Escapist Editorials

Escapist Editorials
A Note From Your Friendly Neighborhood Editor in Chief

Joshua Vanderwall | 21 Jan 2015 21:00
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"Don't ever become a pessimist... a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events." -Robert A. Heinlein

11 years ago, I got my first office job working as a Game Master for a small local company here in Durham, NC called Themis Group. I was hired to work on support tickets for the Saga of Ryzom Beta and I've been with the company ever since. It wasn't long after I joined Themis that The Escapist was born, founded with the dream of offering compelling, relevant, and entertaining coverage of all things game-related. It would, however, be some time before I got involved in The Escapist directly.

From 2005 to 2009, I led our CS teams in supporting various online games, acted as Community Manager for Nokia's N-Gage Arena (after the side-talking fiasco, mind you; this was the N-Gage QD era) and served as a QA consultant focusing on MMO testing for game developers. Eventually, I moved over to assist The Escapist's Business Development team.

From there I began writing and editing our Magic: the Gathering column, Hexproof. When Alloy Digital acquired Themis, I finally made the move into the Editorial team as News Manager under Susan Arendt. I'd been writing columns for almost a year at that point, so becoming a full-time editor seemed a natural fit--and it was. I've now had over two years to refine my skills in managing teams, directing and producing great online content, and, of course, maintaining the most robustly nerdy lifestyle imaginable.

Around this time last year, we broadened the focus of The Escapist. Where once this was a site dedicated exclusively to video games, with occasional forays into other aspects of geek culture, The Escapist grew into a bastion of full-spectrum geekiness. We're no longer just a video games site. We are a site for geek enthusiasts of all stripes, be they Magic players, Dungeon Masters, TV aficionados, comics fans, or technophiles. That one little word, "enthusiasts," embodies precisely what The Escapist should be all about now and going forward.

The name The Escapist evokes precisely what we love about our hobbies. We may turn to games, movies, and comics for any number of reasons, but the end result is invariably the sense of leaving behind the world we know and exploring the vastness of an entirely new universe. We are Escapists, freeing ourselves from the bonds of day-to-day reality in favor of something more fanciful, more fantastic, and, frankly, more palatable. This sense of freedom and joy, of exploration and discovery is what I see as the brightest part of The Escapist's future.

Moving forward, The Escapist is eschewing the "curmudgeon" mentality that is so pervasive these days in favor of the "enthusiast" mentality that we want to foster among our community, and geek culture at large. We want to focus on finding the good in the geekspace, rather than focusing on the bad. We want to facilitate enjoyment, rather than disparagement. We want to talk more about the things we love, and less about the things we hate.

With that in mind, The Escapist's mothership, Defy Media, has a number of other gaming properties that we're eager to ramp up coordination with, including GameFront and GameTrailers. Fostering better collaboration between our existing geek-oriented sites is going to be a major step forward in our ability to offer the breadth of content that geeks and gamers alike are browsing, given the oft-eclectic tastes of our group and the staggering array of exciting content being created for us nowadays

Of course, even the most positive changes always come with a cost, and this is no exception. Our restructuring has cost us a number of amazing writers, editors, and contributors in this process. Working with these talented individuals over the last 12 months has been an incredible honor and privilege for me personally, and for the team at large. I know we will see great things from all of them in the future.

It is therefore with a mix of both sadness and optimism that I officially announce that I am moving up from Managing Editor to Editor in Chief here at The Escapist. I've been working diligently for years now to ensure I was prepared to handle the inherent struggles of the position, but there really is no way to prepare for saying goodbye to comrades-in-arms. It is certainly true that their talents and dedication will be sorely missed, but I'd rather say this: Their dedication to the team, to the cause, and to the things we all cherish so dearly will be remembered, always fondly.

With that, I would now like to turn my attention to you, our faithful readers. Many of you have been with us since the inception (and to each and every one of you, I offer my personal, heartfelt thanks for your ongoing support) and I urge you all, new and old members of the community alike, to band together to support the positivity that is intrinsic in our hobbies, in our lives. Don't be afraid to call out the bad, but temper it heavily with the things you love to affirm your place as an enthusiast, not a curmudgeon.

On that front, we're also very happy to announce that Ron Whitaker, previously Managing Editor at our sister site GameFront, will be taking over as Community Manager here at The Escapist. Ron's been a PC gamer from the 80s through the 90s PC gaming renaissance, and continues to this day. We expect that he'll fit right in, given the prevailing penchant for PCs among The Escapist's community.

Any change like this will inevitably create confusion, raise questions, and even draw some ire, so I would encourage everybody who has questions or concerns to contact me on Twitter, in the forums here on this post, or through The Escapist's PM system, where I'll be happy to discuss what this means for your favorite website and mine, Escapist Magazine dot Com.

Thanks for reading, and I hope we'll see every one of you here on The Escapist in the coming weeks, months, and years.

Kind Regards,
Joshua Vanderwall
Editor in Chief

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