Mike and I have a long history. When I was the online coordinator at TSR from ’95-’97, I initially had a team of 6 remote volunteers who helped run the TSR section of America Online. Over time that team grew to 40 individuals, and Mike was one of them.
Fast forward to 2003. I was working for a videogame company in California, and out of the blue I got an email from Mike asking if he could list me as a reference on his application for a editor job. I of course said yes. The position was at Paizo Publishing, and they hired him. (I’m 100% sure this was based on his skill rather than from any weight my reference carried.)
Mike was at Paizo until the spring of 2008 when he left to try other things. A couple months later, I was hired by Paizo to take Mike’s old job as developer for the Pathfinder Chronicles, Modules, and Player Companion lines. One of the very first books I developed at Paizo was Dragons Revisited, which Mike wrote. Mike later took a job at Wizards of Coast, coming full circle from online remote volunteer to paid employee.
Mike and I weren’t close. We never worked in the same office, and we never actually met in person. But we were game industry colleagues. I appreciated his work, and we shared a common understanding of the difficulties of turning a bunch of unconnected text turnovers into a complete manuscript ready for editing. I also appreciate that our career paths were mirrors of each other, with him going from Paizo to Wizards and I from Wizards to Paizo.
Mike definitely left his mark on the game industry. For one, he was one of the editor-wranglers of the original Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting. Without him, the Wayfinder fan magazine for Pathfinder might never have happened. He also helped Tim Nightengale make the first PaizoCon a thing. And of course all of his work on D&D, and on dailymtg.com for you fans of Magic: The Gathering. So for a guy who (like many developers and editors) didn’t have much of a public face, he had a significant impact on many well-known gamer toys.
Rest in peace, Mike, and thank you for all of your hard work. It’s clear you were a true fan of games, and I regret I didn’t get to know you better. My condolences to his friends and family.