Well it’s official. I am no longer working for Examiner.com as the powers that be have decided to shut the website down. The company let all of its employees know on July 1, which were mere hours after I unknowingly posted what would become my final article. While some writers reported on the issue beforehand, I decided to hold off until it was more public knowledge. The email was confidential and I decided not to try and agitate any lawyers. With all that said what does Examiner closing mean for me?


When I began at the University of Minnesota-Duluth for my Bachelors in English, I didn’t know what my end goal was going to be. I knew I wanted to be a writer since High School, but not in any practical manor. I graduated in May of 2011 and I still didn’t come to a conclusion. I spent months looking for work that summer, but every writing job I was interested in required years of experience. How could I enter the field if I needed previous qualifications to fit in? It was a typical Catch 22 for an American graduate.


That August a friend, let’s call her Axel, informed me of this place called Examiner.com. She knew I was into games and said they were hiring writers on that subject. I applied, having to pitch them an idea to get in. My suggestion was exploring the time elements found in Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together and Radiant Historia, which both launched earlier that year. Suffice it to say with my time off from both school and work; I became deeply engrossed in those two games. And needless to say I was hired thus beginning my five-year stint at Examiner.


For those that don’t, Examiner was, more or less, a blog with credentials. It was founded with the mentality of allowing public writers, or Examiners, to share their knowledge across a whole wealth of subjects from my interests in games to politics, food, gardening, sports, and more. We were all freelancers, but the company did officially employ editors to help run the site. I was free to write whatever I wanted, which threw me for a loss.


I grew up reading magazines like EGM and OPM and moved onto online publications like Gametrailers and 1UP. As a lot of their content revolved around news and reviews, I decided to start with that. Again, I had a long summer full of games thanks to Blockbuster and Gamefly so cranking out reviews was no problem. Looking back at them now, well, they’re okay but not great. On that matter I still stand by my scores save for a few. Resident Evil 6, ugh, I’m looking at you.


Three months later in November of 2011, I established a YouTube channel, ReActionExaminer, to coincide with my writing. My goal was to comment, or react, to game news and trailers. While fun, it ended in disaster as copyright claims came in aplenty. I discontinued the Re-Action! News and debated how to move forward. I had yet to buy a capture device for me consoles, but I did have knowledge for emulation and a way to record my monitor. So ReActionExaminer shifted to retro games for a time.


My skills as a writer and video editor improved over time, as did my interests in video game history. Hunting down systems and games I never heard of awakened a sleeping beast inside. I wanted to learn more about everything. More so than anything else, I can thank my time at Examiner and YouTube in broadening my interests in games along with my knowledge. More on that later, but let’s skip ahead to the fall of 2013.


A few days after I celebrated my second anniversary at Examiner, a friend of mine asked if I ever got review copies. It was one of those instances where you wanted to kick yourself for being unambitious. Why had I never thought of this? Upon looking into it, the press account I used for news assets contained emails to PR representatives. I had this power at my fingertips for two years? Mind blown.


On August 26, 2013 I received my first review copy: Rayman Legends courtesy of Ubisoft. Granted it was only a week before release, but hot damn was I excited. Ubisoft, to me, was a big deal and to go from no review copies to the big leagues was just, hah, so awesome. Humble brag yes, but it put me down the road to PR town. I’m not going to recount every single one, but over the years I’ve become quite acquainted with a few more notable publishers. To them, and you know who you are, seriously, thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Let’s fast-forward again to March of 2015 wherein I would achieve another distinction. I was granted the supreme honor of representing Examiner’s status on Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. and Final Fantasy Type-0. It’s not like I was winning an award or anything, but it was breathtaking in a way only a nerd would understand. And altogether I represented them on five reviews. The aforementioned two along with Tales of Zestiria, Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam, and Mighty No. 9. It’s a bit tragic to not end on a high note, but I did enjoy Mighty No. 9 a great deal more than other people.


The last accomplishment I wanted to acknowledge is Axiom Verge. Days after I published my review of Final Fantasy Type-0 I received a code for it. It was awesome to say the least, but the best part of my review was the nomination I received afterward. I was featured in the launch trailer for the game, sandwiched in-between two of my favorite game journalists: Jeff Gerstmann and Jeremy Parish. It was a privilege within a privilege. Again, just one of those things only a fan of the industry would understand.


My time on both Examiner and YouTube has been eye opening. I’ve received numerous honors and am still humbled by every single one. I’ve evolved from my humble beginnings and I’m not through yet. I’m going to use Game Jurk mostly for archival purposes. At the time of this posting (July 12, 2016) I can still access my account on Examiner, but I cannot edit existing content, or post anything new. Everything is still up and readable, but in case the site shuts down completely I’m going to archive my work here. Yes, my older reviews may not be as pristine as I remember, but they’re still important to my career’s history. And until I find my next writing gig my main focus will be drawn to video projects with ReActionExaminer.


When I read the news regarding Examiner I was deeply shaken. Upon reflecting on it though, well, I feel validated in a grim way. Most of the game journalist community has worked for one, or more websites that have shut down prematurely. Gametrailers and 1Up especially come to mind. But like the talent from those two downfalls, I will rise up from the ashes and strive forward; doing the best I can, while I can. Again, another thank you to my friends, family, readers, viewers, coworkers, and other work related associates who have stayed by my side. Without you I wouldn’t be here.