Everybody starts somewhere. A log cabin in the woods, with an unassuming name. A dark alley where someone’s parents are stricken down right in front of them. Watching a group of people struggle and only wishing there was something YOU could do to stop that from happening again.
While all of those beginnings birthed heroes of their own kind, people who grew up and possibly changed the world for the better, whether fictional or otherwise. My inspirations are a bit mild in comparison, but we all have a point in our lives that inspires us to change for the better (or worse depending on your point of view).
I know I introduced myself to everyone when I started posting under the Phoenix Overdrive banner, but I feel that maybe I missed out on a couple things that shaped who I am as a game journalist (self titled, know I would not be called so by industry professionals but game blogger just makes me feel people are belittling what I do). I had a few inspirations over the years, but I’ve always been able to pinpoint just where I changed from wanting to make games, to also wanting to write about them, and get the message out to every single gamer I could. And I figured I’ve been gone for so long due to new work schedules and what have you that I felt a bit of backstory about myself was overdue.
In the Beginning…
For as long as I can remember, I’ve played video games, and for the same amount of time I’ve been interested in writing both fantasy stories as well as reviews for video games. I was often told I had a knack for writing, but I couldn’t convince anyone outside my circle of friends and family to read. So I’d keep journal upon journal of my stories and reviews stacked up on my shelves, sometimes stopping works midway thru because I either lost direction for the story or I felt I wrote something good and it quickly became terrible. I still have most of those journals to this day. Most would need a good polish if I ever decided I wanted to write more.
But one day, back in what I believe was 1999, my dad just got basic cable for our house and I was in my room scanning channels when I found TechTv, I guess at the time it was ZDTV, where I saw a man wearing a odd looking short sleeved button up shirt, blonde spike up hair, and a face that made me think he was much older than he truly was. He was talking to a man about the upcoming release of the Dreamcast. So naturally I stopped, zoned in to what was being said and realized 30 minutes later I hadn’t moved an inch. My love for video games had pulled me in and this guy seemed to have all the questions (whether they were given to him or not by someone else is unknown).
This guy was Adam Sessler, a man who went from big business companies to reporting on video game events on a newly formed station on cable tv just for the more technologically inclined. TechTv had many hosts that I’m glad to have had creating a stable foundation, Leo Laporte, Kate Botello, Chris Pirillo, etc. but one of the biggest personalities to stick with me was Adam. I can’t say why, maybe he reminded me a bit of myself, maybe I felt that if I didn’t have crippling social anxiety and could actually talk to large groups of people, maybe I would have a personality like him. He always seemed enthusiastic, whether or not he hated a game vehemently or absolutely loved it. Sure he stuttered, which honestly I do too and I’ve seen plenty of people who get so worked up it just happens, sure he seemed like a bit of a tool the way the show X-Play wrote him at times, but I still believe that deep down, that was him at heart.
I’ve also seen him debate back and forth with Jack Thompson, a lobbyist who is/was just out to blame all the negative things happening in the world on video games. It was amazing, it helped form plenty of my personality as well as my drive to show video games were not the problem but rather a solution in most cases. That people weren’t turned into monsters because they played one hour too many in GTA.
Adam Sessler inspired me to do more, it’s just unfortunate that I haven’t gotten the chance to really do more than I have.
I wont say I wouldn’t have ended up here, writing to a bunch of online people in hopes that someone gains some nugget of wisdom from what I say, but honestly I can’t say I would be here if it hadn’t been for what Adam Sessler did from 1999 to sporadically now. I mean going from seeing magazines, which I hate how the physical magazine format is disappearing but that’s a topic for another day, to seeing people write reviews, previews, news on tv, putting their personal emotions behind how the game made them feel. And yes for some reason, I loved when he hated a game because it was the unashamed dissection of all the bad game design elements, which is why I love doing reviews on games I didn’t like. My friends and former editor will disagree with my scores most times saying I need to follow close to the lowest score placed on a game, but if I don’t agree I usually push my score through anyway.
Judgement be damned…
So that is my inspiration, and maybe it sheds a bit more light on who and what I am. Some people will probably judge me poorly as not a lot of people are favorable to Sessler, but judge if you wish. It wont change my opinion on him, as I am who I am because of his small involvement in my life.
Funny story, in high school we had a project about who was our idol/inspiration, I wrote about him and subsequently wrote TO him saying it was a dream of mine to meet the man in person. I sadly did not get a response, but I did manage to pass the lesson. I did some pretty weird stuff when I was a kid, but in high school, that had to be the oddest thing I did. Would have ruled to meet him, though.