One of my friends (@DARTH PurP) asked me this yesterday and honestly it’s been a while since I’ve talked about it. So…
I’ve been a gamer for over 20 years of my life, ever since my parents bought that first Nintendo console in 1998 with the original Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. Over the years, I’ve played almost everything of note on every system from the old ass Atari 2600 to the current generation. At birthday parties, you’d find me at the arcade cabinets. At home, you’d find me either on the computer playing silly flash games or on our home Gamecube crushing my brother in Super Smash Bros Melee. At sleepovers, I was the one still up at 2am trying to beat our record on Nazi Zombies. I’ve owned both retro and modern Nintendo consoles, Xboxes, PlayStations, and now a suped-up gaming PC.
I’m also one of the few people I know that enjoy almost everything gaming has to offer. Unlike many of my friends, I’m not strictly a sports/CoD or competitive shooter only gamer. I’ve always been on the lookout for the next best thing; whether it’s a triple-A game pushing graphics to its limits, an indie game with a cool mechanic, or just a really powerful story about literally anything. I love it all. I think gaming is one of the most beautiful art forms we have created over the last 3 decades and I cannot get enough of it.
Flash forward to December 2018: I was now 3 and a half years out of college. I got a degree in Mechanical Engineering because my dad was an engineer and the work he did interested me enough to pursue a career in manufacturing. Unfortunately, 3 years after graduation, I was completely burnt out from working in manufacturing plants. I’d been moved all over the country (5 times in 3 years), I’d had operators scream in my face with no repercussions, and I’d cleaned human shit off the bathroom floor at 3am during a union strike just to name a few of the challenges I never thought I would experience when I chose that career path. I’m not trying to be dramatic because I know there are plenty of people who work much harder jobs for much less than I was getting paid, but by the end of 2018, I was mentally and physically exhausted. My mental health was absolute shit and I felt like my life was a living hell of my own making by pursuing a career in this field.
Thankfully, I found a company that month that didn’t tolerate the above and I’ve happily been working there for almost 2 years now as both a mechanical engineer and an assistant plant manager. But when I first started this job in December of 2018, I was still just mentally broken. It was then at my lowest point when I was living with my sister and her husband while I transitioned jobs that Barstool Sports truly was my escape. I listened to every episode of Pardon My Take and KFC Radio throughout the week, I watched every episode of Stool Scenes, and I watched the video above about 30 times just thinking “man, working at Barstool looks like so much fun.”
A week later an idea started to form in my head. I remembered an episode of KFC Radio where Kevin mentioned something along the lines of “if you want to work for Barstool one day, start creating now. Make a blog/podcast/Twitter/etc and treat it like it’s your job.” At the same time, I remember seeing what was going on at Barstool Gametime with Smitty and Devlin and thinking “I could absolutely do that and even more.”
So I started a gaming blog. That original blog no longer exists since it was a .wordpress domain but it was my addiction for January and February of 2019. I wrote a post every weekday and shared it everywhere. I’d stay up late writing shit that like 5 people would read every day about new releases, opinions on news, puny posts about Fortnite ripping off every other game ever, etc.
And I fucking loved it.
The “Unfiltered Nerd” handle came from the idea that no one on the internet is sharing their real authentic unfiltered opinions on gaming. And if companies like IGN and Polygon are the “ESPN” of gaming media, I wanted to be the “Barstool”. I remember typing out the About section for that early site and while it changed like 20 times before I actually kept it, the words “unfiltered” and “nerd” were always there. So I made it my blogging and Twitter handle.
In April of 2019, I ditched the .wordpress domain and went all-in on PartyChat.org. There’s no other place in gaming to find true authentic opinions than in a game chat or party chat, so that’s where the name came from. I bought the domain, learned how to build and format a website, paid some guy on Fiverr to make the graphic above, and just kept on going. Even as my day job got busier and busier, I just kept on blogging at night and early in the morning trying to get better each day and share my opinions. And shoutout to Darth PurP again for editing my blogs over that entire year and even writing a few of his own.
By the end of 2019, I’d written almost 300 blogs, interviewed multiple game developers, and rebranded the website to what you see now. The difference between December 2018 and December 2019 was incredible both for the site and for my own mental health. I was happier, more motivated, more better; I was truly content with where I was in my life.
Then, while watching a Barstool video on YouTube, I saw my opportunity to take the next step.
I never stopped being a Stoolie though this entire adventure. I still listened to PMT and KF Radio frequently and would keep tabs on what was going on with Barstool Gametime. When this video popped up, I immediately DM’d Smitty offering to be the guy that “knows about games to help grow Gametime”. And when I say I DM’d him, I mean I spammed the absolute fuck out of his DMs. They want a guy who knows about games? I was determined to be that fucking guy.
And (obviously), I got a reply.
After weeks of talking back and forth about how I could help fit Gametime’s needs, I was finally given a chance to write a blog in late January 2020 for Barstool Sports. And then another blog. And another one. And another one.
I was fucking living the dream. I wrote every day and night and while I wrote way more than what actually got published, I have 48 blogs that made it through and are still live on their site. All of my friends know how fucking excited I was. I mean, this was Barstool Sports! This was the dream from Day 1 and I was on track to make it a reality in just a little over a year!
And then, in late March, everything came to a screeching halt as COVID hit and everything went into a nosedive. The need for Gametime was no longer on the blog, it was in production as everything went remote and Barstool HooliganZ was launching soon. So that’s what I transitioned to learning and what I’ve been doing on and off for the last few months while I continue to blog when I can here, work my day job, and wait out this pandemic.
I’m not a Barstool employee, but I would say that is and always will be my end goal. In March when things were up in the air, someone approached me saying that Game Informer was looking to hire and could give me a recommendation. I thought about it for like 5 minutes and said “no thanks”. Because at the end of the day, that’s not what I want. I didn’t do all this work for over a year and a half now to work at just any gaming media company. I did it because I want to work at Barstool Sports and make Barstool Gametime one of the top names in gaming media.
That’s it. There is no plan B. There is no fallback. If everything I’m doing now ends up failing, I’ll keep blogging on my own, try to grow my brand, and try again in a year. And if that fails I’ll do it again the next year and the next year until I get a hard no. And then idk what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll grow it into my own company, maybe I’ll stop blogging and just tweet. I have no idea because there has never been another goal in my mind. It’s Barstool or nothing at this point.
So yea, that’s my story and my plan moving forward. No hidden agenda, no secrets; just another Stoolie with some talent trying to get on the rocket ship.
We’re almost halfway through August (how…) so keep sending in Q&A questions. I mean it, I’ll answer anything. Hit me up on Twitter or in the Barstool Gametime Discord (you can join here) and I’ll write about anything you want to know my opinion on.
ALL questions will be answered this month no matter how many.