Adam Sessler, and the End of an Era
This might come as a bit of a surprise to you, but I am a nerd. A big one. I don’t confine myself to just one or two branches of the Geek Tree either. I am a multidimensional dork. Tabletop gaming? Yep. Live action role playing? Uh-huh. I’ve even added boffer fighting to my repertoire. Comic book fan? Oh yes. I even find myself in the nerdiest of all possible corporate professions. That’s right. I’m an accountant. I am an all-around geek.
But of all of my nerdy pursuits, my favorite is video games. I was a PC and console gamer back when Combat! and Adventure were awe-inspiring. I was jaded before Super Mario Bros. came out (I owned E.T. for the Atari 2600, after all). Video games have been a life-long love of mine, and that hasn’t changed. Luckily, my wife shares this passion with me, and our side-by-side TVs and separate XBox 360s mean that we can both stay up until 5 am playing Skyrim or ME3 and not feel guilty about it. In fact, we’ve been known to apologize for going to bed and leaving the other to game by themselves. It’s our main hobby.
We don’t watch a lot of TV, because that gets in the way of all the multiplayer Mass Effect playing we can do, but there are a few we always catch. Top Shot. Archer. The most obscure one, however, would be one found on the G4 network. You probably have never watched it, because it mostly shows Cops and its teenaged counterpart Campus P.D. No one should ever watch those shows. My wife and I used to watch two of their shows religiously – Attack of the Show, which was about pop culture with a heavy emphasis on technology and other nerdy things and went to shit when Olivia Munn left, and our favorite of them all, X-Play.
X-Play is a show all about video games. Reviews, previews, interviews, other words with the word “view” in them, live reports from PAX or Comic-Con and other places, all centered around my favorite hobby. It was hosted by Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb and Blair Herter, the best trio of snarky fanbois-and-girl that I’d come in contact with. Blair was the funniest, Morgan the snarkiest, and Adam the straight-up most passionate. He loved games to the point that sometimes he couldn’t talk about them without stuttering and waving his hands all over the place and making very little sense. Adam was always my favorite. I trusted his opinions, respected his passion, and always wanted to hear what he thought about anything from the ME3 Ending Foofaraw to coming trends in gaming to how Ghosts-n-Goblins changed his life. He was awesome, informative, and excited about an industry and product that I love.
I learned today that Adam Sessler is no longer on X-Play or with G4 TV at all. Done. Kaput. The X-Play from yesterday that’s on my DVR is the last time I’ll see him on the show.
I am surprised by how much it bothers me. I told my wife about the news and she was as stunned as I felt. I made a half-hearted joke about now knowing what it was like when Walter Cronkite stopped doing the news. It sounds ridiculous, I’m sure, and I meant it as such, but the more I think about it, the more apt the sentiment feels to me. Back when people watched Walter Cronkite, they gave a shit about the news, trusted him and his voice, and believed in him. I do not give a fuck about the “news” today, especially not the shitty offerings on TV, but I care a hell of a lot about video games. Why? Read the first paragraph again. It should explain it. So for me, the voice and opinion I’ve trusted most is no longer on the only TV show for video games. Adam Sessler is my hobby’s Walter Cronkite. And he’s not on the air anymore.
I have to admit, I am surprised at my reaction to this. I mean, this whole entry is just an attempt to come to grip with how I feel about it. It’s really fucking weird. I’m sad. So is my wife. We shouldn’t care. TV shows come and go, news anchors change, shit happens. But Adam was a constant for us ever since we discovered him. He’s been doing the show since 1998, which in the world of video games is roughly the same timespan as the Triassic period, and my wife and I have been watching for years. According to Kotaku, a video-game blog site, the departure was less than amicable and over a contract dispute. Whatever, all I know is, the voice I trusted most is no longer on one of my favorite TV shows, and that sucks. He was one of the few critics whose opinion tended to mirror my own feelings, and that was a valuable insight and resource for me to tap into when trying to decide whether or not to plunk down some money for a video game.
I’m sure he’ll be visible and online and contributing his peculiar blend of invective and sheer unfettered joy, but I still can’t help but recognize that this is the end of an era for me (and him, of course, but this shit is all about me). Will X-Play continue just fine without him, or will my wife and I just stop watching like we did with AotS? Will he continue producing intelligent rants (unlike my trivial ones) about games and gamers and those who to thwart and destroy the industry, like his excellent Sessler’s Soapbox series? Is Katie Couric going to replace him someday? I don’t know any of the answers to this, but I know that I’m a little apprehensive. I wish Adam the best of luck, of course, and I hope that he can do the things he wants to do, as long as they involve him talking to me about video games, because that shit is important to me.
Because, you see, I am a huge nerd.