November 29, 2011 7:00 PM | Eric Caoili
Simon Carless: 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 alt.games 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 IndieGames.com, 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. Over to Eric and Danny...
Eric Caoili: What initially and always attracted me to GameSetWatch was that it always offered something you couldn't find anywhere else: Leigh Alexander's risque Aberrant Gamer column, John Harris dissecting roguelikes and introducing so many people to the genre through @Play, and Simon's link round-ups that seemed to be pulled from corners no one even knew existed.
Years after coming across the site and keeping a close eye for updates on my RSS feed, I was asked to head GameSetWatch -- a tremendous honor -- and I tried my best to continue that tradition of finding and sharing items yet undiscovered, like the Mike Tyson's Intergalactic Power Punch NES ROM, Zookeeper's surprisingly sad story, and the amazing walking warlord pedometer/game.
As Simon points out, though, many other sites have increased their coverage of indie projects, obscure games, retro remakes, strange imports, chiptune events/releases, oddball auctions, amazing fanart, and other gaming miscellany in the past year or so, making a site dedicated to such curiosities less essential. No less special, but not so vital to followers of these niches.
Thanks for coming to the site for so long, and for reading a few of my 3,400+ or so posts. And much appreciation to Simon Carless, Danny Cowan, Matthew Hawkins, and our columnists, who've all made writing for GameSetWatch one of the most enjoyable gigs an alt.game blogging fan could ever ask for.
Danny Cowan: I'll miss you, GameSetWatch. Writing for this site has spurred my creative output. It's given me a new appreciation for my hobby. If it weren't for GameSetWatch, I may have never discovered wonderful things like, say, an NES gameplay compilation set to an '80s dance megamix. (Seriously, the mere existence of that series just makes me so, so happy.)
I appreciate that GameSetWatch gave its writers a platform to share their enthusiasm for the obscure and the particular. Aside from giving me an outlet for my pinball fetish and my love of all things Cheetahmen, GameSetWatch featured a number of worthy creations that the mainstream press would have otherwise overlooked. Hopefully, our daily updates have been enlightening and entertaining...or, at the very least, not too boring.
I admit that I'll miss having an excuse to babble on about old games or fan translations or speedruns or whatever on a daily basis, More than that, however, I'll miss reading a site maintained by people who genuinely care about the things that they're covering. There isn't another gaming blog out there that's quite like GameSetWatch, and its closure means that I now have a rather large void in my daily Internet rounds.
Simon, Eric, Matt, and everyone in the Gamasutra crew -- you guys rule. Our columnists also rule. And you? You're pretty cool too, I guess.
It's been tons of fun. Thanks for reading.
[Image via Cheshirechest]