My entire career hinges on two things: Chris Grant and the letter Q.
It was a fluke that I even found Joystiq at all. In 2006, I was working for a manufacturing company as a project scheduler, my first real job outside of college. My office was in the back corner of a double wide trailer stationed outside an empty warehouse north of downtown Tulsa. As you can imagine, the position wasn’t exactly thrilling, and I spent a considerable amount of time browsing the web. All the usual suspects were blocked by my office web filter, meaning I couldn’t cruise my usual standby, IGN, for gaming news. One site, however, wasn’t blocked: Joystiq.com.
I can’t be sure, but I suspect that the site’s relative newness and unconventional spelling spared it from the cybernetic gaze of our IT department. And thus, I was introduced to the wonderful world of blogs. I became a regular commenter, using my devilishly clever moniker, Sense. Before long, I came to the conclusion that, “hey, I could do this,” and I started my own gaming blog, which you happen to be reading right now. I covered anything I could find. I sent tips to Joystiq often, occasionally getting my work referenced on the site.
One day, I managed to find Chris Grant’s email address, ironically the one he used for his work with a newspaper in Philadelphia. The email – long since lost in the Hotmail abyss – was simple. I just asked Chris how he landed his job at Joystiq. Did he go to college? Did he have a degree in journalism? What steps should I take? He wrote me back not with advice, but with a telephone number. I called him and, out of the blue, he offered me a job. On June 14, 2006, I wrote my first post. A few months later I became Site Lead for Xbox 360 Fanboy, my pay increased and my wife and I agreed the money was good enough to make it my full time gig.
Now, after five and a half years, I look back on the growth and success of Xbox 360 Fanboy. I marvel at the Xbox 360 Fancast, Joystiq’s first podcast, through which I have made lifelong friends and met some wonderful listeners. I remember joining Joystiq proper, becoming a true member of the team. And today (well, January 3), I begin a new chapter as Joystiq’s Reviews Editor.
To be perfectly honest, it’s a little terrifying. Throughout these five and a half years, I’ve always had someone to turn to, someone who made all the tough decisions. Now, those decisions fall squarely in my lap, and I can only hope that I’m up to the task. It’s no overstatement that my predecessors, Justin and Griffin McElroy, have mighty big shoes to fill. I will be forever grateful to both of them for not only shaping my work, but giving me a very large soapbox from which to expound my critical opinions.
I won’t be retiring Joystiq’s star system, which I personally believe to be the best arbitrary ratings gauge on the net. I only hope to continue the great work we’ve always done, though I am awfully intimidated at the thought of shaping critical minds myself. There’s a reason, apart from basic laziness, that I don’t write much here at 8bN. Frankly, I can’t imagine why anyone would care what I have to say. As making people care about what I have to say is now my literal job, I suppose that means I need to start trusting people a little more, particularly all of you reading this right now.
So I’ll make you a deal. I promise to keep Joystiq’s critical voice as clear and as strong as it has always been. All you have to do is keep me accountable.