Mailvox: of Game Informer and Calvin Klein

Conan asks my opinion about some old friends:

Have you ever met the group at Game Informer?  I could ask many questions, like how y’all mixed (as they come across as SWPL in their mag) but not really that important and probably boring anyhow.

We got along exceedingly well.  Paul was Big Chilly’s younger brother’s best friend, so I used to see him all the time at Big Chilly’s house when we were in high school.  Andy and Paul usually came to our parties at the Digital Ghetto, and I still have pictures of me at one of Andy’s band concerts.  Big Chilly and I didn’t actually mix with them all that much professionally, however, since they were console and we were PC.  I don’t think they ever wrote about our stuff, whereas CGW did, although they knew all about it and sometimes played the pre-alpha stuff when they were over.

In all the years I knew them, and hung out with them, I can’t remember once ever discussing anything political with either Andy or Paul.  We talked about games, music, girls, and botany projects, but never politics.  I suppose we all had too much in common.

If I recall correctly, Andy made some noises about me writing for GI ages and ages ago, but since I was in the St. Paul Paper and nationally syndicated in my own right as a game reviewer at the time, it wasn’t something that ever interested me.  To be honest, we tended to think of their magazine as a cool little thing, but not a truly big deal like CGW or Electronic Entertainment.  I wasn’t always clear on how it was different than, say, Nintendo Power.  I remember it being really, really, thin, actually, since it was put out by a game rental operation or something like that.

It’s amusing that Andy is a bigger deal in the industry than any of us now, although Micron is doing well as the audio director at Epic.  I’m absolutely pleased for Andy.  He did a remarkable job in building up that magazine from almost nothing and he’s one of the few people about whom I have literally nothing negative to say.  I mean, quite literally, nothing.

Paul was a very funny guy in a quiet way.  The kind of guy who would say something with a totally straight face and you’d suddenly start laughing a few moments later when you realized what he’d said. He was also astonishingly good-looking and somewhat embarrassed by it.  A funny story about him: Joel West, the Calvin Klein model, was a friendly acquaintance of mine and accompanied me to the Game Informer offices one day.  After meeting Paul, Joel told him he could have a lucrative career in modeling and should consider coming to New York with Joel to meet with Calvin Klein.

Paul just looked at him as if he was completely and utterly insane.  He didn’t even say anything, he just snorted and shook his head.  Joel didn’t try to argue with him, Paul was clearly no more inclined to pursue a career in underwear modeling than one in infant cannibalism. His ALS and death at 38 was just ridiculously tragic and unfair.