Announcement: State of the Site 2012

Everything old is new again!

Greetings Readers,

Over the past year, has experimented with a number of changes, great and small, to nearly every aspect of the site. We focused on professionalism, created a dedicated news department, changed the podcast format, opened donations, began selling merchandise, hosted TF2 nights, trebled the number of active staff, created editorial positions, opened a communications network with publishers and developers, launched a weekly webcomic, tried off-site hosting for comments, and began reviewing titles that we received as review copies from developers. Some of these approaches were well-received by our readership–others were not.

Nearly a year ago, I sat down with Jake ‘RootBeerKing’ Norwood to plan out what the new would look like. Now, a year later, even those of us who were here at launch can hardly remember how the original looked. It was blue–I think? Honestly, we can barely remember any of it. The new site layout has now become so associated with that no other layout, real or imagined, can seem ‘right’. This is the sign of a highly successful innovation. We created something that just fit. Would that this were always the case!

Look at his tiny penis! It is almost as tiny as a Sonyist Mexican!
Remember this? I do.

But alas it is not always the case. Many of the developments we have tried out simply have not worked. Our news department, for example, did not suit the style or direction of the site. Nor did our discussion-centred roundtable podcasts. These were, certainly, fine ideas–but they were ideas that were not suitable for this site. Somewhere, along the way, our drive to increase professionalism led to us forgetting what made successful in the first place: our deliberate and calculated rejection of journalistic norms (which is quite different from a lack thereof), laid out in the service of laughs. “Presenting the news in a humourous and entertaining way”, the original Megaphones Ahoy! Podcast description reads. Nowhere in that description do we find the words professional, inoffensive, or serious.

Over the past few months, our readership has flatlined and reader interest seems to have gone down. Be assured, we notice these things. Posts receive fewer comments, podcasts go by almost-unnoticed, even the thoroughly excellent webcomic (one of the few consistently awesome site posts) seems to pass without remark all-too-frequently. As I watched this situation develop with increasing alarm, I began to ask myself, “How can we bring the magic back? What sort of action do we need to take?” Drastic action seemed necessary–and now, despite initial reluctance, I have taken actions that I think are necessary to put back on its original tack.

Sometimes, this is how it feels to run the site.

This site has always worked best with a small number of closely-knit staff members who produce content on a weekly basis and, hence, are deeply involved in the site and its future. Whilst having a large number of staff meant less frequent work, it also meant that our members were more diffuse and less involved. We now rectify that: some less-senior staff will be departing given that there are simply not enough posts for all of the people we have. Those senior staff who remain will be writing on a weekly basis–shorter posts, closer to the length of site posts from 2009 to early 2011. There will be fewer restrictions on authors, on the podcast, on reviews, on editorials. Authors will be responsible for their own proofs, allowing a more diverse array of author voice. And, above all, we have told people that having fun with their work is the first priority.

Think of all the macaroni cheese and vomit which have crossed that threshold in both directions.
A muse for our time.’s original goal at launch was to present the news in an entertaining and humourous way. Along the trip, we grew a bit, and lost sight of the importance of that goal. Now, we reassert its primacy. We hope that we can earn back the loyalty of our readers by making a place which keeps you laughing whilst simultaneously delivering important industry news.

And if the developers do not like it? Well, then, fuck ’em. We did without them for three years. I will just buy the games out of my own pocket and make certain every asshat who blacklists us gets NOTHING BUT ZEROES. You hear that, snarky devs? We will institute a number-rating scheme JUST to make certain that your vengefulness is repaid with nothing but naughts! If there is one thing that we know about here at, it is spiteful, vengeful, trollish dickery. Trust me. We invented it back in 1997, and we can SHOW YOU HOW IT IS DONE.

. . .


We are still in the process of getting our ducks in a row here, so there will not be any editorials or reviews today or tomorrow. However, there will be an Easter comic on Friday and a news round-up from SiliconNooB on Saturday. Sunday will see the ‘reboot’ (if I may employ an industry term) of the that, hopefully, many of you remember fondly. And I hope you are looking forward to it as much as I am. has been your source for entertaining news since 2009. We hope to remain so for many years to come. Unless I win the lottery, in which case you lot are on your own: I’m moving to DisneyWorld.

Very truly yours,

President and Editor-in-Chief,


  1. I approve of these alt-texts! Also, I still like the site. Also, also, fire Ethos. You can rehire him right again because he hasn’t done anything terribly wrong and I like him, but fire him, please. Also, also, also fire Oliver Montok the Destroyer. He plagiarizes the crap out of Eeyore.


  3. @Deimosion: If you’re going to quote me, you should cite your source!

  4. I’m very glad to see you’re keeping at it despite any slowness. I had been reading and listening to this site since about only a year ago, but I’ve done a good bit of archive digging and old podcast listening. I like to keep a good mix of bigger and smaller game news sites in my usual rounds. Right now this site is only one of two smaller ones I regularly read, but I like them because you can actually get a response from the authors and staff. It’s not so large as to become awash with trolls and me too comments. And usually with the smaller sites there’s a certain opinionated candidness that comes with the scale of the site that’s just as valuable as the larger players who score the interviews and exclusives. And there aren’t too many of these smaller sites worth visiting anymore, in my opinion. Keep up the good work, everyone. It doesn’t go unappreciated.

  5. @Mel: I’m awaiting the day when I can ban people for repeatedly commenting “FIRST!”

  6. I apologize for my own lack of comments over recent months. Between my M.A./Ph.D. program, thesis, job and the expansion of my own site, I just don’t surf the internet like I used to. I still listen to the podcasts, but I’m rarely around a computer when it happens, and it’s usually a week behind schedule at that. That being said, I look forward to the re-reincarnation of

  7. I was always happiest when the site stood apart from the pack!

  8. I gotta say too, is the only website (not research based) that I spend any appreciable time on and read everything posted. After many years of the internet’s existence, this is the last bastion of civility. Ah well, Easter is the time for new beginnings.

  9. Sounds exciting! I did not know that the site had grown so large, but I like the direction you’re heading too.

  10. Yeah, I was under the impression you guys were understaffed, if anything.

    So is a full site redesign a part of this new initiative?

  11. I don’t believe so, Mel. I think the idea is that we love the new look of the site (although it is not so new anymore), but miss the old tone. I don’t expect a complete reversion. I think it’ll be something of a mix of the experience we’ve gained over the years plus the unrestrained personalities of the pretty eclectic characters that tends to attract.

  12. @DanChiSao: No apologies necessary: our evaluation of site readership is much longer-term than a few weeks of relative silence from a single reader, and involves a lot of things that readers don’t see (hits, referrals, page navigations, etc.), all of which go into our metrics.

    @Matt: I am astonished to hear called a bastion of civility! Without Nate ‘Bup’ Liles, there won’t be as many fart jokes as in the past, so I don’t think you will have too much to worry about. You can still expect civility from our authors, though their writing may be a little less rigidly formal than it was before. Also, the picture selection may be more hair-raising.

    @Lee: Hopefully we won’t disappoint. Also, long time no see!

  13. @Lusi: I know I’m not the lone cause of the readership drop, but every little bit makes a difference in the long run. I just know that I was at least decently active before and then fell off the face of the Earth.

  14. @Lusipurr: I don’t mean civility as in rigid and stentorial (or other puritanical sounding adjectives). Think how debaucherous the Romans were, those pinnacles of civilization! Fart jokes are certainly welcome. The writing on has always come forth as feeling very natural and sincere, while not trying to avoid offending people which leads to banality. So whatever comes I look forward to it, especially if it’s less restriction and more fun!

  15. I definitely support this reversion back to the old tone of the site. I remember being unpleasantly surprised when the site and podcast shifted more towards professionalism at the cost of personality and fun. It heartens me to seen that the staff was able to recognize this shift as the reason the site has become lackluster without the help of feedback (in the comments, at least) from the readership. This is important to me because it’s not just the personalities here that keep me coming back, it’s the respect that I have for the staff for being analytic and thoughtful.
    As a loyal podcast listener and mostly-loyal site reader, I feel a little ashamed for not voicing my opinion earlier on the changes the site was making since it was probably much more obvious to me as an outsider what was going wrong with the site. I hope now the opinions of the readership about the direction the site is heading are more clear to the staff now. I look forward to the “reboot” anxiously.

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