Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hello World!

Famous words once used by Tiger Woods now repeated with somewhat less fanfare than he had...

For those of you who don't know me, allow me to introduce myself. I am JRock, gamertag JRock3x8. The "x" is not "by", it's read "x". Don't feel bad - even doodi screwed it up on a podcast (#8?) once upon a time. JRock refers to the first letter of my first name (Jason, pleased to meet you) and the Rock part pertains to my "exploits" with "music". Since there about one zillion JRock's on XBL, I got creative with the end part of it by combining/rearranging the numbers and letters of one of my favorite movies - THX 1138, made by the incomparable (in more ways than one) George Lucas. The numbers/letters are also a reference to my numerical identification in an early direct dial chat system written by the now famous (to me anyways) project director at Google, David Jeske. It's funny to think that he and I were partners in a Computer Science project in high school, and now he's making zillions and I'm a lowly Financial Analyst (a little bit of drama on the "lowly" part).

How did I find 2old2play? Around June 2005, I finally decided I needed to figure out what this podcast thing was all about. It was in the news, all my friends were talking about it and then of course when iTunes started supporting it, it went supernova. My early subscriptions were :

2old2play (doodi's early comments on the state of social gaming were amazingly prescient),
Short Attention Gamer (run by 2 extremely cool guys in central MO),
TWiT (I worship Leo Laport because he says I should),
Digg (I still embarass myself in public places by laughing out loud listening to their podcasts), and
Chatterbox Video Game Radio (something about Alon's snobbish attitudes appealed to me back then)
Slashdot Review (daily news from Slashdot, love that guy's deadpan delivery)
Geek Speak Radio (I think they originally broke the zombie dogs story that now lives on in infamy on digg)
and of course Major Nelson Radio (you do know MS has a 10% stake in your soul, don't you? You might want to check on that...)
Anyways, the point of all that was I heard doodi talking about a timmy free world and I imagined that it could be true, so I visited the site. I was trolling the XBox message boards and was actively seeking a new audience for my unique brand of "humour". The XBox boards are FILLED with haters, and the mods are helpless against their onslaught. (Tangents are my specialty, can't you tell?) I came to the site and joined in my first 2old2play Halo2 game. It was NOT a pleasant experience. I distinctly remember seeing "You have been killed/maimed/bent over/annhilated/pooped on by BluestarNF" being BURNED into my screen that day. I later found out that he CHEATS using some sick monkey hand grip on his controller that only proves that he's not 100% human. (lol, buddy...just kidding)

I proposed segregating gamers by skill level. If you've ever played with me, you know that the words "skill" and "aim" are not in my vocabulary. The site founders basically said "grow a pair and learn to play the game." So I pouted about it for about 13 seconds and then went and started my own clan (Clan Corsseyes for those who remember it). I recruited people who sucked bawls at Halo2. I believe my recruiting cry was that if you'd rather use a sniper rifle as a walking cane than as a weapon than my clan is the place for you. The clan was incredibly successful, partly because there were people who ONLY wanted to play for fun and partly because the site was growing like a firecracker at the time. We were easily bumping the 60-80 people mark within a month. Then, as all clans do, we hit our first rough patch. I went on vacation for a week, came back and my clan was tearing itself apart over the definition of "too sucky to play". Unfortunately, our little rough patch turned out to be the death of the place as the arguments just couldn't be resolved. A clan that exists for the sole purpose not to compete in a competitive environment just doesn't work. If we had structured the premise around fun instead of anti-competitiveness, it might have survived, but that's water under the bridge as they say.

The remnants of Clan Crosseyes are now roughly split between Old Man Mafia (Rockcrawler took mercy on me after my humiliating defeat and welcomed me into his clan) and 2old2pwn (last time I checked is headed by KidMach). I'm sure there are former members in other clans, so forgive me if I exclude them due to ignorance.

Of course, today, 2old2play is BUSTING at the seams (how many people do we have now? last time I checked, it was north of 7,000) and is a respected contributor in the blog scene with it's online magazine, headline blog and podcast. I still see things on Joystiq and the like referring to stories originated on 2old2play and I swell with tears of pride - yah okay, not really...

I am also a very proud resident of Chicago proper, where the site's senior leadership and resources are located. I love to read about the history of Chicago. It's amazing to me that something that started out as a geographic point of strategy became the center of power and money that it is today, largely due to contributions of city boosters like William Butler Ogden, Louis Sullivan, Marshall Field, Daniel Burnham, Montgomery Ward, Potter Palmer and others. I work at the Field Building (now renamed LaSalle Bank Building) at 135 S LaSalle St and it is an honor and privilege to walk through that lobby each and every day. Ironically enough, the name LaSalle is extremely prevalent in the Chicago area but Robert LaSalle had almost nothing to do with the development of Chicago, passing through on his way to Texas in the 1600's. He stopped long enough to ponder that the swamp might be a good spot for a city and moved on. Funny how history remembers people like LaSalle.

Anyways, enough about me for the time being - I've got a 2 year old on my lap who needs a nap ;)

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