On This Date in 2003... (A Farce)

A surprisingly auspicious day has come, specifically the o­ne year anniversary of Gamers With Jobs. GWJ officially launched January 15, 2003 with as equally little fanfare as content. Opening with a rather muddy mission-statement and a disturbingly self-aware piece about the making of a site that no o­ne yet cared about, GWJ fell upon the internet gaming scene like pigeon crap o­n a freshly waxed car. Born from the minds of two shiftless and intermittently lazy co-creators, a multitude swarmed upon GWJ in numbers counted in the several dozens. These original visitors either sensed kindred spirits or wanted a front row seat to watch the seemingly inevitable crash and burn.

But instead of crashing and/or burning, GWJ did something rather unexpected. It trundled along a surprising plateau of poorly thought out editorials, and semi-accurate reviews. When asked about the definitively mediocre success of GWJ o­ne gaming journalist said, "What, that siteÂ's still up?" Sage and prophetic words indeed.

I had a chance to sit down recently with Gamers With Jobs co-founder Elysium and ask him about his thoughts o­n this anniversary.     So, why Gamers With Jobs? YouÂ're miserably incompetent, eminently unemployable, and an Engligh Major to boot. Why not Gamers With No Future?     

I love the fact that Gamers With Jobs is a huge misnomer. Of course, I havenÂ't held steady or gainful employment yet this millennium, and Certis is {Elysium, makes annoying air-quotation marks with his fingers} "self employed", so we might as well have called the site Gamers With Advanced Degrees in Theoretical Physics for all the accuracy of either name.

The real reason, though, is that we wanted to inspire a certain type of community from the moment you arrive. ItÂ's a launching pad for the type of website we wanted to create, and we felt that Gamers Who DonÂ't Act Like Immature Jackasses was just to unwieldy. The excuse is that Gamers With Jobs isnÂ't really a dictum as much as an example. ItÂ's supposed to hint that our community represents the kind of maturity youÂ'd expect of those who hold jobs. That didnÂ't turn out to be the case, but you canÂ't blame us for trying.

Also, our significant others suggested the title when we couldnÂ't think of anything better, so we went with scoring points. I mean, itÂ's not like we thought the site would be up long. {He laughs, and then sighs in a depressing way}

Elysium, youÂ're a handsome and virile man. Why a website about games? Why not a modeling career, professional basketball, or high class Hollywood escort?

Well, I didnÂ't like the superficiality of modeling. I felt uncomfortable having people openly discuss my finely toned backside, much less insisting I wear overly snug tighty whities and pose for photographs. I considered professional basketball, but I donÂ't like rap, so that was out. I spent a few months as a Hollywood escort, but gave it up when o­ne high-profile cast-member of DawsonÂ's Creek took to calling me at home. Oh, why couldnÂ't it have been Katie Holmes? {He hugs a nearby picture of Katie Holmes}

Anyway, why a gaming website? I wish I had a nice story about an elaborate and careful plan, but it came about in a completely mundane and haphazard way. When you think about it, this shouldnÂ't be much of a surprise. o­ne day, Certis just said to me, Â"˜we should start our own siteÂ'. Even after I realized a week later that he didnÂ't mean a porn site, I decided to stay o­n board.

You used to write for another, letÂ's face it, much more successful and important site. When you and Certis left were you already planning GWJ?

No, I believe at the time I was planning to maybe clean the garage, a task IÂ'm sure to tackle in the spring of some soon-to-come year. I think a few people mustÂ've thought something was up when Certis and I left our former site o­n the same day.

Actually, we have it o­n good authority that no o­ne cared what you were up to.

Yes, well, thatÂ's nice. Anyway the decision to make GWJ came several months later in an ICQ discussion. Like I said, it was a very off-the-cuff sort of decision, and I think the final product reflects that nicely. All we really wanted to do was entertain ourselves and maybe host a tiny community that might be occasionally interested in our insights. WeÂ're actually still looking for anyone who is interested in our insights, despite having a much larger community than weÂ'd ever imagined.

ItÂ's interesting. The time between our decision to create GWJ and its launch date is distressingly small. It really o­nly took us two weeks to get to a point where we thought we could and should launch. I suppose so-called successful websites have lots of planning, professionalism and contacts of any kind, but we eschewed allÂ"…

Yes, yes. Blah blah blah. Speaking of prattling o­n endlessly, letÂ's talk about your articles for a second. TheyÂ've been described by your direct family as some of the best stuff theyÂ've read o­n the internet. Considering the internet is rife with barely literate morons, do you think this is a back-handed insult?


WhatÂ's it like working with Certis?

ItÂ's like being Prometheus strapped to that rock, except instead of a rock youÂ're strapped to the overheating engine of a Â'78 Buick Riviera, and the bird that pokes out your liver is o­n fire. Also, thereÂ's probably Abba playing o­n a nearby stereo.

Still, he does all the actual work of the site, so I canÂ't bad mouth him too much. I like to think of him as my acerbic, often laconic lackey. I ask him to do stuff, and he insults me for a few minutes before he shuts up and gets to steppinÂ'. I know he probably thinks to himself how underappreciated he is, and how much more work he does than me, but themÂ's the breaks!

Does he also buy the thesauruses you abuse? Seriously, itÂ's like you pick a word you want to use, and just build a crappy sentence around it. You think thatÂ's clever?

First, those thesauruses were gifts, not stolen at all, and second, itÂ's damn clever!

LetÂ's talk about PyroÂ"…

We agreed not to talk about that self-involved jerk!

So, the rumors of a long-standing feud are true.

IÂ'll say this and o­nly this about Pyro. IÂ'm not criticizing his lifestyle choices; IÂ'm just saying you donÂ't have to e-mail me pictures!

And what about the other two writers for the site, Spunior and Sway?

IÂ'm not sure whatÂ's up with those guys. They must not be very smart, or theyÂ're in a witness protection program, or something. I mean we donÂ't pay them a dime, and they just stick around writing cool articles and drawing some comic strip thingy, or so IÂ'm told. Never read o­ne of those things, and donÂ't plan to start now. I guess some people find Â"˜em funny. {shrugs}

Sometimes theyÂ'll write an article, and IÂ'll just go in and change the name of who it was posted by so it looks like IÂ'm doing something. They start to complain, but then I remind them of the negatives and audio-tape, and they get back in line.

Sway, I donÂ't know, he draws pictures and is scared of a box. What, IÂ'm going to take him seriously?

And, Spunior! He lives in another country – if you can believe that! – so we indulge him and his barbarian ways. Still, he seems to be pretty big o­n the Â"˜IndieÂ' games. I really didnÂ't know India had that much of a gaming industry, but he keeps talking to them. IÂ'd think he was just interviewing himself to come up with content, I mean IÂ've never heard of most of those games, but you have got to admit that interviewing yourself would be a pretty obvious cry for help.

Yes it would.

{long pause}

So talk about your community. No o­ne would have imagined a year ago that GWJ could appeal to more than the hopelessly bored or criminally insane. How did you establish such a unexpectedly large community?

I say, without hesitation, that the community here is the reason to visit GWJ. I mean, you take the same site over the same amount of time, but remove our forums, and weÂ'd be no better than AinÂ't It Cool Games. {shudders, and hugs picture of Katie Holmes again}

ItÂ's nice to kid myself into thinking that people visit to read my barely competent articles, but IÂ'm pretty sure Certis and I could suddenly vanish through an inter-dimensional rift and it would be a week before anyone noticed that neither of us had said anything stupid in a while. DonÂ't get me wrong, I really like our content, but I think as much as saying something productive, it forms the framework for the discussions other people start. And, that becomes the real meat of the site.

Though, in all honesty, most of our forums members are just alternate accounts Certis and I started to fluff our stats. The six or seven actual members are an eclectic group. Ralcydan is, of course, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Mex is screen actor and boy-toy Antonio Banderas, Lawyeron is Barry Manilow, and Rat Boy is actually bawdy star of stage and screen, Cher. We also think LeapingGnome may or may not be both Mary Kate and Ashley. We donÂ't have confirmation o­n that o­ne, though.

All the rest are figments of various imaginations.

So, youÂ're an idiot, right?

Oh, I think the answer to that is obvious.

WhatÂ's next for GWJ? Is it going to be much longer before you guys finally self-destruct and get it the hell over with?

I donÂ't know. We really didnÂ't have a plan for our second week much less second year. I guess the first year was all about building up a reader base, mainly through the clever blend of extortion and implied threats of violence. This year, I think we should take that user base, and exploit it for our own personal gain.

I realize, however, to do that we have to mask our surreptitious activities behind a cloak of credibility. To that end, IÂ'd say you can expect us to be able to do more interviews and previews. You can expect a different live perspective from the E3 floor than most other sites will give you. You can expect giveaways, and fun contests like our recent Haiku challenge. Fundamentally speaking, weÂ're just going to try to keep making the site worth visiting, either by locking Pyro in a room until he does something cool with the functionality of the site, or by presenting our thoughts to you in a way that makes them seem worth reading.

Really itÂ's all smoke and mirrors. We just want free games.

Any last thoughts before we close the door o­n this pathetic exercise?

Are you threatening me?

No, I mean before we end the interview.

Oh! I could probably say something about my genuine pleasure at working o­n GWJ. I could talk about how quickly the previous year has gone, and how much I enjoy the community weÂ've built. I could talk about how much IÂ'm looking forward to the next year, getting to meet some of our readers, writers, and, of course, co-founders at E3 in May. I could talk about how much enthusiasm I have for the future of the site, and how much in jest my more hyperbolic comments have been both today, in the past, and in the inevitable future. But, I think instead IÂ'll just hug this picture of Katie Holmes for a while.

{He hugs his picture of Katie Holmes as I get up very slowly and leave}

- Elysium


{He hugs his picture of Katie Holmes as I get up very slowly and leave}

This sentence is both confusing and erotic. Why won't you respond to my pictures? I made them for you

Seriously though, I don't know how the hell I managed to wander in here but I have a blast working on the site. It's great, it really is. No other gaming site on the intarweb has as many quality posters as this site, it's a joy to read. We could also kick Aint it Cool Games ass in a cagefight. With knives.

Grats guys!

~pops a cork on some bubbly and drinks a toast~

All the rest are figments of various imaginations.

All the rest are figments of various imaginations.

I guess that would explain my meager amount of posts and there general lack of quality.

Congrats to all!

When my friends question my ability to read and write, I point them to my posts on this site. Sure, most of them consist entirely of a sequence of emoticons or the standard "STFU n00B!!!1" but I had to press keys to do that. Baby steps...

This site gets me through my day; even if I've read all content I can still take the occasional dive into the P&C forum for some amusement. I'm not quite sure how you guys were able to put together a website, but I'd like to think your ability to control and command monkeys has something to do with it.

... and apparently my inability to use the "Quote selected" button as well. :p

Anyway, why a gaming website? I wish I had a nice story about an elaborate and careful plan, but it came about in a completely mundane and haphazard way. When you think about it, this shouldn't be much of a surprise. o­ne day, Certis just said to me, "˜we should start our own site'. Even after I realized a week later that he didn't mean a porn site, I decided to stay o­n board.

I believe what happened was that about three weeks after leaving EA I was finding that I missed writing about stuff people could talk about. I'd been doing it for a long time and I think I was suffering withdrawl. I mentioned to Elysium that I was thinking of starting a site and he was all over the idea. We hadn't talked much after leaving EA and I think he just missed me to be honest, sad little man that he is. What he didn't realize at the time was that I'd be leaning on him to provide good writing and content actually worth reading. Muwahahaha!

Actually, we have it o­n good authority that no o­ne cared what you were up to.

So true!

It's been a great year for us so far and I'm immeasurably proud of our community. By rights we should have run for a few months, became disheartened by our lack of readers and quit like so many before us. Instead we have a better and busier community than some sites ten times our size! My only wish for this coming year is that the influx of high quality members continues and everyone continues to have a good time.

Free Pyro pictures for everyone!

It's official, he's gone batty.

Who cares how this site came to be!

What I really want to know is: Does Elysium wear a green cap like that for real?

(Seriously though, congrats with what you guys have created here! Here's to many more years. :D)

All the rest are figments of various imaginations.

Wait a min, you saying that I'm Certis... how can that be!? I mean yes some people call me that some times but... but... but it just can't be! I'm going to talk to Hoochie, perhaps she knows some thing but mark my words Elysium if you telling me the truth I have a BIG sword of the King!

Now where is Hoochie...?

PS... Congrats on the site!

You might disagree, but I think the smartest move that you all did was including the P&C forums. The addition of P&C on the site raised the overall level of the conversation immensely.

Don't get me wrong....extensve conversations about the best Xbox Live game are, in fact, completely captivating. But participating in the P&C forum forces people to put a level of thought into their words that I have never seen in a gaming site. For those of you that used to (or still) go to Evil Avatar, the best threads were always the ones that dealt with social implications, as opposed to 'When is Freedom Force coming out?'.

The P&C forums set the tone for the dialogue on the rest of the site. The number of thoughtful threads in the other forums (including such gems as getting your spouse to play games, etc.) would be far less if people hadn't had a chance to see that the members of this community had a sufficient level of maturity to appreciate them.

All in all, great job guys.

The P&C forums set the tone for the dialogue on the rest of the site.

While I can agree with most of your post, that P&C attracts some of the people who help create and maintain a pretty high level of maturity around here, I find this part to be a little facetious. P&C has the most inconsistent and unfriendly tone of the three forums, which is still about 8000 times better than any given thread on Gamespy's forums P&C is often hostile, defensive and intolerant when compared to the other forums. This is of course the nature of the thing, politics is an excuse for people to draw lines in the sand. As such it's still the best debate forum I've seen out there on the Internet (not to mention TV news ) and I don't really think it's a bad forum. It's just that if there's anything that we need to take from P&C, it's definately not the tone of the discussions

You mean there's a front page?? Just kidding, it's all great reading. The forums, comics, reviews, and editorials are all good.

Keep up the great work!

So, why Gamers With Jobs? You’re miserably incompetent, eminently unemployable, and an Engligh Major to boot. Why not Gamers With No Future?

Since I am taking stock of my own career path I may have to look into this Engligh thing.

Nice "interview"!

I only showed up a few months ago, but it has been great. I like the level of maturity and literacy around here, it's rare to find a site where most of the posters know how to capitalize a sentence and use punctation.

I guess this is just a "keep up the good work" post and I look forward to the coming year!

- Mary Kate *and* Ashley (we have pyshic powers)

I followed you guys from EA because by far you had the most interesting posts/subject matter. I has been a pleasure reading and I hope this site lasts many More years

I remember seeing a link to GwJ for a review. The review (I don't remember which one) was kind'of a he said - she said setup. I thought "this is cool, I'm going to have to keep this site in mind." I've been around ever since, and haven't seen a single review like that again. Just your typical bait and switch scam I guess....

Congrats on the site. These are about the only forums I read and post in regularly anymore. Of course, since I apparently don't exist, nobody can prove that. I think I followed over from EA as well. I think I just wanted Elysium to notice me (sigh).

I'm a P&C junkie myself. I find myself just watching robot wars, sometimes I even participate in a few matches. The people posting and intelligent conversation definitely keep me clicking. But, the gaming discussion, reviews and commentary just have a quality that I can relate to.

Best Gaming Site EVAR!

Thanks guys!

Mex is screen actor and boy-toy Antonio Banderas

Ok, now you all know. I'm also sorry my latest movie was not so good. I will now seduce your women and take your hard earned 7.50 dollars.

Hey, no, wait! Antonio Banderas is spanish, from Spain.

Don't worry, tho, I shall still seduce your women. Vamonos, señoritas!

Scans brain for appropriate response

I think I've got an erection!!!

Moves to corner, faces wall, sits

It's weird how GWJ has become a part of my life. When my wife and I are discussing stuff we might do, buy, etc., it just seems to come up, "Well I could post something on GWJ and see what people say." or "You know Ridlin and his wife liked D&D Heroes, and BG:DA, so maybe Heroes would be cool..." When I posted "thanks for the great xbox christmas" I really meant it. Much of my holiday activities were based around recommendations from you all, which I trusted since I do like and respect folks on here.

I may even get a bumper sticker in support of undulating green penis monster rights. Or maybe just find Pyro a support group. Still waiting to see the t-shirt design, but let me say that that should not be related to the aforementioned green undulating monster thingie...


[sobs] I love you man! [/sobs]

*sniff, sniff*

I've been a frequent poster since September, and yet I'm considered a figment of imagination?