A Fond Farewell To GI
It’s been a hell of a decade working here, but it’s time for me to move on.
Writing about games professionally is a dream job for many, judging from my inbox and Twitter feed. It certainly has been for me. Ten years ago I was a GI reader trolling bargain bins for rare Game Boy Advance cartridges. Andy’s letter from the editor one month was a call for help – GI had lost its PC guy, and they badly needed anyone who could a) write, b) was over 18, c) knew PC games backwards and forwards, and d) was willing to move to Minneapolis. I figured what the heck – I still lived literally down the road from Minneapolis in the town I grew up in, was about to turn 22, and had just finished up my two-year degree from a local community college. I had no experience doing anything of the sort, other than generally good grades in my writing courses. When I was offered the job, I kissed the bachelor’s program I’d just been accepted to goodbye forever and started my career as a professional writer.
The following decade has been an absolute blast. I’ve been honestly shocked at the raw intellect of Gabe Newell, Sid Meier, and others when given the chance to interview them in person. I introduced Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Dishonored, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Witcher 3: Assassins of Kings, and more to the world in cover stories. I’ve reviewed blockbusters from StarCraft II to Gears of War, but had even more fun using my platform to shout to the world about how great lesser-known series like Tropico and Disgaea are. I’ve had publishers go over my head to accuse me of not playing or understanding their games when giving them poor scores, and been gratified to have management stand by me. I’ve reported my own character for paid power-leveling and watched MMO game masters do nothing. I’ve penned editorials raging against the biggest video game companies, and reveled in their most ludicrous spectacles. I’ve been humbled by the kind words and genuine consideration of readers far more often than I’ve shaken my head at your vitriol and accusations. I’ve made dozens of friends in this awesome industry, and hopefully not too many enemies.
I haven’t done everything there is to do in this business, but I’ve done my share.
Now it’s time for someone else to come in, sit at my desk, and bring a fresh perspective to Game Informer’s PC coverage. There are so many talented writers out there, both working professionally (my hat is off to all of the freelancers out there; I could never do what you do) and at amateur publications and tiny blogs for the love of the medium. I have no doubt that Andy will be snowed under with applications for my position – don’t expect to get too far with no experience and an associate’s degree today, by the way – and that he’ll turn down more people who would do wonderful work here than applied in total in 2003. In any case, you readers will remain in good hands with this editorial staff, who are collectively a far cooler group of people to work with than I ever dreamed existed on this earth.
As for me, I’m off to go back to my first and truest love: strategy games. Following my last day at GI next Friday, I’m joining Stardock (of Fallen Enchantress, Galactic Civilizations, and Sins of a Solar Empire fame) to help them make better games and to evangelize about the wonders of turn-based, zoomed-out, hardcore strategy (among other things). I won’t be writing as much for direct publication, but you’ll see my hand in how you hear about Stardock’s games in the future – and (obligatory plug) there is some seriously cool stuff coming soon that I think a lot of you will be excited about.
I do plan to stay active on Twitter, so hit me up at @abiessener any time to chat PC games, politics, baseball, or whatever's on your mind.
I want to thank everyone I’ve worked with at GI and in the industry for making the last decade so much fun. Andy and Reiner particularly gave me one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received: the patience to take a raw kid not even done with school and bring him along into whatever I am today. You, the readers, have kept me honest and said so many kind words over the years – thank you.
I teared up a little in the office when I announced to the staff that I am leaving, and I’m tearing up a little now. It’s been a hell of a run, and I don’t regret a second of it.