GameSetWatch, RIP-ish, 2005-2011 :/

[You’ll find the full set of farewells on this over at my company’s game blog GameSetWatch, including notes from current site editors Eric Caoili and Danny Cowan, but I wanted to crosspost my comments as we put the site into comfy but sad retirement. Already seeing _lots_ of tributes on Twitter, which we greatly appreciate – means a lot to us.]

OK, if you’re reading GameSetWatch, prepare for some bad news. I’m afraid we’re putting the site on semi-permanent hiatus, as of, uhm, this very post, after 6 years (wow!) of reporting the best, brightest and weirdest in news.

I’ll let current editors Eric Caoili and Danny Cowan have their say after I contribute a few words, but first, I’mma let myself end things out with a brief eulogy to the site, which I founded back in November 2005.

And here’s the kickoff post, revealing launch contributors including current IGF chairman Brandon Boyer, Kotaku/MeatBun and now GameTrailers stalwart Michael McWhertor, Gamasutra news director Frank Cifaldi, and the ever-awesome Alice Taylor, as well as Game Developer mag EIC Brandon Sheffield (and yep, Insert Credit, which I also contributed to sporadically, was def. an inspiration for GSW.)

Although that initial line-up was kinda awesome, and they certainly contributed _some_, a look through the early years revealed mainly boundless OCD-like enthusiasm for me in terms of finding _weird video game stuff_, including Lil Jon’s crunk golf game and lots more. Did I really check 500+ RSS feeds _daily_ for GSW? Apparently…

In the first few months, you’ll also find awesomeness like a LimeLife press kit unboxing from Frank (we have a bug with old author names not being displayed right, sorry about lack of crediting there!). We also started up a bunch of columns, one of the signature parts of GSW in its early and mid-life.

Probably this would be a good time for me to say thanks to everyone who submitted columns over the years we ran them. Some of the standouts include John Harris’ @Play, which is practically the Roguelike bible, as well as Kevin Gifford’s Game Mag Weaseling and, of course, Game Time With Mr. Raroo. But there are LOTS more – feel free to link to others in comments if you have some you’d like to highlight.

We also ran some odd meta-posts out of our Gamasutra coverage from time to time, such as this poignant anecdote: “Just before the press conference itself started, there was a call over the PA for a Lexus with the numberplate ‘Factor5’ to be moved by the owner, because it was blocking something and would be towed otherwise. Just because you make neat-looking PS3 dragon games like Lair, it doesn’t mean you can flaunt the rules of parking, Julian Eggebrecht.”

Then things started to get a bit busier with my fulltime job (running Gamasutra, Game Developer, and eventually overseeing all of our products, including the GDC shows). So through into 2008 you’ll see there are just daily links roundup posts, and the majority of the rest of the content was ‘best of’ original material from Gamasutra, with GSW columns included as well. (Oh man, and I just remembered the rather awesome comics column by Skullgirls artist Jonathan ‘Persona’ Kim we ran.)

The story of 2009 and 2010 is of further transition, after we poached the excellent Eric Caoili, who co-edits Tiny Cartridge and has an excellent mind for alt.links, to co-edit and eventually lead the site, and as we gradually dialed down the amount of columns (the only thing I was managing regularly for GSW at that point!).

We eventually phased the columns out this year in favor of all original posts by Eric and the awesome Danny Cowan. A greater amount of all-original posts (also including the memetastic Matt ‘FortNinety’ Hawkins for a few months!) was our preferred method of delivery, and everyone was having a lot of fun doing it.

So, why are we stopping? Well mainly, we’re seeing an increasing overlap with sister site, just in terms of some of the best material out there being indie-related. So Danny is going to go and blog over there, while Eric comes back to help us a bit more on mothership site Gamasutra.

But we also think that mainstream game blogs are doing a much better job nowadays of including the weirder and alt.links in amongst their gaming news. So it’s not like GSW is _irrelevant_ as such. But it’s never really been that relevant to start with – it’s always been an entertaining fripperie.

But I’d like to thank _everyone_ who contributed to GSW over the years – you guys rock. It’s obviously something I care about, and y’know, as much as there’s more to life than blogging about weird video game stuff, there’s a lot of love and passion around this subculture. I know we published a whole lot of stories that wouldn’t have got picked up like they did, and I think that made some people happy. And making people happy is important.

Anyhow, I’ve grandstanded for long enough. We’re leaving the site up intact (no nuking for us, Jason Scott, fear ye not!), but there will be no more updates starting today. So long, and thanks for all the fish, as everyone is obligated to say at this point.

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