Not April Fool

By Shamus Posted Friday Apr 1, 2016

Filed under: Personal 145 comments

I’m not a fan of the “fake news” angle of the first of April, but I’m usually into the whole “do something fun and silly” idea. So it’s tradition around here that I replace the site theme with something colorful, crazy, or insane. But I’m just not feeling it today. In fact, I think I need to do some good old-fashioned complaining…

  • I’m sick with some sort of pernicious bug that makes the insides of my ears, lungs, and throat maddeningly itchy. This has destroyed my voice and put me in a bad mood.
  • The Escapist has shed all but one or two members of their staff, which included some nice colleagues. I don’t know how this will change the site, but it’s the end of an era.
  • They also discontinued my column. The economic ramifications of this are kind of alarming.
  • My stepfather is in the hospital. The ravages of age are taking their toll on him, but he should be home again in a couple of days. Fingers crossed.
  • My videogame comes out in four days, which is making me panicked.
  • Running and moderating this site has been less fun than usual, for reasons I won’t belabor.

Basically, it’s been a stupendously bad week. If I’ve been cranky or unreasonable, that’s why. If I’ve been inattentive in the comments, it’s why. If I don’t appear on the podcast or Spoiler Warning next week, that’s why.

Aside from the loss of my writing gig, all of these problems are probably temporary. In a week and a half, it’ll hopefully be sunshine and rainbows again. But in the meantime I’m not in the mood for HTML hi-jinks.

It’s not all bad. Archer Season 6 finally hit Netflix. So I’m going to have a nice tall glass of cough medicine and binge watch the whole thing twice. Be careful out there today. Beware of bullshit news.

 


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145 thoughts on “Not April Fool

  1. Da Mage says:

    Let’s all use these comments to talk about positive things then, rather then complaining about terrible ‘pranks’ that are/were pulled today.

    All the best to you Shamus, hopefully this convergence of bad luck turns into good luck next week.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      As it’s April 1st, that means only 388 more days to go until Guardians of the Galaxy 2!!

      1. BLockenstein says:

        This right here is a man that knows how to spot a silver lining. Cheers.

      2. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

        There’s also the 2017 Lego Batman coming. Best Batman ever.

        1. Joey245 says:

          YES. I saw the trailer for that when my dad and I went to go see Batman V Superman. The trailer stuck with me a lot longer than the movie did. (I liked the movie well enough, but every second of that trailer was comedy gold.)

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Was it the batcave or the wayne manor one?Because if youve seen only one,search for the other.Both are hilarious.

    2. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      Tesla has a new awesome looking car hitting the market in 2017 for only 35,000, a big step down in price. 215 mile range minimum. I have hope that a few years from now I could be driving an all electric.

      Also, the Automatron DLC looks pretty awesome. I’ve already transformed Codsworth a bit. I have hopes I’ll be able to romance him. Forget Curie. Nora and Codsworth OTP.

      1. 4th Dimension says:

        Even better question than the range of the electric car is how long does it take to recharge it’s batteries. And is there many recharge stations in US?

        1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

          They’re slowly starting to show up. Tesla’s site claims that their Supercharger (which would be standard on the Model 3) can provide 170 miles (270 km) worth of charge in as little as 30 minutes.

          You can get a unit for your house (not sure if a Tesla supercharger will run at full capacity on a home grid) and charging stations are starting to show up even in my town which has a population of about 180,000.

          So not the most practical thing for trips but for your day to day, it will work just fine. And cost per mile on electric cars is way cheaper than gas.

          1. Robert Davidoff says:

            170 miles of charge in 30 minutes for the heavier Model S. Might be able to manage much closer to a full charge for the smaller batteries of the Model 3. We’ll see–they’ve really released very few technical details of the vehicle, including the battery size, much less the vehicle weight. Anyway, while a home power system isn’t in anyway capable of supporting a 112 kW supercharger cabinent, a standard 240 V, 30 amp dryer outlet should be able to charge a Model 3 overnight (figure a 50 kWh battery, then charging at 7.2 kW would mean a full charge of 200+ miles in 7 hours). So plug in when you get home, and you’ll have a full “tank” when you leave in the morning every morning. On a long road-trip, you’d need to stop every two to three hours for between fifteen and twenty minutes–which frankly if about the time I need a meal break and a quick walk to stretch my legs anyway.

      2. Echo Tango says:

        More DLC – Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked!

        It’s got snakes, fish, boats, fishing, fishing boats, and a giant pirate octupus! :)

    3. Joey245 says:

      Good Robot is four days away from being unanimously loved and applauded by everyone who purchases it. Which includes the entire planet. All seven billion people, even the ones who don’t have computers. Because Good Robot is just that awesome.

      (That’s meant to be silly, but not sarcastic BTW. I am genuinely looking forward to Good Robot. I’ve been excited about it ever since that first blog post long ago, and to see it coming out in just a few days is just a dream come true for me. Keep being awesome!)

  2. Grimwear says:

    I’m not the most sensitive person and sometimes make inappropriate remarks without thinking them through first but know that no matter what transpires I am on your side and supporting you. While the extent of this may simply be my purchase of Good Robot (I wish I had more money to provide) know I appreciate all the work you’ve put into the site over the years and you’ve brightened my day in more ways than I can count.

    May things be better soon.

  3. Mephane says:

    The Escapist has shed all but one or two members of their staff

    I don’t know how they are legally organized, but basically anyone but the CEO (or equivalent) and one other person is gone? How many were there before, and how many did contract work like you? In other words: what is even left at all of them?

    1. Da Mage says:

      I think Shamus means all but two contributors, they still have an entire office for running the site.

      1. Adrian says:

        I bet they kept Yahtzee

      2. Supah Ewok says:

        No. The Escapist has shut down their main office in North Carolina that had all of their long-time editorial and tech teams. They were all given the boot. Pretty much all of the writing staff were also laid off. The Editor in Chief is continuing to operate the site from Seattle, but he’s the only one there at the moment. They also kept the Community Manager for handling the forums but I don’t know if he’s onsite in Seattle or not.

        Some regular contributors were kept for the moment: Yahtzee, Corey & Grey. But most, like Shamus, were let go. This is a graphic of what parts of the schedule are still standing. A few things kept, a lot of things cut, some things status unknown (but I wouldn’t bet on any of them).

        There’s rumors that the site will run pretty much entirely on freelance work coming in, from all areas to articles, to website maintenance. Which isn’t a sustainable plan. The Escapist has been dying since 2012 and this is probably one of the last nails in its coffin. Or perhaps their owners are looking to completely transform the site. Either way, it’s the end of the site in its current form.

        1. bubba0077 says:

          And this is after a contributor purge a year or two ago that discontinued many of the contributors, like LoadingReadyRun, MovieBob, and Jim Sterling.

          1. MadTinkerer says:

            Yeah, but that was different because:

            1) The LoadingReadyRun were already looking to reduce their output from daily to weekly, and eventually retire their main series (which kept going anyway for an additional year because they let the fans fund one last mega-season). They were a diverse group who mostly had other jobs and “real lives” and now they have more time for those other jobs and real lives while still guest-hosting on Feed Dump occasionally.

            2) MovieBob was just getting more and more embarrassing and would not take the hint that he should maybe stop being such a PR nightmare please darn it. I don’t just mean his take on GamerGate, because that didn’t even cross over into his Escapist work, I mean his whole general terrible attitude towards his own audience. I say this as one of his fans: being fired from the Escapist was good for him and the Escapist, but even then he didn’t completely learn his lesson about acting like a stinkin’ prima donna all the frickin’ time. I still like a decent amount of what he produces, but every time he gets a tiny taste of success, he lets it go to his head again. And again. And again.

            3) Speaking of letting success go to your head (but not really, because it’s actually a character), Jim Sterling seems to be doing just fine and I like most of his creative output even more than Moviebob’s current output. Most of his creative output. Jim was best when he was actually listening to editors, and I think he’d produce his best work again if he had someone curbing his most vulgar tendencies juuuust a little bit. But still: he went independent and is doing fine AFAIK.

            So in each of those cases, for different reasons, it was all for the best. In the first case semi-retirement was plan A. In the last case independence was plan B. In Moviebob’s case it was an opportunity for him to develop character though hardship and it actually worked a little bit. All of them are still producing videos regularly.

            For most of the people who were just fired, it’s much less clear that any of them will continue to do similar work. On the other hand, Shamus’ attempt at Indie game development will clearly COMPLETELY FAIL and he will NEVER WORK IN THE GAME INDUSTRY AGAIN AS LONG AS HE LIVES and SPEND EVERY DAY PINING FOR THE DAYS OF WRITING COLUMNS FOR ONLINE MAGAZINES. (It’s bad luck to predict success, so I’m predicting the complete opposite of what I hope will happen.)

  4. Murkbeard says:

    Been thinking about upping my Patreon pledge for some time, this seems a good occasion to do so. It only seems fair as I gobble up everything posted here, and am strongly in favor of people eating.

    I hope you won’t have to live with uncertainty for long.

    1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      I shifted around a few bucks as well. Can’t afford to spend more overall at the moment.

      EDIT: And that seems to have dropped his contributions. WTF.

      1. yd says:

        It’s likely because of the email that went out this morning from patreon (as happens every month) reminding everyone they are paying him money. If you look at the chart, he seems to have had a drop-off at the beginning of the past few months.

        https://graphtreon.com/creator/shamusyoung

        I don’t know how common this is with monthly patreons (vs. per-deliverable patreons), but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is pretty typical.

  5. Dragmire says:

    Yeesh, rough times indeed.

    I wish you all the best.

  6. Smejki says:

    Well, now it is time to rename The Escapist to Yahtzee.com

    I hope you continue posting your column stuff here or some place else that’d be willing to pay you.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Looks like Hasbro are domain-squatting that one, the blighters.

  7. ehlijen says:

    My condolences and best wishes.

    I hope Archer is good.

    1. Chris says:

      Hoping Archer is good is like hoping the sun will come up tomorrow.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Which was a valid worry for those whose well being depended on it but didn’t know what the sun is and why it came up every morning. Essentially, I’m a TV neanderthal.

        As in, I don’t watch Archer, but I’ve seen plenty of TV shows grow weaker over their run and was expressing my wishes that that wasn’t the case here.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    When it rains,it pours.Hope things will get better soon.As soon as we buy 10 million copies of your game on day 1.

  9. Dragmire says:

    Come to think of it, what’s the split on the Spoiler Warning Patreon?

    I may transfer my donations from the SW Patreon to yours for a few months to help.

    I’m trying to save money so I can’t support both at once, sorry.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      All the Spoiler Warning patreoons go straight to Josh, I believe. (Well, some of them go to Patreon and the gubmint, of course – they don’t share it out amongst the cast members though, is what I mean.)

  10. silver Harloe says:

    A good chunk of your income? Really? Weird. I thought internet columns didn’t pay well and Patreon was where it was all at.

    That and streaming. I bet a bunch of people would love to see your programmer’s mind applied to Factorio.

    1. Mephane says:

      Likewise, if there is one game I would want to watch and listen to someone else playing live, it’s Shamus playing Infinifactory.

      1. Ahiya says:

        I did not realize I would like this before, but yes, that would actually be something I would watch.

    2. Joe Informatico says:

      Well, there’s probably a difference between having a weekly gig at a site that ostensibly tried to bill itself as a more traditional magazine format, than freelancing for peanuts (or nothing) at some BuzzGawkerFeed site that euphemistically participates in the “sharing” (exploitation) economy.

    3. Supah Ewok says:

      Even if all Shamus was being paid was $200 a month (or $50 per column), that is still a significant chunk of his income (assuming that the aprx. $1500/month Patreon is his only other steady source of income). That’s utility bill money there, I’d bet.

      Sorry for your troubles Shamus. I’ll try to pass you a little support on Patreon.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Is it just me has the april fools died down in the last couple of years?It used to be a huge deal on the web and you couldnt find a link that didnt do something whacky.Weird themes,crossovers,hijinks aplenty.But in the past couple of years,Ive rarely stumbled upon a simple joke,let alone a huge project that took days or weeks to prepare.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Aye right – it feels as though they used to be unavoidable, but these days you almost have to go and hunt them down. (May well partially be due to changes in my own habits, of course.)

    2. krellen says:

      As more and more work-life becomes internet-life, April’s Fools Day becomes more and more inappropriate. Not that it ever was appropriate. Pranks are not funny.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        The obvious ones are.This one was funny:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GATSTnJvoug

      2. nerdpride says:

        Apparently China wants to ban it.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/04/01/no-joke-april-fools-day-has-been-banned-in-china/

        Would the Washington Post run this story as an April Fools prank?

        Also I’m surprised to not see something funny on Blizzard’s page. IIRC they usually did something funny.

        1. Retsam says:

          Yeah, they did some pretty funny Hearthstone patch notes last year:

          * We've added a new feature called Harrison Jones' Museum! Accessing it will allow you to gaze proudly upon all the weapons you've put in the museum, where they belong.

          * A Lost Tallstrider has been found. If it's yours, please visit lost and found to claim it.

          * We've fixed a bug with Animal Companion that sometimes caused the spell to not summon Huffer.

          etc

        2. Bubble181 says:

          They announced Hearthstone: The MMO.

          Still, a little underwhelmed here as well.

      3. Retsam says:

        Ehh, I think there’s plenty of harmless yet funny things that companies can do on April 1st. YouTube’s had a few good ones recently: the Vuvuzela button and last year’s “did you mean Sandstorm by Darude?” suggestion were both entertaining without the potential to really cause anyone any trouble.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          Google also a has a habit of doing April 1 stuff that isn’t really funny, just cool. Like when they made a thing to let you play Pac-Man on any screen of Google Maps, or when they did that Pokemon Google Maps thing.

          1. Trix2000 says:

            Apparently they messed up a little this year – they put in a “mic drop” send button into gmail, which put a gif of a minion dropping a mic into the email. This may have been okay had they not replaced the Send and Archive button with it, which quickly led to some… unfortunately consequences for some people.

            On the plus side, they already pulled it. So at least they were relatively quick to realize the problem is was causing.

          2. Ahiya says:

            Google Cardboard Plastic (a clear plastic box to let you experience ‘actual reality’) was pretty funny this year.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Snoopa vision is also fun.I wonder if it works with embed.Lets try it.Nope :( Shame,because the 3d is so lifelike.Its like I can reach out and touch the Dog to the g.You have to try it.

  12. Yikes. Also, stuff the Escapist. Dunno what they’re playing at, but your column was one of the very few things left that I went there for. :/

    Very much looking forward to Good Robot, will be buying it on launch day! (Which puts it in a very select group – I pretty much _never_ buy games at launch.)

  13. Zekiel says:

    Lots of sympathy to you Shamus. That’s a really sucky week. You’re still awesome.

  14. Inscrutibob says:

    Question: Are we SURE this isn’t just Shamus’s April Fools joke?
    Answer: yep, pretty sure.

    1. Zaxares says:

      That was my first thought as well, but looks like it’s not.

      My sympathies for everything that’s going on, Shamus. My own life is kinda going through a rough patch right now too, so I can relate. I hope things start looking up for you soon.

  15. Torolf says:

    Wow, your column was also the only thing I went there for. This may not be a statistically significant percentage of their traffic, or income, but it ought to be.

    1. pdk1359 says:

      Well, I’m another one. I haven’t even checked Yahtzee’s work in months a year and a half? eh.

      Edit; so I did that wrong. Thought I was doing a strike through, but I think my mistake is funny, so I’m not fixing it

      1. krellen says:

        You didn’t actually do it wrong, Shamus has just repurposed the strike tag.

  16. Alex says:

    On the positive side, your game is coming out in four days. That’s something to be proud of.

    1. swenson says:

      I have a reminder in my phone to buy it! I’m super excited for Good Robot.

  17. baseless_research says:

    There are other outlets that freelance columns on a weekly basis – time to get that shameless self-promotion skillset firing up again.

    1. Galad says:

      Just what I wanted to suggest. I have little experience with video gaming sites (why read about games, when I can play them, or watch them, if I’m lazy?), but ones I’ve visited and liked include RPS and giantbomb, might be worth checking them out.

      I also visited the escapist little in the last few years, mostly for your column, but I do feel a bit sad about it becoming desolate. It was after all, the first source of entertainment I’ve had over the years, from where I’ve found you and all the other wonderful internet gaming people.

      Things will get better soon, Shamus, we’re with you..er, as much as possible for people over the Internet, that is.

      1. Joey245 says:

        Same. I discovered the Escapist in my freshman year of high school, and grew up with all the cool stuff on it. Miracle of Sound, Yahtzee, Critical Miss…and Shamus and Stolen Pixels, of course. :D

        The Escapist was something really magical from around 2008 until 2012, but I guess it had to run out sometime. Still. Eight years and 200+ articles is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

  18. DanMan says:

    Hey, good news that is hopefully NOT an April Fools prank

    Looks like we may have a fair chance of getting the conversation started with all this DMCA nonsense.

  19. Mephane says:

    Shamus, have you already considered suggesting your column to a different gaming news site? For example Rockpapershotgun could be a good place.

    1. Nixitur says:

      If Shamus could get his column on RPS, that would be amazing. It would fit fairly well, I feel. Or maybe he’s going to do something completely different, who knows.
      Best of luck with whatever you do, Shamus!

    2. evileeyore says:

      RPS is garbage. There is no integrity on that site.

      1. Tony Kebell says:

        How so?

        I just find them entertaining and barely follow any surrounding drama.

      2. Supah Ewok says:

        I don’t agree with all of their ethos, decisions, and I dislike the writing style of a couple of their contributors, but RPS is pretty much the only gaming site that I’d say unreservedly had integrity. They’re upfront about their values and stick to them.

        1. CJ Kerr says:

          I miss the first year or two of RPS.

          Back when it was a small team (Alec Meer, John Walker, Kieron Gillen, Jim Rossignol, and semi-regular contributions from Quintin Smith) the site had a real personality.

          Now it often feels very forced, a bit LOLRANDOM LOOK PENGUINS!!1eleventy!, and I don’t really look forward to any of their regular columns.

          :(

  20. Cybron says:

    I’m sorry to hear that. I hope the next few weeks go better for you.

  21. drkeiscool says:

    I feel like The Escapist has been in decline for a while now, actually. Almost all the contributors have left, comments on articles have gone down from hundreds to dozens (or less), and I think they broadened their focus to include more generic entertainment and science stuff a year or two back.

    I used to visit all the time, but these days I would just read your column, and with that gone, I don’t really have a reason to visit anymore. l wouldn’t be surprised if they shut down in a year or two, unfortunately. Oh well, such is the internet, I guess.

    1. Adrian says:

      The Escapist has been going down hill in the last four years. They used to have so much content, but the rise of Youtube blew them out of the water.
      I remember going to their site for LRR stuff, comics, unforgotten realms, Experience points, Extra credits and others. I don’t know exactly when the fall began, for me it was when they started making the podcast and when the controversy with Extra credits hit the fan.

      Moviebob and Sterling became to political and kind of made themselves persona non grata so I don’t begrudge the site for firing them. I think Sterling is doing much better on his own, but Moviebob will probably fade into obscurity.

      1. I found MovieBob really quite irritating, but I quite enjoyed Jim’s OTT-ness. And things like LRR’s Unskippable was usually fun. I probably ought to go track those guys down and see what they’re up to these days…

        1. Adrian says:

          I think 2015 was their last year doing the LRR projects. They were doing a kickstarter in 2014 for the last DVD of the LRR before moving on to other projects.

          1. bubba0077 says:

            LRR still does plenty, just not long weekly skits. They produce Checkpoint (the replacement for their Escapist News), Feed Dump, a biweekly “scriptovised” podcast called QWRPline (which is riotously funny) several crapshots (30-60 sec bizarre gags), several other podcasts (MtG, a Sci-Fi book review, a new one on WWE) and still make Friday Nights for WotC (though that recently changed to bimonthly). And probably with all that, I’m still missing something. And they stream a LOT on their twitch channel.

            Oh, and DesertBus every November to support the Child’s Play Charity, of course.

            Edit: Now I feel like I should provide links for those who are curious

            LRR’s main youtube, for edited stuff: https://www.youtube.com/user/loadingreadyrun
            LoadingReadyLive, where they (eventually) post recordings of their streams: https://www.youtube.com/user/loadingreadylive
            Their twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/loadingreadyrun
            Streaming schedule: http://loadingreadyrun.com/live

            1. Muspel says:

              Don’t forget about CommodoreHustle.

        2. Tony Kebell says:

          LRR are doing LOADS of fun stuff at the moment, mostly games steaming but still a lot of their comedy.

        3. TMC_Sherpa says:

          It isn’t all sweetness and light. Graham and Kathleen engaged in genetic experiments to create human life! The result was an imperfect clone that apparently the Canadian government knows about but did nothing to stop. Fortunately I’m in the Chicago area so there are a few buffer states before an invasion threatens me personally. With any luck they will start with Washington or New York so the US population will have time to prepare. No one will notice the difference if Detroit gets bombed and if they come down in North Dakota or Montana will the seven people who live there be able to give warning? I don’t know.

          In a previous life on a different forum I made a promise to MIC that when my iron boot came down that I would save Canada for last and I intend to keep that promise. But that doesn’t mean I’m not watching our Neighbors to the North….

          1. JohnTheSavage says:

            Wisconsin here; you know nothing of the horrors that we protect you from. You have not seen what I have seen; your peaceful sleep at night is proof. I wish I could tell you that all is well, that we have them at bay, but I’m afraid they are pushing harder than ever before, and after all these years, they have learned our weaknesses. They have exploited our love of cheese, and put Poutine in our restaurants. And from that foothold, they have begun to attack us from within. It is subtle, like a change in the wind, but there is a sickness spreading among my people. Last week I heard my eldest friend, my comrade, my brother of twenty years tell me that he was “soar-ee”. At that moment I knew that he had become one of them; whatever was left of my friend was crying out for me to end his suffering.

            It is a harsh vigil without rest or respite, yet we will continue to hold the line, until our final breath.

        4. JohnTheSavage says:

          I liked Moviebob’s Escapist content, but he has not been the same since he was let go. I could tolerate the drop in output, but he has lost the level-headed analysis that I enjoyed in his reviews. Now it seems like he is intentionally going to all the movies that we already know will be terrible, and vomiting all his anger into a microphone.

      2. Ninety-Three says:

        Movie Bob is currently making $3K/month on Patreon. He’s not swimming in a Scrooge McDuck money pit like Jim Sterling, but crowdfunding a living wage for a not-even-full-time job doesn’t seem like fading into obscurity.

      3. Shoeboxjeddy says:

        I absolutely begrudge them for firing Sterling and Moviebob when they then hired some Gamergate supporters. Could anything be MORE of a warning sign, I ask you…

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          You mean they dared to offer a job to someone with the opposite opinion?Madness!

          1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

            Gamergate is less of an “opposite opinion” and more of a lynch mob. So yes, Madness.

            1. Ninety-Three says:

              Can we please, please please please, not get into this discussion that will inevitably lead to argument and flamewar? Especially after Shamus commented on the difficulty of moderating the site lately.

      4. Blovsk says:

        The problem was that their intake after losing Sterling and firing Moviebob was largely composed of equally political reactionaries with no discernible USP. Maybe the damage was done by then anyway.

  22. Shoeboxjeddy says:

    The Escapist thing really sucks. Your column was part of the handful of content still worth checking out on the husk that that site became after losing LRR, Sterling, and Moviebob. Good luck on the game and getting better.

  23. Adrian says:

    We all wish you and your family all the best and hope you and your stepfather feel better in no time. I’m really looking forward to your game release.

    I hope you’ll find something to fill the hole your column left in your finances. Once my paycheck comes in, I’ll make a patreon pledge.

    Your podcasts have pulled me out of some dark times in my life. A few years of ago I had a serious injury in my right shoulder and I had to go through surgery. The surgery cut through most of my muscles and I had to take very strong pain killers which made me unable to sleep, I have a strange neurological disorder. So for a few months I was in a state where I had to choose between not being able to sleep because of the pain or not being able to sleep because of the pain killers. Needless to say, it wasn’t a fun time.
    What got me through that was The Diecast and a 3000 piece puzzle I was making with my left hand, and I’m grateful for that.

  24. krellen says:

    You’ve been open about this stuff before, so I query: how much did Experienced Points bring in a month? How much does your Patreon have to grow to offset that?

    1. Shamus says:

      I suppose there’s no harm in divulging this now. Nobody ever asked me NOT to.

      The pay changed a few times over the years, but for the last couple of years I’ve been paid a flat $250 per column, which works out to ~$1,000 a month.

      Going strictly by hours-to-dollars, it was probably the best money I ever made.

      1. Based on the page they had for the information on writing features, that was the standard rate.

        Not sure if you getting that same amount is a good thing or a bad thing, since it means your opinion was worth the same as some random person, but at least they were consistent?

      2. Nallenon says:

        That’s a fair amount more than I would have expected. I raised my Patreon pledge, and I see others have done the same, so hopefully that will at least noticeably reduce the impact.

        1. krellen says:

          Yes, that is way more than I expected after the Extra Credits thing. I had just joined the Publisher’s Club when that happened, and I demanded my money back over it. I told Macris directly that his lack of paying his contributors was why I was withdrawing support. If everyone was more open about money, things would be easier – I had no idea the Escapist’s solution had ultimately become “actually pay contributors”. I thought it had all switched to some sort of piss-poor “revenue sharing” model.

          If they’d actually been vocal about this, I might have gone back to supporting them. I’m not sure if there’s enough people like me to have saved them from what’s happened, but it’s clear saying nothing didn’t work.

          1. Nallenon says:

            Yeah, not being open with what you pay your contributors always makes it seem like you’re not paying them enough.

            1. Sleeping Dragon says:

              To be fair it’s a mess either way. If you reveal how much you pay the contributors a lot of people will “do the math” inevitably resulting in them claiming that you’re greedy because they can figure out how high your costs are and are the best judge of how much you need to support yourself (I think the No Man’s Sky pricing (re)launched this topic in the field of game development recently).

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                In most cases however,those people are not people who would pay for your stuff anyway.They just bitch and moan because they want attention.Which is why I have nothing but contempt to everyone who screamed about oculus,no mans sky and rainbow six siege.

          2. Thomas says:

            I’d assumed they were on revenue sharing too. That does make me think a bit better of them.

          3. Supah Ewok says:

            Here’s the deal about that, as far as I’ve been able to scrape together over the years.

            The LRR fiasco happened in 2011, right? Well, it was about that time that the Escapist was flat out broke. Susan Arendt, who worked there at the time, tweeted something a couple of days ago during the layoffs, that “Without selling out to Defy Media, the Escapist would have been dead. With Defy Media, it’s been dying slowly.” I take that to support the theory that the site was going bankrupt before the change in ownership, which occurred in 2012. And as bad as it is to not pay your workers, it’s hard to do so when you have nothing to pay them with.

            It doesn’t surprise me that part of being owned by a big media company means that corporate can ensure that paychecks can be steady.

            Also, not to dig up old wounds, but that whole EC fiasco is unlikely to have been all one-sided; it’s more likely that there was some major miscommunication on both sides. Also Macris did indeed talk out about what was going on at the time, but it was on the forums, not a big news article. Granted, that was less than ideal, since obviously not everybody goes to the forum. It was a messy situation though, and I get the feeling that an official statement by the Escapist could have been a big legal binding thing. Like, something that could be brought up in a potential lawsuit. Macris probably wanted to keep the Escapist’s position open while negotiations were ongoing, so the relevant parties didn’t have that pressure. He could go to the forums and represent himself, though. Compromise.

            That’s all long in the past, though. And no matter how right or wrong any side was in that incident, it is what I consider the definitive line where the Escapist started declining.

            1. krellen says:

              I participated in that forum thread. That’s where I communicated with Macris. That’s where he told us about the switch to revenue sharing.

        2. Bubble181 says:

          Yup, quite a bit more than I was expecting. National news journalists over here (Belgium) don’t even make that per page. Heck, I was offered a writing job a while back for quite a bit less than that.

          Also my sympathies for the crappy week, and best of luck in finding something else to help fill the financial gap.

      3. Gary says:

        Since you were willing to answer that, could I ask what might be an even *more* invasive question?

        How much of the selling price of each sale of Good Robot do you get to go home with?

        If you find my question out of line, please feel free to delete it.

        Thanks for all the awesomeness Shamus.

      4. Soylent Dave says:

        When I used to write for Gamespy (remember them?) roundabout the time they were acquired by IGN, we were getting $4 an article.

        That I was actually dumb enough to put up with that might cheer you up a bit :)

  25. TehShrike says:

    This post mentioning that Good Robot comes out in a few days reminded me that I still needed to order it so I went to the Steam page to pre-order. I didn’t read too closely, and just noticed that the price was 30$.

    “Huh, I would have expected more like 20$. Oh well!” *click*

    The only thing that caught me was the note that I already had Unrest in my library, and then I realized that the 30$ was for a while game pack instead of just Good Robot :-P Apparently I need to wait to funnel money to you through Steam.

    In other news, now I really want to know whether or not bad robots actually come with a 14-day money back guarantee.

    1. Tizzy says:

      If possible, I believe that waiting until launch day to buy the game is more helpful to raise the game’s profile. Can anyone confirm?

      1. TehShrike says:

        ooh, good point. I believe spikes in sales are what seem to get you to the top of those front-page Steam lists.

      2. Supah Ewok says:

        Arvind confirmed it in the comments awhile back.

    2. yd says:

      It looks like it’s only available before April 5th in the “Pyrodactyl Complete Pack”, which will likely count less for their front-page potential than buying the game standalone.

      I’m waiting, and I definitely plan to buy a copy or two on April 5th. Even if I hate the game, I’ll have gotten my money’s worth out of it. I back kickstarters to read about the process and to support creators as much as I do to receive the actual item, and I feel like Good Robot is pretty much the same idea. I’ve been reading about it for decades now, and I’ve enjoyed the ride.

      I expect to enjoy the game, though, and I’m very disappointed it wasn’t released on today. Friday. 1 April.

    3. Good Robot comes out on April 5 and will be $9.99. For the launch week, it will have a 10% discount.

      1. Rick says:

        How does that work with time-zones… Because here in New Zealand, the 5th is tomorrow :)

  26. Jokerman says:

    Any thoughts of getting new writing gig somewhere else? 265 columns is a pretty good way to show somebody you have value.

    1. kdansky says:

      What other gaming sites are there that support they style? RPS maybe, but the rest is very different.

      1. Jokerman says:

        Destuctiod, Kotaku, polygon, Gamesrader all have some nice opinion pieces showing up pretty regularly.

  27. StartRunning says:

    Best of luck to you and yours.

  28. Kind of sad that THIS is where I learn about season 6 of Archer…XD

    1. Syal says:

      Watch season 6 not actually be on Netflix because this whole post is an elaborate April Fools.

      1. krellen says:

        It’s on both Netflix and Hulu.

        1. Phil says:

          Season 7 just started airing on FX, too.

  29. Victor McKnight says:

    That is a shitty week! I am really enjoyed your column on the Escapist, and I am very sorry to see it go. All that other stuff sound pretty miserable too.

    Hang in there man. Things will be better soon. Also, I have April 5th locked in for Good Robot. So do lots of other people. You don’t need to worry there.

  30. wswordsmen says:

    First **** The Escapist, possibly enough for me to quit watching ZP. Now I am going to have to start donating to your patreon, at least while I have a job. I hope Good Robot becomes a smash hit and they realize how dumb they were for cutting you. Well I actually hope it will be a big hit regardless

  31. Akhetseh says:

    I want to join the support bandwagon, to repay the many times when this site has given me support through tough circumstances (recently, involving the deceases of two close family members and the hospitalisation of a third). Here, I’m reminded of nice things and people that exist out there, and it engages me in an intellectual level, allowing me to learn and reflect about many subjects (even surprising ones: the number IV/IIII controversy; or cheese!).

    My point being: thanks for keeping it, have my best wishes, and I hope this little scrap of support helps in soothing the bitterness of such bad circumstances.

    P.S. I firmly believe a new cheese debate is mandatory. Or a pork products one.

  32. BitFever says:

    I’m Sorry to hear that it’s been a rough week. I hope you feel better soon and that things get better quickly.

  33. The Escapist did a huge mistake not keeping you on Shamus. Also, there is a skeleton crew left over there? Yeah, that site will most likely become a shell.

    BTW! “My videogame comes out in four days, which is making me panicked.”
    I’m looking forward to TotalBiscuit and Dodger and Jesse Cox possibly mentioning Good Robot on their Games release list thing they do at the end of the Co-optional Podcast.

  34. Sympathies on the suck, I know how that crap can drag you down. I have April 5th ear-marked for Good Robot purchase and word-spreading as best I can, and at least we now have an excellent plural for Shamus, right? Heehee, Shamii. (See last post comments for where it came from)

  35. Thomas says:

    Your column has been hugely entertaining and thought-provoking for me for a long long time! Always my favourite source of criticism on the site and the source I’ve respected the most – and they’ve had a lot of good contributors over the years.

    Really hope you find a writing job somewhere else, I want your columns! Also looking forward to Good Robot being released in a few days :)

  36. Trix2000 says:

    The Escapist thing is rather unfortunate. I’m hoping we can still see some columns from you here sometimes, but I can understand if there’s not much reason for that without the financial incentive.

    Regardless of how that plays out, I bumped up my Patreon pledge since it sounds like you might need it. I really do appreciate you and your work on this site. Sorry if things have got you down, but we’re still rooting for you – hope things get better quickly!

  37. Mephane says:

    What is going on? Some random words in a few comments have turned into links to adds that also open popup ads when you hover the cursor over them. I hope this is something Shamus turned on and not some malware that infected the site or the users who wrote those comments.

    Edit: Okay, either *I* am infected or it runs on the site. the word popup in the above paragraph is written in all caps (I wrote it all small letters) and does the same. Also, some of these ads are of the creepy geolocation kind, delivering German stuff when my OS, my browser, and my page request settings are all set to English.

    Edit2: And after the above edit, the word “popup” in my first paragraph became normal again.

    Edit3: Other comments’ ads still remain. Btw quite funny, someone’s word “crap” wants to lure me onto a German F2P (P2W, I suppose) browser games site. At least the script has some humor after all. I made a screenshot for evidence: http://fs5.directupload.net/images/160401/uhxj59oc.png

    Edit4: Now both occurences of popup in my comment and the word crap are turned into ads.

    Edit5: Oh sometimes it seems a comment appears normal, and then suddenly the ad links appear within. Ghostery doesn’t list anything external and suspicious, so it seems to be a script running on the blog server itself.

    Edit6: Now the word “malware” above links to what I assume is some shitty scareware – which is almost always a scam that actually gets you infected if you follow their “advice”.

    Edit7: Okay, was something on my end, locally. I still have no idea what it is and how I got it, but in my addons there was something called “html addon” with no description and which I certainly never installed. Removed it and the weird ad links are gone. Only checked this because I suddenly noticed the links on other sites, too.

    1. MadTinkerer says:

      I can confirm that it was definitely something on your end. I’ve been infected with something similar before (not on my current computer, though) and you definitely need to run a couple of full system scans to make sure there isn’t another program quietly re-enabling stuff in the background.

      Hopefully you won’t have to nuke your drive. Good luck.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Ive had that type of adware once before.Running ad-aware about a dozen times managed to clean it,so Id recommend you try that first.Also,reinstalling the browser you are using.

      1. Mephane says:

        It’s disappeared immediately when I removed that mystery “addon”. But I am running a full scan just to be sure.

  38. Benjamin Hilton says:

    Words of encouragement from a total stranger:

    Shamus, you are, by all accounts a genuinely good person. This can be evidenced merely by the fact that people read your biography. Most biographies are about the famous , yet you have found an audience simple because they enjoy reading about a good human being.

    From tales on this site it seems evident that you have done a bang up job of raising your children.

    You have a dedicated readership on your blog, and a successful internet show which, while not absurdly popular, still brings joy to a few thousand people a week.

    You have published multiple novels that many have enjoyed.

    When you turned your hand to music you received nothing but encouragement from the people of this site. (Even if you believe they were just being nice, the reason they were nice tracks back to the aforementioned good person.)

    If you were to drop dead right now, you would do so having left this world a slightly better place than when you entered it.

    And if you doubt any of this, merely look through this thread and consider the fact that all of these people took time out of their day to make yours better.

  39. RJT says:

    Hi, Shamus. Thanks for making this site. It has provided years of education and entertainment! Financial problems are the worst problems. I hope something else will come along soon for you.

  40. The Mich says:

    I hope that thing will turn out better soon! Be strong, we’re with you :)

  41. Hermocrates says:

    Really sorry to hear about you falling on hard times, Shamus. I truly hope that your situation improves quickly, and that a new writing gig finds your way soon.

  42. Pester says:

    Hello everyone. Long-time lurker here.

    I was just wondering if Shamus had considered making some on-line programming video tutorials to help fill the gap. I’m not trying to advertise the service, but I’ve used UDemy before and I’ve seen that sort of thing on Steam as well. I know I’d plonk down a few bucks for a lecture.

    1. Rick says:

      He has done one or two “Drawn to Knowledge” videos that were great. Explaining technical concepts in easy-to-digest videos. But no tutorials that I know of.

      He has an exceptional ability to convey programming concepts to non-coders without alienating those with the knowledge.

  43. Genericide says:

    Hey Shamus, was sorry to hear about Experienced Points going. I’ve lurked around since about the time it started, and it had a good run. Hang in there, I’m sure something’ll turn up before long, and you’ve got people willing to follow wherever you write. Thanks for all the columns!

  44. Marty Runyon says:

    Oh shit. Archer season six is up?

  45. RCN says:

    “They also discontinued my column. The economic ramifications of this are kind of alarming.”

    Well, no reason to keep The Escapist in my pinned bar on Chrome, it seems. Farewell. I MIGHT check you out every now and then, but certainly not every week anymore.

  46. Zantaros says:

    Sounds like you have whatever pathogen is plaguing my own throat and such. Hopefully, we can both get through this.

  47. Loonyyy says:

    Hey Shamus, I’ve been following you for a long time, and it sucks to hear this news man.

    I remember I started following you on here after discovering Stolen Pixels and Experienced Points on The Escapist, and I can still remember the fun I had when I discovered your entire archive of work. It was the same feeling I had when I discovered xkcd, and proceeded to read all of them, which was a few hundred at the time.

    The Escapist was lucky to have you as long as they did, I know you weren’t the biggest draw, but you were the realest and most honest voice on there, and your columns brought an adult perspective that’s so often lacking.

    Just to give you some more stress, I hadn’t yet grabbed an order for Good Robot, so I’ll get to that now! And since I made a Patreon account a while ago, I ought to pledge you, I don’t have a lot, but I guess it’s the thought that counts.

    You’re a good guy, and you’ve got a lot of good people rooting for you, I hope things work out well for you Shamus, nobody deserves it more than you.

  48. Arakhor says:

    I’m sorry to hear that, Shamus. I’ve always enjoyed reading (and viewing) your content.

  49. Jeysie says:

    Kicked in $5/month over on Patreon. I’d been meaning to do that anyway once I got some income again, and now I have some, so it works out well!

    It works out to about how much I pay for Marvel Unlimited per year, and when you minus the pictures and add in all the extra words I figure it works out favorably. ;3

    I hope your game does well, too! Unfortunately I suck really bad at playing action games *sheepish look*, but if you ever create a turn-based RPG or strategy game someday I will be there with bells on.

  50. SPCTRE says:

    Sorry about that stuff, I kicked my 10 bucks in via Patreon as well, this site is more than worth it.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

  51. caeka says:

    Hey Shamus, I’ve been reading your blog for years and have enjoyed every last second of it. Please keep up the good work

  52. Jack V says:

    Best of luck.

    I went off to my blog and re-shilled Witch Watch, and got one person to buy it, so that’s tiny, but I’m glad people still appreciate your stuff.

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