A lot’s happened in the past month.

I graduated the second week of May from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Science, and a minor in Journalism.

Shortly after that, I started packing up my life (and things accrued over the 4+ years in college) to move to a familiar town 40 miles away to prepare for the start of a new career with Lowe’s Home Improvement. I’ll be a Software Engineer working on a myriad of projects, some mobile apps, some pipeline stuff, etc.

And to boil that month of time into a few paragraphs feels understated – the move itself took weeks of packing, day after day of lifting furniture and boxes up and down stairs, not to mention doing that for 3 roomates besides myself.

And, of course, earlier this year, I stepped away from my duties at Machinima and as part of the Inside Gaming team. That was a big, big change.

My relationship and time with Machinima can’t really be summarized in a brief blog post, but I can say that I left at a time that was right. There wasn’t much left I could do, and the company was/is on a path that’s different than what I’d years ago predicted. I’m definitely not here to criticize Machinima, its existing employees, or its practices, but rest assured there was plenty we agreed on, and plenty that we did not.

But my departure, personally, was like I said, well-timed. I was genuinely ready to quietly exit the side of the games media I was working from, and willing and prepared to pursue a path I’d carved for myself with my degree, skills, and work prior to Machinima, IGN, and the games industry community in general.

I could not be happier to be starting work as an engineer. The work is challenging and rewarding, and the pay is great. I’m living by myself for the first time in my life, which is a great break after living in a family of five (sharing a room with siblings until I was nearly 10), and living with 3 roommates in college.

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With all that said, this will be the first E3 in three years I’ll miss, physically and emotionally. I’ll be taking on a more exciting and realtively-new challenge: hiking Acadia National Park in Maine, which is also part of the Appalachian trail that I so love. I’ll be there for one full week with my dad, and we’ll be waking at sunrise to make breakfast over the fire, hiking all day through waterfalls, rivers, forests, and creeks, and returning at nightfall to sear caught-fish, roast hotdogs and enjoy the clear night sky – miles and miles from the nearest town.

But E3 is something I’ve always treasured, for years and years. I probably started paying attention to E3 coverage when I got my Gamecube – but I read Nintendo Power and EGM for years and years before that when I had the NES, GBC and N64. I’ve been watching E3 too since it was available to view, and some of my favorite coverage came from IGN during the Nintendo Revolution/Wii days, when Matt Cassamassina (now of Apple I think?) did some AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING coverage with Mark Bozon (also of Apple?) of the 2006-launching system that shook our hearts and minds (at the time).

With Nintendo seemingly on the up-and-up with its choices these days, most notably the recent Smash Bros news, I’m simply dying to see what they announce. I want a new 3D Mario game (Mario 128 people, it’ll happen some day). I want to see that hot new Legend of Zelda game. I want to see some freaking Smash Bros. footage (and we shall thanks to the invitational which is GAHHHHMAZING on so many levels you guys ugh). I wanna see a new StarFox game. And normally I’d say “Knowing Nintendo, I’ll get maybe one of these wishes.”

But you know what? It might be different this year. I know I say that EVERY year, in the same tone that someone who liked Shadow of the Colossus exclaims that The Last Guardian will finally resurface.

But I mean it. Nintendo has made some great advances these past few months. Mario 3D Land is awesome. Mario Kart 8 is great. Kirby Triple Deluxe is wonderful, and I’ve wanted a good Kirby game for YEARS. Smash Bros. looks like a hybrid of Melee and Project M. And as much as you might HATE the Gamecube controller, Nintendo is listening to its hardcore Smash community and making an official Gamecube adaptor for the Wii U, not to mention licensing PDP to make a Smash-themed GC controller!

So of everything at E3, that’s what I’m most jazzed about, and I’m (a little) sad I’ll miss it. But not as much as I’d miss the opportunity to spend time with my dad, see the beautiful creations of God in nature up in Maine, and spend a week doing what I love (even more than games) being in the great outdoors.

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With that said, thanks for reading. Oh, and I won’t have cell coverage out there so it’ll be hard to communicate with me.

But dear Lord in heaven, if they announce Fallout 4, you have permission, ALL OF YOU, to text/tweet me in agonizing excitement.

See you in a week.

Oh. And have a great E3. 🙂

Phil Spencer - Dance

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