Where we are today

Discussion in 'Support' started by grandmagoodtimes, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. grandmagoodtimes

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    We can all look around and see where we are now, but how did you get there? I am having some life issues, primarily what to do after graduation. How did you guys find GR and jobs and such? Just curious because the future scares me.
     
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  2. Nick_Tan

    Nick_Tan Rookie

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    First, please find a comfortable position. This is a long story.

    While I was in engineering school at Columbia University, my parents (and I) expected that I would become a code monkey of some sort. There weren't a lot of choices for a major in SEAS or School of Engineering & Applied Sciences (or, as we liked to call it, South and East Asian Studies), so I stuck with Computer Science all the way.

    It wasn't until half-way through junior year that I found out that, well, I just didn't like programming at all. I had come to a point when I just did not like thinking about coding, sitting in front of the computer coding, debugging while coding, finished coding, and then work on the next project coding. But it wasn't the coding itself that I didn't like; it was that it just wasn't something I was passionate about. I only did it for a letter grade and to pass my time, and not because I was stimulated by the material or had any desire to improve on my programming outside of getting a fairly decent GPA - and then getting the heck out of homework assignments.

    I started writing reviews during sophomore year on a whim. I knew I had a fairly critical eye, but my English suuuuuuuucked. Every time I wrote an essay, I had a barrage of mistakes (grammar, style, you name it), and there's nothing like a sea of C's and B's to tell you that English probably isn't your thing. But I cared about video games (in some way or another), so I continued to write user reviews on GameSpot. You can see my my first review efforts here, so you can laugh at my expense:

    http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/kata ... ?id=161433

    But I pulled myself to get better. The time I was supposed to spend coding and "doing homework", I spent reviewing. I joined The Community Contributions Union where like-minded reviewers-to-be competed and critiques each other's work. I gave line-by-line critiques and took advice from others. I became leader of the union and worked on weekly issues of ReviewSpotting, which were posted in the general forums on GameSpot once the CCU got clout.

    I read writing books - "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser and "A Guide To Style" by Strunk & White. I joined HonestGamers.com (HG), participated in their contests (some in which a fared terribly and some where I achieved my personal best), and soon became a freelance writer for them. I knew that writing, if not just game reviews, was something I could excel at, master, and be passionate about.

    After I had my skills down, I needed some luck to break into the industry. I happened to know Holly Hester, president of the Figure Skating Club at the university, and out of all things, she was the sister of someone in the game writing industry - Mike Reilly. I got contact information, a phone number, an interview, and voila, I got a freelance position here. By that time, I had graduated and flittered from website to website, trying to figure out who to send my resume. Hardly any game website is based on the east coast, let alone New York City. So I waited while I continued to review and think about my life.

    Then, I received word from Duke about an open editor position, and so I took a deep breathe, and after one day of pacing back and forth in my dad's living room, I made the leap. I contacted a U.C. Berkeley friend who was looking for a roommate, packed my bags, moved to Berkeley, and now I'm where I am today. This job isn't all roses - editing mistakes all day, playing bad video games at times, we get paid?, and getting swamped by new games, publishers that "forget" to send us their games, and a backload of screenshots and whatnot - but, you know what?, it's right for me. And at the end of the day, that's the best that I could ever hope for.
     
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  3. unctarheels

    unctarheels Rookie

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    Quite a story Nick. Were your parents mad at all? Because that's quite a change of pace.

    Until tomorrow, when you get a bigger and better job, leaving GR like so many others :(
     
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  4. Longo_2_guns

    Longo_2_guns Forum Moderator
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    You could get a job at GameSpot. Then you wouldn't have to play the games, you could just write what the publisher wants you to write.
     
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  5. TheNesMan

    TheNesMan Rookie

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    Coding is harsh Nick, I had a computer class last semester that I found extremely dull and boring, and not to mention, extremely difficult. What program did you use anyways?
     
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  6. Nick_Tan

    Nick_Tan Rookie

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    My mom doesn't particularly approve of video games - she threw away my SNES when I played it too much - but she can tolerate it. She still tells me that computer programming, "you know, dear, is a higher paying job" and all that - only out of concern for me, though. I don't think my dad really cares what job I have, as long as I have one. He immigrated from Malaysia to America in the 60s, so he's just glad that I'm on my way on becoming independent and supporting myself.

    I hope I don't have to leave GR in the next few years. I might leave in the future - never know what can happen - but I intend to stay at GR as long as I can.
     
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  7. Nick_Tan

    Nick_Tan Rookie

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    When I thought about my future, I thought about whether I would end up at GameSpot. But after Gerstmann-gate, the integrity of GameSpot's administration has been broken. They have shown that they would fire a senior editor without notifying the editorial staff - and no one deserves that kind of treatment. Now with Alex and Jeff and Frank and Greg all gone, I can't look at GameSpot in the same positive light anymore, and the thought of being overrun by a corporate overlord like CNET doesn't really appeal to me.

    Above all, I like to write how I want to write. Whenever a publisher calls us, whining about a grade, not only am I stunned that they would do that (not much anymore...), but it takes all the effort in my hands (one finger in particular) not to express my anger. We are an editorial site - if our opinions are not our own, then we're no more than pawns of the dollar bill. That's what company PR is for; that's not our job. And besides, I don't think I could ever write in the GameSpot style with a smile on my face. It's technical, vague, and leans towards non-personality - all qualities that go against my grain.
     
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  8. Nick_Tan

    Nick_Tan Rookie

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    I think you mean programming languages by "program", so given that, throughout my major I've had to program in C, C++, Java, MySQL, Maya (not really a language), MatLab (really a variant of C), PHP, and some other modeling programs I used for about a month, all of which I completely forget the names of. Either way, all object-oriented languages share the same concepts, so it's just a challenge of learning the syntax. As far as graphics programs, though, I am 30% clueless and 70% compile error.
     
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  9. TheNesMan

    TheNesMan Rookie

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    Yeah the program I had to use was C++....I despise absolutely everything about it.
     
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  10. LinksOcarina

    LinksOcarina Rookie

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    Damn...it will be hard for me to do this freelance style...

    I can't wait to hear Duke's story...
     
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  11. dUKE

    dUKE Rookie

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    oh, my.

    story to come soon.
     
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  12. grandmagoodtimes

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    Duke, you are such a tease. Where is that story you promised us?
     
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  13. dUKE

    dUKE Rookie

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    well, i'm sick with the flu and nothing better to do, so here we go.

    back in 1996 i was living with my girlfriend, miranda, and running the network at a small chain of mortgage banks (2 offices) in california.

    my brother, colin, got a job at a print magazine called "newtype" which was run by a bunch of crooks (oddly, greg kasavin, who would later head gamespot, was the editor in chief there). now, newtype had no website to speak of, so my brother recommended me.

    i met with newtype, negociated payment, and started working on their website in the evenings.

    two or thee months later, it was done and i put it online. but the first check that newtype wrote me bounced. so did the second.

    i took down the site, and thought f*ck there's a waste of three months of my life. then i got crazy.

    i started net revolution, inc, a claifornia corporation, on april 1st, 1996, named myself president, changed the name of the site and launched game revolution. to do that, i took out a $20,000 loan and switched my job to half time.

    two years later, i could switch that to full time (although i made very little money).

    in 1999 and 2000 it was the inernet boom and we made lots of money. i moved to new york city so my wife, miranda, could go to grad school at nyu. then in 2001 the bubble burst and we lost lots of money. eventually i had to cut some staff.

    in 2004, getting squeezed by two different companies and sich of the uncertainty, bolt media, inc. puchased 100% of the stock on net revolution, inc. from shareholders duke ferris, ben silverman, and colin ferris.

    i agreed to work for bolt and moved into their manhattan offices. it was not a great match.

    in august, 2007 bolt inc went bankrupt. game revolution, however was still a valuable asset, so the bankruptcy assignee sold gr to crave meda, llc. on jan 31, 2008.

    i have agreed to work for crave for the next year, but it's only been a few days so far, and i'm sick as a dog (not their fault).

    we'll see how it goes.
     
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  14. LinksOcarina

    LinksOcarina Rookie

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    My god...so much corporate stuff that I hope I never experience....
     
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  15. dUKE

    dUKE Rookie

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    i guess those were a lot of the key corporate moments. in between i played tons of games (good and bad), attended parties and events, and wrote hundreds of reviews. there are indeed many fun parts to my job.
     
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  16. used44

    used44 Forum Moderator
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    Is GR still located in Berkley, California? Or Manhattan?
     
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  17. Lentium

    Lentium Rookie

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    So, no seedy detours into amature porn and drugs?
    no bloody backalley fights with rival publications?
    no dead homies?

    well okay...
     
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  18. TheNesMan

    TheNesMan Rookie

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    That's what I'm confused about. I thought it has always been centered in Berkley, but your story makes it seem like it moved to be NY.
     
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  19. used44

    used44 Forum Moderator
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    Also, what else is Crave Media involved in?
     
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  20. Nick_Tan

    Nick_Tan Rookie

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    You can check out the other under-the-Crave-umbrella websites here:

    http://www.craveonline.com
     
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