N64 Connoisseur

I Raise My Glass

Ya know, I almost didn’t do this. But I have to. Not out of some obligation but out of love. I need to say my farewell to a place I called home for so long. Let me tell you a story about this here Castle and how it became more than just a website.

My entry here came on the heels of a joke I made on Twitter. I was writing regularly in a forum at the time and tweeted to Bailey that when I grew up I wanted to write for 1 More Castle. Within minutes, he emailed me expressing interest. We talked about what I could do. I suggested writing about the N64. He suggested the name “N64 Guru” for the series which made me vomit in my mouth. I wanted alliteration and the N64 Connoisseur was born.

My sample for 1 More Castle was rough, I must admit. Bailey and Andrew decided that I had potential and decided to bring me on for a six month trial that turned into a three year residence. Bailey said words to me that I have referenced before but will very likely stay with me until I die. I still have this email, by the way. He said, “With a little push, you could be fantastic.”

He was the first person to encourage me in that way and I spent every day of the rest of my gaming media career trying to live up to that. I’d like to think on occasion I hit that mark, although I know many times I missed it, as is life.

To me, that story is what 1 More Castle always was for contributors and readers alike. Family. No matter what bullshit went on outside these walls, you were safe here because you were with family. We made new family members along the way and lost some, too. I want you all to know that we tried every day to make this place a refuge for you to be safe from the vitriol and the craziness that goes on out there nowadays.  All we ever wanted was for people who love video games to come in here out of the rain and talk shop around our fireplace.

As we prepare to close down, it is my hope that we were that for you. I know you’re sad. Trust me. I cried literally for days when I found out. I hope that you can take solace in knowing that we loved doing this for you. In a perfect world, where we have no responsibilities or bills or jobs, we would do this forever. I am glad that the site will stand as a monument and as a symbol. A symbol that everything is not darkness out there. There are genuine people out there who just love video games. We proved that here over the last three years.

It was my honor to serve as co-community manager and to review Nintendo 64 games (and SNES games for a short while) for you. I hope something I did or wrote or said brought a smile to your face at least once. Yes, I am riding off into the sunset as I have well documented, but just because I’m not covering games anymore does not mean I will not write anything ever again. I know me. That writin’ itch will come back and I’ll need to scratch it now and then. Probably never regularly again though. As sad as it is to say goodbye, it is awfully nice to have my free time back again.

I need to thank a few of you personally.

Andrew Carreiro- I wish we had thanked you even half as many times over the last three years as we have over the last three weeks. You made it all work. You handled everything with positivity and class. You never complained about any of it. You helped me with stuff that had nothing to do with 1 More Castle. Thank you for being amazing.

Eric Bailey- To quote Diamond Dallas Page (I know it’s a strange setup but stick with me) “Never underestimate the power you give someone by believing in them.” Thank you for believing in me in a way I had never believed in myself.

Eric Hunter- I can not imagine anyone better to share the title of Community Manager with. Thanks for opening my eyes to your amazing insights into video games. Giggity.

Jason Lamb- You’re from Canada. Thanks for hockey. Also thanks for being a constant reminder that there is immense benefit in not taking every ounce of life so seriously.

Chris Swartz- I always had wanted a real life friend to become a part of this. Thanks for being that friend. I’m glad that I got to share in your excitement.

There are, of course a ton of people that need thanking. Pierre, Daniel, and Jonathan come to mind. You guys never produced anything that wasn’t top of the line entertaining. Joshua Caleb was the guy who put me on my first podcast getting me involved in all of this to begin with. Alex Weiss was my roommate at Indy Pop Con where I did my first panel and put up with me being a nervous mess. Valerie Minnich had me over her house on that same trip for an amazing night of gaming fun.

The point is, everyone here has been amazing and I will miss this place. As for you, the faithful readers, watchers, and listeners, thank you. You made this all happen. Remember that video games are fun. Never take them too seriously. Remember the love that you hold for those games and share that. There are more like you out there ready to do the same. Thank you all for letting me create for you. To the Castle, to the leadership team, to the contributors, to the readers, I raise my glass.