I can't remember exactly when I first met Patrick Garratt, which - as anyone who knew the man back in the day will attest - is sort of appropriate. He's lived a life. Known for many things, perhaps the best story about Pat is that he's the only games journalist ever missing, presumed dead off the coast of a Spanish press trip.
However, that's not the Pat Garratt I got to know. He joined Eurogamer during a period of transition in 2004, and urged reform, teaching us kids how to write proper copy and separating us when we squabbled. Away from the coalface, he was fighting to consolidate and expand our credibility within the games industry.
He was also going through a period of immense personal transition, and emerged as a fantastic amateur photographer, marathon runner, tattoo-lover and eventually a father of three. Or four, if you count his blog.
Pat left Eurogamer at the beginning of 2008 to found his own news site. VG247 was to be unlike anything else in the UK and the world at large - a pure news blog for gamers and industry professionals who needed comprehensive coverage of everything that was going on, no matter how big or small.
Pat's tireless work ethic justified the 24/7 tag within weeks, and his journalistic skill and endeavour brought with it hard-fought exclusives and unique angles - but his personality, now diffused through a dedicated band of fellow bloggers, convinced people this was a place to stick around.
Last night in London, at the third annual Games Media Awards, the games industry noticed. Like Peter Jackson after Return of the King (and with an eerily similar beard) he won almost everything, picking up awards for Best Blog and Best Specialist Writer - Online, both of which are richly deserved. He was, of course, live-blogging the entire thing.
Then Steve Jarratt got up to announce this year's Games Media Legend. Pat sat tapping away. Then came the fateful words: "swimming", "Spain", "presumed dead". I've flown around the world, I've watched the sun rise over many oceans, I've finished Ninja Gaiden, but sitting at a table with Team Eurogamer and Pat last night, I've never in my life seen so many smiles break so widely across so many faces.
I know I speak for everyone at Eurogamer when I say that we love Pat, and we're all incredibly proud of him. Speaking for myself, I'm proud to call him my friend, and am actually welling up a bit as I type, so must stop. Pat, you're the only person for whom I'd pollute Eurogamer with a personal blog post. Love ya.