Josh Silverman (Co-Founder/Host/Managing Editor, Constantly Calibrating)
Starting out as an excuse to talk about his obsession with Mass Effect, Josh Silverman co-founded Constantly Calibrating back in 2012. The work-at-home dad and lifelong introvert would soon discover that podcasting would lead him to a community full of amazing people and a world full of incredible experiences.
In the years since ConCal began, Josh has traveled to various events around the country, getting to know gamers and promoting diversity, positivity, and the joys of gaming. Most recently he had the opportunity to travel San Francisco to co-host Kinda Funny Games Daily with Greg Miller.
What is the first video game that you remember playing?
“My earliest gaming memory & experience is Super Mario Bros 3. I can remember games prior to that, going back to the Atari 2600 & Commodore 64, but SM3 has always been the memory to stick out strongest.
Back when I was a little kid I only saw my dad every other weekend. My parents separated before I was one & divorced fully by the time I was three. The somewhat shared custody agreement had my dad visiting me every Wednesday at my mom’s for short visits, and me going into the city every other weekend to be with him. We didn’t always have the best relationship, but what we did have was video games.
A big part of my childhood visits to him involved renting or buying a random new game every month. One month that game was Super Mario Bros 3, and damn did we play that game to death. I’m not sure what my bed time was back then – I was probably 4-5 years old at the time – but we sure as hell didn’t observe it on SM3 nights. I clearly remember numerous nights where we would still be playing at 1AM, trying to get through the next castle, or trying to uncover secrets he’d heard about from a friend or wherever gaming secrets were uncovered in the late 80s. Both of us were absolutely awful at the game, but that didn’t stop us from trying to get as far as possible each weekend.”
What are your favorite games of all time?
“My all-time favorite games are honestly all over the map. Every year on my birthday I play (& sometime stream) Grim Fandango. From the art to the music to the story the game hooked me 20+ years ago and I’ve had to revisit it yearly ever since. The same can be said for Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. I still have my original SNES solely for that game, & that includes the fact that I bought an SNES Classic simply to play it at my desk. I even wrote fan fiction for it back when I was in middle school.
The entire Mass Effect series is near and dear to my heart, even if you don’t include the fact that I started a company based on the series. At this point I think I have somewhere around 750 hours played of the original. Though Mass Effect Andromeda is in no way controversially my favorite game in the series. (Go listen to Best Games Period Podcast to learn why!) On the BioWare train there is also the Dragon Age series, though I have no specific favorite there. The world of Thedas is my favorite universe in fiction and one I dream of creating something in in the future. If it relates to Dragon Age I have read it, watched it, played it, or otherwise assimilated it into my psyche.
Honestly, I can probably spend several dozen paragraphs on this topic alone, so I’ll leave you with just those for now”
Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?
“As I’ve grown older my hobbies have greatly changed and even diminished a bit. Having two young kids, my hobbies are pretty much anything that allows me to bond with them. (I’m ALL ABOUT collecting Paw Patrol toys right now.)
That being said, I have been trying to get more into photography again. The last month I have been studying real estate photography in my free time. I’m honestly considering making a go of that as a side project in 2019; something to bring back my love of interior design and honor my mom, to an extent.”
Do you and your children play video games together?
“We’re working on introducing our oldest to gaming. We have a four year old and eight month old, so gaming is in that introductory phase in our house. Over Thanksgiving we played our first game of Super Mario Party with our oldest. It mostly consisted of him taking 17,000 pictures on the Switch before throwing his Joycon across the room. It’s a learning process, but gaming was a very important part of my childhood alongside both my parents, and I want to make sure the same happens with my kids as well.
That being said, we named our youngest Sora & had a Kingdom Hearts wedding at Disneyland, so we’re going to continue pushing to indoctrinate our kids into positive gaming culture.”
How do you make time for gaming with a busy family life and career?
“I don’t sleep? Honestly this is still a work in progress. Thankfully my wife is a huge gamer and is mostly understanding of my career path, so we’re able to work out a lot of gaming time. For the most part though I don’t get to really play all that much until the kids go to bed, so there’s a lot of 11PM to 4AM play sessions each week when I’m functional. Those are usually split up by sleep training and feeding our infant.
As time goes on I’m sure things will get easier (and more challenging) but for now this mostly works. Maybe by the time we decide to have a third kid (AHHH!) I’ll actually learn how to game while holding an infant.”
What is your proudest moment as a parent?
“Shit, I don’t even know where to start on this one. So, let me give a little backstory, which I’m sure you’re not used to with me at this point:
Before his birth we were told that our oldest, Roran, had hydrocephalus. Short version, he had excessive fluid in the brain. The first doctor we saw matter-of-factly told us to have an abortion, because the kid’s head was too big and he may not even survive the birthing process. The second doctor we saw (after days of tears) called the first doctor a fucking moron, and then we started to prepare.
The day after his birth Roran was supposed to get a shunt put in, something he’d have to live with his entire life. At 12-18 hours old he had his first MRI, wherein his doctor told us his head wasn’t under pressure and that he wanted to wait. We spent nearly three years waiting to see, while going for MRIs and appointments every month or two.
Finally we were told that Roran was old enough to get a different surgery done, one that would create a new aqueduct between his third and fourth ventricle. It wasn’t a guarantee, but we were told that if successful his head would stop growing and he’d never need a shunt. We were also told the recovery could take a bit, but it seemed like the best option.
At 8AM he went in for surgery. By 8:45AM he was in recovery, and at 9:30AM he was in a room at the hospital. My proudest moment? I asked my not-yet-three-year-old how he was feeling around 10AM, and his response was to politely say, “good, but get me a grilled cheese movie now, please.” Two hours out of brain surgery and he’s politely demanding a sandwich and a movie; now that’s my kid. Within 24 hours he was playing and you’d never know the kid had any surgery done.
Now, that long-winded response being what it was and being more about when I was proudest of one of my kids, my proudest moment as a parent is every single day with my boys. Just getting to see them grow and being able to impart my knowledge and occasional wisdom on them makes me prouder than I’ll ever be able to reasonably explain. They are the loves of my life and the best people I have ever known.”
Follow Josh on Twitter @BearPunch, @ConCalPod and find all of their content at ConstantlyCalibrating.com.