R.I.P. State

Not sure how useful this is to anyone. Gonna post it anyway.

I mentioned in that last post that I started off as part of a community of gamers called State. Some of you might know about it.

Now, this was just a forum of 60 or 70 relatively bright gamers with no platform bias who dumped out a poncy eZine once in a while (containing such treats as current editor of PC Gamer Tim Edwards writing about going down on his girlfriend while she played on a GBA). State wasn’t hugely interesting in itself, but what is interesting is how and why State shut down.

It’s a bit Bioshock, really. See, the promised land of State ended up destroyed against the will of its users by one very angry outsider with his own ideology. I know this, because I was that outsider’s only confidante.

CUE THE MUSIC.

A few years before State was shut down in 2005 a mysterious user called Super Foul Egg created a State IRC channel. Its purpose? To help organise multiplayer games of Operation Flashpoint. The channel drew a lot of interest, but after a chaotic first few weeks as State regulars drifted in and out of its revolving doors the channel became made up of some 15 regulars, myself included. We were #state.

Egg cut an… interesting figure. We knew nothing about him except that he lived in some tiny Northern Hellhole of a village, gave off the impression of being the sourest man alive and knew more about games than anyone we’d ever met. The years I spent sat in the #state channel absorbing his teachings were inarguably my most formative. Together the 15 of us played the most obscure and unmarketable mods and multiplayer games we could get our hands on. We spent a year plumbing the depths of ThieveryUT, and I spent just as long playing the dumbest stuff to ever come out for the SNES and PSX with Egg via the achy-breaky netplay of emulators.

Egg’s knowledge combined with his knack for clipped, razor-sharp witticisms meant no-one ever, ever won a debate with him. It became a running joke. It’s worth mentioning here that every time someone tries to goad Egg into games journalism, he replies that he’ll start writing about games when he’s played them all. Eventually the State forum and Egg’s channel became more and more distinct.

But that wasn’t quite enough for Egg.

The State forum was a place for people to talk about games. It always had been. Egg had ended up there because it was the smartest, most open-minded games community he knew about. But now he had his own community, with the key difference that this was a place where people not only talked about games but played them.

As the years ticked on the people on the forum began playing games less. They got older. They left school for university, or left university for full-time jobs, or found wives or kids or Eve Online, or sometimes didn’t find anything at all; content with what they had, they stopped playing new games. Yet what a lot of them kept was this habit of talking about games as if they knew what they were saying.

You have to understand this hurt Egg and myself because we were working so hard at playing not only everything that came out but blowing the dust of older releases we’d missed. And we knew how much we hadn’t played, too- I knew the Amiga was a vast gap in my knowledge, but the emulation of it was (and still is) a staggering bastard.

This disconnect between us and the forum culminated in 2005 when Egg and I were busy wading through the PS2’s endless release schedule. On the forum a thread was started by a forumite named Bobsy (a year too late) that called itself a review of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Once you opened it, the text of Bobsy’s thread simply read “Half-Life, too.”

Somebody asked him what he was talking about. It might have been me. Bobsy then carefully pointed out for us uncomprehending reptiles all the similarities between Prince of Persia and the original Half-Life; you were spending the whole game exploring a single environment while slowly unfurling a story.

…yeah.

CUE THE OTHER MUSIC.

What turned things like this from an annoyance into a dilemma was that the founder of State, a Swede called Oskar, no longer held the keys to the servers. He’d given them up a long time ago, and those keys (along with the server bills) had been passed from forumite to forumite until finally a Dutch woman named Pat who’d lost all interest in games gave them to her trusted friend… Egg.

You must imagine Egg going for a walk in the bleak country surrounding his home, torn apart by this responsibility foisted upon him. Could he let these people continue to discuss games so arrogantly, these people who didn’t play many games anymore and were no longer earning their tone of superiority?

Worse, word was starting to get around that joining State was some kind of fast-track to games journalism. This changed most of the fresh meat we were getting from people who saw the level of conversation and decided they wanted to be part of that to people who simply wanted to get into the games industry. As Egg said, “People who couldn’t quite pull it off.”

Compared to the rest of the gaming forums on the internet State was still perhaps the smartest place we knew about. But this wasn’t about it decaying or slowing down- this was about State continuing to have its reputation as an intelligent outpost of cutting edge discussion while its inhabitants talked shit.

STOP THE MUSIC. No, seriously, go back up to that YouTube video and stop it.

One day Egg came to a decision. State’s regulars logged in the next day to find their forum’s homepage replaced with this animation that Egg drew himself. Kieron Gillen called it “going out in style”, but then I don’t think he realised we hadn’t told the forumites we were closing their community down at all.

The last job was to rename #state to something else, which Egg did with all the cool grace of Codename 47 hoisting a body into a dumpster.

CUE THE LAST MUSIC.

I got in touch with Egg for the purposes of writing this post and thought I’d ask him whether he regretted closing down such a well-respected gaming forum so cruelly.

Quinns: Do you ever regret closing down such a well-respected gaming forum so cruelly?

Egg: No.

Quinns: Thanks for your time.

So there you have it.

The issue of professionals within this industry having not played enough is still a touchy subject with me, and I feel it’s something we let slide far too often. Nevermind. If I’m right and it is as big as failing as I think it is, that’ll reveal itself in time.

Comments

  1. Wow.

  2. The problem is that you can never play enough.

    You play and you play and you play and you play and you play and you play and you play and you play and you play and you play… but you can never play enough.

    • Yeah. And I think carrying around that burden is the safe thing to do. Once you think you’ve played enough is when you start running into problems.

  3. “Kieron Gillen called it “going out in style”, but then I don’t think he realised we hadn’t told the forumites we were closing their community down at all.”

    Oh, I did. It was a cunty move, but it was a stylish cunty move.

    KG

  4. Cool story bro.

  5. My immediate responses to this story are twofold. Yes, you’re essentially correct in saying that people who write professionally about computer games should have a deep understanding of their subject. They are asking you to pay for their words in one way or another so their words should hold value.

    Secondly: nrrgh.

    I find the State thing at once hilarious yet somehow able to make a little bit of sick appear in the back of my throat. I totally agree that people who know a lot about computer games should have their own space to be intellectual and wank each other off with in-jokes etc, but to me it epitomises the worst kind of elitism that some computer game aficionados can display. It’s this perception that ignorance should be punished that I really hate – as someone who has played computer games for many years I spent most of my teens feeling intimidated when attempting to join in with other enthusiasts online. This is also what has probably prevented me from writing about games for so long, I simply felt I didn’t have enough knowledge, which is balls really isn’t it? You don’t need to see every film to have a valid opinion on cinema.

    Anyway, I really only posted to ask that you please not talk about any sexual practices relating to games journalists again? I prefer to think of them entirely as plasticky, androgynous beings that never commit carnal acts of any sort. Excepting Gillen of course, for which such thinking would be impossible.

    • Tom Camfield says:

      @ Paul

      “You don’t need to see every film to have a valid opinion on cinema.”

      This is as true as it is misleading.

      First, anyone can have a valid opinion if all you’re trying to communicate is your own feelings towards a film “I like it”, “It is good”.

      If you want to communicate something wider, then you need an informed opinion; “There’s a refreshing lack of exposition; no one says Whistler is blind, instead we see him reading braille, Pheonix isn’t called inexperienced, he’s just shown putting on an absurd amount of blackface to break into an unoccupied bank”.

      No one, bar someone who knows your tastes, is informed by the former, while the latter is much more illustrative for anyone approaching, in this case, Sneakers (1992). The only rule here is that when you give an opinion, you need to follow it with reasons and examples.

      Second, while watching lots of films does help improve your critical faculties, this is only because it gives you a broad education about the various things films can do. You can also achieve this by reading about film theory and watching recommended films. Indeed, this latter approach will get you where you need much faster than a purely scattergun approach.

      So, I would rather say, you don’t need to watch every film to give an informed opinion, but you do need to educate yourself, and express yourself as clearly as possible.

      • manleypointer says:

        “You can also achieve this by reading about film theory and watching recommended films. Indeed, this latter approach will get you where you need much faster than a purely scattergun approach.”

        I totally agree with this, as reading a lot of criticism gives you, at the least, a list of things you should be embarrassed for never having seen. I don’t think it’s ever a requirement to agree with what important writers have said, but it’s kinda a requirement to have played/viewed the things that important writers think are important, so you at least know what the hell everyone is talking about.

        There’s nothing that makes me stop listening to a person as fast as him admitting he hasn’t read much on the subject he’s talking about. There may be a very few film-watching/book-reading savants who come up with unique critical perspectives on their own, but pretty much everyone is enriched by reading other people’s views (and knowing what has already been said, and shouldn’t be repeated).

        Also, sounds like a brilliant forum, and sorry to have missed it.

  6. - That Tim Edwards piece was as face-clawingly embarrassing as Harry Knowles’ Blade 2 review (http://www.aintitcool.com/node/11793) and Tim should be enormously grateful it has been destroyed.

    – Some perspective, please. There are certainly dozens, probably hundreds, maybe thousands, of online cliques that self-define as havens for playistas intent on intellectualising themselves to climax. State was no better or worse; it just had a (false, recursive) sense of legitimacy leant by the presence of a couple of games journalists. It had no reputation and it was only well-respected by the people who posted there, barely even them after Oskar quit.

    – Bobsy was a dimwitted bore.

    • Blitz: It wasn’t. Tim’s piece was brilliant. That it happened at the same time as the horrific Knowles’ blade 2 piece was useful in showing how you could do it well or how you could do it horrifically. Tim’s piece, for all the obvious baiting, was about actual intimacy. Knowles’ piece is sex-as-processed-via-porn. That Tim tried something that could have easily have fell flat on its face and pulled it off was one of the main reasons I actually started giving him work.

      (State gains legitimacy by the proportion of people involved who actually went and did pretty interesting things. Like any scene, y’know?)

      KG

  7. This brings back a lot of memories.
    It also reminds me why I could never really be bothered with a lot of the people on State, or Grammerporn or any of the PC Gamer forum offshoots.

    They were filled with pretentious overbearing cunts, most of whom ended up becoming moderators due to sheer perseverance and bloody-mindedness.

    However I do wish they still existed in some form or another.

    “A room-made of assholes will inevitable fill up with shit.”

  8. arf/Thesper says:

    “or found wives or kids or Eve Online”

    Oof.

    That said, I think there’s an argument to be made that it’s equally worthwhile to play the shit out of a single game as to play many games in the same time. Although maybe that’s a developer/journalist divide there, to use your (sort of) example I don’t think many MMO developers have the time to sink into EVE Online to really understand how it works at its best (which, biased as I am, I would say would be when you’re in a small group of people that know each other for an extended period – StateCorp basically) which means that, as we often complained, if you want to play something like EVE you have to play EVE.

    More importantly though, ThieveryUT was awesome! It saddens me how it seems to have never really entered the general gaming conciousness, even in the RPS/Qt3/etc. world.

    • Yeah, I’m with you there on all points. Really good to hear from you again, man.

    • “That said, I think there’s an argument to be made that it’s equally worthwhile to play the shit out of a single game as to play many games in the same time.”
      I am certainly of this camp. If I enjoy a game at all then I will almost always play it to completion. If I hate a game I will often play it longer than I should to work out why. I like to keep playing a game to learn the nuances of it.

      “….how it works at its best (which, biased as I am, I would say would be when you’re in a small group of people that know each other for an extended period – StateCorp basically)”
      Isn’t that true of most online/multi-player games? – either when playing with, or against, your friends. C&C, MoH, CoD and Company of Heroes were always way more fun once you had a group of friends to play with. Likewise I spent a year playing Doom II most evenings after work with the same three people, a year playing 2 player Tetris against one guy in the studio and probably the same with Super Mario Kart against a different guy. The personal connection made the winning/losing all the sweeter/more painful.

  9. Ah, I wish I could be 15 again, to have all the time in the world to play everything (and hush about where all these games came from, with a teenager’s budget).

    The only grown-up that have that sort of time are game journos, and even they don’t have a lot of time (I think, correct me if I’m wrong) to play wacky/old/obscure titles. For that you need to be in academia and researching something along the lines of “the history and development of WASD in shooter of the ages”.

    On another note, I think that shutting down a social site without warning or letting the users organize a way to stay in touch elsewhere is bastardy in the extreme and is something that only Internet Dickiness can give rise to.

  10. Little Green Man says:

    Riveting tale chap.

  11. I find the utter self-destruction of online communities fascinating. I remember reading about how the Insert Credit forums imploded once upon a time, due to a vengeful forum member gaining mod priviledges. It read like a Shakespearean tragedy.

    Another good story well told, Quinns.

    Where do the enlightened gamers gather now?

  12. I miss Egg. He was the best of twats.

  13. Sal Paradise says:

    Mr. Quinns,

    The soundtrack to this post is amazing. I never took you for the Gillian Seed-type, but with a large enough trench coat I could be fooled.

    Having a soundtrack to a post is amazing. Why are other bloggers so dumb to not include one?

    Finally, if I were running a board and stupid people said stupid things, I would simply delete their posts. Barring any sort of cybercrimes they might commit, I think they’d get the hint.

  14. Ever since I read this yesterday I’ve been trying to figure out if State ever was about the games. For me, I mean. Not that this is an interesting question, mind you.

  15. Marco Attard says:

    Damn, this post sure brought some memories, even if I was but observing the whole ‘saga’ from somewhat afar. For sure #state was always more fun than the forum, and even more so once the damn thing was killed off.

    Now I want to play some Guru Logic Champ (or what we wrongly named Gulroz Chang Poo at the time), as a kind of toast via excellent obscure japanese puzzle game.

  16. My name is Petey, and I am almost certainly one of the people who caused State to be toppled.

    I don’t say that with any smugness at either being a twat, or the late realisation that I was a twat after all this time. State would be perhaps my favourite time on the internet, and I still remain in touch with a lot of the very close friends I made there. I was able to move onto the (fairly) newly setup forum Iain had made where I finally tried writing stuff – and I would like to thank you, Quinns, for actually being one of the people who encouraged me to try.

  17. Egg was right. Angriest man I’ve ever met, and I always assumed he disappeared back into his own little dimension of bile and vitriol shortly after putting State out of its misery, but he was right to just shut it down even if it was for the wrong reasons.

  18. wasnt an actual part of state but the guys im in contact with who were there are all top chaps, and the writers i know from the are okay as well, except gillen.

  19. Daniel Vella says:

    State! Those were the days, etc.

    I wouldn’t consider myself to have been one of those core members, but I have fond memories of the forum and writing for StateMag in between failing Pure Maths at Sixth Form. I remember being quite gutted when it closed for good.

    Great article.

    • Tom Camfield says:

      “State! Those were the days, etc.”

      I’d pretty much repeat that sentiment, adding Big Robot* into the mix, blackbored over at alwaysblack.com and the mighty Triforce working on Edge. Young(-ish) peeps trying their hands at re-conjuring the possibilities of the medium.

      It was with glee that I saw my State review in the same issue as Gillen’s.

      * Big Robot wasn’t about games, IIRC, but was games journalists doing something different, expressing themselves in ways that would loop back into their games journalism.

  20. I wrote some of the worst things in the world for the State mag.

    What was great about State, though, was that it encouraged wild experimentation within games writing, and a sensible community who would then explain why stuff did or didn’t work. It was thoroughly ridiculous and one of the few things I’d call properly pretentious… but it almost felt like a group of writers feeling out the field, trying to understand where that mythical line was drawn.

    Oddly, one memory I have of the State days is Richard Cobbett very calmly explaining to me why spending the first four paragraphs telling the story of how I came to be in possession of a game wouldn’t be that interesting to anybody.

  21. I remember being on #state many years back, and I indeed was there because I wanted to know more about the craft of games journalism. I read AB’s ‘Bow, Nigger’ and got drawn into the ‘New’ Games Journalism school of thought.

    Probably the best IRC channel I was ever on, but at the time I thought (wrongly) that wasn’t worth celebrating. I remember Egg voicing his opinion that I was okay, which was pretty nice. I stopped joining a couple weeks later. :(

  22. Gassalasca says:

    This is the most touching thing I’ve read in a while.

  23. Oh, do I have a story to tell about the insert credit forums!

  24. Interesting story, but I don’t think you quite paint the whole picture.

    One of the biggest reasons State shut down was because Egg and I hated each other’s guts. The keys of State didn’t pass from Oskar to “forumite to forumite” as you state (forgive the pun)… they passed from Oskar to me, because I was pretty much the only person who was willing to stump up the cash to keep the place going. (Granted, I was the only one who really had the income at the time)

    The only reason I ever handed them on to Pat was because Egg singlehandedly decided to make running the place such a pain in the ass for me that it wasn’t worth the time, effort or the money anymore. And six months later, the place was dead. Having poured my time, money and very soul into the place for literally years, imagine how gutted I was.

    But even so, those two or three years I had running State were unquestionably the happiest times I’ve ever had within an internet community. Some of my best real-life friends I first met through State, and I never would have had the opportunity to write for people like games TM, PC Plus or videogamer.com if I hadn’t cut my teeth there first. As Richard Cobbett (another friend I made via State) once told me “take the time to suck” – that’s what State was – a time and a place for budding games journalists to suck under the gaze of some of the finest professional games journalists in the country, who were always willing to dispense invaluable advice.

    Every time I read an article in mainstream games journalism by someone who started out writing pretentious tosh for SMag or the State website, it brings a warm feeling to my cold, black, stony heart.

    Was Egg right to kill it in the end? Maybe. Probably. Not that this wouldn’t stop me from gladly punching him in the face if I ever met him in person, though. To borrow Kirk Douglas’s description of Stanley Kubrick, Egg was a world class shit. At least to me anyway, though I seem to recall not doing too badly myself in those stakes, either. I’m not particularly proud of the way I acted in my final days and weeks on State, and maybe both of us had the site’s best interests at heart in our own way – it’s just mine wouldn’t have involved killing it. But plenty of water’s run under that bridge now – I wouldn’t bring State back now, even if I had the time and energy to do it.

    Still, you’ve done alright for yourself, Quinns. I enjoy reading your stuff. Keep up the good work.

    Oh, and if anyone does happen to want a back catalogue of SMag, I almost certainly have the most complete archive lurking available around in my Hotmail somewhere.

    • I would, specifically the issue I was in, but I’ll take them all. You can cleverly email me by adding gmail.com to tomcamfield and throwing in an @ in the appropriate place.

    • Gassalasca says:

      Oh, I would like that very much, thank you.
      Please send to fatherjape[at]gmail[dot]com.
      Thanks!

    • Gosh, Iain, bitter much? Not to jump into any discussion here (I even doubt anyone is still reading this), but god I hope you’re joking about punching Egg in the face. He was smart, funny, he had style and he was (is) one of the best people I’ve ever met. I seem to remember you came back some time after handing me the forum to apologise, going so far as to referring to your old self as “Mad Iain”, so I don’t think that your representation of the events up there is… entirely accurate. And I had as much part in that uprising as Egg, I believe.

      That said I guess everyone will remember their own version of how State started/was/ended (I know I do).

      • Hi Pat, long time no see and all that.

        I’m not so bitter about State as I used to be. I don’t have the time to be for a start, but I think I’m kinda entitled to be a little bitter, because it was such a great place to be and I had invested a whole lot more in the place in terms of time, effort and money than 90%+ of the forum population ever did. I only ever wanted what was best for the site, forum and its community – and I’m sure you and Egg could say the same, too. We simply didn’t agree on how it should be done. The rest is history.

        I am joking about wanting to punch Egg – well, mostly. Too much time has passed for me to really give that much of a *merde* about it anymore. I don’t really blame anyone over what happened anymore. All good things must come to an end, and all that jazz…

        As for the accuracy of what I’ve said – well, there are two sides to every story. I’m sure you remember it more from the point of view of Quinns. I just wanted to put over what I remember. You’re right in that I did come back after I handed over the reigns. And I’m the first to admit that I acted like a cock in the run up to that point.

        But try to understand my position: State had been under my care for over two years by that point, and I had a small, self-appointed, select group of “elite” people (the denizens of #state) making it very clear that they didn’t like the way I was running things, but being singularly unwilling to do anything positive about it. I felt like I was being forced off “my own” forum. People (including you) accused me of being paranoid – well, you damn well would have been, too, if you’d had to put up with the same stuff, day after day, week after week. Of course I ended up taking it very personally – how else could I have? And who the hell is going to stick around paying for the privilege of being abused, mostly by people you’ve never even met?

        I sure the hell wasn’t. And when I did come back, it wasn’t for long. I was persona non-grata by this point, even though I made absolutely no attempt to rock the boat – I even publicly supported the idea of scrapping the website for a wiki on the forum (even though I actually thought that it was a mistake) – specifically because I didn’t want to be seen to snipe from the sidelines in the way people had done against what MPK and I had done with the forum (and especially the website).

        In the end, it wasn’t the fact that I’d been usurped that made me finally leave the site for good. It was actually an amazingly abusive post by someone I’d originally defended and made welcome, despite all the initial hostility towards him when he first joined the forum (Dazmeister, in case you care). After that, I just thought it wasn’t worth the time, effort or stress anymore. And I’ve never really been an active member of an internet forum since.

        I learned my lesson all too well…

        So, bitter? Maybe a little. But regrets? Nah.

  25. sebmojo says:

    I posted on the oldmanmuray forums and its twisted hateful spawn, caltrops – and lived through four forum wipes before finally giving up.

    A pity in many ways because there was some staggeringly smart and funny writing on them all, but each time the essential negativity of having a community based on being as rude as possible to everyone else sank the project.

  26. So, if one was so inclined, where would one go to find and join “a place for budding games journalists to suck under the gaze of some of the finest professional games journalists in the country, who were always willing to dispense invaluable advice”, as Iain calls State?

    • You’ll find that most games journalists are thoroughly nice people if you approach them directly, assuming you’re polite and respectful and don’t expect them to reply to your every question in five minutes flat. They’re generally more than happy to give advice to other budding writers, but they’re busy people.

      I’m not sure there is really a spiritual equivalent to State as forum for neophyte games writers these days, but you could always try the Writers Hive at the RPS forums: http://rockpapershotgun.com/rpsforum/forum.php?id=9

      But my advice would be to put yourself about a bit and get to know a few people in the industry first (as I said, generally they’re very approachable if you’re a sensible human being and they have the time) and get to know people before dropping the “how do I become a games journalist?” questions.

      This is also essential reading for any budding games journalist:

      http://www.richardcobbett.com/2006/12/so-you-want-to-be-a-games-journalist/

      I really have to agree with Richard and say that taking the time to suck is really the most important part, whatever form of writing you want to pursue, be it journalism or fiction. You’re not going to write Pulitzer Prize-winning material straight off the bat and nor should you expect to. The key to learning how to write well is to keep reading and keep writing, and eventually you’ll get better.

      Don’t expect instant success and keep plugging away. Persistent, practice and a modicum of talent will get you sent all over the world to play games 6 months before everyone else. If you’re lucky, that is.

      Just bear in mind that writing is like a disease. It’s not something you do because you want to do it – it’s something you do because you *need* to do it. If you think writing is something you think might be cool to do, rather than something you feel inexplicably *driven* to do, I’d beware trying to pursue a career in writing. It is possible to have some success as a moderately talented amateur (I’d like to think I’m proof of that, having written for a few mainstream games mags and websites), but if you’re going down that route, don’t expect it to pay the bills. (I was always lucky in that I never had to write for the money – I just did it for the love of playing and writing).

      But don’t let that put you off trying – I had some amazing experiences on press trips and got to know some fantastic people – I’ll take the experience of getting to interview Chris Taylor prior to the release of Supreme Commander to the grave.

      • Yeah, I read Cobbett’s piece, as well as Quinn’s WNTS and a few others.

        Your points are all sensible.
        So far I’m finding indie developers much more responsive than mainstream ones, for obvious reasons.

        The reason I asked for a State-like place is that while the action of writing in- and of-itself creates experiece, I think one requires criticism and such to improve, and I doubt Alec Meer (to randomly throw out a name) would be interested in critiquing anything I write. BTW, the said RPS forum is in my Favorites a while now, and I’m searching for something interesting to say.

        Thanks.

      • richmcc says:

        @zipdrive (can’t seem to respond directly to your second comment)

        You could find yourself surprised with the openness of games writers. When I started out, I contacted a favourite writer directly with some stuff I’d done, and found him responsive, helpful, and kind.

        There are a lot of journalist horror stories from the mainstream media – a friend of mine was treated awfully on his ascent into music journalism by a few choice dicks, but still remembers those who took the time to help him improve – but the rule seems to be a simple rule: if the people are nice, they’ll be nice to you.

        Obviously, people are busy, but if you’re a) good, and b) industrious, your writing will be seen eventually.

  27. trl_path says:

    So after reading this, I’d really like to see some of the State ezines. Is there an archive anywhere?

    • There isn’t an online archive, but chuck me an email with a subject line of “State Magazine Archive” to iain[dot]mccafferty[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll be happy to forward you a copy of my archive.

  28. Well, er. This is certainly an interesting read. It’s probably worth saying that I remember events somewhat differently, or at least from a different angle. Actually, it’s definately not.

    Reading this is a bit like being told you started the crusades because you were enjoying falafel a bit too much. The implication that the downfall and eventual euthanisia of State was catalysed by a single like of prickish wankery I wrote is… surprising, to say the least. And rather troubling. I’d managed to file that memory away with most of the last few weeks of State in the drawer of my memory marked ‘Unpleasant (misc)’, but I do recall the response to my half-arsed single line of non-commentary as being utterly bewildering.

    People didn’t just answer back, or tell me why I was wrong, or even have the decency to ignore it and talk about something else. Everyone seemed to go utterly apeshit, sparking a chain of emphatic denegrations towards me that spiralled into repeated abuse and humiliation. Things became unpleasant.

    The disconnect between the IRC channel and the forum was huge. Essentially, those who could afford to spend the majority of their online time plugged into #state realised they could talk about games with far more immediacy than a forum could provide. But of course, it was closed off. Discussion would only reach the incestuous few. As such, if one would try to open a topic on the forum about some game or other it would be made very clear that it had already been discussed in the IRC channel thankyouverymuch, and you weren’t even there.

    I mourned State’s passing, because even its is sneering, bullying twilight it was still a great place to talk about gaming. Now to learn I had what is apparently percieved as a hand in its downfall – due to somehow not measuring up to standards – is profoundly upsetting. As is someone whose name I don’t recognise from either 2005 or 2010 calling me “a dimwitted bore”.

    It’s not been great, this trip down memory lane. Apparently, when viewed from above, memory lane is shaped like the phrase “Bobsy’s a wanker”.

    • “The disconnect between the IRC channel and the forum was huge.”

      That sounds familiar from other forums; I’ve even been in forums that actively hate the site they’re a forum of. It’s quite the thing.

      (My short time with State ended when Oskar left, IIRC.)

      “It’s not been great, this trip down memory lane.”

      I wouldn’t worry Bobsy, in Quinns’ story you just come across as a guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The reason Quinns’ has to explain Egg’s point of view so thoroughly is because Egg comes across as a somewhat unlikeable, heavy handed chap with a God complex (no offence Egg, that’s just how the story paints you).

  29. I have many fond memories of State, but Egg was right to put it down when he did. It had lost most of it’s focus and passion, and had become very backwards looking – try to recapture it’s youth.

    I still kind of regret dropping out of #state though – partly because it’s nice to be a member of a community (even on the periphery), but largely because it was such a brilliant place to ‘do’ games. As well as the eclectic mishmash of on-line things we’d try (most of which I’d never have come across otherwise – hello Pangya), there were the random assortment of old SP games that would do the rounds.

  30. I think we should start a new forum to talk about what went wrong with the old one.

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