200th article - A Moment's Navel Gazing
Maximum Verbosity, which was woefully misnamed Daily Elysium at the time, was first published on January 15th 2003, squeezed right between the announcement of a new Asheron's Call 2 patch and news that Firefly had been officially cancelled, and the fact that GWJ has pretty much outlived those other two franchises is not a point lost on me. From our January 15th launch (see what GWJ looked like at the time here) to today's 200th Maximum Verbosity this column has provided me a platform that I have happily (ab)used to pontificate upon topics of varying degrees of usefulness.
My freshman efforts are perhaps best characterized by desperate fishing for validation and the misdirected certainty that you'd be as interested in how a website is born as I was. At least a third of my earliest content methodically described the uncertain launch of my shiny new website, though I'm loathe to admit that The Numbers Game still perhaps describes me better than any article I've written since. Over the past nearly five years I've managed to finally concoct a few other topics and cobble together 200 of these musings, so forgive my self-indulgence as I throw my own anniversary party, but I'd like to take a very brief look back.
Daily Elysium, despite the first week of concerted and well meaning effort, was clearly not an appropriate name for what became a larger and occasionally more focused effort. However, despite clearly erroneous nomenclature, it was nearly a year before I settled on the familiar Maximum Verbosity, and by settled on I mean held a renaming contest which One_of_47 won. As I look back over the first year of the column, and the site overall, it seems a little hard to believe that it's quite the same animal. I'm not sure exactly when we finally made the decision to eek out an existence solely in the realm of commentary and community developments, but I do not miss squirreling out blurbs of information on which executive left where and which overused franchise has just announced the latest flagellation of deceased equines.
As for Maximum Verbosity, it spent the first few months acting not unlike a new parent describing every coo and excretion of its new baby. I managed to not only break down the fourth wall in bringing our few dozen readers in on the backstage action of GWJ, but apparently pulverized the shattered drywall and snorted its dusty remains. Drugs are the only explanation, though eventually I began to find some traction and the ability to describe events occurring beyond the digital wilderness of our own servers. After all, there's only so many times you can talk about a site gathering a few hundred hits a day at best, before the endless self-referential mindset just seems needlessly narcissistic.
The column has been a lot of things in its five year lifespan, including a place to pick on perverts, a way to communicate the status of the site, a microscope through which to closely examine the gaming industry, a platform from which to opine upon why my MMO addictions are totally healthy, a vehicle for farce and a lens through which I offered an unsolicited glimpse of my own life. I've talked too often of Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, Joss Whedon, parenting a toddler, my fascination with developing GWJ, working retail and my love of a good thesaurus, and though 80 of these 200 articles were posted within the first year of GWJ, I'm most proud of the work done in the years since. Originally frivolous and more worried about saying anything than saying something, I hope the intervening years have offered something worth reading, even if just for a moment's entertainment at a long day of work.
But, in the end, I don't write this column so much because I feel like I must be heard, but because I feel like you do. Like so much of GWJ, the responses, rebuttals, retorts and occasional recriminations of the community are, I think, the best reason to visit each day, and certainly the best reason to click on Maximum Verbosity. The best of this column comes not from which articles get the most links, or have the most polysyllabic words but the ones that inspire you to inject your two cents, two dollars or even two truckloads of bubbling rage. So, thanks for indulging me in this brief self-absorbed exercise and five years of reading and responding to articles of occasionally uncertain quality but, I hope, consistent sincerity.
Now, enough with the navel gazing. It's starting to feel like 2003 in here!