Shacknews remembers Andrew Yoon

Andrew Yoon: March 2, 1985 - January 29, 2015

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Thursday evening, Shacknews learned that dear friend and former Editor-in-Chief Andrew Yoon passed away in a tragic accident in Austin, Texas. He was 29.

Andrew was a friend to all of us here at the site. I had the pleasure of meeting him back in 2012, while I was still interning at GameFly. It didn't take long for him to have an effect on everyone in the office with an infectious positivity and an ambitious spirit. Soon, the site started to change. Garnett Lee was shifted towards mobile development, Xav de Matos accepted an offer to return to Joystiq, and over the months that followed, we lost several other staffers due to a round of sweeping layoffs. What never changed was Andrew's spirit. If anything, once he was given the opportunity to take control of Shacknews, I watched him grow as a leader and as a person. Even in the wake of the added responsibility, he always made time to talk about Pokemon or reflect on Yoshi's Island or wonder whether Kingdom Hearts 3 would arrive before we hit our 40s. He was an exceptionally kind soul, one who didn't even have to be asked if you wanted anything from the Nintendo World Store in New York whenever he'd head back to visit. And while doing Weekend Confirmed, he always struck the perfect balance between being a consummate professional and the light-hearted soul that would make everyone in the room smile. He always made his passion known, whether it was asking for a new F-Zero or whether it was debating the merits of cosplay, which is what made rooming with him at last year's Game Developers Conference such a great week. Even as I was feeling nervous about my first time in San Francisco, he went out of his way to help me feel like I wasn't out-of-place.

Andrew knew how to embrace every precious second of life and he was ready to prove that after GameFly sold this site. Not only was he ready to make the best of a bad situation, but he quickly made me feel better about the whole deal. We shared stories of our last couple of jobs and how badly those ended, laughing about some of the more absurd elements. We both left the office that day with a smile on our face. Weeks after GameFly stopped signing our checks, we were all excited for Andrew when he moved back to New York in the grandest way possible: by driving across the country and chronicling his travels in a blog that he brilliantly dubbed Yoonited States. At age 29, he lived more than most people do for their entire lives and yet, he still managed to keep up with the day-to-day duties that came with running this site. Andrew was such a good leader and talented writer that it came as a shock when he announced to me and Steve Watts that he was ready to move on. Neither of us faulted him, though. He had a new dream that he was ready to pursue. He was ready to jump into the world of game development, starting up a Kickstarter for his card game, Divorce: The Game. He cracked his goal with ease and the game is set to release in just a few weeks. He also started exploring video game development, recently working with a team to bring us Cactus Seeking Hug.

Andrew was a bright soul and this world is a little bleaker without him in it. He didn't just teach me a lot of what I know about writing, editing, and whatnot, but he was a genuine friend. The kind that would come to you in the middle of a panic attack and settle you down, then make you laugh. He was the kind of guy that saw the best in everyone. He's the kind of person we should all strive to be like.

Our condolences go out to Andrew and his family. We here at Shacknews urge you to give to his memorial fund to help his family in this time of need. On top of that, be good to each other. Give your loved ones a hug. Don't take this life for granted and don't take theirs for granted, either. Life is too short.

Godspeed, my friend. Rest in peace.

We now leave you on a few recollections of Andrew's former friends and colleagues, collected from the original Chatty thread from Thursday night.

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"Andrew was a great guy and I was thrilled when he said yes to my offer to try and get him a gig at Shacknews during my time here.

"We lived in the same building for years. He was always a happy and caring person. After we had both exited Shack he talked about going into business for himself. He was thinking about it for years before. He successfully Kickstarted a card game that he was really excited about, something I'm glad I supported. He was going to game jams to learn how to create games. He really loved to make stuff.

"When I got the call today my heart sank. He's going to be missed."
-Xav de Matos, former Joystiq and Shacknews Managing Editor

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"I didn't work as closely with Andrew as Ozzie did. They were both in the GameFly offices and I worked remotely. Professionally, he had really high standards and would call you out if you didn't meet them. Both as a co-worker and then as my boss, that kind of tough love was invaluable.

"But then the work day ended and he was just a sweet personable guy. I roomed with him (and Keef) for my first E3, and some of my best memories of that experience are coming back to the room, huddling and writing for hours, and then all of us walking down to grab some awful fast food while telling stories about our appointments that day, or past journo nightmares. When it was all over he took us over to a Korean BBQ to celebrate, for what he called "suspiciously inexpensive meats."

It's unfair, he deserved better. And longer. RIP."
-Steve Watts, Shacknews Editor-in-Chief

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"Andrew helped us a lot last year and really cared about this place. It is really sad to see such a young creative person be taken away from the people who love him. My thoughts are with his family and friends right now. Life is very short."
-Asif Khan, Shacknews CEO

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"I had the opportunity of meeting Andrew Yoon before I ever worked at Shack. We shared a hotel Room for Pax East last year. I got in a fight with my Boyfriend and he spent the day with me to make me feel better. He really did. We reunited at e3 and has some laughs. I'm sad that this happened. Its crazy how fragile life really is. Rest in peace Andrew."
-Sam Leichtamer, Shacknews video crew

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"When I came to Shack, I had been in the industry for some time. Andrew still found a way to teach me a few things, even though I was his boss. Even after I left Shack, he would still flag me down at conventions to say hi. When he branched out into game development, I was happy to help him promote the game.

"He was passionate about the industry, a great writer and editor, and a wonderful human being. I still remember him talking about going back to NY on occasion to help take care of his younger step brother.

"RIP Andrew, you will be missed. Thanks for everything you taught me."
-John Keefer, former Shacknews Managing Editor

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"I heard the news on the way in to my office this morning from GF founder Sean Spector. I haven't been around the Shack much lately, just lurking to see how it keeps evolving, but there greg-m sent me the link Chatty. We all really liked very much and respected Andrew's writing tremendously. He was such a good person. I remember how hard we worked to get him out of NY to LA to have him be part of Shacknews, and how happy we were when he agreed. It's a sad day, but good to see that he was admired by Shackers who knew him and his work. Peace."
-Edward "ECO" Derse, former GameFly Vice President of Product and one of the original "Chatty Masters"

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
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    February 2, 2015 6:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Shacknews remembers Andrew Yoon

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      February 2, 2015 6:12 AM

      great write up

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      February 2, 2015 6:18 AM

      Fantastic write-up, Ozzie.

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      February 2, 2015 6:30 AM

      Fantastic, Ozzie! Thank you so much.

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      February 2, 2015 6:36 AM

      Nice write up, Ozzie. Life is such a strange, elusive thing.

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      February 2, 2015 6:41 AM

      Thanks for writing this!

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      February 2, 2015 6:53 AM

      Nicely done.

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      February 2, 2015 6:56 AM

      Thanks for this, know it's really hard.

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      February 2, 2015 8:27 AM

      Nice Ozzie. He will be missed. :(

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      February 2, 2015 8:54 AM

      Nice work.

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      February 2, 2015 9:11 AM

      great article. RIP friend :(

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      February 2, 2015 9:25 AM

      Thank you.

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      February 2, 2015 9:40 AM

      thanks Oz :(

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      February 2, 2015 10:06 AM

      thanks Ozzie

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      February 2, 2015 10:33 AM

      Thanks, Ozzie. I'm still really sad about this =(

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      February 2, 2015 11:09 AM

      Great job. I am sure that was hard to write. It was very kind of the people who have moved on from the shack to come back and write a little something too.

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      February 2, 2015 11:10 AM

      Thank you, Ozzie.

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      February 2, 2015 11:30 AM

      Thanks Ozzie. Good write up. He will be missed.

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      February 2, 2015 12:38 PM

      Well done Ozzie.

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      February 2, 2015 1:03 PM

      I also wanted to take a moment here to thank Jeff Cannata and Christian Spicer for opening their DLC podcast with a moment of silence for Andrew. And also for reminding me of the Cookie Clicker episode of Weekend Confirmed, which may have been one of the most fun episodes we ever did.

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        February 2, 2015 3:41 PM

        The moment of silence in the Chattycast was nice. Never had that before in a podcast, I think it's a good gesture for this medium.

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        February 2, 2015 7:28 PM

        Yeah, I remember that episode with everybody arguing about Cookie Clicker, it was pretty great.

        Thanks for write up.

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      February 2, 2015 1:04 PM

      Ohhh.. I have been away, unable to shack much. I was not aware of this..

      This makes me very very sad :(

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      February 2, 2015 1:16 PM

      Great writeup. You will be missed, Andrew!

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      February 2, 2015 1:24 PM

      Seemed like an awesome dude with so much potential. I'm glad he got to live the life he did during his time on earth.

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      February 2, 2015 1:38 PM

      Thanks for posting this, - means a lot.

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      February 2, 2015 2:10 PM

      I never knew Andrew except on this site, but I'm sad now. Again. RIP.

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      February 2, 2015 2:16 PM

      That was pretty good, thanks Oz
      :' (

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      February 2, 2015 3:43 PM

      Great writeup, he will be missed

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      February 2, 2015 6:53 PM

      Nice write up Ozzie I accidentally lol'd it. Sorry. God I feel so bad.

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        February 2, 2015 7:02 PM

        go to the lol page and lol it again to reverse.

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      February 2, 2015 8:15 PM

      Well done. Thank you.

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      February 2, 2015 10:06 PM

      Fantastic job, thanks Ozzie.

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      February 3, 2015 1:52 AM

      Thank you

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      February 3, 2015 4:40 PM

      I cannot believe that this has happened. I never met Andrew Yoon in person, but I feel like I've known him forever somehow from the many hours I've listened to his voice on Weekend Confirmed and other podcasts, as well as reading his reviews and op ed pieces on Shacknews. Suddenly taken from us at only 29, much, much, much too soon. Rest in peace, Andrew.

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      February 5, 2015 4:32 PM

      I will keep him in my prayers. God bless his family.

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