Four years. Four years this site will have existed when March 16 arrives, if you can believe that. Personally, it still feels like a lucid dream, even after all this time has passed. I don't think I have ever really taken the time to talk about what it's like to work here on a deeper level.
Knowing full well how much this web site means to me, that's a crying shame, which is why I'm eager to make amends. I wanted to give y'all a closer look at what my time here has been like, as well as some behind-the-scenes coverage, including some "new" photos you likely haven't seen before.
Think of this as the warm-up for Niero's post next Tuesday. If you read last year's article, you know to expect incredible things from our robot-in-chief.
Yes, this is a total lovefest
This month marks four years of Destructoid, three and a half of which I've been a part of the dream team. As the youngest person on staff, I get to thinking that I'm probably not the best person to be dishing out the life lessons.
But then I punch myself in the face, remember that I'm getting paid to do something I adore, and snap out of it. Something I actively think about all day and late into the night. Something I get to do with my second family on a daily basis. Something I feel extremely lucky to belong to.
All that, and it didn't take me twenty years of actively searching to find. Truly I am blessed, or was one helluva saint in my past life and am now reincarnated as some dude with a red beard. The dude most certainly abides, my friends.
With literally no idea how to organize this or what to specifically talk about, this is going to come off as a mix of everything I think you might give a damn about. But that's okay, right? For the older site members, this is a chance to reminisce about the good ol' times. For the new guys, it's a fantastic opportunity to see why we are the way we are nowadays.
Destructoid didn't become a massive hit overnight. We've made plenty of mistakes, no question; I like to think we go out of our way to correct them whenever possible. Live and learn, as they tend to say. "How to start a successful Internet business" isn't exactly a college course you can take, and even if you could, there's simply no way it would properly prepare you for what lies ahead.
I want to steal your job, yo
It seems the number-one question people have for fancy Internet types is, "How did you land the gig?" I'm so not the person to answer that. Because for me, everything happened by chance. Random luck, you could say. During high school, I talked videogames with my friends constantly. I wasn't passionate about writing -- quite the opposite, actually -- but I was passionate enough about videogames to start up a crummy Blogspot blog.
That lasted for a good year or so, and then, I stumbled across Destructoid. The site was only a few months old, and people were only just discovering its offbeat, often hilarious stories that couldn't be seen anywhere else on the 'net; no other sites were willing to brave the dark trenches of the Web to find the super-obscure stories. It was love at first sight. Really, it was.
Flash-forward a couple of months later to September 2006. I had commented enough on the site to be recognizable by name, and somehow worked up just enough confidence to send in a "hey, you guys are swell and I'd love to help out" email. Make no mistake, I had only the most basic understanding of grammar and little to no rhythm at the time. I sucked ... but everyone has to start somewhere.
Apparently, potential was found in me (hah, the fools!), although you have to understand that back in those days, we were paid in <3s. Back then, we did it for the thrill of having total strangers hear what we had to say about games. Back then, we were all learning as we went, and even today, we're still very much learning as we go. So no, simply sending an email saying how much you would love to work for an established Web site probably won't fly these days.
The lesson here is this: it never hurts to try. You'll never know when luck, faith, or whatever you want to call it happens to be on your side until after the fact, so go for it like it's your last day alive and you've got literally nothing to lose.
That said, please have semi-realistic expectations, otherwise you're setting yourself up for regularly scheduled disappointment. Be willing to start somewhere small, and then work your way up to much loftier goals.
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3
As someone who spends a ridiculous amount of time online, I'm always wondering what my favorite Web sites are like in person, on a daily basis. Assuming you too think about these things late at night, I thought I'd return the favor. Here's an inside look at what it's like to work for team Destructoid: a collection of memories brought to you by the fine archiving skills of Gmail and Campfire.
First, a typical email from Chad to brighten your day:
I love you guys!
I am at the Jeep dealership right now getting my oil changed and I just thought it was a good time to tell you all how much I love you.
Also, they just played "Caribbean Queen" over the speakers here and it made me think of Nick and Dale.
Only one <3? That's not the Chad I know. Here's a more accurate email:
Attachment: "I'm a horse, bitches!.jpg"
Now that's more like it. Never change. Ever.
Living the dream. Almost
I strongly believe that a company is only as good as its corporate culture, something I think we represent out the wazoo, hence me having enough content to write this article in the first place.
We are not only allowed to be our crazy selves one hundred percent of the time -- we're actively encouraged to do exactly that. This is an integral part of turning an otherwise fun job into something so much more memorable. We aren't "co-workers," we're "family." We all take a creepy level of interest in each other's personal lives like only a tightly-knit family can.
Since most of us at Destructoid don't work under the same roof, we use an Internet chat program to correspond throughout the day -- frankly, I can't believe any work gets done around here. More than anything else, it's just an excuse to post funny pics that would get most people fired on the spot.
If we ever do get to the point where we can have a fancy-ass office in which we can all work together, then we'll know we've really made it -- at least, that's how I see it. That's my motivation. On the flip side, if such a thing were to occur, part of me thinks the people in the next building over would call the police on us for having way too much fun.
The following is representative of an average work day around here, minus the honest-to-goodness porn and scary NSFW pictures we inadvertently find while Google image searching for potential header images:
I like how anyone not familiar with Electro Lemon won't get this; actually, no one will get this. Period.
Brad is all about getting it on in Dragon Age.
Ever wonder what we do when nothing interesting is happening news-wise? There you go.
We've only just recently stopped quoting the critically-acclaimed masterpiece Jurassic: The Hunted.
Other notable moments in Destructoid history
This is the part where I run out of things to gush about, but still want to continue writing. Honestly, this is by no means a comprehensive list or anything. It's more like a list of stories I stumbled across at 2 AM that made me smile like a smug idiot:
There are hundreds more like these, but I'm running out of time. Please, by all means, post your own favorite memories in the comments. I'll promise to love you forever and ever if you do.
And finally, if the overwhelmingly awesome nature of these great memories hasn't melted your face off Raiders of the Lost Ark-style, and I didn't scare you off with my admittedly personal tales, please hit up the gallery below.
It's a seemingly random collection of pictures I've obtained via email, chat, and from the community that sum up what this fine establishment is about.