Russ Pitts (Fletcher) To Reboot Escapist Magazine

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I didn't see a thread for this yet, so here you go. Big news, especially for a lot of us old-timey old-timers.

https://medium.com/@russpitts/the-la...

This is great news!

Seems like an impossible task, but I wish him luck.

Nice!

Russ spoke highly of his time there in his book and hopefully management/owner won't be such a pain this time around.

Good luck and great fortune!

I couldn't stand what The Escapist became and its role in gamergate nonsense. Always thought it was such a shame for something which was so close to the community I called home, and the friends I still call family. Maybe it can rise out of the ashes and become something worthy of the area it's in. I sure hope so.

I have mixed feelings about this.. on the one hand I wish Russ the best and hope he has success but on the other hand I'm not sure the Escapist is a brand worth reviving after its descent into the cesspool of Gamer Gator heaven. There are probably some things that should be left to die and rot.

What is more troublesome is Russ in that medium article claiming that this site will leave politics behind and get back to the fun. That to me speaks of white privilege. It's very easy to claim that from a position of privilege. To claim to try and rise above all the politics and culture war makes the statement that its either an overblown issue or worse a non-issue.

There is no more neutral position. This is a war that requires sides. You are either on the side of the GamerGators and are actively trying to push out minorities and any voice that isn't white and male OR (what might be worse) you are neutral and basically saying f*ck the marginalized I just want to get back to the "funs" (as if minorities and women don't also just want to have fun playing their favorite games or hobbies)

I fear that Russ by taking a "no politics" approach will only welcome back those that seek to return to a time when nobody worried about making minorities and women feel unwelcome in gaming. That racism and sexism is not an issue that is worth talking about or even worth fighting. By being neutral you invite back in the very enemy that dragged down the Escapist in the first place.

TheGameguru wrote:

What is more troublesome is Russ in that medium article claiming that this site will leave politics behind and get back to the fun. That to me speaks of white privilege. It's very easy to claim that from a position of privilege. To claim to try and rise above all the politics and culture war makes the statement that its either an overblown issue or worse a non-issue.

I think it's important to understand intent in this context. I don't think there's any intention to belittle the issue or remove healthy dialogue about it.

I think the intent is to create a place in which the politics doesn't color the entire activity of gaming.

I agree with Lester. I trust Russ' intentions.

However, I'm not sanguine about the rest of the world today. I'm withholding judgement until I see how things go.

TheGameguru wrote:

What is more troublesome is Russ in that medium article claiming that this site will leave politics behind and get back to the fun. That to me speaks of white privilege. It's very easy to claim that from a position of privilege. To claim to try and rise above all the politics and culture war makes the statement that its either an overblown issue or worse a non-issue.

I hear what you're saying, and if it were anybody other than Russ making these claims, then absolutely I'd be skeptical, too. But, well, it's Russ.

Russ was one of my earliest and most vocal boosters. Not only did he push hard to get me writing here on GWJ, but he hired me again and again to write openly political features for The Escapist, pieces that dug deep into everything from sexual psychoses to feminist history, from war vets with PTSD to post-Katrina survivors' guilt. And this was back when places like Waypoint and so on didn't exist, when literally no other outlet was publishing this stuff, except for one or two glossy monthlies on life support. Everything I ever wrote for The Escapist was steeped in my own personal politics, one way or another, even if it wasn't explicitly ABOUT politics (which it rarely was). And to me, at least, that's at the core of what Russ wants to bring back. The human stories, the stories that made The Escapist fun to read ten years ago.

I'm not worried about Russ welcoming back the GooberGrammers for the clicks, because, well, again: It's Russ. He can be stubborn and infuriating and opinionated, but he's also a profoundly decent person, who has boosted female writers throughout his career; and he founded Take This, which has done great work re: mental illness. He has never shied away from giving unique voices a platform on which to shine, at least in my experience; and maybe I missed something, but I never once saw him indulge a single Goobergrammer's sh*tty point-of-view during his tenures at either The Escapist or Polygon.

I get that there's a whole generation of Goodjer (and a good number of us old-timers) for whom "It's Russ" isn't enough. And that's okay; maybe he'll win them over, maybe he won't. But for whatever it's worth, I have faith in him. And that means I have faith in Escapist 2.0.

Russ put out a thread that explains what he meant in more words. It might help to take a look:

https://twitter.com/russpitts/status...

Colour me sceptical, regardless.

They certainly seem to be making the "keep your identity politics out of ma vidja games" crowd happy, going from what i've seen. Intentional or not.

I'll cross my fingers that they will ultimately be disappointed, because that's the only way i'd be remotely interested in revisiting that particular website.

Yeah, the first few replies to that twitter thread aren't doing much to allay my concerns.

As much as I like Russ, I think at this point the Escapist well has been thoroughly poisoned. No matter how pure his intentions, the gator crowd is going to latch onto this and turn it into another sh*tshow.

The Escapist should stay dead. Make a new thing.

pyxistyx wrote:

Colour me sceptical, regardless.

They certainly seem to be making the "keep your identity politics out of ma vidja games" crowd happy, going from what i've seen. Intentional or not.

I'll cross my fingers that they will ultimately be disappointed, because that's the only way i'd be remotely interested in revisiting that particular website.

muttonchop wrote:

Yeah, the first few replies to that twitter thread aren't doing much to allay my concerns.

As much as I like Russ, I think at this point the Escapist well has been thoroughly poisoned. No matter how pure his intentions, the gator crowd is going to latch onto this and turn it into another sh*tshow.

The Escapist should stay dead. Make a new thing.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt because he's trying to thread a needle. The mods allowed the Escapist turn into The Donald 0.5. They actively catered to that group because they wanted the traffic for the revenue. That doesn't have to happen again.

Whoever he gets to run the forums and articles better be ready to stand firm in front of a rising tide day in, day out.

As far as "doing something new" vs resurrecting The Escapist, I think it's worth trying resurrection. Yahtzee so has a fan base and based on the amount of response to the announcement Russ has to be happy. He tried getting other stuff off the ground and that stuff went nowhere. This has a reach nothing else he's done has.

garion333 wrote:

He tried getting other stuff off the ground and that stuff went nowhere.

Polygon, Take This and his video company have all been pretty darn successful, to the point of outlasting his day-to-day involvement.

garion333 wrote:

Whoever he gets to run the forums

I say don't even bother with forums. Focus on the content, and let people discuss things and/or talk sh*t at one of the thousands of available places on the internet where it's already happening.

KaterinLHC wrote:
garion333 wrote:

He tried getting other stuff off the ground and that stuff went nowhere.

Polygon, Take This and his video company have all been pretty darn successful, to the point of outlasting his day-to-day involvement.

Watching Russ with Take This from afar gives me hope for this new endeavor.

Russ has done good work in the past, which is the only thing that is letting me give any form of credence to his statements. "Fun" is a fraught word, and maybe a bit reductive as a goal.

He certainly believes that he can build something that stands apart from its past--but I'm not sure that at this late date in 2018 that is possible. Not when Gamergaters organized a campaign and got developers who were mildly rude to them fired just last week. And a little before that, we found out that a Gamergater had murdered his own father. Neutral doesn't exist.

I'm a bit curious as to who the business partner is, since I imagine that will dictate much of the long-term trajectory.

I remember what the Escapist used to be, and if Russ and his team manage to build something new that is as good as that I will be very excited. But it'll have to exist in an environment where we have Polygon, Waypoint, and the other newer voices. I hope they pull it off.

If you got banned from the original Escapist, is it considered banjumping to sign up for this new site?

asking for a friend...

IMAGE(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjEgJtFUcAETRum.jpg)

IMAGE(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjEgJtIUcAIAiRF.jpg)

Nah. Thanks, but no thanks.

KaterinLHC wrote:
garion333 wrote:

He tried getting other stuff off the ground and that stuff went nowhere.

Polygon, Take This and his video company have all been pretty darn successful, to the point of outlasting his day-to-day involvement.

I wasn't intending to ignore his contributions to Polygon, but focus on the more recent since he left Polygon. Admittedly I completely forgot about Take This and I definitely don't want to diminish that in any way.

His video company didn't go anywhere AFAIK, even with a successful Kickstarter (after a failed one). It never gained traction the way No Clip has.

pyxistyx wrote:

IMAGE(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjEgJtFUcAETRum.jpg)

IMAGE(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjEgJtIUcAIAiRF.jpg)

Nah. Thanks, but no thanks.

Whelp, that's unexpected.

pyxistyx wrote:

IMAGE(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjEgJtFUcAETRum.jpg)

IMAGE(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjEgJtIUcAIAiRF.jpg)

Nah. Thanks, but no thanks.

Do you have a link? I can't find a record of those tweets anywhere in his feed, or in wahlnut77's.

Maybe this will help clarify what he's thinking:

IMAGE(http://i68.tinypic.com/359fol4.jpg)

(Tweet)

I get the hesitation. I do. But I just keep coming back to: It's Russ. Boosting the voices of Grammergoobers for the cheap clicks... that's not who he is. To me, it's about as likely as Julian or Shawn doing the same. I simply can't see it.

I mean, I get that "It's Russ" isn't good enough for the general population, and that's okay. Stay skeptical. It's good. But for what it's worth, Russ, like so many of us, started out here on GWJ. He's a Goodjer done good. That does means something to me, and it's worth a little faith. At least for me.

KaterinLHC wrote:
pyxistyx wrote:

IMAGE(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjEgJtFUcAETRum.jpg)

IMAGE(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjEgJtIUcAIAiRF.jpg)

Nah. Thanks, but no thanks.

Do you have a link? I can't find a record of those tweets anywhere in his feed, or in wahlnut77's.

Maybe this will help clarify what he's thinking:

IMAGE(http://i68.tinypic.com/359fol4.jpg)

(Tweet)

I get the hesitation. I do. But I just keep coming back to: It's Russ. Boosting the voices of Grammergoobers for the cheap clicks... that's not who he is. To me, it's about as likely as Julian or Shawn doing the same. I simply can't see it.

I mean, I get that "It's Russ" isn't good enough for the general population, and that's okay. Stay skeptical. It's good. But for what it's worth, Russ, like so many of us, started out here on GWJ. He's a Goodjer done good. That does means something to me, and it's worth a little faith. At least for me.

I see one side of the conversation, but not Russ': https://twitter.com/wahlnut77/status...

Something else for the skeptics to consider: MovieBob stated he's coming back to The Escapist, and from what I could gather on the forums over there, anyone who thought gg was about ethics hates this guy.

Ultimately I think what will speak more to Russ' approach here is who he hires rather than what he says he's aiming to achieve.

Source

The Theorist wrote:

Yo, so it looks like @russpitts (once again leading @TheEscapistMag) has been cleaning up his tweets from the last year or two, including some tweets that appear to be both sympathetic to GG and re-writing its origin. That's not encouraging.

ironically they were backed up on Kotaku in Action as a sign the "anti GG'er was starting to make some sense"

Freyja also commented that she had an exchange with him as well on the same topic, but i don't want to post her link without her permission. It'll be on her feed though i assume.

* Not saying that this won't end up being a really great reboot with tons of interesting people writing for it saying cool things, but right now, whether deliberately or accidentally he seems to be attracting the kind of internet people I and others like me would generally prefer to avoid, and who screwed up the site to begin with, so until that all gets properly cleared up I'll be steering well clear.

** And I'll NEVER trust anyone who can't come out and cleanly call GamerGate what it was - a hate movement designed to drive women and minorities out of the games industry that blossomed from the revenge post of a jilted boyfriend against Zoe Quinn. Full stop. No "both sides" bullsh*t.

Thanks for the links. I had a feeling he might be cleaning up his feed once they seemed to vanish, now it seems confirmed.

pyxistyx wrote:

** And I'll NEVER trust anyone who can't come out and cleanly call GamerGate what it was - a hate movement designed to drive women and minorities out of the games industry that blossomed from the revenge post of a jilted boyfriend against Zoe Quinn. Full stop. No "both sides" bullsh*t.

I get that, but remember: Russ's wife (Susan Arendt) was also a GrooberGrummer target, and from the very start of it, too. So he may be trying a more delicate approach for her sake, as not to rile up that machine against her again. Or not. I don't know, I'm not a Russ Whisperer.

cheeze_pavilion wrote:

If you got banned from the original Escapist, is it considered banjumping to sign up for this new site?

asking for a friend...

I hear you can just re-register with an underscore in your name and no one will know

I see a number of ways this might go badly - the original post didn't properly distance itself from the former site's bad elements, so regardless of actual intent, those people are going to read an implicit wink-and-nod towards them. And although the post does address this, I'd worry about affecting the voice of the writers away from legitimately interesting discussions. That said, I think there's probably an audience for people who want a thoughtful place to read and discuss games without proselytism or prerequisites. I hope it works out.

I imagine The Russ as a Paladin stepping through a portal leading to a particularly nasty dungeon level in Diablo, all about to cleanse it.

Well this is awkward.

Fletcher wrote:

Well this is awkward.

Fletcher wrote:

Well this is awkward.

I was convinced you forgot the password.

Naming it "The Escapist" means it automatically inherits the baggage associated with that name, and that baggage is as a site that advocated for a hate movement. Any attempt to cleanse the site of that is going to result in either the alt-right asshats throwing a massive fit and targeting the site, or taking some kind of "both sides" middle ground which at this point is just pandering to those people.

It's great that people know Russ and trust Russ, but I don't know Russ, and most people don't know Russ. Resurrecting it as "The Escapist" is essentially setting the web server right on the tracks in front of the oncoming 5:10 Express.

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