Earlier this week we lost a dear friend, Andrew Long, known around here as Castomel. He was a Q&A host and resource manager in title, but was a friend and mentor in reality. We put a call out to those who worked alongside Andrew and wanted to share some of the responses we received as a memorial.
I'll start by saying that Andrew was the one who hired me at RPGamer and for that I will ever be thankful. I'll never forget my first attempt at reviewing, tackling a retro review for Shining Force III. I had been writing more casual editorials, so the shift to reviews just wasn't as natural as I had hoped. I presented Andrew with my first draft and he read for a bit, suggested a change or two and then stopped completely. He said, "I don't know how else to say this, but this is crap and you need to re-write it." I didn't want to hear that at the time, but I am so glad he didn't let me get away with a pathetic attempt at a review. He helped me improve myself and I am sorry that I never got around to telling him how much I appreciated what he did for me.
- Michael A Cunningham
Andrew Long helped make RPGamer so much better, but more than that, he was always willing to listen to anything I wanted to talk about. We would talk baseball for hours, especially when the M's played the Expos.
Nothing I can say really will be adequate. You will be missed, Andrew.
- Mikel Tidwell
Andrew was my first writing mentor, and with me, he had his hands full. I owe so much to his his hard work and dedication, but more than that, his great way of understanding people. Early on in my RPGamer time, I made a lot of flubs that frustrated a lot of people, but Andrew had a firm belief that I could elevate my game. I can't tell you how much that confidence meant to me as a young guy. He was technically my superior, but he talked to me (and everyone) like an equal -- like a friend. It was pretty much entirely thanks to him that I was able to get past my early troubles and enjoy more than two years writing for RPGamer.
Beyond the website, Andrew was a great friend who will be dearly missed. When I was in Toronto, he'd open his home to me and show me the things only a resident could know. Such memorable times. He had a way of making others around him feel at home with his kindness and sharp sense of humor. I'm too far away for visits these days (Japan), but I'll miss the long-distance friendship we had. His emails were often hilarious and could brighten my day. We've lost an all-around great person. He'll be missed.
- Heath Hindman
Andrew Long was a great guy. I have many fond memories of doing events with him when I first started at RPGamer -- he was very professional, and when I first started doing events, I looked up to him. A lot of the time he'd tell you he's nervous -- but you'd never guess it. Doing a lot of Toronto based events with Andrew was fun, from his great sense of humor to the very special faces he'd make in situations. Andrew always knew how to make light of a situation, something I always appreciated.
Andrew is a loss for many of us. In a lot of cases he hired us, fired us, rehired us, and kept us in check. We all knew he was sick based on the hospital visits, but you'd never guess considering how he carried himself. I'll always miss his sense of humor and how supportive he was, especially with new hires. May he rest in peace, hopefully not with Rhapsody or Torchlight haunting him, wherever he may be.
- Sam Marchello
I came to RPGamer looking for sheet music as a early teen, but stayed because Andrew Long's weekend wit kept me coming back for more. In 2004, I interviewed to be the next Sound Test host, and Andrew kindly let me know that I wasn't selected. It was the nicest rejection I've received to date! But shortly after Castomel reached out to me to discuss expanding the music section. Our discussions were always pleasant, witty and genuine throughout my time at RPGamer. Through some of the more trying moments in my life while at RPGamer, Castomel was always a friendly ear on Espernet, willing to listen about anything. Long after my time at RPGamer has come to pass, Cast was one of the personalities that I will never forget.
I'm so terribly sorry to have heard this news. Cast was an incredible guy, and I enjoyed keeping up with him on Facebook. My thoughts and regards to his family and the RPGamer community.
- Matthew 'barieuph' Russo
This is probably one of the most difficult pieces I have ever had to write, and I am currently in a mixed state of acceptance and disbelief that Andrew is now gone from my life forever.
It all began with a letter. Who would've thought that a simple Q&A Column could lead to one of the greatest friendships in my entire life? I initially started hanging around RPGamer 11 years ago for the fan art column before being intrigued by a very humorous and witty individual (6 years my senior) who made constant references to creamsicles, the Leafs, an alter-ego who only went by the name "Andrew Dangerous," and endless complaints about working at the furniture store Leon's. I just turned 16, not ready to comprehend the roller coaster of a ride my life would take in the future, but I just knew that this man was going to be in my life somehow.
I first started out as a regular contributor to Andrew's column and we hit it off with a very odd level of friendship; he was the one who bestowed the nickname of "shroudie" upon me instead of the "O' Shrouded One" moniker I gave myself. Being a reader/Q&A contributor lead to the news/media updates department and then eventually to fan art columnist until life circumstances prevented me from working for the site in 2008. IRC was a riot for our like-minded group of friends with #grumblegrumble being our hideout and base for all of our antics. Throughout my time at RPGamer there was a running joke between him and I that started in my letters (and well-known to the other staff) about my "stalking" and "infatuation" that lead to a poorly-designed "shrine" to him on Geocities. You see, the joke was initially born from a column of his where he bemoaned about no one creating a online shrine for him and Toronto was only 3 hours away from the town I lived in during my high school/community college days. He was a good sport about it all and fully supported the hair-brained schemes and crazy ideas I threw at him.
Little did I know that the ongoing joke about us being a couple would become a reality only a few years down the road. We both struggled with accepting our orientations and came out of our own closets is vastly different ways (him in his late 20's and me in my late teens), so naturally it came to the point where we acknowledged our attraction to one another as more than just an inside joke amongst friends. We eventually tried our hand at dating, but unfortunately the relationship fizzled out before it really started as it was not the right time for either of us and our general inexperience. We were still good friends that cared deeply for one another and if anything that experience only brought us closer.
Andrew and I were always there for one another no matter what we were up against. We found solace in confiding in and supporting one another when it came to dating, school, art projects, difficult life decisions, poverty, politics, and basically everything under the sun. Life constantly threw obstacles in my path from 2007 on with low-blows painful enough that I wanted to just give up, but Andrew always provided his love and support in the most blunt and straight-forward way that only he could dish out. That's why I always went to him for advice, he wanted only what was in my best interest. I was not alone in my struggles, Andrew dealt with long-time health issues that included numerous hospital visits and a couple very serious scares. Even with those unavoidable stumbling blocks he took it all in stride and never let those fears overwhelm his drive to shape his own future. Never have I met another human being who was so adamant about living his own life. Andrew taught me how to never give up and to believe in my own strength whenever the world felt like it was rejecting me. "Don't become a self-fulfilling prophecy" are the words he often repeated whenever I became distraught and overwhelmed by circumstances in my life.
Grief was one of those intimate topics we talked at length about. My grandma passed away in 2005 while I was working for the Home Team during E3 and 2 years later my father departed as well after a year of having to watch him slowly die. Andrew lost his Nana, a woman he loved with all his heart, and so it was not uncommon for us to discuss loss, grieving, and everything that came with it. Last February my ex-boyfriend died in a head-on collision and Andrew was the first person I went to after my initial discovery. I remember the anger and immense pain I felt dealing with such heavy grief, but Andrew was there. He couldn't empathize with exactly what I was going through, but he provided an outlet when I needed it. When the grief became too much to bear he was the one to snap me out of my depression and tell me that I had to be strong and move forward; we can still love someone we lost but our lives have to go on.
Eleven years of history is extremely hard to sum up and memorialize for people who may not have known him as I did or understand our closeness. From our early days on IRC, all-nighter MSN Messenger talks in college while I was writing papers due the next day, and to the present where texting and sending goofy pictures to one another was commonplace, there is too much to reminisce on for me to pinpoint what I will miss most about him. Andrew Long was one of the most important people in my life and now I have to face everyday without having him there. Part of me is gone that I will never get back, but I am forever grateful to have had him to play such a central role in my life. I miss my mentor, my partner in crime, my companion, and my best friend.
Farewell Andrew "Castomel" Long, words cannot express how much you meant to me or how much I love you. I am going to remain strong and continue walking this road with my head held high. Wherever you may be I hope that it is a wonderful place filled with future Leafs' Stanley Cup wins, all you can eat Kom Jug's, and endless creamsicle-related shenanigans.
- Steve Ardo
Many years ago I used to write for a gaming news website and met a lot
of great people. One of those people was Andrew Long , a
jack-of-all-trades who was responsible for recruiting a lot of people
for the staff, myself included. I also stayed at his place in Toronto in
2004 while interviewing for my first position in Japan. He was a great
host and we had a good time.
We kept in touch over the years, and while the conversation topics
changed from RPG titles to politics and life in general, they were
enjoyable nonetheless...and I had several chances to chat with him over
the last year in particular. The last time we talked was just a little
over two weeks ago.
He passed away earlier this week, and the thought of someone as
intelligent, funny and talented as he was passing away at his age is
sad. That being said, he is being remembered very well by many people as
we speak, and that is encouraging. My sympathies to his family.
- Paul Koehler
Castomel was, like many of the people that have worked for or read this
site, a quiet person. While he might not have known it at the time, his
leadership inspired everyone that worked with him. His love of gaming
and his life-long study of English culminated quite nicely in his
reviews, news posts, and Q&A columns; it is by these relics of the past
that many of you must now know him. We are all the less for his
This event made me think of another RPGamer staffer that passed away
during my tenure as well.
In these sad times let us reflect on not only Andrew "Castomel" Longs
passing but on an equally sad memory from my days at RPGamer: on June
27th, 2003, Tony "DragoonT" Green also left us. So that they shall not
be forgotten, try always to love the world as they did. Find the wonder
in everything and speak from your heart.
@ RPGamer July 01 - October 07
- Zachary "ASV" Lewis
The world has been robbed of another good man well before his time. Rest in Peace, Andrew Long, and thank you for your friendship over these last fifteen years.
- Doug Hill
It's so sad to say but my friend Andrew Long passed away today. We met a long time ago working on RPGamer nearly 15 years ago.
I spent quite a few weekends coming down to the city to hang out over the years. Even though we didn't get to hang out often, we chatted almost daily, and helped each other out talking, and being sounding boards for each other. Maybe surprisingly, he helped me a lot with my coming out, and years later I helped him with his.
I am so thankful that I got to see him a few weeks ago. We didn't get to hang out as much as I wish we had. I am happy we had a few hours to hang out and chat. He was very chipper and as always had a force of personality to be reckoned with.
He was one of my best friends and I will miss him a lot.
- Rob Parton
Woke up to some very sad news that my friend Andrew Long did not wake from his coma. I will miss our Starcraft 2 sessions and his humour and wit.
- Lee Gordon
I'd like to take a moment to mark the passing of Andrew "Castomel" Long, former Q&A guy, regular review, and long-time contributor to the site. I never had much chance to interact with him outside the occasional chat on IRC, though I did tweak his nose once or twice over his well established, visceral loathing of a certain game. I do not know why or how he left this world at the young age of thirty-three, but I do know he will be sorely missed.
Whatever afterlife may await him, I hope it does not include that game.
- Michael Baker
I worked with Andrew at RPGamer years ago (handle was tuinte, news and editorials), and saw him often IRL. I'd love for just the below to be added:
- Michael Harnest
Andrew would let me come in during the interview process so I could ask them about Kirby. He was always so fun and hilarious no matter the situation, and I will definitely miss him and his wit. Words can't really express my deep sorrow for his loss, but I know he'd tell me "it was no big deal" and he's doing well now. He's playing video games up with the big guy now. RIP my friend.
- Sarah "noodle" McGarr