I think it's safe to say that Known Griefers, as you know and love it, wouldn't exist were it not for the influence of a select few websites. Chief among them being GamesRadar. Founded in 2005, GR quickly found its niche by producing incredibly funny and unique features, not only about games specifically, but also about the act of playing them. Through seemingly divine intervention, GR assembled a dream team of contributors, each with their own unique and hilarious voice. Sadly, things have taken a turn for the worse lately over at GamesRadar, and Future US as a whole.
I have always enjoyed writing, although once I left college I never really had an outlet to continue my writing beyond things like journals, which I'd always abandon. Reading the features on GR gave me incredible inspiration to continue writing, and to encourage me to always try to be a little funnier, a little more clever. I mean, when you have Paul Ryan writing hilarious content like Facts About the Ice World, my stupid-ass Facebook statuses just can't hold up.
|The GamesRadar crew, circa 2008|
Like I was saying, the sense of camaraderie that was apparent on those early episodes of TalkRadar is really what turned me into such a huge fan. I've always had a difficult time keeping in touch with people in my own personal life, so in a way I think the TDar crew became my friends, purely through my listening to their show. The hosts of TDar actively encouraged fan participation, and they were showered in fan art, phone calls, and promotional bumpers which they always talked about and thanked their fans for. This level of interaction was, and sadly still is, incredibly different than the way most other outlets handle their community. If you were to comment in an IGN article, you could almost always be assured it'd go unnoticed by the authors, swallowed up in a black hole of mindless mouth-breathers.
Listening to the various GamesRadar staff on TDar only increased my level of interest in their text-based content. Hearing Brett Elston passionately talk about his article on colored game cartridges made me go seek it out, otherwise, I might have skipped right over it. The voices of each of the staff was easily heard in their articles, and after a while you could know who wrote any particular article without reading the byline. It was good fun to know that Chris Antista found pictures of Sonic riding things to be so dumb they needed their own article, and that Mikel Reparaz turned his knowledge of world history into Top 7s about Custer's Revenge.
|It's like a KGB Where's Waldo?!|
|A buncha nerds.|
I recently asked Jeff Gerstmann of Giant Bomb, himself no stranger to shakeups at corporate websites, how he felt about the layoffs:
Do you feel like Giant Bomb and Vox are a direct result of increasing corporate control over traditional gaming journalism? Will independent sites become the norm?
"What happened at Future has nothing to do with "increasing corporate control." They're a company that, for years, has been firmly entrenched in the shrinking print magazine market and an increasingly challenging ad market. It's incredibly unfortunate that jobs were lost, but not especially surprising that they'd need to make an adjustment like this."
He's right, of course. Future US still makes its money from advertising, and the majority of that advertising is from their magazines. As traditional print media continues its downward spiral, it's up to companies like Future to find out how to stay profitable in the digital space. It's a shame then, that they have continually allowed highly intelligent and talented people to leave GamesRadar in droves. GamesRadar is their one property that ISN'T print based, and yet it always seems to get the least amount of attention from the higher-ups.
|A classic TDar fan art from Batman5273, now of Front Towards Gamer.|
Special thanks to Batman5273 for use of his image, be sure to check out his work at FrontTowardsGamer.
Christopher Linendoll is pouring one out. He can be reached via Twitter, or found in the hummus section of your local grocery store.