When I wrote my introduction as Editor in Chief last year, I made reference to Captain Nemo’s motto, “Mobilis in mobile”, which roughly translates as “changing with change.” I’ve been fortunate over the last year to help shape The Escapist‘s strategy as we anticipate and respond to the rapid pace of change in the worlds of videogames and the internet. Of course, sometimes we have to anticipate and respond to changes in our private lives as well. Because of that, I’m announcing today is my last day as Editor in Chief at The Escapist.
I’ve been proud to be associated with The Escapist at all and particularly delighted to contribute a small part to its success over the last two years. When I started as Managing Editor, I was eager to explore the unique ways the site was succeeding in setting itself apart from the avalanche of games journalism on the web. There’s always been something defiantly distinctive about The Escapist‘s mission to elevate the discussion of videogames and gamer culture. See, where other sites discuss games by counting framerates and guns and levels, The Escapist believes the context of gaming, the whole experience of losing yourself in these imaginary worlds, is infinitely more relevant.
It’s a fundamental and intuitive concept present in the very name of the site: The Escapist. It’s easy to overlook this key point until you begin to work at it from the inside. It is, quite literally, a site named after you, the Escapist, the person who is searching for an alternative to the ordinary. Realizing we work for a site that’s named for our audience is endlessly encouraging and, honestly, more than a little intimidating. This is why it’s so important for our features and news stories to offer a multiplicity of viewpoints. We want the site to speak to all gamers, not just to an imaginary lowest common denominator, who really only exists as a sort of phantom in the heads of market researchers.
One of the two keys to making it work is that we, the individual writers and artists and programmers and salespeople who run the site, are also Escapists. The first question for every new employee is not “Where are they going to sit?” but “Which lunchtime D&D campaign are they going to join?” or “Are their decks Standard or Legacy?” or “What PVP server do they play on?” Gaming is a lifestyle here, in the literal sense of being a style of living. It’s that holistic point of view, and the encouraging invitation to walk a mile in another person’s shoes (or +1 plate mail boots), that makes The Escapist a unique place not just on the internet but in our culture overall.
I’ve learned a lot about myself as a gamer in my time here, and I’ve been exposed to a wealth of gaming styles and gamer types that I might otherwise have never encountered. It’s all part of the inclusive Escapist point of view, which says not only that games are important (that’s a given), but that it’s also worth considering why they’re important and why they’re important to other people. That, to me, is what The Escapist is all about, the shared discovery of why games speak to us, individually and as a collective. We who make a job of this are fortunate beyond all reckoning to live in a society that thinks it’s worth paying us to think seriously about this stuff. I’m humbled by that responsibility every day. If I’ve been able to enlarge your affection or appreciation of what it means to be a gamer, then I’ve served the ideals that lie at the very foundation of The Escapist.
The second key, of course, is finding an audience who also shares those ideals, or is at least willing to sit and be convinced. If it weren’t for The Escapist‘s readers, none of what we do here could ever reach its full potential. You, the Escapists who regularly read the site, comment on stories, and participate in the forums, are an integral part of this discussion. As Escapists, we’re not all going to or coming from the same places, but I’m more firmly convinced than ever, particularly after helping run this site for two years, that our journeys do have common elements that are worth sharing. I’ve been honored that we’ve been able to share those with each other.
As I suggested before, a website is an extension of the people who make it, a sort of manifestation of their own idiosyncrasies, values, and relationships. With that said, I’m immensely proud of my time as part of this team and of the dedicated and insightful people, many of whom I now count as friends, who work so very hard to ensure that The Escapist‘s vision remains not just relevant but vital to the evolution of the videogame industry. Though my time at the Editor in Chief’s desk is ending, the mission of The Escapist remains the same as ever: to elevate and celebrate games and the gamer lifestyle.
Though my business card may no longer say it, I will continue to be what I’ve always been — an Escapist — and I’m proud to have so many others out there who know what that really means.