While this certainly isn't the first editor's note I've ever written (it's true!), this is my first since rejoining Team Humidor after a year-long leave of absence, and my very first since taking over as Editor-in-Chief of The Escapist. As a remarkable coincidence, this issue also marks the fourth anniversary of The Escapist's birth and the culmination of one of the most exciting years of its existence.
This year, we accepted our second Webby Award for "Best Games-Related Website," launched our first-ever webcomic, Stolen Pixels, brought to life another smash-hit video series, Unskippable, and hosted the most successful community event ever, our Second Annual March Mayhem Developers Showdown, among many, many other notable accomplishments - all of which has made us extremely hopeful for the future and excited about the milestones yet to come.
A few weeks ago, however, we bid farewell to our founding Editor-in-Chief, Julianne Greer, the woman who hired me and with whom over the past few years I have shared many long days, medicinal glasses of scotch and celebratory cigars. I simply can't imagine what this site would be like today if it wasn't for her vision and guidance, and, on the eve of whatever the future may bring on this, our fourth birthday celebration, I can think of no finer words to say to her than "thank you."
When I first applied to join The Escapist team over three years ago, I did so quite honestly because it was the only place I wanted to work. I left behind a successful and profitable career in theater because I just flat-out wanted to write about videogames, and the only place I could imagine doing so was at the very young web magazine called The Escapist.
During the two years I served as an editor for The Escapist, I had the privilege of working with hundreds of top-caliber writers, watching the site grow and evolve into a first-rate videogame community and media powerhouse and helping launch a slew of successful content lines, including the most popular videogame review series in the world, Zero Punctuation.
That evolution in and of itself launched me into the next phase of my career at The Escapist: creating and overseeing an entirely new department, Team Hollywood, where, for the past 13 months, the video editors and I have not only been creating our own video series, but in conjunction with our excellent partners, producing some of the finest, most entertaining web videos around.
And now we have come full circle. As I step back into the fray on the editorial side at The Escapist, it is with no small amount of irony I am able to present our issue covering "The Evolution of Gaming." Three years can be an eternity, it seems. It can take one man from part-time videogame writer to Editor-in-Chief of the finest videogame website on the planet. It can take a website from a small, relatively unknown webzine to a first-tier media powerhouse. And in terms of gaming, it can see the evolution of the next-gen gaming platforms into the "now-gen."
I've said for years that there has never been a better time to be a gamer, and every year it becomes more and more true. The vast array of gaming options available to casual and hardcore gamer alike are simply staggering. Gaming has become truly mainstream, to the point where it's possible for two people to both consider themselves "gamers" without ever having played the same games. For someone who grew up during the very infancy of the medium, this turn of events is both startling and awe inspiring.
In this auspicious issue of The Escapist, I'm pleased to present articles from some of our favorite writers. Colin Rowsell weighs in on a medium that, when mixed with our own, could very well change the face of gaming: romance novels; Rob Zacny explores the transition from user manuals to in-game tutorials; Leigh Alexander returns to reminisce about how the games of our childhood ignited our imaginations; and I am pleased to make my own return to the pages of The Escapist with a wake-up call for the hardcore.
In all, we hope this anniversary issue will be one you'll enjoy for years to come, and to help you do so - and to thank you all for sharing our journey for the past four years - we're offering it as a one-time commemorative PDF download. Enjoy!