Today is my last day as Editor of VideoGamer.com. It's an odd feeling. It feels strange even saying that. This site has been a huge part of my life for over 10 years - heck, it was my life for at least half of my 20s. But things change.
I've lost track of when exactly I became involved in what is now VideoGamer.com, but this is a short rundown of how it all went down, the story of how it became what it is today, and what it will hopefully become in the future.
I used to read a lot of magazines when I was a kid. Each month I'd buy pretty much everything, read them countless times, obsess over certain games, and exhaust demo discs. I'd write letters to mags in an attempt to get printed (and win prizes), and couldn't believe it when I saw my (probably poorly written rubbish) printed on the letters page of PS Plus. One year I went on family holiday, and the one item I chose to bring with me was a copy of Official PlayStation Magazine so I could repeatedly read the review of Formula One.
Writing about games naturally followed, with my first 'paid' work appearing on the retail website Streets Online. I say paid, but in reality I was just submitting reviews for as many games as possible, getting paid £1 for each that was accepted. This didn't bring in the big bucks, but for a kid with nothing but a paper round to fund a big games habit, a decent wad of store credit each month was great.
Fast forward to about 10 years ago, and I was studying Software Engineering at Brighton University (despite discovering I had little to no interest in software development), and as such a lot of my friends were into web development - none more so than Pro-G Media co-owner Adam. During my first year at uni I was writing for a small fansite called Madgamers and making trailer CDs for friends, and Adam was working on developing a gaming website.
Our overlapping hobbies eventually came up one day and initially I was just going to contribute to the site offering console news stories and reviews, but soon things developed into more. We ended up creating Pro-G.co.uk, which featured content mostly written by me, but with some superb help from volunteers. In a period of time when N4G didn't allow everyone to grab some clicks through baiting headlines, it's fair to say Adam and I spent every minute we weren't studying working on the website - and a lot of the time we were meant to be studying.
Time passed quickly and our courses at Uni were rapidly coming to an end. I remember scribbling some numbers down on a bit of paper to try and work out if it would be possible to turn this website into a money making business and a full-time job. I can't remember what figures I came up with, but it definitely seemed like a tall order, so it's probably a good job I didn't share the numbers with anyone else.
Still, possibly against my general risk-aversion way of thinking, Adam, James (who had until this point spent most his free time watching America's Next Top Model) and myself ignored the graduate job market and decided to work full-time, unpaid on Pro-G. We're now all 30, Pro-G is VideoGamer.com, we've got a proper office, a staff in double digits and have established ourselves in the UK games industry.
I'm very proud of what we've managed to accomplish in that time, not only in terms of site achievements but also in the people we've worked with. Will Freeman is now editor at Develop, Nick and Simon left to form their own video production company, Wez became news editor at Eurogamer, Seb left for video stardom on Gamespot, Jamin is now flying high as a community manager at Born Ready, TomP is having fun working all over the world, Emily joined mega-start-up Polygon, Matt Nellis is travelling to Germany to work for ESL, Martin left to join the other traitors at GameSpot, and Neon is now, well, probably trying to write a novel/screenplay/play/ while having strong opinions on which films are good.
And we've got a great bunch of guys here now, with Dave, Matt and Steve forming a brilliant team that could offend anyone with their obscene comments if given the chance - or is that just Dave? That team is wonderful, but I feel it's time they had a new leader, someone with fresh eyes and a new vision to take the site forwards.
As of next week I'll no longer be editor of VideoGamer.com, with a respected industry veteran taking my place from Tuesday. Finding someone for the job wasn't easy. This isn't just a job for me, it's something I've spent a third of my life on and remain 100 per cent involved in, so I'm extremely pleased that we found someone who's up for the task of taking us to the next level.
This isn't goodbye. I'm still here, heavily invested in the company, but no longer the person that has to ask Dave why he's looking at that picture, quiz Steve about the score he's giving the next AAA release, or pray the next Tweet by Matt L isn't going to cause a publisher meltdown.
Thank you to everyone who has helped over the years, our readers and forum members who keep coming back to the site, and to all the people I've worked with inside and out of the company. Hopefully you'll all be impressed by what the site achieves in the next 10 years too.