There have been three formative moments in my longer-than-you’d-think career.
- Being hired as the San Francisco-based reporter for MTV News, and writing under Stephen Totilo, who’s now the editor of Kotaku. Totilo was a brutal editor, and he savaged my work—an editorial beating I needed. I was a curious writer prior to working with Totilo, and I came out of it a reporter.
- Getting laid off from MTV News when the financial crisis of 2008 rocked the world, and gambling on a questionable job as an editor for G4’s The Feed blog. It’s where I developed an interest in being on camera, and met my friend Adam Sessler. (We’d met before then, but we were just colleagues.)
- Leaving a job that was breaking me at EGM and coming to Giant Bomb, where I finally found the place that perfectly matched my personal and professional interests. It’s been a dream ever since then.
I was employed at G4 for about a year or so, but it was an incredible ride. It’s a place that gave the appearance of being this big organization, despite only a surprisingly small number of people making it all work. The ambition was huge, and made it a pleasure to come into work. The merging of G4’s video capabilities with its editorial staff never worked out, and remains a tragedy. One of the early secrets to 1UP’s success was its connection to EGM, and that connection just never came together for www.g4tv.com and X-Play.
G4 took a chance on me a couple of times, and I’ll never forget it.
Once, after most of the TV “talent” (the phrase that was used at G4 for those who blabbed in front of a camera) had gone home for Christmas, an opportunity arose to interview director James Cameron. This was just days before the opening of Avatar, and his connection to Ubisoft meant there would be a chance to talk to him for X-Play. No one from X-Play was around, though, and I hadn’t left for my annual trek back to the Midwest. X-Play producer Wade Beckett came up to me out of the blue, and asked if I wanted to interview Cameron. What does a person say in this situation? A person says yes.
I stressed about it all day. It wasn’t clear if Cameron would even show up, and if he did, there was every reason to believe it would only be for five or 10 minutes. By sheer chance, I was being given a shot to move up the ladder at G4, since I was considered one of the people on the web side capable of sitting in front of a camera every once and a while.
Cameron not only showed up, but he showed up a whole 45 minutes in advance, and we had a chance to casually talk about Halo, Aliens, Avatar, and a whole host of other topics. It was cut down to a video that only lasts a couple of minutes, but I didn’t fuck it up, and this lead to X-Play giving me the chance to be one of their E3 hosts. That was huge.
The result was a version of E3 that I’d never been a part of before. Waking up at 4:00 a.m. for a 10:00 a.m. shoot, learning what the hand signals are for bullshiting before a commercial, spending hours under hot lights—it was all stuff that would eventually prove vital when coming to Giant Bomb.
To steal a cliched phrase, I wouldn’t be where I am without G4. It was and is a great group, even if it never realized its full potential. Good luck to everyone who got bad news today. You’ll be fine. I don’t know what G4’s going to become, but thanks for being what you were.
“klepek, you are the biggest hipster i know. That why you are upset? glad someone close to you died, GB improved.”
I’m used to courting abuse on the Internet. It’s part of the job, though one that takes getting used to.
This guy (or girl, I suppose, but let’s be realistic) has every right to convey the underlying sentiment behind that comment. Since the passing of my father, I’ve been in Chicago, and haven’t been part of Giant Bomb’s regular video and audio features. Maybe he just wasn’t a fan of my opinions, voice, or mannerisms.
As a personality on the Internet, that’s a criticism I have to be prepared for. Some people are just not going to like me or how I act, and that’s 100% alright. You, as a reader, do not have to like or enjoy me, but as someone who trades on their personality, at some level, I have to respect your opinion on the matter. It’s my job to filter the useless criticisms.
I’ve adjusted my mannerisms in some small but important ways over some legitimate complaints (like, say, pronouncing ostensibly correctly, or interrupting people out of excitement), but there are limits, and being someone who is a reporter, a commentator, a critic, and often a mixture of all three means people are going to have an opinion about you, too. That opinion will not always be a good one, and more often than not, the people who want to share their opinions are the ones with unflattering ones. I’m also of the mindset that if nobody dislike you, you aren’t doing your job right.
Again, that’s okay. It has to be okay. You only get better with criticism, and even someone who is blasting you with hateful nonsense is, I suspect, doing so from a place of heartfelt critique, even if their way of expressing it ends up muddying their point, and prompts a reaction that dilutes it.
One of the first things I tell young writers is to read everything people write about them. Don’t ignore it—bathe in it. The good, the bad, the downright awful. It’s the only way to get stronger, and you’ll come out of the experience better for it, tougher for it. Plus, you eventually realize people aren’t that creative with their lines of attack, and you’ll soon recognize when strings of useful words are written down. I’m only 27-years-old, but I’ve been doing this long enough to jokingly be a “veteran,” and still read all I can.
If that sounds a bit like the job of a game designer shifting through player feedback, you’re right. It’s roughly the same, it just means you’re trying to parse useful thoughts from someone saying you suck. This process doesn’t work for everyone, and I’ve long considered that maybe the entire approach is one that’s deeply flawed, in which you internalize a set of thoughts and beliefs that ends up deceptively muffling you.
I’m a work-in-progress, though, and so is my work.
Does this mean we shouldn’t shame those who act so crass and inappropriate? Of course not. That’s part of the beauty and danger of the Internet age, and these kinds of posts have a useful function for society. That said, please don’t Internet Detective this guy. I only mentioned his comment to make a larger point.
Nothing about the above comment gets under my skin. I decided to share it on Twitter not to disgrace the person behind it, but to call attention to its patent absurdity. I mean, who the hell says that? People have said some shitty things about me on the Internet, but that one takes the crap cake. They’d have to do something a whole hell of a lot worse to get a real reaction out of me.
Please don’t try, though.
(Update: The person in question has since apologized.)
LOST + Dead Island = this
I wanted to share a few quotes from readers who have submitted their stories about piracy—sometimes for, sometimes against—and one common thread I found: Steam.
“I’ll admit that (maybe…) I pirated a game once (As I might have with 1 movie, for the same reason). The sole reason was that I couldn’t find it for sale anywhere in Australia, and it wasn’t available on Steam. I couldn’t easily find an import copy either. Pirating looked like my only option to play the game. I did feel pretty bad about it and luckily managed to buy the game when I was visiting overseas a little while back. So, it made me feel better about it. Thank goodness Steam has such a large catalogue now and it’s so much cheaper than in stores.”
“The last one was Doom 3 when it leaked before launch. Before that, I downloaded whatever I pleased and didn’t feel remorseful, but for some reason my reasonable brain kicked in and I felt horrible when I played the game. Maybe it was the fact that the game put me on edge, but that’s when I stopped pirating. Years later, I own all the games I pirated (even if I never played them, thanks in part to Steam sales) and all the music I also stole in my youth. Honestly, it’s like a weight was hoisted from my shoulders. Conscience + 1, I suppose.”
I probably received at least a dozen or so responses that quoted (and thanked) Steam.
Piracy isn’t new to games, but I’m currently doing research for an upcoming EGMi piece sporting a hopefully refreshing angle on the subject (look for it online in a few weeks), but I couldn’t help but chuckle at some of the descriptions attached to various torrents.
Look at this one, part of the freshly minted Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days for PC torrent:
1. Unrar. 2. Burn or mount the image. 3. Install the game. 4. Copy over the cracked content. 5. Play the game. 6. Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT!
It’s as if Eidos and IO Interactive didn’t realize a PC demo at the end of July!
There are currently 5,518 people downloading at least one torrent of Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, according to the leeching (read: downloading) numbers attached to a popular torrenting site.
The kicker? Comments like these, from a guy named gamesforfree. “offline Co-op VERY GOOD , Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT .”
Well, that’s one way to look at it.
I’m also shocked some torrenting sites actually allow you to “like” a torrent and send that as a status update to your Facebook profile. Who’s dumb enough to do that?
Amazing video game-inspired posters from Justin Russo. Vote for BioShock!
Sterling McGarvey sat down to pick my brain about the iPad.