Thursday, January 29, 2009

WWDD

Those who care about such trivialities may have noticed that in the various photos and videos that have appeared on the World Wide Web of me in my old office at 1UP, there was a sign prominently posted behind my head that said "WWDD."

Like this one:



Much speculation has been had--as with the numbers in Lost--as to what this could possibly mean. "We Want Dunkin' Donuts"? "We Wear Depends Diapers"? But no. These were not correct. The correct answer, which I am revealing here for the first time in this world exclusive is: "What Would Dana Do?"

The "Dana" in question is Dana Jongewaard, who for many years was given the hapless task--as a few other poor souls did--of being my Managing Editor at Computer Gaming World. I say "hapless" because as anyone who knows me knows, I can be a bit of an absent-minded and oblivious fellow, and so part of being my Managing Editor was basically making sure that I didn't just wander out into the street and get hit by a car--let alone getting a magazine out on time. In addition to keeping her slightly retarded boss on track, Dana also had the extra ability to stop me from doing things that would otherwise get me in trouble---like sending irate, emotional emails to my bosses, or heads of game companies, or other such stupid things. "WWDD" was something she ultimately printed out for me, to remind me to think of what she would do when I found myself in those kind of situations. I kept the sign up there long after she left for better things, simply because, well, she was ALWAYS right.

In general, Managing Editors have a thankless task: They are the deadline Nazis amidst a bunch of writer/editors who generally tend to ignore such things, and they have a million minute tasks to attend to involving every little detail of the magazine's production that are anything but the "fun" part that people think of when
they wonder what it's like to work on a magazine. For this reason, it can also, unfortunately, be a bit of a career dead end--or at least a cul-de-sac--because their superiors might then peg them as "administrators" rather than as creative types---when in fact it's usually more the truth that they are just the most responsible of the creative types. Because they have to spend so much of their time managing, they often get less opportunity to be write every month. Sean Molloy is a perfect case in point. He was the busiest guy on the staff, and so often didn't get to write as much. But when he did, you'd just go, "fuck, this guy is brilliant! Why doesn't he write more?" Well, because he was doing all our work for us. That's why.

It was even worse if you were a female managing editor--as many of them were at Ziff Davis. Dana, Jen Tsao, Carrie Shepherd, Kristen Salvatore--all "mothers" to a group of irresponsible man-boys, who didn't always take them as seriously as they deserved. It's no coincidence that all of them have since gone on to bigger and better careers elsewhere, as Ziff was notoriously sexist in its disposition and makeup (quick--count the number of female editors-in-chief over the years!). Basically, they had to leave to be promoted. And, really, let's not limit that problem to ZD. The gaming press in general is pretty much a boy's club (it's heartening to see EA teeming with smart, ambitious women), especially if you're not willing to take the low road, and, say, lick PSPs to advance your career.

ANYWAY...so Dana went from CGW to OPM as managing editor, but only now has gotten the EIC position she has so rightly deserved for so long. She's a terrifically funny writer, an awesome editor, and an extremely media-savvy person with more gaming knowledge than people think, all of which is well reflected in her website, greenpixels.com. The mandate for the site has been a "less hardcore" gaming site--and lord knows how many people have tried, and failed, over the years to do this very thing, both on the Web and in print. But with the changing demographics of the gamer audience, and Dana's talent, this site has the best chance I've seen yet of doing it.

The site is still just revving up, and Dana herself was off for quite awhile doing the whole "giving birth" thing, but she's back now, and you can see the results. Earlier this week was this fantastic column on free games paying homage to old school games, and just this morning Dana and her colleague Amanda posted their own Tom vs. Bruce style take on Madden--with great results. Check it out here.

WWDD? D would keep kicking ass in a male-dominated field. I say thumbs up.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

FYI the link to greenpixels has an extra dubya.

On the subject of moms, I think we need more in the industry. There are so many man-childs

theCherneymin said...

Very cool. I noticed the WWDD in the background during an old 1UP Show, and thought maybe it meant "What would Dad do?" in reference to you... ^_^

Jeff Green said...

Whoops--thanks for link fix, anonymous!

Eric Majkut said...

1. "let along getting a magazine out on time" Need to change along to alone.

2. "especially if you're not willing to take the low rode, and, say, lick PSPs to advance your career." Low road, not low rode.

Yay I just got to edit Jeff Green :)

Jeff Green said...

LOL. Thanks Eric. That's what Dana would do, too!

Rahman said...

"The gaming press in general is pretty much a boy's club (it's heartening to see EA teeming with smart, ambitious women), especially if you're not willing to take the low road, and, say, lick PSPs to advance your career."

So true. 1up's venerable Jane Pinckard had to take photos of herself in her underwear to get her big break.
http://www.gamegirladvance.com/archives/2002/10/26/sex_in_games_rezvibrator.html

Anonymous said...

Are you aware the Jessica the PSP licker works for greenpixels.com?

Urock said...

Jeff, it's sad to see you requiring multiple editors to make your work fit for print. D would be ashamed.

I think "WWDD?" is more uplifting than Anthony's list of "People to Kill"

Gentry said...

I'm not a writer but it sounds like I could sure use a Managing Editor for my daily life. Or at least someone to stop me from sending emotional emails to management, and getting hit by cars.

Stephen said...

And here I always thought it meant "What Will Drugs Do?".

Y'know, to keep up with deadlines.

James said...

Jeff, if you keep giving out great website bookmakrs, I will soon be overwhelmed by ALL THE GOOD CHOICES available!

AAhhhhhhhhhhh... !

James said...

Oh and I forgot, you already told "us" what "WWDD" in the GFW Podcast before... or somewhere, while you were still at 1Up.

So, suffice to say, this was not a world-internet exclusive -- sorry!

G-Man said...

The revelation was a world VISUAL exclusive for the Greenspeak blog. Only here can you highlight, copy and paste what the letters meant.

Try doing that with audio!

crazyred said...

's funny, but a disproportionate number of production managers (the animation biz equivalent of managing editors) are women. I think your "mom to the irresponsible boys" metaphor is right on.

As always, great bloggage!

Anonymous said...

I love jeff green.

Flix said...

I bet your wife just LOVES Dana:)

Kevin said...

I'm the absent minded type as well. I frequently forget minute details (they said no pickles on that Hamburger!). Although, I wish I would have thought of a WW[insert letter]D. I will now!

Magnus said...

Hi Jeff,

Interesting post as always, keep it up.
It would be nice if you could tell us all ^_^, which game you are working on right now, so that we can get hyped about it.

It is always nice to see someone blogg about games on a more... serious level, someone that is, and please forgive me for saying this, but older than the usual gamer.

You know, it is bloggs likes yours and sites like "what they play" that fills you with a nice feeling about the industry.

Also, if you would be so kind, please add my blogg to your bloggreel, i think you will find my content to be interesting ^_^
http://mypacejazz.blogspot.com

Reverend Slim said...

In fairness, Jessica Chobot licked that PSP before she was in the business. She was writing for Brian Crecente's now defunct gaming blog site Redassedbaboon.com, which I also wrote a bit for. It wasn't a paid gig; just a site where anyone who wanted to blog about games could make an account and post (and potentially get on the front page if the writing was up to snuff). Sure, that pic got her a lot of attention and ultimately lead to her IGN gig, but it's unfair of you to represent that she did that just to advance her career.

Hell, there was a pic of me licking an Atari 2600 on there in response (which I assure you was far less exciting), but no one was doing it for any self-serving business reasons.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that nobody has mentioned this yet - Dana and her friend, Amanda, ripped off Tom VS Bruce.

The two ladies went head to head in Madden for the The Madden bowl.

You've got to read it. it's laugh out loud funny. And it reads exactly like the Tom VS Bruce column.

Here's an excerpt for those of you who missed it.

Amanda: Shortly into the second half I suspect that Dana has figured out how to play defense -- her player manages to intercept my pass. I ask Dana what she did because I’d been really close to taking the ball from her bunches of times. She replies that she isn’t quite sure -- she is simply pushing buttons and moving the sticks on the controller. Apparently my button-mashing skills aren’t nearly as honed as hers because while my defense never quite steals the ball from her, Dana manages to get a couple of turnovers from me throughout the second half. Maybe she has figured it out but wants to keep all the turnovers in her favor. I’m smelling some foul play here, but it’s nothing I can expect the refs to call for me in my favor.

Dana: I may look like I know what I’m doing on defense, but those two interceptions were complete and utter flukes -- maybe all those years of button mashing in Soul Calibur are paying off dividends here in Madden. Unfortunately for Amanda, luck is not on her side as her button-mashing results in a face mask call. That penalty puts me at first and goal, and just a quick pass later (I still have no idea how to rush the ball), I’m doing a little end zone dance. Thanks to Amanda’s fine work on figuring out the kicking controls, it’s a cinch to score the extra point, and the Cardinals take the lead with just a minute left to go.

Ha - that's great.

Also, Magnus, I'm confused - are you asking Green which game he's working on at EA? Or are you asking somebody else that question?

Cause Green has told us a number of times now which title he's working on. Maybe you haven't been following his blogs as carefully as you claim, eh?

The Goose.

John said...

Great post. That's why you're awesome, Jeff.

Troy Goodfellow said...

A good managing editor can make all the difference between dysfunctional and well-oiled machines.

One of my current employers has an excellent ME, who also happens to be female. I know that all us writers appreciate what she brings to the site.

Jibrell said...

What's the rule on @reply you on Twitter?

MSUSteve said...

GreenPixels is a pleasure to look at and to read. Dana needs to get going on a podcast. I'd love to hear her and her crew ruminating on gaming topics.

Kevin said...

Has the WWDD mentality carried over into your new workplace? OH and you should REALLY go podcast with Ryan's Geekbox next week. Do it. please?

Steven said...

If Jeff was a unicorn, he would be Charlie.

I am dreaming of the day when Jeff and Shawn join Geekbox permanently!

Nice post Mr Green! WWDD!

Peace out.

Michael Adamek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Adamek said...

Somewhere in the archives of Jeff's employee file at Ziff, the word "difficult" was used to describe him. :)

Keith Dickerson said...

How are you enjoying the gaming industry from a different perspective a few months in?

The Picard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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