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Employee Spotlight: Nate Stoddard

Another month, another employee spotlight! This time we have Nate Stoddard, QA Lead on DropMix at Harmonix! Without further delay, take it away Nate!

Hey I’m Nate and I’m the QA Discipline Principal at Harmonix! I am currently the QA Lead on DropMix and I’m coming up on 11 years at studio! But of course, there was Nate before Harmonix.

Back in the day, I was an actor, improviser and aspiring stand-up comedian in New York City. To pay the bills, I was a waiter and wrote copy for a trivia website.

In order to get a little more stage time (because it can be rough out there), I entered an air guitar contest at my place of employment, Dave and Buster’s in Times Square, which had just opened.

I didn’t win the air guitar contest, but I came in 2nd place, which won me a copy of Guitar Hero 1 and a PlayStation 2. As a result, I got really good at the game. It’s a great game.

For some family-related reasons I moved back to Boston a little later that year. My brother, who was living here at the time, got drunk at a party with a guy named Bill who said that he worked at Harmonix. He then goes on to brag about how I’m the best Guitar Hero player there is. Bill of course says “sure, sure, drunky”, but eventually gets worn down enough to give out his email address because Harmonix is about to start hiring for this new rhythm action game (editor’s note: Rock Band!) they were working on.

I unfortunately wore a pinstripe suit to my interview (I was 22) but it worked out because they hired me.

What has been your proudest accomplishment / favorite Harmonix moment?

Getting to do mocap for Dr. Tan in Dance Central.

Are you working on anything outside of Harmonix?

I’m helping a friend and former Harmonixer with his digital signage game platform. I’m also raising two kids.

What is your favorite Harmonix game and why?

Is it lame to say the project that you are working on? DropMix might be my favorite. Making mixes can definitely get you into the zone and I love competitive CCG/LCGs, so getting to make one has been so freaking cool.

What does your DropMix deck look like and what is your go-to DropMix combo?

I love the instrument-synergy decks, even if they are a little inconsistent. Right now, I’m playing a deck that I like to call Strings of Nate, which use Third Wave and First Chair from the Bomb Playlist to some good effect.

What's your go-to Karaoke Jam?

It used to be Rocket Man, now I think it’s the Remix to Ignition.

Would you rather be a pitch perfect singer, flawless dancer, or skilled musician?

Skilled musician. It is one thing to be good at Rock Band, but it’s another to be able to create really good music. There is something so appealing about being a virtuosic musician.

Do you have an office nickname, and what's the origin?

Natrix, or HMXNatrix. It was my first gamertag on back in the days developing Rock Band 1!

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

To be able to stop time and be in more than one place at a time, like Hermione’s Time Turner.

Is there anything special or fun on your desk?

A few years ago, a couple of fans sent hearts to everyone that worked on Rock Band 1 and 2. I still have my “Thank You, Nate Stoddard” hearts.

What's your go-to candy bowl candy / drink fridge beverage?

The full-sized Wachamacallit. It’s my white whale. I know it exists, but I rarely see it. Editor's Note: It was revealed in the editing of this blog post that Dan Walsh, Director of Communications, has been hoarding all the full-size Wachamacallits at his desk. We have yet to tell Nate this fact.

Any social media handles you'd like to share w/ the Harmonix community?

Twitter: @TheNatrix Natrix

Twitch & Mixer: NatrixPlays