Sess-ion Over: Farewell, Adam Sessler

As the sun begins to set on my spring semester (actually I can’t tell because it’s cloudy and drizzling at the moment), I’ve been preparing myself to resume my blogging duties on a more regular basis. But in-depth discussions about the return of Brock Lesnar or what I think of Mass Effect 3 will have to wait, because my world was kind of sort of rocked today.

Adam Sessler has left G4TV. (Source.)

When I was in the seventh grade I was channel surfing one night when I stumbled upon G4TV. I had seen it maybe once or twice before, but my memory was so bad and I didn’t care for video games all that much at the time (SHOCK!). At least not to the caliber that it is now. X-Play changed that almost overnight.

By the time I reached the eighth grade I was hooked, and by freshman year of high school I felt like a connoisseur. I watched the “Video Game Mash-Up” block G4TV aired almost every day of the week. I had just gotten my first iPod and I religiously downloaded every single video podcast, from reviews of games I loved, to those I never would have played, to sketches that tickled the juvenile that I was even though I thought I was “growing up.”

Still the funniest parody of the Emperor I’ve seen, second only to Robot Chicken.

I felt cooler because I “knew” games when my classmates played nothing other thanMadden, even though I didn’t actually play some of the games and I unwittingly fell into a downward spiral of anti-social behavior and reclusiveness that would contribute to a whole three years worth of anxiety and… Ahem.

In short, X-Play was my university. Adam Sessler, my professor.

X-Play was my first taste at video game journalism when I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I stuck by the show as well as G4TV as a whole as the years went by, defending it at all costs against the alienated “purists” or old-timers who were around since TechTV and couldn’t believe what they had seen their beloved programming devolved to. I didn’t care what they thought; X-Play and Attack of the Show! were mine, not theirs and no one else’s.

Of course nothing is perfect, and I did see the flaws. But as long as I had X-Play and Attack of the Show!, they could rerun Cheaters all day and I wouldn’t care. (SIDENOTE: Joey Greco’s lifeless gaze scares me.) It didn’t help the shows contributed to my love of television and pop culture. “I could do this,” I quietly said to myself as I watched the infamous 2006 Attack segment that pitted Sessler against Jack Thompson, the boogeyman of video games in that point in time. (And there was of course Mark Friedler, but Sessler vs. Thompson was the main event.)

A personal favorite moment of mine came when Sessler got his own segment on G4TV.com, Sessler’s Soapbox which I say without shame was an inspiration for this very blog. Early in the show’s history Sessler faced challenges for the ecstatic review he gave No More Heroes. The Soapbox‘s tone was set, as Sessler calmly explained the reasons why a game that only looked bad would earn such critical praise. But of course, nothing would match the outrage that poured when Sessler was accused of ulterior motives in the review for Killzone 2.

It’s a daunting task to watch every, single, episode, and therefore I freely admit I haven’t. But I can safely say I’ve seen my fair share — on top of the countless X-Play reviews — to know that I think Sessler actually rubbed off on me. Kotaku has conveniently combed through the library of Soapbox episodes and I took the time out to watch these again, and yup. When I rant, I rant like Adam Sessler: the words get bunched together, the use of hands rise exponentially, and sarcasm finds its way to say “What’s up?”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I’ll never forget their coverage of E3 2010. I happened to be by my computer and I tweeted along, just chiming in for the hell of it. Right after a segment about the PlayStation Move, this happened.

Adam: “And we’re back to the good– the, uh, Twitter wall, uh, @EricTheDragon thinks RAGE looks gorgeous. And he’s right.”

Morgan: “Absolutely.”

Adam: “Yes, I’d have to say so.”

Let it be known on that day: I was right! (I, uh, never played Rage.)

Adam Sessler was, in some ways, more than just a television personality, or a guy in a job that I’ve fooled myself into thinking that I could do. I’ve never met him, and I don’t know what I would say to him if I did. But he was like my Mr. Feeny, a quirky man full of knowledge who I followed from my middle school years and all the way to college. All day I’ve been treating him like he’s dead although he clearly, and very fortunately, isn’t. It may be cliché but it’s true: His departure marked the end of an era.

An end of my era.

Today I’m reminded that nothing is forever, and that things do change. I can’t depend on anything to stay constant. And that’s a good thing. Adam wasn’t the only known personality to leave his position recently: Allie Townsend of TIME announced her departure the same day as Sessler. Ms. Townsend is a smart, intelligent woman who reminds me so much of my high school senior English teacher, a woman who I admired and feverishly learned everything I could from.

With all these changes happening, it’s a reminder that I should be prepared for everything to be here one day, and gone the next. Yet it’s not a fact that I, or anyone, should mourn but something should be embraced. The change of the status quo shouldn’t occur just to make things interesting, but to move on. Adam intends to continue his role in video game journalism, specifically what he hasn’t revealed but I know he’s not gone for good. As for Townsend, she has moved on to Facebook’s development team, where I’m confident she will do fine work.

While I look forward to their futures and their contributions to the world of new media and journalism, I need to prep myself for my own change. That everyone my age needs to do. Guys, we graduate in a little over two years from now. While I don’t see riches and fame in my future, I do see some change and I think you all have been as well. There will come a day when we won’t go to school, period. Jesus Christ.

Speaking of, does anyone remember X-Play’s The Passion of the Christ 2: Judgement Day? Such a random skit. But such was X-Play.

I actually did not see today’s episode (I had class), but I do look forward to the future. Although Adam may be gone, it may be time for either of the remaining hosts — Blair Herter or Morgan Webb, the other staple — to step up and become “the face.” Those two are a topic deserving of another day, so until then: Farewell, Adam Sessler. See you somewhere.

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