For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, Andrew was a former editor at Joystiq and Shacknews and also made frequent appearances on the podcast Weekend Confirmed. That was a show that I listened to every week and was where I first became a fan of Andrews. Every Friday he along with Garnett Lee, Jeff Cannata, Marcus Beer, Andrea Rene and others would recount the week’s video game news and talk about what they’d been playing. It was a highlight of the week for me and has served as an inspiration for the podcast we do here. I was shocked when I heard of Andrews death and it affected me more than I would have expected it to.
I never knew Andrew Yoon. Never met him, never spoke to him. After Weekend Confirmed ended about a year ago I began following him on Twitter and a few comments back and forth were the extent of any connection we ever had. So why would the death of someone I didn’t know bother me so much? Obviously when you hear of anyone passing away at such a young age you feel sadness and empathy, but this wasn’t just that. We live in an odd age where through social networking we are able to form these connections with people who we hardly know or don’t know at all. So while I never knew Andrew, I was used to seeing his words on an almost daily basis. I knew that he loved to cosplay and that he had recently left the gaming press to pursue a life long dream of creating his own tabletop game. That dream was close to reality thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign that had funded his upcoming card game Divorce! The Game.
It used to be that these were details of someones life that would be reserved only for Andrews friends and family. But in an age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram we know more than ever about the celebrities or personalities that we like. I am constantly bombarded with images put up by Hideo Kojima of what he’s eating for dinner. And I know that Cliff Bleszinski was just recently on vacation and was getting a lot of reading done. Are these details that I need to know? Should I know that much about someone else’s life? I mostly use Twitter to keep up with news and to see what has people talking, but it also often becomes a window into people lives. And while that may sometimes feel a bit creepy or intrusive, I also think it can be a good thing to be so connected. It humanizes people that you may only see on television or online and it’s nice to be able to tell someone directly that you’ve enjoyed their work.
Twitter so often lately has been used as a tool to abuse and harass people, but it can also be used as a way to bring us closer together. So while the only interaction I ever had with him was limited to a Twitter feed, I’m still going to miss seeing that and I feel for all of the friends and family that are affected by his absence. And I would encourage everyone to think about the words you put online and to treat others with the respect and the dignity that Andrew always did because in this world of social networking that we live in you can touch more lives than you ever thought possible.
Follow the links below if you’d like to contribute to the Andrew Yoon memorial fund or to check out his game.