You can’t be continually successful if you’re consistently complacent.
That’s something I’ve been saying a lot lately. I’m not sure if it’s because I actually believe it or simply because I want to believe it. Let’s just say that I hope that it’s true.
When I took up writing about video games as a hobby a few years ago I never imagined that it would be something I would find the need to say “goodbye” to, let alone register an entire domain to do so. Yet here I sit in 2012, on a website I’ve just created (with a URL I quite like by the way) almost solely for the purpose of saying goodbye to games writing.
As I look back on the last few years and the hobby that somehow turned into a second career – I’m amazed. Amazed that I’ve kept it up this long after repeated attempts to stop and “get back to real work” as my friends, family, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors and army of ex-girlfriends would often tell me. But fuck ‘em. I like it here. I don’t miss the “real world” – not one bit. Video games are all I’ve ever really given a shit about, it just took me 25+ years to realize I could make a life out of them. But not by writing, at least not anymore. Hell, if I kept this up I’d either eventually fuck up royally and be cast off from the internet as some blogastrophic pariah or stay at it long enough to become some jaded journo who bitches and moans all day to his followers on Twitter. But that ain’t me – neither the fuck up or the asshole.
Plus let’s face it: I’m no great writer.
And please don’t ever call me a journalist. I’m not now and I never was. I’ve not earned that right and it would be insulting to those who’ve actually studied the art. I was reporter at my best and a sensational blogger at my worst.
So the more I think about it, the more surreal it becomes. I’ve discussed Deus Ex with Warren Spector, talked Doom with John Carmack, and I frequently have drinks and reminisce about Fallout with Chris Avellone. It’s madness, I tell you!
And I’ve been getting asked about it a lot lately. ”Dave, how do?!” But I don’t have any real answers. My experience in the gaming press is every bit the exception and not the rule. I don’t know what to tell these kids other than there are no shortcuts to anything in life. Work hard, write like a madman. Make people think you’re out partying when you’re actually home working on features and following up on leads so you’ve got the jump on the big guys. Stay glued to reddit and Twitter all god damn day. Leave your girlfriend, move to California, sleep outside of press events, never take no for an answer – I don’t fucking know!
It’s dangerous to go alone! It’s rough out there! Move back with your parents! Let them worry about it!
I’ve written thousands of stories over the past few years, and dare I say hundreds of them were pretty damn good. I’ve broken front page news and landed exclusive interviews, but that’s not what it’s all about for me and I’ll be damned if that’s the legacy I leave behind as a writer. What I’m most proud of is the fact that nearly every single person who has worked with me has gone on to do bigger and better things. I’ve helped people get jobs as writers, public relations, marketing – hell, two of them are even getting married! Every time I get a press release from a former colleague, I smile. Every time I read a story from a former colleague, I smile. Every time I get a phone call or an email from a company looking to hire one of my former colleagues, I smile. Believe it or not, that’s what it’s all been about for me. That’s my hard earned reward. Knowing that I was able to use what little resources and influence I had to make other people’s lives better. That and I was the first guy to find vampires in Skyrim. Suck it, G4.
But seriously, the fact that I might be a positive point on some young writer’s resume blows my fucking mind. Me?!
Who am I – A five and a half foot tall barrel chested Jewish used car salesman from New York who moved out to San Diego to be closer to Comic Con and a girl named Klarice - who am I to say NO to the likes of Pat Garratt or Stephen Totilo when they ask me to take over their media outlets?! Jesus! Moses!
And they trust me? With the keys to their castles! I could put hardcore porn on the front page of Kotaku right now if I wanted to. But I’d like to believe that it’s a mutual level of trust and respect that keeps me from doing it. That and the kids. Dog forbid the kids see titties on the internet.
But I’m proud that I’ve earned that right over these past few years and what I’m trying to say is that I’m grateful and damn near in awe of the men and women who have made these last few years of my life so inexplicably and genuinely awesome. Those who I’ve written with, those who have written for me, and those who I’ve written for – I’d thank you all but you know who you are.
Except for one. Chad. Thank you for letting me stick my foot in the back door of the world of video games. Thank you for trusting me before anyone else and thank you for still trusting me after everyone else. I love you. I hate you. Come get some.
At the end of the day I’m at a loss for words. This isn’t easy and I already miss it. I see stories breaking right now that I want to cover and brilliant up and coming developers I so badly want to interview – but I’m actually done here. So many people told me I’d never be able to quit. But I am! So hah! Yet I’m genuinely going to miss working alongside you guys. My friends in the press, my brothers and sisters in arms – one nation, under NDA. I love you all and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say that I have no idea what to tell the next generation mad enough to take up games writing as a hobby or god forbid a career.
If I had any advice it would be simple. Work hard and don’t be a dick. Anyone who ever got anywhere by being a dick was either incredibly lucky or it probably caught up with them. Fuck that guy. I want you to be nice. If someone gets in your face and calls you a cocksucker – I want you to be nice. Be nice until it’s time not to be nice.
Where I’m going next ain’t far and this certainly isn’t the last you’ll hear from me. The job comes with as much responsibility and bullshit as any other – if not more so – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It may not get my ugly mug on the front page of Kotaku (actually, it might) but here’s to hoping it’ll be equally as satisfying and that I’ll be able to help a few more people out along the way.