All About Andrew_A
29May 08LIFE, n. A spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay. We live in daily apprehension of its loss; yet when lost it is not missed. The question, "Is life worth living?" has been much discussed; particularly by those who think it is not, many of whom have written at great length in support of their view and by careful observance of the laws of health enjoyed for long terms of years the honors of successful controversy.
"Life's not worth living, and that's the truth,"
Carelessly caroled the golden youth.
In manhood still he maintained that view
And held it more strongly the older he grew.
When kicked by a jackass at eighty-three,
"Go fetch me a surgeon at once!" cried he.
I haven't commented on various people leaving and coming because, for the most part, words are best left to those who feel that there is value to be gleamed from those who sit on the sidelines. In every life, and every job, people come and go, leaving and coming for purely selfish reasons, even if they wish to make them far more grandiose and self aggrandizing then they really are. We wish them luck, some we stay in contact with, others we don't, but in the end, the impact they have is measured by their time here, and not anything they wish to state in passing.
That being said, with the departure of Alex Navarro, I wanted to pass on a story and a few comments.
I started working at CNET as the backend data producer/programmer/misc monkey for GameSpot hardware at the beginning of 2005. I had previously worked as an editor for a small review site, and while I had read and respected GameSpot, I had no connection to any of the editors. About my third week here, I had the opportunity to go play in the gaming lounge, and had apparently left a controller still plugged in and not wound up correctly. The next day, while I was working, some extremely angry and foaming-mouthed person comes walking over to our dark corner of existence in order to start barking random epitaphs at those who had made such a heinous mistake as to mess up THEIR gaming lounge. After the fracious had calmed down, Alex figured out that I was the one that had left the controller and proceeded to stroll up to me and start trying to "rip me a new one" so to speak. I think the spiel went on for a good 5-10 min, I am not sure, because I had the same thought going through my head the entire time... "Who the F does this person think they are and why doesn't he understand the words coming out of his own mouth" (Alex has a very unique way of saying things).
After he had left, with little resolution and his ego puffed out fully, I think I cracked up for a good 10 min following. After that, I honestly don't think I said one word to Alex the next year plus, and in fact, avoided him like the his ego was contagious. It left a dark mark, along with some of the comments from other gaming sites, as to the true nature of the people that worked in editorial at GameSpot.
But as time went by, I started to be pulled into the web of the editorial vibe, and I started really analyzing the writing patterns of the various editors. Two stood out, Greg Kasavin for his ability to drive home points in the most efficient and clinical way possible, and Alex, for his ability to make statements that when parsed seemed absurd, but when taken in context, were able to frame a game and a motive in a way that few have ever been able to do. That is not to say that I think Alex or Greg were the most capable writers ever... but Alex more then anyone else here brought something that I hoped to borrow and build into my own repertoire. Anyone that has read some of the tripe that I put out as part of the Freeplay series might not know, but a few times, I purposely tried to merge Alex's style with my own... to woefully bad results.
But as much as I grew to admire Alex's writing, I also grew to appreciate his presence as the truly calming center of what I considered "GameSpot". Working on the sidelines as my job expanded into the rest of the properties in the Entertainment division of CNET, I started to lose that connection to the site that I rarely worked with anymore. Overtime my respect for the efforrts and drive of those in the editorial team grew as my understanding of just how much they put up with expanded, but that did lead to a feeling of connection. Alex was to me what GameSpot meant to everyone. GregK was the head, Jeff the bigger then life personality, but Alex was to me the heart of it all.
As time went by, my interactions with Alex became far easier, and eventually he joined "Kart Kall" and, with the passing of Dave Toister from the CNE ranks, became the face and center of that daily divergence from the expected output of corporate life. Seeing him on a day-to-day basis, and the few times that we worked together gave me a much deeper insight into the sometimes distracted but usually virulent genius that his head contains and the voices that he is sometimes able to disseminate, and many other times not able to. Alex sees the world in a way few are capable, and even fewer want to. He has a unique ability to find the center of the storm, and use it to frame a thought, instead of using the thought to find the center of the storm. Luckily, nothing stops the voices then being star'd four times by one person right in a row...
Alex will be more then successful in everything he does, and his mark on GameSpot can be felt by all those who appreciate his written words and especially his visual and audio footprints into the DNA of all that is GameSpot and current games journalism. I wish him the best of luck, and may he be able to find a medium for which he is meant to say and be.
GameSpot is fine and healthy now and going forward. It will exist past the departure of Alex and others because of the amazing work of those still there, and because it can stand on the shoulders of giants. Any sense of loss is a personal one, for fondness of times past, and for the lack of an ability to grow based on the proximity and presence of those who we respect.
Alex, Know this, you truly have my respect...
What once was lost, is now found...
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