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Hooray Employment

For the first time in 16 years, I do not have a full time job in the videogame industry.

No more editing reviews, hustling for assignments or badgering PR for early review copies. Not that we are against getting review copies for NHS but I no longer care as much about meeting a deadline. It’s liberating — like being blasted in the face with ice water shot from a cannon. The fact that we have a great community here at NHS who come every day to read our stuff is now like icing on a cupcake. Not a real cake, we aren’t that big yet, but in this case a cupcake will do.

It’s crazy to think that I have made my living writing about games since I left college, but that’s the truth of it. I thought when I lost my job at GameShark back in May that I would scramble around trying to fill the void with yet another editor assignment but you know what? I’m done with that part of my life. I love games and always will but covering games in a certain way and working for another website holds absolutely zero interest to me.

You have NO IDEA how much I am looking forward to playing games just to play games. I miss that. A lot. Now I can fire up Crusader Kings 2 because that’s what I want to play. I’m sure I’ll play as much new stuff as I did before but the pressure of having to race through a game I’m not enjoying — it’s just not for me anymore. Writing about games at NHS needs to be fun, first and foremost, and as a result I’m going to write about what interests me. Period. I hope that you can all understand that.

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As for my job, I have been hired as the new Straw Director of Conquistador Games. Taking the reigns of a shiny new boardgame company is an opportunity that I simply could not let pass by — and I’m being paid — that seems almost unfair. Conquistador is a brand new company and our first product, Road to Enlightenment, is about to ship and we have several prototypes in the hopper. I’m basically handling the day to day duties, some of it fun game stuff and some boring business stuff — but at the end of the day, I am steering the ship of a boardgame company which I have to tell you beats the shit out of worrying about if Game Company X sends us a review build on time.

I am excited, nervous, anxious, and so thrilled to be doing this that I can’t wait to get started. In fact I started on Monday which is why I haven’t been writing much here of late. I hope you understand — it’ s a new job in a field of gaming that I adore so I want to get off on the right foot.

What does this mean for me and NHS? I have every intention of writing for NHS for as long as they will have me. Short term, it means I’ll be writing less. The reason for this is that I will be traveling more for my job at CQ than I ever did for Gameshark because Gameshark rarely paid for me to travel (true story, ask Brandon and Todd). I will be heading out to Lancaster, PA for the WBC on August 1st to run the booth at the convention, then we’ll be going to GenCon, then BGG Con, and maybe even Essen. As the Director of the company — you kinda have to go to these things. So that means less time to write about viodeogames — at least for now. Once I get settled into things here I will get back on the writing horse, whether it’s a write up about an old game, some boardgame stuff, iOS, whatever.

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But my life is about to change in a huge way.

I cannot wait.

Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

49 thoughts to “Hooray Employment”

  1. Very cool! You earned it, especially since I know for a fact you have directly contributed to at least one sale of Road to Enlightenment.

    Speaking of as the new Straw of CG you think there is anything you could do about speeding my copy along, ya know for a fan. Getting married August 4th, and well I’d rather have it deliver before my honemoon, not on it. You pull that off I might even take it easy on you in Summoner Wars 😉

    All joking aside that’s great. Besides I’m always wanting more boardgame coverage here, so let ‘er rip.

    1. Ha.

      Funny thing, I am mailing off the Kickstarter orders for RtE on August 2nd. I’d do it sooner but they are in a warehouse in New Hampshire atm. 😉

      1. I would never suggest anything so crude. To imply that this Benjamin in my hand is for coercion and bribery purposes couldn’t be further from true. Sir you have dishonored me.

  2. Congratulations Bill! We’ll miss your regular writing during your adjustment, but I can handle that since I can proclaim that I contributed to Kickstarting The Abner’s first release.

  3. Congrats, Bill! I wish you great success. Take your time, do your job, and don’t forget about your fans here.

    And even if you don’t write for a while, I’m pretty sure you’ll write every now and then after the PC version of Dark Souls arrives on August 24th. Just saying. 😉

  4. Congrats!

    I was wondering why things had been quiet on here lately, good to hear that it was for a happy cause.

  5. First off: sfh asukthasdfjgh ;adfjgh’wdfjgn df

    Second: I could not be happier about this. What an amazing direction for you. I’m super happy for you Bill! Congrats!

  6. Congrats, if you bring to the table what you’ve brought to NHS, then conquistador games has an incredibly bright and sunny future ahead of it. All the best and may the road to enlightenment hit it out of the park!

  7. Oh, look at you. Pulling a hipster Jeff Green and joining a [i]board[/i] game company.

    /snark

    I can’t imagine what it’s like trying to make a living off of writing, let alone staking yourself as the Straw for so long. You must feel great moving onto something new.

    It’s great that you’re with Conquistador games too! From what I recall, the Road to Enlightenment is going to be a sweet game. I was able to view a early demo last October at a GWJ event and it was looking great then. It will be great to see what it’s like after nine months of polish.

    Congrats Bill! Best of luck at your new gig!

  8. Wow, such awesome news. Dirk is lucky to have you. Best of luck!

    I also got a chance to see Road to Enlightenment with baladec and can’t wait for it and the rest of the stuff you have in the pipeline to arrive.

  9. Oh, congrats! You left one position for what seems like a better fit for you at this time in your life. Very cool. Best of luck!

  10. Congratulations Bill!

    Unfortunately, I have no chance to board game unless it’s on the iPad, so sell a bajillion copies and then bring everything over there eh? Road to Enlightenment looks good!

  11. Well Bill, I don’t think I could be any happier for you. It really sounds like it could be a great fit. I know you’ll do just fine. Congrats, man!

    I’m glad you’re still gonna be here at NHS even if it is (temporarily) less often. It’s honestly been a very long time since I’ve been personally invested in a website and its community. You guys have a really good thing going here.

  12. Good for you. Making that leap to something new is such an unfulfilled dream for most folks it’s good to see it happen on occasion. Great to see you’ve picked yourself back up after GameShark and moved on.

  13. Congratulations! Do you have a link to your new company? So those of us who missed the kick-starter can give some support?

    1. Part of my early duties is to rebuild the CQ website. Right now it’s outdated.

      When RtE is available you’ll know it

      I also need to update the site w/ the latest prototype.

  14. congratulations, Bill. Now you just have to worry about the knuckleheads reviewing your games. I hear that Michael Barnes guy is a tough critic.

  15. Oh, finally less sport games coverage at NHS! *phew*

    Joking aside, great news! Happy to hear you got new job, and good one at that 😀 Best of luck!

  16. I probably knew about this before most of you folks, and I was very excited to hear that Bill nabbed this position too. Bill is one of the coolest and most professional people I’ve met in any capacity around games and I think that Dirk and co. made the right decision bringing him on board. I was already interested in some of the things that CQ was doing, but with Bill on board there’s no where to go but up.

    Or down. Way, way down.

    I fully expect Bill to steer the company into reprinting Strat-o-Matic Baseball.

    Even though I’ve only written about video games since 2008 or so, I can totally relate to this business about playing games “just because” and not having any kind of review obligation. After Gameshark folded and the money train chuffed off into the sunset, I’ve been playing video games just because, and really kind of enjoying them more. We’re still doing the reviews here and getting the occasional review copy, but I love not having to say “ugh, I have to play through Ninja Gaiden 3 tonight” and instead getting to say “alright, I’m going to play Valkyria Chronicles tonight”.

    Believe it or not, reviewing games isn’t always fun. Sometimes, it’s a fucking awful drag.

  17. ‘I fully expect Bill to steer the company into reprinting Strat-o-Matic Baseball.’

    How’d you get access to my design dropbox?

  18. Ruffles Bill’s hair. Get outta here you.

    I’ve always had a healthy obsession with gaming for 20 odd years now and the thought of turning that into a job turns my stomach. From Rise of the Robots to the newer Leisure Suit Larry (who the hell was that game or anyway)… I honestly dont know how you guys do it.

    Nice one Mr Bill Sir.

    1. Rise of the Robots? Wow, I thought no one other than me remembered that game. I barely remember it, though I do remember all the disappointment and pain it caused.

  19. I didn’t know Abnercon was a job fair!

    Glad to hear Dirk brought you on board. If you guys need help on IP stuff, you and Dirk both know where to contact me. Thrilled I will get to see you at gencon too. Woot woot!

  20. Hey, long-time lurker and first-time poster here, just wanted to say congratulations to Bill, your new job sounds like a wonderful opportunity to do something different and exciting. I also want to take a minute to say thank you to Bill and the rest of the NHS crew for creating one of the most involving and honest gaming sites around. If I want a review with a numerical value attached to a game as soon as it comes out, well there are literally a million places I can get that. NHS, to me, provides insight founded upon that core gaming question; is it fun? I’ve tremendously enjoyed the lengthier “reviews” of CK2, Borderlands 2 and the like, because they deal with the stuff I’m interested in. The editorials and anecdotes from the crew’s personal lives also make for terribly interesting reading, making NHS much more than simply a gaming review site. I’d argue it’s much more of a “gaming lifestyle” site than many of the established giants like Kotaku or the Escapist precisely because it’s so personal, so quaint, and so honest.

    So all the best to you Monsieur Abner, and I hope that you will continue to write for NHS despite the undoubted pressures of your new job – as long as writing for NHS is something you want to do, because I think ultimately that’s what makes people like me want to read it.

  21. Congratulations, Mr. Abner!

    Also, in your final paragraph, there’s a word I’m sure is misspelled: Viodeogames. I’m sure you meant to type, “viovodeogames”, the traditional pastime of Slavic nobility.

    You’re welcome.

  22. 16 years of full-time videogame criticizing… I’d rather not imagine what I’d do if I were to be forced to play a single game I merely dislike.

    Congratulations on your new work, and best wishes to this young company.

  23. I am running out of space for all these dang board games in my main room. Are you guys gonna sell big cabinets for games, too? Maybe standardized bags and in-box organizers? Road to Enlightenment sounds like it’s gonna be a piece-monster.

  24. Wow, I didn’t even know Gameshark folded. Well it’s good to see you landed on your feet Bill, and in such a nice position no less!

    1. Gameshark didn’t fold as much as it was turned into the new mad catz.com, which is more focused on their product lines.

      There was certainly no room for me at that point.

      1. What, you didn’t feel like writing and editing hard-hitting news like determining which new MadCatz controller was *more* awesome, only to declare consumers should just purchase them all for total awesomeness? Geez, way to have ethics Woodward.

        1. The truth is that it was determined that Bill- like myself, Brandon, Todd, and Danielle- was not part of the “Premium Gaming Lifestyle” that MadCatz advocates and supports by posting Snoop Dogg videos.

  25. Congrats Bill, I’ve always loved reading your take on things and am excited to see what you and the CQ team produce.

  26. Congrats Bill! Except for the getting paid part, been there and done that on the whole review business. I gave up that part of my gaming life a few years ago, and it is truly liberating to play games just for fun, and blog about the fun things in gaming.

    Of course every once in a while I get a burr up my ass and just have to write about wrongs and how to right them, but still …

    Best of luck to you!

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