Change is weird, but it’s been a weird couple of years. Giant Bomb was bought by CBS. My father passed away. I got married. What’s one more thing? If only moving from San Francisco to Chicago was “one thing.” It’s so much more, and it’s hard to unpack the future without the past.
There were a couple of reasons I came to San Francisco in the first place. 1UP offered me an opportunity to take Luke Smith’s position as news editor (he’s now a designer at Bungie). I was graduating from college, and while San Francisco was in my future, it was going to happen...later? That fall? What’s the rush? Instead, 1UP said “if you want the job, come to SF really soon.” It was a real job, so I grabbed it. Soon turned out to be a few weeks after graduation; I wasn’t around long enough for a family party to celebrate college being over.
Two, leaving the midwest was important to me. I’d spent my whole life in the Chicgoland area, and I didn’t want to get stuck there and never see the world. It’s not uncommon for midwest folk to never leave their hometown, and that terrified me. I’m sure there are plenty of people who stayed rooted and are perfectly happy, but in my mind, how could they know for sure? If they hadn’t given the rest of the world a chance, weren’t they making a calculated gamble that their current situation was the ideal one?
Off to San Francisco I went. I’d been dating my wife for a little over a year, and tossed her a big question: wanna go with me? In any other situation, I doubt we’d have made the leap to quickly move in with one another, but we didn’t have family outside of the midwest. I wasn’t going to ask her to come out to the Bay Area and get her own place because I was a commitment novice. We moved into together, it was great, and we were married six years later. Even in hindsight, I wouldn't have done it any other way.
All of my jobs have been formative, in one way or another.
1UP was my first salaried gig, and I was in charge of a whole section--crazy for a relative newcomer. That meant dealing with freelancers, paying invoices, and coming to grips with the title “news editor.” It was easy to talk high ‘n mighty about journalism in a college course, it’s altogether different when you’re tasked with running a section yourself. I learned some hard lessons during that time. One of my sources was almost fired because a story ran early for reasons that aren’t super important, and the studio he worked for ended up searching the network for proof of his communication with me over instant message. They found him/her, but several other employees had also made the same “mistake.” Crisis averted.
1UP is where MTV News editor Stephen Totilo noticed me, and reached out about the chance to write for his games-focused MTV Multiplayer blog as a west coast correspondent. I'd only been at 1UP six months, but this was too big. MTV is where my “interest” in journalism became something more, and the first time felt comfortable calling myself a reporter. I have MTV to thank for everything that came after.
Then, the recession hit. MTV laid off all its freelancers, which included me. I was being paid a salary, but blah blah, technically, I was a freelancer. Not sure where to go next, G4 came up. Los Angeles sounded like the worst, but it was already clear how important video was becoming to games coverage, and what better place to go than a television station dedicated to covering geek topics? I’d met Adam Sessler before, but I’d hardly call us friends, at that point. Even though I was hired to work on the G4tv.com web team, my angle was about getting on TV. Sessler saw enough in me to provide me with that chance, which was both an honor and supremely weird. When I was doing fancy TV stuff for E3, G4 bought me clothes. (When I quit to leave for EGM, the clothing department secretly gave me those clothes in a box, since my wife loved them so much.) G4 is where I broke the news about the split at Infinity Ward, a personal milestone. G4, as a channel, became dedicated to covering that story for roughly a whole day, easily a top ten weirdest moment in my life. It’s the kind of story you spend your years after chasing, and knowing you might not ever have anything like it again. Also, Los Angeles really wasn’t that bad.
I left G4 for selfish reasons. There are precious few spots for men to be on camera at G4, which should come as no surprise to anyone who was familiar with some of the programming decisions there. I don’t even disagree with those decisions, based on what the aims of the network were, but to become a personality, I was looking at another few years of writing for a website I didn’t really have my heart in.
A chance to be a higher-up within EGM’s reboot came up, and it was impossible to ignore. Who’d turn that down? I grew up reading EGM--it was a dream. In retrospect, I wish I had. That’s not totally true. The less said about that period the better, but I don’t regret my decision. It was the right call at the time, and everything about it informed what I wanted from a job after that. I wanted to care about the work I did.
That’s where Giant Bomb came in. I’ve known Brad since I was, I don’t know, 12-years-old? Something stupid like that. I’d met Jeff at events. While in Los Angeles, Ryan had hung out after E3, and we got really drunk and went to an 80s cover band one night. We were good friends soon after. I didn’t know Vinny or Drew. I’d met Alex a few times. I quickly connected with them, and it didn’t take long to realize I’d found the home I’d been looking for all along. Great friends, respectable content, and a dedicated community that provided one with equal love and hate. Giant Bomb has been a place where I’ve been able to, sometimes painfully, figure out what I want from my job, both personally and professionally. Giant Bomb has been a place where I’ve been given the opportunity to do whatever I want, so long as it felt right.
All of that has made the past two years such a blast. No regrets. It’s what makes the move to Chicago so bittersweet. It should feel that way. It feels right being that way. You want these choices to sting a little. It means I’ve spent the last two years doing work that meant a damn, and that's all you can ask for.
This isn’t goodbye, but it’s change. It’s not going to be fun being left out of I Love Mondays, TNT, the podcast, Unprofessional Fridays, and everything else that makes each week here at Giant Bomb so weird, satisfying, and completely random. I have to find a new path for myself on the site, and we’ll find that together. Like anything else, it’ll probably be a bumpy road, but I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
(I ran out of time to format all these links. So, here’s a link dump. Sorry. We’ll return to normal soon.)