Freelance Chronicles: 222222222

As I mentioned before (briefly), my first paid writing gig was for Hardcore Gamer Magazine, a monthly publication that rose from the ashes of Diehard GameFan, an infamous gaming magazine from the 1990s. Hardcore Gamer was launched by several members of GameFan’s former staff, and sought to recreate GameFan’s fun tone and focus on niche gaming…preferably, without the ethnic slurs and LSD-inspired Atari Jaguar reviews.

In its second year of publication, Hardcore Gamer teamed up with viral marketing company FanPimp and began promoting itself through a community-driven website called Luv2Game. Luv2Game awarded users with prizes (mostly free gifts and promo items we collected from publisher PR) for completing site activities, making forum posts, and otherwise showing interest in the magazine.

Sounds like a winner, right? Who doesn’t like free stuff?

In reality, the setup fostered the kind of meaningful interaction that resulted in forum topics like “Mexicans: What do you think of them?”

Every day, I sat at the sidelines, watching the site circle the drain. People abused the system, cheated for points, and didn’t care about HGM in the least. User interaction was so shallow and self-serving that it was insulting to the work I’d put into the magazine.

Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. I registered at Luv2Game’s forums and began a campaign of terror, ridiculing anyone who deserved it and ruining threads with pointless nonsense. I received warnings from the site’s moderators for my behavior, until they discovered that I was an editor for the magazine, after which my shenanigans were met with an awkward silence.

This continued on for several weeks, until it became obvious that Luv2Game needed new leadership. Seeing that I showed greater interest in the site than any other HGM editor (even if it was just to call people idiots), my boss made me the community manager of Luv2Game.

I wasn’t paid for the position, but I was promised a fat monthly paycheck if I was hired on full-time after an initial evaluation period. The “evaluation period” dragged on for six soul-crushing months, after which I relieved of my duties. The site shut down soon afterward. I was never paid.

During my time as Luv2Game’s administrator, I judged contests, quelled forum uprisings, and pored over pages and pages of inane gaming discussion to make sure that nobody was talking about Mexicans. Years later, I remember very little of it in particular, recalling only a vague sense of unease and nausea.

One thing I do remember — and will never forget — is 222222222.

“222222222” (that’s exactly nine number twos) was the name of a Luv2Game user who was determined to win every contest on the site. Each time I uploaded a new challenge, 222222222 would immediately enter it. This person answered every poll, responded to every survey, and made exactly the minimum number of forum posts required to earn points each month.

222222222’s specialty was fanart. Though I never chose him or her as the winner of a single contest, 222222222’s unwavering resolve was inspiring, and of the hundreds of drawings, screenshots, and poems I judged at Luv2Game, 222222222’s entries were the only ones I saved. Here they are, along with all of 222222222’s original commentary.

“Zelda is surrounded by darkness drawn inpending enemy in the mountains ,but show he was secure in inpending victory”

“The Video game Legend of Zelda a fine articulate game ,find the Elf in a forest in joyeous overshock and ready to do battle with crossbow in hand .”

“Dragon Quest The Princess the globe the sword in 3d”

“Dexter empowered with gun electricty ,a dangerous creature hapy in camera trying to be happy”

“best I could do”

“Prince of Persia The Two Thones 4 hours on it ,capture alot of detail”

“Spiderman had a game for xbox dark dreary city spiderman paint four colors of red rose,rus,pink three diffent blues consentrate on obstact a little bit trying to creat somewhat a chaos Green Goblin upper rigt corner a forseen attack and Spiderman lets loose a web.”

“Mario Brothers game bombs going off Mario jumping oncoming bombs”

“A tribute To Mario World same game somewhat old light blues greens and celebation of fun still the motto if on We of or handheld ,”

“Big Brain Academy, the second title in Nintendo’s medley of mental mini-games. The title includes a series of brain-stimulating exercises designed to improve thinking, memorization, computation, analysis, and identification.”

14 Responses to “Freelance Chronicles: 222222222”

  1. Kris Says:

    “best i could do” is the best possible summary for any image

  2. Bridgeportcat Says:

    Actually I think we started the Mexicans thread on a Dare of some sort. Drinking more than likely was involved. Actually Drinking was definitely involved.

  3. Bridgeportcat Says:

    And yes, best i could do is what I say pretty much half the time when I make things for someone else. I actually said it at work the other day because it really was the best i could do!

  4. Misty Says:

    Why isn’t 222222222’s work hanging in a gallery somewhere?

  5. Spinner 8 Says:

    Yeah actually, come to think of it, I think I started the thread. I think I said something like “what’s the deal with Mexicans”, thinking that everyone would get disgusted with me and the thread would be deleted and we’d all have a laugh back home. But instead, everyone was all “yeah I see them all the time at Wal-Mart they’re all smelly and terrible” and we were horrified. I don’t think it ever got deleted.

  6. Bridgeportcat Says:

    Spinner: I think we actually had a poll, too, so that people could vote YES or NO on mexicans

  7. what? Says:

    its a pity you didn’t mention the gamefan hotel room thing at one E3 involving the young staffers, Yoshi’s Island, whores, and cocaine (not making this up)

    Weird article. Great read, but weird. Reminds me of that one old viral Maddox article where he’s ripping on little kids’ drawings. I like how that 222222222 kid drew fanart of Dragon Quest featuring a well hung Richard Simmons.holding a giant testicle.

    The other weird thing is. Well. You.

    Are you sure you didn’t work for Working Designs once? My memory may be a little hazy, but I remember something similar happening on their website where Victor Ireland hired a webmaster who did the same more or less. Specifically they had a letters section feature. It was easy to tell the guy was fed up with the fans’ stupid ass questions since all his responses were way jaded and sardonic. That was hilarious. He wasn’t webmaster for very long, unfortunately.

  8. Shih Tzu Says:

    My guess is that 222222222 was in fact a manifestation of your subconscious, waking as you slept and physically rebelling against the insipidity of your unpaid community management position.

  9. Catherine Meyers Says:

    Hi Danny,

    My name is Catherine Meyers, I’m the admin of a web blog directory, while reading your blog and it’s reviews and articles about gaming and games, I was wondering if you might be interested in a link exchange (no money involved), I would add your blog in my directory so my visitors will also visit your site and in exchange you add my website to your blogroll or links. Please let me know if you are interested and the best of luck with Dream and Friends.

    Cheers!

    Cathy

  10. sebmal Says:

    this is probably my favorite anything

  11. klarthailerion Says:

    The works of 222222222 and Wesley Willis = the art and music gallery of champions.

  12. Dream and Friends» Blog Archive » Happy Weird-Ass Pirate Multicart Day 2011 Says:

    […] But what about the game itself? I wish I could show it off in screenshots, but since it’s not emulated, I had to resort to taking photos of the game playing on original NES hardware. Apologies for the crappy quality, but…well, best I could do. […]

  13. Oyun Aski Says:

    Indeed, a good subject. Thank you sharing was good. I will visit the site often for new articles.

  14. Agent Piltdown Says:

    “best I could do”

    I originally read this article a few weeks back, but this phrase and the humour surrounding it pops back into my mind every now and then and still makes me laugh out loud. Thank you so much for sharing.

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