructoid my home. That's not to say that these are the 9 people or the top 9. I couldn't do a top 9. It would be too difficult. There are so many people here who make me smile and feel like I truly belong. The staff deserves all our love. They give us the digital playground where we build our sand castles. Without them, this place would be paint without a canvas. Then the community here, lordy, so many folks who have reached out and touched my heart without even knowing it. From posting that just perfect gif in response to an article to sharing a deep part of themselves, its all meant so much to me.
Am I supposed to list all of you now? I have these names running through my head. So many of you. But I'm afraid to leave someone out. I'm afraid you would think that you didn't make me laugh or tear up or want to help and give you a hug or face my fears too. Because you did. So many of you. This place is a part of me. Of my heart. Its changed who I am. Me. The person behind the words. The man behind the keyboard, with all his hopes and dreams and flaws and farts and loves and failures, Destructoid has changed him into something so much better than he was before he came here.
Thank you for that. All of you. Every Goddamn last one of you. You are more than words on a screen to me. Thank you, forever and ever. I wish all of you nothing but love and happiness and peace. Here's to Destructoid and another 9 years.
- Sent from my Lisa Frank Dungeon
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