Despite not having my own Gamertag, I had an awesome time playing random gamers on Xbox Live. We were set up on the 20th floor and it was actually my first time up on that floor. Twenty had been off-limits to regular EA serfs but since the corporate re-alignment, it’s now just a regular development floor now, along with some execs.

Swapping between Jordan and Andy, I managed to play about a dozen people over a 1.5 hr period. It was crazy seeing how many friend requests had been sent to these accounts. Each tag had about 50 people wanting to be friends. Some people just sent us messages, thanking us for making a great game. Now, I’m just saying but there were even a few that said, “you kicked Tony Hawk’s ass.” I’m just saying!

We accepted as many friend requests as we could to get visibility on as many people at once. The first guy I talked to was probably the most memorable. I still remember his Gamertag. I’m pretty sure he was ditching school to play with us. He sounded no more than 10 years old, possibly younger. I asked him if he should be in school today but unfortunately, his answer came back all garbled. He was genuinely excited to be playing with us.

Another player I chatted with was from Brooklyn which was really cool since I was just in NYC three months ago. He totally had the Brooklyn accent and we discussed where his favourite areas to skate in and around NYC.

One dude had a pretty funny tag. I won’t divulge his whole tag but part of it was “HumanGarbage”. Andy was scrolling through the friend requests and he said, “Oh, we gotta invite this guy to our session.” It turns out he very, very excited to get our invite. He was quite chatty and ethusiastic through out the six player Spot Battle we had.

We unfortunately had to end the session at 1pm because the NFS: Pro Street devs had their session scheduled right after ours. Before we logged off, I had a chance to thank a few gamers for their support and for playing our game. If I could label one thing that made the whole play session worthwhile, it was exactly that. As developers, we’re told by EA not to respond to or post messages on boards. For the last three months, the team has seen an overwhelmingly positive response to skate. Sadly, there’s no easy way for us to thank the general public for everything they’ve done for us. So even though I was only able to tell five guys that I appreciated their passion for the game, that was very satisfying to me.

Overall, I feel lucky to have participated and wouldn’t hesitate to join another of these sessions.

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