irrational games

Arcadian obituaries: Shaun

Both AJ and Dylan’s goodbyes to AR have resonated with me, as well as slighted my character. Apparently I was a malnourished man with a chip on his shoulder? Hmph. I suppose that is a fairly generic description of youngish male writers.

Running AR has been a lot of work over the years, and I’ve bitched and moaned about it a lot to my fellow contributors. The usual complaints, you know? Hosting and domain bills arriving when I was skint; spending four or five hours trying to edit horrible podcast audio into something slightly less horrible; spending weekends writing or editing pieces when all I really wanted to do was go and play games; that time when my other site had malicious code injected into it and I got to spend an entire day identifying and extracting every trace of it from every site sharing the hosting. Yay!

These aren’t the things I’ll remember. The events that will stick in my mind are those where multiple Arcadians were able to get together, whether it was getting drunk and recording an inevitably overlong podcast, constantly losing and searching for one another at gaming expos, or even that time I embarrassed myself in front of a gang of Tap Repeatedly writers. There’s also weirder stuff, like the time Joel from Electron Dance recorded a video interview of AJ and myself (you’d have to ask him why), or the time we got Joel from Electron Dance really drunk and reminded him of what a hangover is (there is no why, only because).

It’s also been hugely rewarding taking a stint as an editor. My policy has always been quite hands off, to let people say what they want to say how they want to say it, and focus my input on streamlining and strengthening what’s already there. Obviously this saved me a lot of time and possibly fraught tempers versus an approach involving a lot of back and forth between editor and contributor, but it also meant I wasn’t actively trying to imprint my own vision or style on anyone else. More importantly it’s been an enormous pleasure experiencing this bear fruit over the course of five years, seeing friends grow in confidence and competence with their writing. That is to their credit, but I’ll take the remaining crumbs of it.

My own work here also helped lead to some freelance work for Rock Paper Shotgun. This is, as the ironically detached say, not so bad. Not so bad at all. (Okay, it’s the coolest thing in my writing portfolio. I’m not hip enough to pull off ironic detachment.)

I’m not sure what I’m going to do post-Arcadian Rhythms. I’m looking forward to taking all of the time and energy that has gone into this site and investing it in new projects: I still want to write, but I’m also keen to get my hands dirty making games myself. I would say watch this space, but I guess this is no longer the space you need to watch.

But hey, here’s the thing to end on: you. Thanks to everyone reading this for whatever level of engagement you’ve had with AR over the years, whether you’ve followed us from the outset or never read anything before the beginning of the end. I hope it’s been fun for you too.





3 responses to “Arcadian obituaries: Shaun”

  1. Beechbone Avatar

    Writing is hard. Spitting new articles five times a week, like AJ mentions in his text, seems like an insane schedule. I enjoyed AR for not a very long time but the content put on the site always seemed like it was effortless, just writing what you think without caring about how other publications do it. I’m sure it wasn’t! Writing is hard, dammit.

    I’ve been trying to write about different stuff over the years, at different places, and was never satisfied with the results. For a time I’ve been doing it semi-pro, with some stuff provided for (arguably, the biggest gaming website over here), but I cut my connections with them as I was extremely dissatisfied with how it was run by the core editorial (i.e. they know shit about gaming and writing alike).

    Wrting for RPS sounds awesome enough! If we’re at bragging, I most recently been trying to maintain a website in English, which is self-imposed torture. Still, some of my letters were printed in Edge, so my English has to be at least readable, so every time I want to burn my site I keep reminding myself that, ha! Oh, and the not-writing side of things can be a pain, just as you describe it. I remember spending whole day editing code for the mobile version of the site to look a little less hideous and visually actually resemble the desktop version, only for the config file to be overwritten by an update to the platform. And yes, of course I forgot to make a backup.

    Anyway, reading AR for me was fun while it lasted, and I wish you guys best luck in future endeavors.

    1. badger commander Avatar
      badger commander

      Cool that you got into Edge, one of my favourite magazines for a long time.

      Glad that you liked our stuff, sorry that we didn’t carry on. All the same, we had a good running and there should be plenty of stuff left to read. Some of it is still good if you ask me.

    2. Shaun Avatar

      To be fair, that was five articles a week across the full pool of contributors, and some of them were very short pieces. But yes, it was quite ambitious.

      Congrats on the letter publication! I agree that writing is hard, although the one thing that makes it easier is writing more, so stick with it.

      And hey, if what we publish reads like it was written effortlessly I’d say we’ve been doing our jobs pretty well, so thanks! It’s been great seeing your name appear here regularly, and to read your excellent comments. :)

      If I ever set up a site again, I will probably insist on not using WordPress. Then I will try the alternatives, and remember that I am not a web developer, and I will go back to WordPress with my tail between my legs.