H2O Mystakin: But to start things off, why don't you tell us a bit about your mysterious self.
Sargonas H2O: Well, I've been around the clan for quite a while -- since around 2006 I believe. I've been working in the video game industry for roughly the same amount of time. That entire time at EA, in fact, though I recently was laid off back in April. No hard feelings though.
A large chunk of my day to day social circle has come out of my association with the clan. I would like to think it's sheer awesomeness is a large part of what helped lead me to where I am now, having moved cross country to San Francisco and living the dream. I used to be an engineer and developer, but these days I tend to be a project manager and producer. My history as an operations manager is why, a few months back, I took co-lead of the team that runs all of our game and voice servers. I get to get my hands dirty tinkering around with server tech, but not in a day to day job where it becomes tedious and annoying, haha. Also, I get to pick on Snaze daily -- which is fun!
H2O Mystakin: Haha. What lead you to PMS clan originally?
Sargonas H2O: That's a fun story. So E3 2005 was my first E3. At the time, I was an engineer for Asus. I knew almost nothing about the clan at the time, but got to know PMS V3nus and we kept in touch online after the event for quite some time. We would chat off an on and I learned about the clan. Roughly 10 months later we began to gear up for something called "the world series of video games" that Intel was sponsoring.
Now, WSVG also wanted to run a BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) as part of the tour, but had No idea how to do it. Fortunately, I'm one of the founders of the biggest and longest running private lan parties in the country, Lanwar. We've been hosting 3-5 lans a year since 1999, and were maxing hall capacity 3 times a year at 750 people at our peak. Our summer event, Millionmanlan, maxed at 2,000.
So WSVG contracted us to run their BYOC. Naturally, I told V3nus all about it and encouraged her to show up with some of the girls. She ended up rolling up at our inaugural event in Louisville, KY in June of 2006 with about 25 girls, as well as the frag dolls. I sorta stepped in as staff and took care of the girls as a bit of a courtesy concierge service, and they loved me. Before the end of the first day, Athena Twin was putting me to work, haha. Five weeks later, we were all together again at the next event in Dallas. By the end of that trip, Twin was introducing me as h2o Sargonas, haha. So that's kind of how it happened.
H2O Mystakin: Haha. Brought into the clan against your free will, then
Sargonas H2O: Pretty much, haha. Though no complaints. Since then, I've become close friends with Rip and, from what I hear, he had a similar experience, haha. I sometimes forget just HOW long it has been, and then I hang out with Vinx at something like PAX and realize when I met him he was this crazy little kid still in high school. Now he's, like, an adult.
H2O Mystakin: Well, adult in size.
Sargonas H2O: Fact.
H2O Mystakin: So stepping back even further, what got you into gaming initially?
Sargonas H2O: Oh, I've always been into it. When I was 3, my grandmother bought me a Commodore 64. It was intended for me to learn smart kid stuff on -- and I did; I taught myself basic on it when I was 8 -- but naturally I loved the games. For my 16th birthday she got me a full fledged Gateway gaming PC. This was 1996 and it was all about the gaming then, but still not hardcore. I had a NES and SNES growing up that I played with my friends, but I'd say I played console far less than I do now.
In 1999, when i graduated HS, Asherons Call came out. My frist MMO. Then I was really hooked, hardcore. I actually dropped out of engineering school to be an engineer at a web hosting company back home in Louisville my Sophomore year. I had far too much free time for someone my age, so it was all spent on PC gaming.
In 2002, I got a part-time gig at EB Games based on my 4 month summer's job experience at Funcoland and ended up running the store. That kind of locked it in for me. In 2006, based on my work at Asus and being involved with WSVG, a gaming startup in Atlanta recruited me. A year later, we sold to EA and I've been both professionally and personally invested in gaming ever since.
H2O Mystakin: Besides Asheron's Call, are there any games that you can think of that meant a lot to you?
Sargonas H2O: This one you will laugh at, Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse for the SNES. It was the First game I played from start to end, beating the whole thing without cheating or using any shortcuts. I owned a NES since they came out, but I was always one to use shortcuts. This was in the days before games had saves! I had to sit down and play it all in one go -- granted, I would pause it for hours, sometimes overnight. even on SNES I would use shortcuts if the game provided them or if there was that one boss I'd say "Screw this" to and give up. I'll always remember Magical Quest.
There is also the Dead Space franchise because, while I worked on over 30 games at my time at EA, Dead Space 2 was the only game I was a part of from the very beginning to the very end. Roughly 90% of that time, it was the only game I was working on so Dead Space 2 is really dear to me as well.
H2O Mystakin: Any awesome stories tied to your internet handle, Sargonas?
Sargonas H2O: Sort of. In 1996, when I got my first PC, I wanted to take it online. Most of the folks reading this might be too young to remember (hah!), but this was back before the broadband boom so I had to use American Online. Back then, AOL had this habit of just absolutely inundating the world with free copies of their software on CD, I honestly believe more AOL CDs were printed than all other CDs in the history of media. Each of those had a 30 day free trial and, at the time, my parents were none too keen on attaching their CC billing info to anything "online" so I just made a new account every 30 days. I decided to use the same base name and add a number at the end as I started new trials.
So I set out hunting for a base name at the time I was reading voraciously. In high school i read probably 1 to 2 books a week, anything from Michael Crichton, Stephen King, R.A. Salvatore and everything in the middle. I was deep in the expanses of the Dragon Lance series of books and in their vast pantheon of gods was one named Sargonnas. He was the second most senior evil god, had an epic sounding name, and was the god of war and vengeance. He was in the form of a great black dragon. Black is my favorite color and I have a deep fascination with dragons, so I chose that and just dropped an N.
I have been using it for 17 years now extensively. I've built a mini Internet empire about the name and own the name just about everywhere you can -- Twitter, Facebook, every social media network, website names, etc. If you google it, 75% of the hits are me, 15% are the drummer from some Norwegian death metal band, and 10% are some Magic the Gathering player who is apparently kind of good. Being that I love Magic, i should just claim that persona as actually being me, haha.
H2O Mystakin: You're one of the two hosts of our new podcast project. What can people expect out of you when that kicks off?
Sargonas H2O: What, and give away all my secrets early? Hehe. Well, I tend to be ridiculously in tune with what's going on in the gaming world, and I also love to talk way too much. Add in the fact that I genuinely know what it takes to crank out a game title, all the details and nuances. I'd like to think you will be seeing some interesting twists on some of the more popular stories people love to grab on to, such as why game Y dropped feature X and what not. Usually they look at it from a consumer point of view and get the pitchforks and torches ready right away. I'll likely be keen to talk about some of the lesser known, behind the scenes stuff as why things might be that way. Why, for example, we see so much day one DLC. I don't like the trend any more than most others do, but I respect the business need of where the industry is forcing it to go and will likely share those sides of stories.
Gaming is my life. I built my childhood on it, my schooling, my career, even my relationships with girls and my free time. It really, truly, is my life and you are going to definitely hear my passion about gaming in the things I have to say.
H2O Mystakin: Any shoutouts to other clan members?
Sargonas H2O: I'd like to make a few. PMS Wedge, for being one of the best roommates I have ever, ever had. PMS Athena Twin for inviting me into this family. PMS V3nus for introducing me to it in the first place, H2O Rip for being one of my best friends, and lastly PMS Lumos for simply being herself.
H2O Mystakin: Could you give us 5 random facts about you that might surprise people?
1) I am, on paper at least, a Scottish lord. It infers me absolutely nothing whatsoever other than the right to use the prefix in my name. It's due to a silly Scottish law loophole. All you have to do is own listed estate lands and you get it. In my case I own 1 square foot.
2) My great uncle is J. Presper Eckert. He created ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic computer.
3) I played The Beatles: Rock Band with Ringo Starr.
4) I went up against Macaulay Culkin in an audition for the co-lead in "My Girl."
5) I sometimes moonlight at gaming events as the man behind the helmet, Mr. Destructoid for Destructoid.com.
Written by Erich "H2O mystakin" Sherman. Erich is the PMS|H2O Editorial Director. Keep track of him and his shenanigans on Twitter!