Ccesarano, I think you and I would be of like mind on the [state of games journalism]. Even where I have not always succeeded, my goal in everything I have written has been to challenge people. Sometimes those people were in the industry, sometimes it was the reader and on occasion it was even my peers. I could not have done this for 10 years if I didn't have that kind of freedom and opportunity.
The best I can say is stick with it. You seem like the kind of guy I want to see writing on the industry. Stick your foot in every door you can, and if they manage to close the door get a battering ram.
This was my first interaction with Sean Sands. In fact, it is very likely the only real interaction I've had with him until this year's PAX East, where I wrapped myself about his body from behind, nearly spilling his drink, and whispering "am I the Goodjer you're looking for?" into his ear (look, I was drunk and Certis put me up to it).
I imagine his impression of me has rapidly gone downhill since our first "meeting."
Nevertheless, here I am, regularly pasting words onto the ever-flowing paper of the Gamers With Jobs front page. Almost four years after I read Sean's article "Who's Got Next?", his goodbye to The Escapist, I have found myself writing for a website I can be proud of. GWJ isn't just another press-release factory, and I'm not pressured to get reviews (for horrible games) out as soon as possible regardless of completion status. I don't write here with hopes of one day being noticed by one of the big folk, but because I want to write here, for the love of the site.
Which makes it all the more startling that Sean's farewell article was also the first time I had even seen his column. Had I never seen it, I'd have never found my way here.
At each stage of my life, there's been some online community that I've felt just as close to as my friends and cohorts in real life. Each of those online communities also leaves a textual trail of my immaturity and hubris. I've met friends online and played bouts of Left 4 Dead with them, and I've debated console wars and quality of games for years.
Yet never have I felt so at home as Gamers With Jobs. True, I still feel as if I'm a phoney masquerading as a member here. But then, something tells me such feelings aren't so unusual.
I have found more than just a community where I can discuss and share ideas, more than just people to play games with. I've found true friends and supporters. I found a team to marathon a twenty-five-hour gaming session, all in the name of helping sick kids. More of you came in and offered us all support, playing games with us, speaking with us, and following our streams. I've found co-hosts for my podcast. I've convinced more people than expected to buy a niche title, only to find myself discussing branching paths in games, agency, and the difference between immersion and engagement.
That I'm able to write on this site is surreal, and even as I force myself to grasp the reality of the situation, I cannot believe that I am here, now, putting words on the front page of the absolute best website I've ever been a part of.
So when I sit down at my family's table for Thanksgiving this year, I know what to be thankful for most of all. As easy as it has been to pummel my own self-esteem and ego over the years, it becomes a bit tough to do so when there's a network of friends and supporters that believe in what you are doing.
Thank you, Gamers With Jobs.
Most of all, thank you to the Sheawns. Without the two of you, this community and all the good it does would not exist.