During a quiet — and, I won’t lie, somewhat bored — moment today, I decided to take a look back in my GMail archive and see exactly when I started using that account. I’ve had a number of different email accounts over the years, some of which have lasted longer than others, but I had a feeling that GMail had stuck with me longer than anything else. (Except perhaps for Hotmail, which I keep around to sign up for things I don’t want to sign up my “real” email address for. And for my Xbox Live account, because in Microsoft’s wisdom, they don’t allow you to change the email address associated with your account, meaning I was forever stuck with it, not that email really matters to Xbox Live anyway.)
Sure enough, my GMail account has been with me for somewhere in the region of four or five years or so. Prior to that, I made use of a .mac/MobileMe/iCloud account (the name has changed several times since I opened the account in 2007 as part of my employment at the Apple Store), and before that, I was using Yahoo. Prior to that, I was using various different proprietary addresses that I got with Internet service providers, and since I moved every year while I was at university — and quite frequently thereafter, too — I changed email address a lot, much to, as I recall, the annoyance of my brother, who never knew which address to contact me on.
Anyway, I digress; my GMail account hails from 2009, and it was interesting to take a look back to what was going on in my life around then. I can use this blog for that too, of course — and often do, as narcissistic as that might sound — but looking back at past emails is a little different because it’s not just a record of my thoughts spilling out on the page as I saw fit to express them; it’s my thoughts spilling out on the page as I saw fit to express them to another specific person.
As those of you who have been reading this blog for a few years will recall, 2010 was Not A Good Year for Pete, and indeed the early pages of my email history reflect that to a certain degree.
Before that, however, was an email from a former colleague containing nothing but this image:
Anyway, the first few pages of my GMail are actually made up of messages imported from my .mac/MobileMe account, which I was running in parallel with GMail for some time (and indeed still am, though I don’t really use it any more). In those early messages, I can see the first time I was hired as a professional games journalist — Joey Davidson and Brad Hilderbrand were good enough to take a chance on me and hire me for the now sadly defunct Kombo.com. The pay was crap, but it was something at a time when I had nothing else, and I got something far more valuable out of that experience: friends. People I still speak to today — indeed, just today I had a quick chat with Joey via instant message, which was nice.
Around that time, I was preparing for a trip to PAX East in Boston, at which I’d have the opportunity to meet a number of members of the Squadron of Shame for the first time — and to catch up with some I’d had the pleasure of meeting once or twice before. I was also looking forward to the opportunity to cover a big event as a journalist, though sadly I wasn’t enough of a bigshot at this time to be able to score a proper press badge, and as such had to write about things at the show largely from a consumer perspective.
Shortly after my return from PAX East, you may recall that my life fell to pieces, and you can see almost the exact moment this happens, since there’s a sudden flurry of sympathetic messages from friends and family alike. Thus began a very dark period in my life, and one that still, I must admit, brings tears to my eyes to relive, even when looking at it through the cold, clinical view of plain text.
So let’s not do that.
Instead, fast forward a bunch of pages and I was very surprised to spot an email from a familiar name: Shahid Ahmad, who is now best known as Sony’s most enthusiastic employee, and champion of the Vita. Shahid apparently commented on one of my posts somewhere — I can’t quite tell where from the email exchange, but it was a post about the game Mr. Robot, which I recall enjoying a great deal — and we’d evidently had a discussion about Chimera, a game which he made back in the days of the Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64 home computers, and which he has trying to remake ever since. (He was talking about a remake a while back on Twitter; apparently, he’s been trying to make this happen since at least 2010.)
Somewhere around the 37,000 email mark (still in 2010), I seemingly start using GMail a bit more for communicating with people and signing up for things. There’s still a bunch of stuff coming in via MobileMe, but messages without that tag are starting to appear more and more.
Around the 35,000 email mark, I start working for GamePro. Of all the sites I’ve worked on over the years, I think GamePro is the one that I think of most fondly and am most proud of. I feel I struck a good balance with my news coverage, and there was tangible proof that I — specifically me — was responsible for bringing in a significant amount of new traffic with the work I was doing. Unfortunately, this seemingly wasn’t enough to prevent the site from being unceremoniously wiped off the face of the planet some time later, but it was nice to know at least.
Aside from my own developments, it’s also interesting to see what names I still know today have been up to over the years. It’s nice to see Tom Ohle of Evolve PR’s name crop up a bunch of times, for example — that man’s one of the hardest-working PR folks in the business, and also someone who always put across the impression of genuinely believing in the games he was representing — as well as folks I’ve worked alongside moving from outlet to outlet.
And then, of course, there’s the first appearance of Andie in my Twitter direct messages (Twitter’s email notifications used to look a whole lot different!) and… well, we all know what happened there. (She’s sleeping upstairs in the house we own together right now as I write this.)
So anyway. Having rambled on for over a thousand words about nothing more than my email archives, I think I’m ready to call that a night. It’s been an interesting trip back along memory lane — not always pleasant or comfortable, but certainly interesting — but I think I’ve sated my curiosity for now, at least.
So what’s the earliest email you still have, dear reader?