In 2009 I made the decision, with the support of my wife, that I wanted to be involved in the video game industry. I had zero experience in it and had no idea how I was going to do it or in what capacity, but I was going to do it.
I worked my way into an editorial position with a Nintendo website, but at the same time also applied to a company called Twin Galaxies. Not expecting to hear back from them for some time, I focused on building my resume with Nintendojo and getting my name out there as much as possible. To my surprise, a few days later I received an email asking if I was interested in writing for Twin Galaxies. Knowing their affiliation with Guinness World Records, I jumped at it. I wrote articles for a while under the guidance of Patrick Scott Patterson who gave me the opportunity to interview many people in the industry which only fueled my hunger. After some time PSP moved on to another department, but not before recommending a promotion for me to Senior Editor. It was then that I asked new Editorial Director Blaine Locklair why everyone at TG had to pay for video games. With what we do, we should be getting those games for free. He told me the company had tried for years but no one was able to bust through the barrier. I offered to try and see if I could make it happen and Blaine said go for it. Two days later I called Blaine and told him EA Sports was sending me a care package. Blaine encouraged me to keep going, so within two weeks I was being sent more games than I could count. I began mailing these all over the world to refs and editors, which in turn allowed me to show game companies exactly how we use their games; the reaction from them was amazing.
A month or so later I get a call from Blaine asking if I would get on a conference call because the CEO of Twin Galaxies, Pete Bouvier wanted to speak with me. This call, which I assumed was just an introduction, ended up being a life changing moment. I was asked to take over the role of Director of Business Development, which allowed me to build partnerships with other companies. I was apprehensive because I, yet again, had zero experience in this area, but I went for it. The first thing I did was submit a proposal to Nintendo about partnering up for an event I wanted to start. I got the big N O. So I again thought “how am I going to do this?” I called Pete and told him I had no idea what I was doing and he encouraged me to keep grinding, that success will come; he could feel it. I received an email from 2K Sports one day and asked me to sign an NDA so they could tell me about this great contest they were running and they needed a partner. I told them I’d make some calls and get in touch. I called Pete, now mind you this was only the fourth time I’d ever spoken to him, and he said that what they wanted to do didn’t quite fit with the company mission. I stressed that since Twin Galaxies, at that time, was stuck in the arcade era, this contest would get our name out in the modern era, and not only that, it would re-establish us as THE place to go for gaming world records, as Guinness was sort of beginning to overshadow us. Pete said “I trust you, go make it happen.” A week later, Adjudication Director David Nelson and I got the plan together and I was able to close the deal. Dave set up the logistics and I played liaison between us and 2K. This proved to be an amazing experience as not only did we have the opportunity to adjudicate the largest prize in video game history with 2K Sports’ $1,000,000 perfect game contest, but we ended up all over the media. It was a great time.
Using that as leverage, I started sending out a press release to other companies, and the first one to call was Microsoft. They were holding an event in San Francisco to launch a new app called “Game Room” on XBox 360 and wanted to know if we could fly out. I told them yes and after a quick conference call with Dave, closed the deal myself and then called Pete and told him what I did. He was a little peeved that I didn’t involve him at all, but once I explained why i did it the way I did it, he laughed and told me from now on he had implicit trust in me and to do what I had to do, just make sure I keep him in the loop.
The Microsoft event went very well. Dave and a journalist named John Learned, along with some world-class arcade players, flew out to the event and rubbed shoulders with industry greats like Peter Molyneux.
Once that event was over, Pete called me and told me I was doing great and to keep it up. It was at this time that Pete and I struck up a friendship that I cherished. He made decisions I didn’t agree with, and I made decisions he didn’t agree with, but we knew that we disagreed because we both had the best interest in mind for the company.
Fast forward a month or so and I pitched G4 an E3 idea. They had sponsored us in the past When PSP, Dave and others went out there and kicked some ass on live television adjudicating a Donkey Kong World Record attempt (first one ever on live national television, mind you). G4 told me they weren’t planning anything that year. So I hunkered down and went another route. Our relationship with Guinness was going south because of some big misconceptions with former staff, so I asked Pete how I could help. He got me in touch with them and I spent the next month going back and forth with them on how we could straighten this thing out. They ended up sending us sponsorship money so we could host an event called “The Big Bang,” which was an event that showed off the new International Video Game Hall of Fame in Iowa. I was able to get consoles, televisions and other equipment locked down, however a certain long-haired hot sauce guy decided he wanted the event to be all about him and sort of strong armed some good people to make sure that happened. The event still went well, but not as good as I wanted it to. Pete told me to keep my head up.
Then the funniest thing happened, G4 called and said “things had changed” and they wanted to partner for E3. Unfortunately that fell through because they went completely flat broke, but seeing that come back around was great. We did, however, get in touch with the news department who began to include world records and TG news on their channel again (the first time in years that had happened) and when I called Pete to tell him we both just laughed. We knew things were looking up and we were growing fast.
The pinnacle came when I received a forwarded email. Nintendo needed a partner for a contest they were holding to celebrate the launch of a new Wii game. The deal went smoothly and without a hitch thanks to Dave and Matt Bradford, my partners in crime. Pete and I had many laughs about that contest, how Nintendo basically laughed at us when we asked them to partner, only to ask us less than a year later to partner up.
As we grew, we unfortunately left some of the smaller events behind. There was just too much going on in the modern gaming scene for us to keep up with the arcade scene. Pete had always said “unfortunately throughout this journey we will end up losing some good people and keeping some bad people.” And he was right, some of these people in the arcade scene were just plain nasty (way nastier than I could ever have imagined) and were just vindictive all because we had to stay focused on modern gaming, but by no means meant we were no longer supporting classic gaming. Pete just said “keep your head up, keep going.”
Things went great for a couple of years and Pete and I talked multiple times per week. When we weren’t talking about TG he was always telling me stories about airplanes. The dude was a decorated pilot and had flown all over the world. He also told me about Vietnam and his experiences there. He always had cool stories to tell and he always wanted to know how my family was doing as well. There was one time where my laptop broke and I couldn’t afford to get a new one at the time. I told him I would be out of commission for a while until I could afford to buy a decent laptop and he said no problem. I hung up with him and fifteen minutes later he called back. He said “I just wired you 500 dollars. Go buy a computer.” I was absolutely shocked. I tried to refuse and mail him a check but he insisted he would just rip it up. I insisted on paying him back but again, he said he’d rip up the check.
Eventually life got in the way and I wasn’t able to continue with TG but I did keep in touch with Pete. We always had a good laugh and he always picked on me because I’m afraid to fly and he’d say “one of these days I’m coming up to NY and I’m flying you and your family down to Florida for the weekend.” The guy actually did it once too! He had family in the area and attempted to surprise me, but unfortunately I was out of town.
He and I talked a lot about our families and he told me how much he loved to spend time with the grandkids, load them up with treats and then send them home with their parents. would tell me “you know what that’s called? Payback!”
He told me this hilarious story where he was flying over a golf course for a stunt one day and accidentally opened the back hatch too earlier. Dropping thousands of balls (I think they were ping pong) onto the course.
He told these stories with such enthusiasm that I couldn’t help but get excited as well.
Pete genuinely cared about people and he genuinely wanted to make a difference; I loved that about him.
Pete passed away on September 12, 2017 at 4:05am. He leaves behind a loving family, his wife Nancy Bouvier (oh man did he talk about her, I could almost see his love for her oozing out, he had definitely found his soul mate in her) as well as his children and grandchildren whom he also just adored. He told me many times how proud he was of his family. How loving they and much he cherished them.
Pete, you will never understand how much of an impact you had on my life and I sincerely hope that even in some small way I was able to make an impact on yours. I will cherish our friendship forever and I thank you so much for being an amazing mentor, father figure and friend.
Owner and Founder, GamesRelated