I wanna' go ahead and preface this series of questions with the simple statement that I ain't looking to shit on GB. Naturally, any post that begins with this type of defensive maneuvering clearly is going to be a little divisive, but I ask that you try to take this with a grain of salt. I love this here site, but things have changed, or rather, been scaled back considerably over the course of the years. I'd like to understand why, and would welcome an answer to it.
Let me explain what I mean to an extent.
It used to be the case, I felt, that there was a number of events per annum that were a huge undertaking for everyone involved, and a really great time to boot, due to the sheer effort and love that went into them. The most noteworthy of these would be the Big Live Live Show Live, with which I associate some of my fondest GB memories; be it the terrible call-in segments with Dave Lang, or Will and Norm cooking steaks with blow-torches, and not to mention, Dan with his god-fucking-awful insistence that nacho-cheese goes well with and in anything. Even as a part of a cocktail.
There was also that time he played Punchout with a DDR Pad and sensors connected inside a pair of boxing mitts that he triggered by continuously punching one John Drake in the face. (When the stomach would have worked just fine. This according to one John Drake, not to Dan Ryckert.)
These descriptions alone, I have to think, are enough to sell anyone even mildly interested in GB on the absurdity that was the Live Big Live Live Show Big.
So, what happened to that?
And what happened to Game of the Year, which used to be a month-long production that contained extended skits, incredibly unique lists, all within a theme, both visually and conceptually, and then ontop of that; a host of segments where the folks sat down and just had fun together with a mix of video-games, talk and some real dumb punishment games. I ain't even gonna' go into the details of all the nonsense they did, but mainly just due to fear of what the Rapman might do to me were I to snitch.
Again, where'd all that go? As is, it's been growing smaller every year, with this year culminating in a single piece of art that was the only through-line in the GOTY content.
I'm going to make a conscious effort not to go into what I perceive to also be a lack of effort in regards to Extra Life, 'cause it's damn good that they do it at all. I do, however, want to say that Alex Navarro is a beacon of hope and sick-ass drumming that makes it impossible for me not to spend a little too much money on donations every year.
But I digress.. By now, it REALLY sounds like I'm shitting on the site, and I'm not going to pretend that I'm not disappointed by the lack of all this creative insanity, especially as it hasn't been replaced by anything even remotely similar in scope or ambition. The content we get is still a ton of fun, but it's very formulaic, and I dare say, fairly low effort, in comparison to that of the past. Playdates and UPF remain a good time, but.. That's kind of the only thing we have other than quick-looks and the weekly podcasts. You know, people playing videogames infront of a camera.
And while that is, indeed, entertaining, it's not unique anymore. It's everywhere, it's every kid on youtube with a "dream." And these other events, that actually were unique to Giant Bomb, have been put out to pasture long since. Where it feels like GB should have tried to expand, they've rather consolidated. And as much fun as it is to follow these personalities, all of the personalities who shook things up; Austin, Dan and Patrick. They've all left. That can't be a complete coincidence.
I've been a member since this site launched, and a premium member since the option was available. A lot of time of my life has gone into Giant Bomb, and I hope that it goes without saying that I love this place and the people who are part of it. I just can't help but feel a little disillusioned at this point, especially between Dan recently having moved on and what I think we can all agree on was the worst GOTY in the history of the site. (The guest lists were terrific as always, however.)
At the end of this here rant, I still feel like I was selective in my criticisms. There's a number of other stuff that stand out to me, such as the wiki, which we were promised again and again would receive overhauls and more attention, or the de-emphasis on the community; which was what made this site what it was back in the day. Or articles or news, or or or or. And I could go on, and on, but I REALLY don't want to, because I really, really, REALLY have complained enough at this juncture. And while I've little to back this statement up after all the negative things I've said, I ain't looking to cast blame, but rather just understand what happened.
So, yeah; what happened? And in a better world, is there any way to bring any of this content back, or to spurn the staff to take more risks?
Edited a couple of times because I always submit a terrible first (and second) draft, and only fix it after posting it for public viewing.