What Were the Odds?

So really, what were the odds I’d be writing this note to you, dear reader? Really, I owe it all to chaos theory, or serendipity – whichever you prefer.

Back in 2003, long before the magazine you so enjoy was flying off the e-shelves, I was visiting lovely Durham, NC as a Spring Break afterthought. While my peers were fleeing to Cancun or Miami, I was on a jet plane heading toward the Bible belt to visit my dad, who’d been here for work. I figured I was in for a week of minor league baseball and cheap tobacco; I didn’t really count on meeting my future employer while I was on vacation.

But as luck would have it, I’d posted a travel update on an old gaming community site I ran (don’t look for it – it’s not there anymore), and not an hour later, I received an IM from a random member of my gaming community. “Dude!” he said to me. “You’re in Durham? We gotta hang out.” It was a Themis employee.

As luck/chaos/Cusack movie would have it, the place I was staying was a mile away from where the Themis guys all lived, and I ended up spending an evening with future mag Producer, Jon Hayter, and Publisher, Alex Macris. They seemed like a cool group of guys, so I added them to my contact list when I made it back to my home base in Vegas.

Fast forward six months, and the fates had drawn me again back to NC, this time to set up more permanent stakes. I stayed in touch with the Themis guys, played some Heroclix and Cyberpunk with them, and lived the life of an unemployed college student. But again, our friend chance got involved. Right around the time I was beginning to miss a steady flow of income, Team Themis was hiring Customer Service Representatives. One interview process later, I began my tenure here on Meridian Parkway, Second Floor.

Let’s jump ahead again, about a year. I’m on a plane, sitting next to Alex, and he lowers his voice to tell me about this great idea he and soon-to-be Executive Editor Julianne Greer had for a magazine that would treat gaming like a cultural phenomenon rather than just a pastime for pasty white guys. I loved it and started piecing together writing samples.

And so, here we are, nearly two years into the magazine’s life, and by the hand of Julianne’s writer’s block and illness, I was tapped to speak directly to you, to tell you how I got here. And it was easy; all I had to do was not party in Mexico. Jesus, what were the odds of that?

And, after a not-so-random glimpse into my life, we’ve arrived at this issue’s theme: “What Were the Odds?” Herein, we’ll take a look at the games and companies that couldn’t or shouldn’t have happened without a little help from whatever it is that does play dice with the universe. Matt Forbeck follows Prey through its tumultuous development cycle. Kieron Gillen talks Chaos. Our own Russ Pitts and Shannon Drake tackle Armadillo Run and the other Ion Storm game that didn’t make you John Romero’s bitch, respectively. And yours truly profiles Bethesda, the company responsible for Trip Hawkins and a little franchise called The Elder Scrolls.

Chances are you’ll love it.


-Joe Blancato

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