Experienced Points

Experienced Points
For Old Man Murray

Shamus Young | 4 Mar 2011 21:00
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I read this week that Old Man Murray has been removed from Wikipedia. If you've never heard of Old Man Murray, then you shouldn't blame yourself. You should blame the Orwellian system of autocratic lies and brainwashing known as the "public education system" for not taking time to teach you about the website that cured polio so we wouldn't have to waste time taking care of sick kids and we could spend more time playing videogames. This is the same insidious system that teaches kids that they're racists if they call African-Americans "black," and then teaches them about "Black History Month," just to see which ones snap. The same place where they teach you that Charlton Heston was never president, the US didn't defeat Canada in the 1969 War for the Moon, Abraham Lincoln didn't invent the bicycle kick in his cage-match against General Lee to determine the winner of the US Civil War, and that photography was invented for some reason other than to help men remember what women's nipples look like. A den of lies, basically. This is the main reason I'm having my kids homeschooled by 80's Bruce Willis movies, after which they will attend the college of Every Movie Where Arnold Schwarzenegger Ever Held a Minigun or a Sword.

Wikipedia claims that Old Man Murray was removed because it's "not notable." So I'm going to write some notes about it, thus checkmating the soulless robo-brain that runs Wikipedia.

Old Man Murray was a videogame website that was active until 2002. I don't know when it started, because, like I said, some jackass removed the Wikipedia page. I discovered it in 1999, and it had been going for a while before that point. Let's say fifty years.

The point is, Old Man Murray was basically the first really funny site about videogames. Keep in mind that we're talking about the late 90's here, when there were only ten websites and seven of them were search engines that weren't Google because Google didn't exist yet. I know I might have slipped a little troll history into my first paragraph, but this part is true: A lot of gaming sites were either spin-offs or imitators of print media, and they tended to take a slightly clinical, Consumer Reports approach to reviews. And since graphics were getting better every week, most reviews came off like really creepy love letters to the girl who worked in marketing at NVIDIA. A long time ago I said that reviews are written as consumer advice, but read as entertainment. OMM was the first major site that seemed to understand this and embrace it.

The reason the site resonated with people wasn't because of its zealous anti-Nazi, anti-robot, anti-Roberta Williams stance, it was because the site more closely reflected what games looked like to people who were subjected to games. A Journalist might have a footnote in their review that "the puzzles in this game are counter-intuitive," while at OMM they would write a three-page deconstruction of the game that is so savage and so complete that we can be sure Roberta Williams has never read it, because she's still alive. Their writing resonated with gamers because underneath the profanity, insanity, and alleged sodomy, it more closely reflected how players actually felt about the games they were playing. If the terrible save system in a game drives you to homicide, you don't knock a point off the review score and call it a day. You excoriate and denounce the ever-loving shit out of that game, until the anger is all burned out and you feel like you can love again. Or at least stop killing people, which is nearly the same thing.

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