Hi! It's been a while since I did one of these, so now I'm doing it! You should do it, too :)
I've interspersed this blog with some recent pics of my kids to hold your attention, and I won't waste any more time getting to the point: here are 10 (more) things you might not have known about me!
1. Every year, I seem to find that one game that absorbs all of my time, and I neglect all other games in the process
In 2007 it was Team Fortress 2. In 2008, it was Fallout 3. 2009's addiction was Dead Space. 2010? Far Cry 2. You get the point. Every year, one "big" game is released (with the exception of Dead Space, which just saw multiple playthroughs), and I seem to lose the better part of six months to it. The only problem with this? My backlog continues to grow in the meantime!
Last year, it was Titanfall that sucked up all my time, and this year (so far) has been taken over by Sunset Overdrive. I have a problem, people. Help me!
2. It's embarrassing how bad I am at fighting games
Like, laughably bad. Seriously, you've never played with someone as awful as me. No matter how hard I try, I just can't get the hang of them, and I find myself hiding in the corner at parties whenever Street Fighter or even Smash Bros. is brought out for fear of ridicule.
I blame it on not having access to any arcades growing up, but it could also be because I just plain suck at being a gamer. But either way, now you know. I hope you're happy.
3. Come to think of it, I should probably just have my gamer card revoked
Let's just keep the truth train a rollin'! I suck at Mega Man, I've never played a JRPG for more than a few minutes, and I have so many unfinished (and unstarted) games in my backlog I could have probably cured world hunger with all the money I've wasted. In summation: I just all-around suck.
4. That said, I did play my fair share of 90s PC shooters
I was a PC-only gamer for a lot of my teen years, which, in retrospect, may be partially to blame for my general lack of interest in JRPGs and inability to master fighting games. However, it also afforded me the opportunity to try just about every "classic" first-person shooter to come out of the 90s (and even some not-so-classics). Wolfenstein, DOOM, Blake Stone, Rise of the Triad, Quake, Unreal, Blood, Heretic, Hexen, Outlaws, SkyNET, System Shock, Aliens vs Predator, Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, SiN, Half-Life, No One Lives Forever, Deus Ex, Thief, Soldier of Fortune, Tresspasser, Redneck Rampage -- if it had a weapon in the middle of the screen and a character who grunted when he got shot, I was interested.
The 2000s were just as fruitful, though by then I had discovered the internet, so the majority of my time was spent playing Half-Life mods (some of which would later become full games, such as Team Fortress, Counter-Strike, and Day of Defeat). But I'll never forget huddling over a keyboard in my parents' living room with my brothers at my sides, shooting bad guys and picking up floating ammo packs. It was truly an amazing time to be alive.
5. I hate ice/roller skating
I DO NOT understand the appeal. And now I'm getting to the point where my kids are old enough that they want to go to the skating rink (yes, those still exist). Literally. The. Worst.
6. Sometimes, I'm not the best dad I could be...
...but I really, really try.
Patience is a difficult thing to learn. I feel like I was born with an overabundance of it, compared to most, but if there's one thing a child is good at, it's exploiting weakness. I have to check myself constantly to make sure that I am being as patient as possible when my child poops on the bathroom floor and is super proud of himself for "going to the bathroom", or when they want to be silly and I just want to go the fuck to sleep at night. It's a never-ending exercise in futility, and boy are my arms tired. But I'm trying, and I get a little bit better every day.
7. I'm scared to death of dying
OK, so maybe that's not entirely true. The actual act of dying doesn't actually phase me that much. The more appropriate thing to say would be, "I'm scared to death of being dead." The reason? My fucking kids, man. When I stop to think about how much it would SUCK for them to not have a dad any more, it breaks my heart. The other day, I was lost in thought (I'd call it "daydreaming" but it was really a nightmare), obsessing over the fact that, if my wife and Alice and I all died in a car accident, poor Henry would be left all by himself. Can you imagine, losing your dad, your mom, and your only sibling all at the same time? Talk about fucked up.
I wish I didn't think about these things, but for some reason I can't stop myself. This is especially true lately, as I've lost both my grandmas in the last two months, so there's been a lot of talk of death in and around my family. I really, really don't want to die.
8. I'm also scared of heights
Might as well just get this one out there, too: when there is a vast distance between me and the ground my stomach turns and I start sweating like nobody's business. Now, I'm not talking about being in a plane or something like that. This only happens if I am standing on the ledge of a building or whatever and happen to look down. And the funny thing is, this actually translates into videogames, too.
I still remember the time I climbed to the top of the tallest building in Assassin's Creed (for the achievement, obviously). The moment I got to the top and looked down, my stomach sank. And that wasn't just some bullshit Animus glitch, either, because it's happened to me in numerous games since (the most recent being Dying Light). It's both amazing and frightening to me that we've come so far with our games visually that my feeble mind is being tricked into getting scared. This is truly the uncanny valley, and I am standing right on the fucking ledge of it.
9. I've met some of my best friends here [read: it's about to get sappy in here]
I never thought I would be "that guy," whose only friends are avatars on a screen, but what do you know, that's exactly what I've become. And while I do still have some great IRL friends, some of the best people I've ever known have entered my life via the pages of this very website.
Here are just a few of the Dtoiders who have made an impact on me over the last six years:
Xzyliac - I know we don't talk much these days, but you were one of the first people I remember interacting with in the comments and blogs here, and a big part of the reason why I stuck around for as long as I did way back when. For that, I thank you <3
garethxxgod - You were the host of the very first FNF that I ever participated in, which means you are the reason I got to know the likes of AwesomeExMachina, Corduroy Turtle, Occams electric toothbrush, smurfee mcgee, SteezyXL, and many more. Oh my god what an impact that had on my formative years. Thank you, buddy :)
AwesomeExMachina - Man was I ever jealous of you back in the day. Your writing was top-notch, you were clever as hell during FNF, and you were universally loved by everyone who interacted with you. In short, I hated your fucking guts. But it was really a love-hate. And now it's just love <3
Elsa - Oh my god what the hell can you say about Elsa that hasn't been said by a billion other Dtoiders at this point? You are the voice of reason when everyone else is being unreasonable, an insightful blogger, and you can pinch an ass like nobody's business. Meeting you was one of the greatest joys of my first PAX, and I look forward to giving you and Monngoose both another hug someday soon :)
knutaf - You and [wife's name that will not be spoken due to privacy concerns] are without a doubt the most hospitable hosts I have ever had the pleasure of taking advantage of, and PAX simply would not be the same without your delicious cooking and gracious nature to look forward to every year. I've had many a wonderful memory playing games, drinking beers, and getting to know people like Qalamari, bbain, Fame Designer, LawofThermalDynamics, and so many more in your humble abode, and your friendship both on and offline means the world to me. Love you, buddy <3
Mike Martin - Getting to know you over the course of the last few years has been a true joy, and seeing you rise to the occasion during my absence over the past couple weeks has given me faith that I made the right decision when I asked you to join the community team. I look forward to continuing our friendship on and offline, and much like my butt, Dtoid is a better place for having you in it <3
Beccy Caine - Oh Beccy. You are one of the sweetest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and getting to know you better was one of the best parts of being on the community team. Between you, JJ, and Adam, I feel like I have an entire family across the pond, and I love you all so, so much.
Bill Platt - Your contributions to this website are immeasurable, as is your friendship. I am so happy for you and your family, and I can't wait for the day that we can finally meet in person <3
SuperMonk4Ever - God dammit, Monk.
Conor Elsea - In the beginning, I stole your job and you hated me. Fast forward four years, and you're one of my best friends. To this day, I still cherish that first real text exchange we had, where we discussed community matters for what seemed like hours. You're one of the best community members this site has ever had, and anyone who gets the chance to know you is better for it.
Corduroy Turtle - You are the man who made me into the boner king. What more can I say? How about this: you've always been there for me when I needed you, whether it was just to blow off some steam or wanted to talk about videogames. And for that, I love you. Can't wait until we see each other IRL again. It's been way too long.
Rob Morrow - I shouldn't have been surprised to see you call only seconds after I announced my departure; that's just the kind of guy you are. You have always been there for me, through thick and thin, and I am so blessed to have you in my life <3
Occams electric toothbrush - You are one of the kindest people I have ever known and I would not be half the person I am without you. Your constant support both in Dtoid matters and my personal life mean more than you will ever know, and I feel truly priveleged to have you in my life. Love you, brother.
Jim Sterling - I know we don't know each other well other than the occasional Facebook and Twitter interaction, but you have been and always will be a great inspiration to me. Getting to know you while on staff here and at PAX was a wonderful pleasure, and I will continue to follow your work for as long as you're putting it out <3
Hamza Aziz - I owe you and Niero (spoiler: he's next on the list!) so much, I don't even know where to begin. Your faith and trust in me gave me a confidence that I never knew I could have, and your friendship beyond Dtoid has been something I will never forget. Love you, man.
Niero - We -- none of us -- would be here without you, and we're all better for having been here. There's not much more I can say. You are the reason we all get to call this place home, and I love you.
And to Ali D, AlphaDeus, Altum Videtur, Andrew Benton, BeatBeat, bbain, Beyamor, Blastopotamus, CaimDark, CaptainBus, Char Aznable, Chris Carter, Cutie Honey, Digtastik, Dyganth, Epic-Kx, Everyday Legend, falsenipple, Fame Designer, Gennhaver, Gobun, GoofierBrute, Handy, Iceblight, Isay Isay, Jack Shadow, JimmyX, Jonathan Holmes, Jordan Devore, JJ McCallum, Karutomaru, KwikPwn, Lenigod, Maurice Tan, Max Scoville, Mikey Turvey, MrGobbldigook, MuddBstrd, Mxy, Nihil, Om Nom on Souls, OpiumHerz, PanaMusica, Qalamari, Roberto Plankton, Romo Metaxxas, Scield, ScottyG, Sexual Chocolate, smurfee mcgee, Stealth, SteezyXL, Steven Hansen, Stevil, StriderHoang, Swishiee, Tara Long, Toneman, usedtabe, vApathyv, Wolf Girl, x1251, Zodiac Eclipse, Zombie Orwell, and all the dozens of others I neglected to list either directly or by proxy: I love you all!
10. Hi, I'm mrandydixon and I used to be your community manager; ask me anything!
I know this might seem like a bit of a cop-out since it's not really a tenth thing, but that last one was such a drain I'm just not sure I have another "thing" in me. So let's do this instead!
I thought it might be fun to host a little AMA here in the comments, since I'm not only a recently-retired staff member, but one of the few who actually plans on sticking around long after my Dtoid email address expires. So what do you say? Got a burning question that you've always wanted to ask me but never felt comfortable doing due to my position? I'm just like you, now. Let 'em rip :)