Who Am I? - Ben Dutka
Arnold thought itíd be a good idea to formally introduce ourselves to our loyal readers. Itís a darn good plan, too, especially considering the increased number of Comments we receive on a daily basis. So, who are the two main guys responsible for the content youíve come to expect and Ė hopefully Ė appreciate? Well, heíll handle his intro and itís time for mine.
Some of you already know a little about me due to my interaction with a lot of readers over the past year or so, but hereís more of my profile. First, the boring stuff- I graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2000 with a BA and my degree in Psychology. After trying standard office work for a few years, I realized I couldnít handle such work for the remainder of my days. Öof course, this realization came after I got laid off, but nevertheless. ;) Anyway, I decided I wanted to be a writer, which, at the time, was the equivalent of saying I wanted to be poor. As I didnít have a degree in Journalism and zero publishing credits to my name, I wasnít entirely sure how to begin, so I started submitting ideas and articles to several local newspapers. Thankfully, they thought I had some skill and hired me on as a freelance reporter, which really didnít keep me out of the poorhouse but still provided some excellent experience. In other words, my wallet didnít benefit, but my rťsumť did.
I started reporting on local news but eventually wound up producing front-page feature articles revolving around entertainment. In my time, I interviewed more than a few major music artists and comedians Ė a few names include Kelly Clarkson, Jamey Jasta, Scott Ian, Coldplay, Celtic Woman, Carlos Mencia, Colin Mochrie, and Lewis Black Ė and I got around a bit. But after yet another high-profile interview and feature piece for which I received the measly $50 a freelancer gets, and then finding out any number of magazines wouldíve bought the same piece for $1500, I decided Iíd had enough. I started looking online and thanks to the 80+ published pieces I had, I got accepted to write for AskMen.com, where I handled more entertainment features. The name I wrote under will remain a mystery, because Iím not about to take a thousand questions about whether or not Iím that character in real life. Then, I stumbled on a part-time gig here at PSX Extreme, just before Aaron left for GameSpot. When he did, Val had liked what I produced in my few months and wanted to know if I would like a full-time spot.
Of course, I did, and here I am. Iíve been Editor-in-Chief for over two years now, and Val and Arnold are absolutely awesome to work for/with. I plan on staying for as long as Iím welcome, and thatís all I need to say on that. As for my current life, I turned 30 last year and while a wee bit of depression accompanied that momentous event, I have to say Iím relatively satisfied with where I am. I bought a 2007 Nissan 350Z back in March thanks to Arnoldís recommendation; Iím sure he will mention his car in his profile as wellÖwe mention Ďem because we love our cars! Itís a joy to drive, and mine is a slick silver with Burnt Orange and black interior while Arnoldís is a lovely Daytona Blue. If any competing site would like to challenge our Zs to a battle, weíll be more than willing to smoke them off the road, as the only cars that weíd really worry about are Porsches, Corvettes, M-series BMWs, that crazy 450HP new Mercedes, and maybe a Lancer Evolution. Arnold knows more about cars than I do, but my father has been a mechanic all his life, and between the two of them, I get all kinds of good tips. Heh.
Iíve lifted weights for 6 years and I continue to do so three times per week. I also use my rowing machine three times per week to add the all-important cardio; itís necessary because while I love tennis, you canít really play year-round in Connecticut. Iím 6í3, about 225 lbs. and if youíre not up to the road race, you can always challenge me to a simple arm-wrestling contest. Iíve focused on my arms for so long that I havenít lost in a while. ;) I rent a condo in a quiet location thatís just a little too far away from everything, one of my lifelong goals is to read as many of the literary classics as I can get my hands on (currently reading a collection of Tennessee Williams plays), I enjoy sports and fine eating (not that I get the chance all the time), and Iím currently single. My ex isnít worth mentioning, just because itís not an interesting story...(LOL) For the time being, Iím far too busy to even concern myself with women, although Arnold will tell you thatís little more than a dodge. He may have a point, but Iíve grown accustomed to being independent a long time ago, and many times, I take a great deal of solace and satisfaction in that independence. As far as Iím concerned, women can wait.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly for my audience, my gaming history and tastes- my first game was Pong on my fatherís Atari 2600, which I played in 1982 when I was only 4 years old. Then I played the heck out of the family IBM/Tandy, where I spent almost all my time with Ms. Pac-Man (try that with a keyboard; I was a master!), Heroís Quest, and Earl Weaverís Baseball. Then I got the NES and a whole new world opened up. From then on, I was pretty well hooked. Iíve never signed on for the whole brand loyalty or fanboy mess; I just always wanted to play the games I wanted to play. My favorite game of all time is Final Fantasy Tactics, followed closely by Super Mario Bros., Final Fantasy VII, Super Mario Kart, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Obviously, you can guess that my two favorite systems (so far) are the SNES and PS1, although my personal gaming tastes have changed over the years. Back in college, I would only play RPGs. Iíve played most of them on the PS1 and I still own about 30. But these days, Iíll play anything thatís great. A good story always gets me, as does finely honed action and of course, fun factor. Iím a gamer for life, plain and simple.
For the most part, Iím a laid back, not easily excitable individual that believes in ambition and motivation, a simple sense of civility and common sense, and an inherent drive to better oneself. Guess thatís about it. SoÖhi. :)
1/18/2009 Ben Dutka