Andrew Fitch, a longtime member of the EGM family, passed earlier this week following a battle with cancer. Andrew first joined EGM back when the magazine was owned by Ziff Davis. After the revival, he became one of the founding members of the new Crew and spent four years as Managing Editor. On the page and around the office, Fitch was a larger-than-life presence. He made us all better, and we’ll miss him dearly.
We’ve asked current and former EGM staffers who worked with Andrew to share a remembrance of him.
Up until mere weeks ago, I knew Andrew was waging a battle with cancer, but I had reason to be hopeful. A week and a half ago, his current situation was finally made public, and I was given more cause for concern. Days ago, his situation suddenly seemed to take a turn for the worse. And then, just a little over 24 hours ago, I found out he was gone.
Some of my first memories of my time working with Andrew Fitch here at EGM were not really knowing who he was when we first met, and then being pissed off at him for the way he had edited a preview I’d written for our latest print issue. Fast forward a bit, and he’d become one of my best friends in the office as well as one of my closest confidants. While we never bonded over passions of his like baseball—I left that to our sports-loving ex–Reviews Editor Ray Carsillo—Andrew and I shared a deep and long-running appreciate for Japanese gaming. Being into that specific segment of games from across the ocean often feels like a world unto itself, separated from much of the rest of the industry’s goings-on. Andrew was someone that I could quickly tell not only actually cared for Japanese gaming’s bad along with its good, but also someone who’d had a history with the various games and their creators that was similar to my own.
As someone who came from a gaming media background very different from (and sometimes directly at odds with) Electronic Gaming Monthly, I’m not sure I would have survived joining the new era of EGM nearly as well had I not had Andrew around to make me feel like a welcome part of what we were trying to accomplish. He was someone who could advise me on the “EGM way” in those times when I needed some help with that kind of thing, but who also supported me and my writing even when it strayed from the way things had always been before. Where as once I had feared him touching any of my work in the copy editing process, I came to appreciate the ways in which he helped me shake off the rust and better hone my craft.
Andrew was a very private person who didn’t always let people get too close, while I’ve often shied away from being too social for my own personal reasons. Because of that, he and I never really had the friendship outside the walls of EGM that we could (or probably should) have had. Even so, I came to consider him a very close friend and someone that I cared about, and it hurts to know that he’ll no longer be a part of my life—not to mention the incredible hole now left in lives of his family, friends, and loved ones.
I’m sorry that you left us so soon Andrew, but I’m also thankful that I had a chance to be a part of the adventure that was your life while you lived it.
-Mollie L Patterson
Andrew Fitch was a true original. I’ve never met anyone like him, and I think it’s probably a safe bet to say that I never will. He was reserved until he wasn’t, until you flipped some invisible switch inside of him and the passion welled up, his face became animated, his voice would raise. And you could never tell what was going to trigger it. Maybe a sports comment from Ray. Maybe something about history, or writing, or obscure games, or one of the other countless topics Fitch was somehow an expert in. It breaks my heart to think that the strange and wonderful man who spent a lifetime compiling all that knowledge is now gone.
I remember Fitch most strongly in moments like those, and in the almost endless stream of anecdotes that were an inevitable byproduct of knowing him. The late-night editing sessions when he would sit, head propped on on his hand, one finger framing the side of his face, and weigh in on the discussion after a dramatic, drawn-out “eeeeeeehhh.” The phase he went through where he would microwave fish in the office every day without a trace of shame. The time we found a banana he had forgotten in the cupboard months, if not years prior, now so far gone it was completely black and giving off an awful stench. The countless excuses for why, this time, he was rolling into the office a few minutes late.
Pretty much every interaction I had with Andrew left me feeling like I was missing out on some deeper story hiding below the surface. I regret it, that I never heard those stories, that I’ll always feel like I never got to know him as well as I could have. But I also think Fitch might get a kick out of the idea that he’ll live on shrouded in a kind of mystique, more legend than man in my memory.
I didn’t know Fitch as well as the crew in California since I work remotely 1000 miles away. We mainly interacted via e-mail and Skype, aside from the occasional meeting or trade show. What really sticks with me was how gracious he always seemed. I had a great time talking to him about games, and he had a miserable time trying to get me to lower my review scores (he was right, I’m too generous with the numbers—it comes from being easily amused). We shared a love of games though, and in the four years we worked together we connected countless times because of them. I regret not having kept in better touch with him after he left EGM. Time goes by fast, so be sure to appreciate the good people in your life while you can.
Mr. Fitch was a gentle man with a luminous inner-light. His esoteric love of games was encyclopedic and pure. Fitch was Kryptonite to all of my sarcasm and often helped me to do better work. Godspeed man, Godspeed.
I first met Andrew on June 1st, 2011, when I had moved to Los Angeles from New Jersey to come and work for EGM. It was a meeting about E3 of that year, the first for the new EGM since its return post–Ziff Davis. It was in a temporary office for the staff in Beverly Hills, and I remember hitting it off with Andrew rather quickly. At that point, much of the staff had been working remotely and hadn’t met each other yet, so as introductions were being made, Andrew and I were pointed out as the “sports guys.” Andrew was a diehard fanatic of San Francisco sports teams, and the same could be said about me and my New York clubs.
From there our friendship grew into a bond that I will forever cherish. We would trade stories about attending ball games during our youth, what we expected for our respective clubs the coming seasons, and even a little friendly trash talk when my Giants beat his 49ers in the NFC Championship game a few years ago. We were both avid wrestling fans, and of course, loved video games.
Andrew was nothing if not opinionated. And I loved him for it. For example, I respond well when people push against me, and so Andrew and Mollie would serve as a sort of tag-team in those early years to help weather my walls when it came to some Japanese series. Andrew knew how to appeal to my pride and sensibilities to get me to try new things, even if he didn’t always change my mind. It was a fun dynamic we had. Andrew loved to pick my brain about the east coast and my days at ESPN, and I loved to pick his about the 1UP days of EGM. We never had a shortage of topics to discuss, and were always happy to kill some free time talking.
But when it came time to work, few worked harder than Andrew in our office. Andrew liked to describe me as the “heart of EGM” after I had come on board, a reference to the movie Ghostbusters. It gave me something to aspire to in the office, and I also didn’t want to let Andrew down, so I tried my best to live up to moniker. But if I was the heart, Andrew was the soul. He was our moral compass for the years he worked at EGM. He briefly dusted off the Quartermann persona and filled its shoes as perfectly as those in the magazine’s glory days had. He always knew just what to do whenever we were in a pinch, or had a journalistic dilemma. All our words fell through Fitch’s stellar filter as our copy editor, and he made us all better writers. Andrew’s quiet strength as a writer and manager was something to be admired, but what we will forever remember, and love him for, was his friendship.
I love you and miss you, buddy.
Andrew Fitch was an impenetrable, crumb-dusted statue. He was a modern-day Encino Man with about as much expression as his paleolithic forebears and for sure the same diet. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think he stored everything he owned inside his busted-ass hoopty. To say that Fitch’s default state was anxious would be an understatement, though it occasionally produced some spectacular moments. He once nicked himself shaving in the office building’s public bathroom and proceeded to verbally wrestle with Josh and I for a solid thirty minutes as to whether he should go to the ER instead of going to an Insomniac Games appointment.
Surface-level Fitch was a weird dude, for sure. But with his words, he showed tremendous warmth and unmatched zeal for games that he expressed with linguistic flair. Every opportunity to do a proofreading pass on something Fitch wrote was a pleasure. He was a friend, and his passing deeply saddens me. I hope some small part of Andrew’s editing influence lives on in all my work at Atlus.
Andrew taught me something once I’d consider personal enough to save between us. He had an impact on my life, and I think that’s pretty special.