Decade

It was early winter 2002 when Shawn Andrich, a guy I sort of knew pretty well through a website we had both worked on together, came to me with a remarkably bad idea.

“We should make our own gaming website,” said he.

Shawn was criminally young, probably 12 or so at the time. I couldn’t possibly say for sure. I was still in my twenties, which is to say I was 29, and as a result idealistic, easily influenced and prone to questionable decision making. Were he, brash and Canadian as he is, to come to me now in my wizened old age of 39 with such an idea, I would probably put a brass horn to my ear and say, “Eh, what’s that sonny?” It would look ridiculous.

However, as the adult in the conversation at the time, it was probably my responsibility to point out at that moment, as others would over the coming weeks, that creating a gaming website was a fool’s errand that almost certainly would lead to nothing more than headaches and a significant, probably lasting blow to our egos. After all, the last thing the world needed was another website about video games.

What I did say is, “That’s a great idea!” Or something similar. Probably there was some sarcasm and pointless pontification involved, but an affirmation was the relevant core of the response.

And thus was hatched a scheme that almost certainly would fail quietly and unobserved by anyone: to create a gaming website designed to appeal to mature gamers. Gamers with families and mortgages. Gamers who were interested in more than just guns, gore and girls. Gamers with some sense of sophistication and passion. Gamers, one might say, with jobs.

And yet, here we are exactly ten years later. Yup, exactly ten years. And two weeks. And two days. And probably a few hours later. Ok, what I’m saying is I missed our ten year anniversary. Let’s celebrate anyway.

Ask me what I’m most proud of about Gamerswithjobs. Go ahead do it. I’ll wait.

Thank you for asking.

If you go back to the very first post to GWJ ever, which occurred January 13, 2003, you will find our “mission statement.” I realize having a mission statement for what is essentially your video game blog can seem a little pretentious, but, as it turned out, having a core ideology for our games site proved an important compass from which we charted an uncertain path. And that mission statement was this: to provide wide ranging content relevant to the adult gamer, and provide a community for all aspects of mature gamer culture.

Here’s what I’m proud of: Ten years later that is still exactly what we are trying to do. In a decade during which the site could have gone astray countless times, we have held true to the reason we gave it a go in the first place. That feels like a pretty big accomplishment to me, who frankly can barely hold a single plan through a long afternoon.

Also, it’s super-easy to screw up running a games site. Or screw up writing about games. Or building a network of contacts. Or creating a community. Or moderating a community. Or starting a podcast. Those are all things, looking back, that I see fraught with countless pitfalls and certain failure. That I was able to be part of an endeavor that was successful at any one of those things is the sort of accomplishment that, if it came with a ribbon, I’d frame and hang that ribbon over the mantle. I’d take a picture with it every year and send it as my Christmas card. I’d put it on my tombstone: Here lies Sean Sands who did not f*** up starting a podcast.

That we’ve had any success at all of those things, if you are willing to concede that we have, is the kind of good fortune that I think ensures I will never win the lottery. After all, you don’t get that lucky again.

I don’t mean to overplay the “Aw shucks, I didn’t do nothin’,” card, because all of us who work on GWJ put a lot of hours into making this a place worth coming to. I’ve written a lot of words — some that came easily and naturally, far more that sputtered out awkwardly and stubborn — and committed hours to the content of the site. But the thing is, it hasn’t been a burden or felt like work (at least not usually), and I would never want to cast it like that. Had GWJ been something we did to turn a profit or to aggrandize our egos or to break into the industry or any of that, then it would have been done and gone before the first year was out.

And that would have been fine, because that site wouldn’t have been worth your time. That site would have been what a lot of people suspected GWJ was at first, a sputtering flash in an overcrowded pan. A pointless exercise from people with too much time and not enough heart.

But I also won’t say GWJ has succeeded because Shawn and I somehow love it more than the people who have stepped in our shoes before with no worse intentions or desire. A lot of things came together over the years to allow the site to continue and thrive. Part of it was that, for a long time, both Shawn and I had the professional flexibility to put the time and effort in. Another part of it was that I do think we were able to carve out a niche that distinguished us during the days when new gaming sites were all about aggregating news and quick-hit headlines. The biggest part though, was the phenomenal writers and talent that have invested every bit as much into the site as we have. Writers and contributors who have my head spin with their talent and my eyes occasionally leak salty, manly tears when they tell their own stories.

Without them, again it just would never have come together. Within a short time Shawn and I would have virtually high-fived and consoled each other on a good, honest effort, and … well, I really don’t like to think about what that future might have been. Because, for me, GWJ isn’t some website I slap my name onto every now and again, or a hobby that I’ve done to entertain myself for a few years.

It’s so much more important to me than any of that. It feels very much like a part of me, something that is entwined into my own identity now. That might sound stupid or maudlin or like some nonsensical exaggeration, but I stand behind it. Not having had this site in my life, this community by my side, this family ... without all of that, the story of my past ten years would have been drawn in darker hues. This site, and by extension I mean all of you, has magnified the joyful times in my life, and has comforted me during the hard times. You were there for the birth of my sons. You were there when I began my own business, and when it folded. You were there when my heart failed me, and when it was fixed. You were there the day I thought I had lost my son. I was stronger in all those moments because of this site and because of you people who have joined us on this strange, wonderful journey.

I have met you, and every single time have found someone who made my life a little richer. You have told us what the site means to you, and you can’t imagine the pride that gives us. So many of my now best friends would be unknown to me had Shawn never had his crazy-stupid idea.

So, I celebrate ten years with a little bit of navel gazing and possibly a bit too much self-congratulations, but mostly with a thank you, because as we’ve said time and again, GWJ is nothing if not for you. You who have contributed words and ideas. You who have joined the community. You who have supported one another through good times and bad. You who have been generous to us and to this community more than I would have thought possible. You who have been interested in having a meaningful conversation about this culture we share. You who have visited or read or listened.

You are the reason this site exists.

Someday — I don’t know when — the last article will be penned for GWJ. The last podcast will be recorded. The last post will be written in our forums. The last day of Gamerswithjobs.com will come, and the lights will go out and it will all be over. That is a thing that will happen … eventually. And, assuming I’m still kicking around on that day, the sadness I think I will feel will be as keen and sharp as any I’d want to imagine.

I mention this only because I know, for me, these are the lucky days of my life. I hope they hold fast for days and months and years and, yes, maybe decades to come. This site, the partnerships we’ve built, the friends I’ve made through it, are a large part of what makes these days lucky. You make me feel fortunate beyond what I could possibly deserve, and so I want to breathe life and keep the lights bright on this site for as many days as I can. And I think I still can for a long time.

So what do you guys say?

Are you up for another decade?

I think I’m game.

Comments

GWJ has become a very large part of my life since I joined 4 1/2 years ago, I have made so many friends and became part of a loving internet family who have all been there the (multiple) times I needed a helping hand and a kind word to help me along when life pushed me down. I feel honored to be part of such a wonderful community, to be a friend to so many people, and share in each other's life experiences, to celebrate with them for a marriage or the birth of a child, or even to grieve with them.
This is my internet home, my safe place to run to, and I look forward to 10 more years together.

I'll totally buy the site a beer in another 11 years.

Actually, to be honest, I'll probably slip it a beer in about 6 years, but I'll make it promise not to tell it's dads about it.

The last day of Gamerswithjobs.com will come, and the lights will go out and it will all be over.

Nooooooooo.

Someday our kids will grow up and they will have jobs and play games, and things will carry on. So say we all.

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This is the only site that I visit every day, and it's been that way for years. Although I don't post much, I love the forums for not being the cesspit that they are on so many other sites. I'd love to make it to an S&T one of these days...Sally Nasty has tried a couple of times to organize a KC one, but they were both set on dates when I was traveling for work.

Considering the Internet, the existence of this site may as well be a statistical anomaly. Not only has it been around 10 years, but it is mercifully free of trolls and assholes.

I don't know how you guys did it, but you have a digital utopia here. Pat yourselves on the back and have a drink. You earned it.

All I can say is...

Here's to many more...

There has never been, nor will there ever be, a place quite like this. Long live GWJ!

Whoo Happy 10th! All this time and I'm still a Jr Exec! I need to step it up...

Happy 10th, Sean and Shawn!

Can't believe it's been over seven years since I discovered this website via Bill Harris, then (I think) still at Gone Gold doing his Night Call column. He wrote (glowingly) about this community on several occasions, so I had to check it out.

I don't post often these days, but I treasure this site and this community nonetheless.

Thanks to the both of you (and to everyone else) for making this an internet oasis for the past 10 years!

Cheers to Sean and Shawn and for the great peacemaker, The Pillow of Heterosexuality:

IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/special_place.preview.jpg)

That's the real secret of website success. Jump into the sack on the first day you meet in person.

Happy 10th GWJ. Stay classy!

While I have only been officially a member for a very short time, the site has been a place of refuge for me on and off over the eight or so years I have known of its existence, and each time I rediscover it, I get the joy of getting reacquainted with the wonderful community.

I rarely post, since I usually find others have already posted my thoughts, only more eloquently than I could have ever posted, but it is the only site from which after reading an article and the adjoining comments been so impressed or moved that I have actually sent links to others and said ¨You HAVE to read this¨.

So thank you Sean and Shawn for providing a place for gamers like us, and to the many contributors and community members who have made it feel like home. The day the lights go out on GWJ, the internet will be worse off for its passing, but until then cheers to the whole GWJ family.

Happy 10th!

trueheart78 wrote:

Mad props to the sys admin that's gone crazy over the past 10 years, and the yahoos who put him up to it :D

Is that the guy they locked in the basement? Man, he sure howls when he's hungry.

And if it wasn't for this site I wouldn't have met my one true love - all of you gals and guys. I just picture you all as one giant organism, kinda like the Borg, but with more fuzzy hugs.

EDIT: And Goodjer Bot. I love Goodjer Bot.

Cheers, guys. GWJ is, as with many other posters, one of my few daily stops on the web. The lack of trolls, the high quality writing, and the community are all rare things; here's to 10 more.

Having grown up bouncing around the country, spending 8 years in the navy, then taking a job that has me roaming the country firing people for their delicious lunches, the idea of "home" has been much more associated with people than it is a place. It's worth noting that wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, I find myself back on this site every day, touching base with the dozens that I call friends. GWJ is as much a home to me as any brick and mortar building I've ever known, and I will keep coming back until you shut off the lights and we lead a screaming mob to kick them back on.

Congratulations on creating something truly unique and remarkable, and let's keep this party going so our kids have a place to go one day as well.

Agent 86 wrote:

Cheers to Sean and Shawn and for the great peacemaker, The Pillow of Heterosexuality:

IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/special_place.preview.jpg)

I hadn't seen that in a while. So young.

This site will never die, the community won't permit it. If there was a nuclear apocalypse tomorrow, we would find a way to bodge together some kind of Internet with copper wire and bubble gum and find an old 486 to put Drupal on.

I first tripped over Gamers With Jobs in 2006 when I was running the ill-fated Ottawa Geek Squad Store. I was bored and didn't have enough podcasts in my rotation and found the former Gamers With Jobs Radio on a list somewhere. Shortly after, I found the forums and the rest is history. I don't listen to the podcast any more but this community will always keep me coming back here. I rarely touch any other forum now because even otherwise well run ones simply can't hold a candle to the absolutely a-typical Internet environment that is provided here. People talk about how P&C is a dangerous place but honestly, even the most heated debates there (and that's what they usually are, debates) isn't a fifth as bad as the average newspaper comment section. I've had some major disagreements here but for the most part, there's always generally respect shown in them, if not for the point of view then at least for the person.

I've had some extremely dark periods in my life the last few years and even when I was at my lowest, I always knew GWJ was there to talk about games or just about anything else or just provide a place to vent. When I was flat broke and not able to pay my bills, people I'd never met in real life PayPalled me money for groceries. Other people I'd barely even talked to in the forums were offering to send me pieces of their bonuses to make sure I didn't bounce any bills. The kindness shown by people who were near strangers still floors me. Life's in a much better spot now and I try to pay the kindness forward whenever I can. Never on the Internet (or indeed in real life) have I seen a place where there's just so much good and warmth.

What other community of people randomly send each other not only cheap gag gifts but full-on, new release, AAA titles during Steam sales, sometimes spending hundreds on them? No other that I've ever seen. I don't think I'm alone when I say that even though it's "just a forum", Gamers With Jobs is almost like another family member to me. I can't imagine my day-to-day life without the people here and the experiences we all share.

May GWJ live forever! Shalalm Baskur!

The site went live(ish) on my birthday? Huzzah!

Congrats to the founders and the community, it's been 10 great years. I'm definitely on board for 10 more (gah, I'll be approaching 50!).

HIP HIP HOORAY!

I've listened to the podcast regularly since June 2008 or thereabouts - it is one of the few that has made the rotation and never left it (side note - you guys apparently still listen the Giant Bombcast; I've tried a couple of times in the past and just frankly can't hang. Please don't ever digress into discussions of odd junk food, please).

The web site itself is, to me, a bonus addition to the podcast instead of the other way around so hopefully (for me, anyway - YMMV as the kids say) this will be the first of more regular activity on the site.

So, yeah, I hope we're all around for another decade or so, at least. I'm in.

Ughhhhh, I had plans for this next decade.

Fine. I'm in.

McIrishJihad wrote:

HIP HIP HOORAY!

Yes?

McIrishJihad wrote:

HIP HIP HOORAY!

Another 10 years and this be "REPLACEMENT HIP HIP BENGAY!"

I love this place. Thank you for building it and making it such an inclusive place to visit.

Congratulations on the first 10.

Garden Ninja wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:

HIP HIP HOORAY!

Another 10 years and this be "REPLACEMENT HIP HIP BENGAY!"

4 years till I hit 50. I'm already prepping the angst.

TheHipGamer wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:

HIP HIP HOORAY!

Yes?

Oh sorry, didn't realize that triggers the Hip Signal.

Grenn wrote:

Ughhhhh, I had plans for this next decade.

Fine. I'm in.

(Liar!)

Garden Ninja wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:

HIP HIP HOORAY!

Another 10 years and this be "REPLACEMENT HIP HIP BENGAY!"

Previously, it was HIP HOP HOORAY.

The good old days.

McIrishJihad wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:

HIP HIP HOORAY!

Yes?

Oh sorry, didn't realize that triggers the Hip Signal.

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