Saying Farewell to My QGN Family
I truly thought this post would be difficult for me to write. It’s one of those things where people typically say, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” or something like that. But really, this isn’t very difficult, but I certainly don’t mean that as a slight.
I am stepping down from my position of Assistant News Director and writer for the Quest Gaming Network as of the end of April (approximately). I’ve been here since August of 2012, less than a month before my second daughter, Macy, was born. My first article was “okay” at best, and it’s a miracle Bradford let me come back and keep writing after that. But I’m so extremely grateful that he did, because it changed my life.
I said this decision wasn’t difficult, and let me explain, in very long form, why.
The itch to write about video games has been inside me ever since I began writing weekly newsletters for the fantasy NBA Live seasons my two friends and I played back in the early-to-mid 90s. We would draft our own teams and insert the players on the game’s custom teams: the Jammers, the Slammers, and the Blockers. We were so invested in our teams that we had weekly meetings, newsletters, debates, and intense arguing sessions. Oh, the life of middle schoolers….
I knew back then that I wanted to write about video games, but in those days, people didn’t write about games for money, or if they did, it wasn’t something you ever thought was really possible. It wasn’t until I discovered QGN that the fire to write was lit inside me again. I contacted QGN, not asking to write, but just letting the guys know how much I loved the shows, and that I hoped to make it in the industry someday. He’s no longer with the network, but I have to give Joe Wilson some major credit for responding to that email and giving me my first shot. Thank you, Wigit.
After that first article I was given the opportunity to write almost daily, including covering any and all news that happened to come up for Diablo and the Diablo Off the Record show. What happened next is pure QGN lore that will go down in history forever. Being the twerpy derp that I am, I messaged David Adams in-game in Diablo saying, “Hey Dave! I’m the new Diablo Off the Record writer! Looking forward to working with you!” What followed was a series of confused messages from Dave, and then an extended period of silence, during which I was convinced I’d eternally pissed off the pony-tailed beast.
And I had.
I later learned that Dave misunderstood what I had said to mean the network brought in someone to write the show for him, and understandably, he was not happy about it! Eventually we got it all cleared up, but to this day I regret the fanboy-ish first steps I took with the network.
QGN People are People, Too
So here’s some advice for future QGN employees: I know you’ll be excited to work with these guys and gals, and you should be. It’s natural to feel a little giddy that first time you take a Skype call from Evarwyn or Shank or Liz or whoever it may be. But…. just chill. Be cool. These people are just like you, they just happen to have microphones in front of their faces. Don’t be a geeky fanboy and freak out when you meet them. Be cool… They put their pants on one leg at a time… well actually that’s not true, because most of them don’t wear pants.
Now that’s not to say that the people at QGN aren’t WORTH freaking out over, because they absolutely are! Every time I get a text from Evarwyn or Liz or Lou or Dave, I still wonder how I got so lucky. I have actually become friends with the people I looked up to as heroes for their work on Skyrim-Diablo-Star Wars-etc Off the Record. These people are awesome. They are welcoming. They are real. And they just want to be your friend.
I swear I won’t cry…Ok maybe just a little
But on top of all that, all the friendships I have made in my 20 months with the network, I have to say thank you specifically to two people who have become incredible friends. Bradford and Shank, the core of the writing team and the two people I have spoken to more than any of my other friends in the last couple years, you guys rock. Shank, whether it’s freaking out over our shared wet dream of The Witcher 3, putting together a show every week I am extremely proud of in Totally Heroes, or texting back and forth about various games or technology, it’s awesome sharing my day with you. I hope the texting will continue, and I look forward to you continuing what I think is one of the best video series in the gaming industry, Shank’s Spiel. Keep on pushing the norms of video game journalism and holding the mainstream media outlets to your high standards. Your passion for tech and your refusal to compromise on what you want out of games is awesome, and I respect you for it.
And Bradford…. I don’t think there’s anything I can say but (channel your best Mercer Frey voice), “Bradford.”
Ok, there’s clearly more to say than that. Dude, you have become one of my best friends. From my awkward early days as a writer for the network, to E3 2013 (what I feel is one of the highlights of my life), we’ve been through a lot together. We’ve had many conversations about the direction we felt the news team needed to go, we talked about games, movies, and music, and we talked about life. That week we spent in Los Angeles covering E3 will be something I remember forever. For the first time I felt validated as a writer, like all the work we were doing was paying off and actually taking us somewhere. We got to play games no one had even heard of before, we got to see behind closed doors footage of The Witcher 3, and we wrote some truly incredible pieces that week. I’ll forever be proud of what we accomplished there. And for your friendship, I will never be able to thank you enough.
Don’t forget the Paladin
I also need to give a special thank you to Evarwyn for standing by me through all of this as well. I started working closely with him in the first round of the SWTOR Reforged days, and it was a blast. More recently he did some voiceover work for my Progressing the Metal radio show, and it’s freaking awesome. Dude, you need to get into the voiceover business! Thank you for all you’ve done for me, and for a great week at PAX Prime last year. We both got to meet some of our industry heroes, and we both got to carry bags. That was…. awesome (photo of me with my bag not shown to protect the innocent – actually I just can’t find it, I wanted to post it). You’re the man, and… I’m sorry, I don’t care how many times I see your real name, I can’t stop calling you Evarwyn. You are a real-life Paladin, and you should embrace it. You will forever be Evarwyn the Paladin to me. I bow to you sir.
Most importantly, thank you to the fans
And to the fans of QGN, whether you were reading my articles, listening to Totally Heroes, watching me awkwardly stream games (anyone else remember the girly screams when I played Outlast?) , following me on Twitter, or outright ignoring me, thank you for being there. Thank you for supporting this network, its shows, and its websites. Without you guys nothing I’ve written in this article would have ever been possible. I truly mean it when I say I consider you all my friends. You’re the best.
So what’s next? Am I giving up completely on the dream and riding off into the sunset? Well…yes actually. But perhaps not in the way that it sounds. As I mentioned, I had a daughter back in 2012, and I have a 5-year-old as well. So as you can imagine, my life is pretty chaotic. I work 40 hours, my wife works three jobs, and my kids are amazing. When I come home from work all I want to do is hang out with my family and try to relax. I don’t want, nor do I have time after work, to play, talk about, or write about video games. And by the time I get the kids to bed at night it’s close to 9:00 and I’m freaking exhausted. And not just from the kids, but from life in general. I don’t exercise like I should, so my energy level has plummeted. Things at work are far from perfect, and that can suck the life out of me sometimes. Throw all of these things together and the passion, desire, and ability to write interesting, thought provoking articles is suddenly hard to summon. So I stumble downstairs and try to play a game for a little bit, but I usually end up staring blankly at the screen within an hour or two, switch it off, crawl into bed, and do it all over again the next day.
It took me almost a month to beat The Last of Us, and not because it’s long or difficult, but because that’s what happens when you only get an hour or two a day, maybe 3-10 hours a week, to play games. It just takes forever.
So while I’ve made it work pretty well for the last two years, the last few months have been especially trying. A few things have happened in my personal life that made it difficult to focus on games, and eventually the ability, and quite frankly the passion, to write about games began to dwindle away. If I’m too tired to even play games, how the hell am I supposed to write about them? I would love to be Superman and be able to stay up until 2 am playing and writing about games, because I love to do it. But I’m not a young man anymore, and my kids deserve better than that.
So I’ll be taking a little break. I need to get away from it all for a little while, but that doesn’t mean I wont be doing anything. I plan on continuing to write in some manner. Maybe a novel even. I have one started, and this may be the time to really dig into it. I may do some video work and see if I can do something even half as cool as Shank’s Spiel on my own YouTube page, just to stay in touch with the industry and the idea of getting myself out there. I’ll remain active on Twitter, and I will probably still rant about things like player count limits in Titanfall and my disdain for crappy music. So I hope you’ll stick with me and see where I end up next, because honestly, even I don’t know. It should be a fun ride.
So, as I mentioned, it is not a difficult decision for me to leave QGN. I’ve had an amazing time here, full of incredible experiences, great people, and a lot of laughs. I feel like I’m leaving QGN better than I found it, and there’s a lot to be said for that. I’m leaving to spend more time with a family that really needs it, and I’ll spend some time contemplating what my next steps will be. You may still one day see me on the digital pages of IGN or PC Gamer or something, but if not, I think I’ll be ok with that, too. I learned you don’t need a fancy logo on your business card to produce quality, entertaining, and relevant video game coverage.
Now that The Elder Scrolls Online has launched, I feel like it’s the perfect time to step away. I feel like the game I helped bring to the masses is finally here (obviously all I did was write about it, but I wrote about it a lot!), and it’s time to sit back and enjoy the spoils. I was such a big part of the hype machine for this game that some of my articles are STILL getting views and comments. That’s amazing to me. (Check out Finesse, Synergy, and You: How It All Fits Together in Elder Scrolls Online, 10 Reasons Why Elder Scrolls Online Will Rule 2013, and 10 Reasons Why Elder Scrolls Online Will Rule 2014)
So I’ll miss my friends, I’ll miss my fans (I know there’s at least ONE of you out there), and I’ll miss the fun. But I’m happy to be leaving and beginning the next part of my adventure. I can’t wait to see what it turns out to be, and I hope you’ll come along.
And as an amazingly spectacular bard once said, I’ll always be your “fishin’ bud.”
I’ll leave you with what I feel like are the top-5 articles I ever wrote for QGN. If you liked them, let me know on Twitter, and share them with your friends. You guys are the best, I love you all.
So to steal and intentionally massacre and tweak in a pompous way a line from Shank’s closing to every Totally Heroes episode, “I did it you guys. I’m totally a hero.”
My Favorite Posts from my time at QGN
- If Gaming Teaches My Daughters Anything, I Hope It’s Patience
- Gamer Dad: Toki Tori, Puppy Dog Eyes, and Life Lessons
- Life’s Most Difficult Game
- 2014′s Biggest Success Story: Why You Shouldn’t Listen to the Elder Scrolls Online Negativity
- How the VGX Awards Set Gamers Back 10 Years