Sixteen Years of Twenty Sided

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Sep 1, 2021

Filed under: Landmarks 97 comments

This site went live in September of 2005, and has remained running for the last 16 years. If this blog were a person, it would now be old enough to get a job and apply for a driver’s license in these parts. It also would never get invited to parties with any of the cool kids at school because it just won’t shut up about Mars Effect or whatever that stupid videogame is called.

So let’s celebrate with a bunch of trivia.


There are 487,980 comments on the entire site. I’ve written 7,229 of them. Which means that about 1 in 67 comments are from me.Actually, this is kind of strange. The comment interface claims I’ve made 9,460 comments, but the database says I’ve posted 7,229. I guess I trust the dB more than the WordPress interface. Weird.

The longest site outage was during these six days in January of 2018. The longest-lasting site theme is the one you’re looking at now, which has been largely unchanged since early 2017. Back when the site was young, I used to get tired of the current theme and rebuild it every other year. But while the change of scenery was nice for me, it was disruptive for regular visitors. Also, there’s always a shake-out period for new themes where I have to chase down aberrant behaviors with popular but troublesome browsers and devise workarounds to correct for their idiosyncrasies.

Is this still a problem today? I kinda doubt it. I mean…

Microsoft wants to pretend they’re still in the running, but the truth is that the browser wars ended years ago, and they… didn’t win. Microsoft Edge is like those stories you hear about a lone soldier that goes into the jungle and lives there for decades because nobody ever tells him the war is over and it’s time to come home.

Having said that, we do need to take the above chart with a grain of salt. These are global stats, not stats for my site. The audience here is a little more tech-savvy than the general population. If we could view the stats for my site in isolation, then I expect that Firefox would be quite a bit higher and Safari would be much lower. (Not because Safari users aren’t tech-savvy. It’s just that Mac gamers aren’t that common, and this site skews towards Windows PC-focused games.)

Why don’t I have stats for my site? I use Cloudflare for DDOS protection. So my site traffic is hidden within their content delivery network, and I’m too cheap to pay for the premium package that would let me see the stats.

Anyway, I’m actually getting the itch to fiddle with the site theme again. I’d like the images to break out of the column and reach across the page. Right now images are capped at 1024 pixels wide, which feels kinda 2009 at this point. I’ve actually been uploading larger images for the last few months, knowing that someday I’ll make this change and we’ll all be able to see the larger images.

So let’s look at how many posts I publish a year:

These are just mine, ignoring guest contributors. We’re two-thirds of the way through 2021, so that last column should grow a bit by the end of the year. Still, this is quite a surprise to me.

I knew I’d missed a few posts this year, mostly due to health concerns. But I didn’t realize quite how many until I compiled these charts. The Diecast is probably the biggest casualty. I can work around bad health by getting stuff done on the good days. But the Diecast requires me to be to be healthy and awake at a specific time in the week.

I have surgery in 14 days. I know it sounds weird, but I’m actually really looking forward to it. If all goes well, I should get a nice boost to my quality of life. I’ll get better sleep and be in less pain, which ought to translate into a more reliable output.

Getting old is terrible. The only good thing I can say about it is that it’s better than the alternative.

Mentally, I divide the site into three eras:

  1. The Early Days. (2005-2010) The proofing is pretty bad, and the content is pretty scattershot. In the first couple of years I often treated the site as a way to communicate with my friends. Also, I hadn’t authored any of my formatting tools yet, and I was using a cheapo webhost with some low data caps. So these posts are filled with postage-stamp images and random formatting oddities.
  2. The Spoiler Warning Era (2010-2017) By this point I’d gotten better at proofing and I’d standardized my formatting so I could change the site theme without breaking old posts. I was posting three videos a week with Spoiler Warning and (starting in 2013) posting a weekly podcast. This lead to a large number of  short posts. You can see the transition away from this in 2017, when the number of posts fell sharply. (See the red chart above.)
  3. The Retrospective Era (2017-Today) I stopped messing with the site theme. Since I wasn’t working with the SW crew anymore, I decided to really focus on long-form retrospectives. They perform well, I enjoy writing them, and they are ideally suited to the format of a weekly blog series.

The really big retrospectives actually began in 2015 with the Mass Effect series, which ran for an entire year. So like a lot of attempts to divide things into “eras” and “generations”, this ends up with some messy overlap and a bit of arbitrary line-drawing. It’s fine. I don’t need precision, I just need a way to mentally organize things so the history of the site doesn’t become one big blur.

This is the total number of words per year across all of my posts. Again, we’ve got a third of the year left, but it still looks like this will be my lightest year since 2014 or so. For context, 187k is the length of The Fellowship of the Ring, and Return of the King is 137k.

Erm. I’m not crazy about the methodology I’m using here. This isn’t a count of swear words, it’s a count of posts that contain swearing. If BioWare announced that The Illusive Man was getting his own spinoff series and my response was an article consisting of the word “fuck” repeated 1,000 times then – as Gimli says – it still only counts as one. Maybe the next time I do one of these I’ll do a proper word count. (I would have done it this time but I need to figure out the MySQL for a multi-word count search. I didn’t have time to sort that out for this post.)

Looking Forward

I think I’ve got some guest content coming up in the coming weeks. I’m still hashing out the details, but if all goes well we should have something besides Prey to argue about.

Speaking of Prey: I’m still fiddling with the ending, but my guess is that the series will end on part 23 or so.  That would land on the first week of December.

I’m not sure what my next long-form retrospective will be. It really depends on what I’m able to hammer out with my guest contributors. Specifically, I want to tag-team a particular game with alternating posts. This is a big project and we’re still hammering out the details. Hopefully it all works out.

That’s it. Thanks for reading.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Actually, this is kind of strange. The comment interface claims I’ve made 9,460 comments, but the database says I’ve posted 7,229. I guess I trust the dB more than the Wordpress interface. Weird.



From The Archives:
 

97 thoughts on “Sixteen Years of Twenty Sided

  1. Chris says:

    I’m glad to hear from you again, between your post about your health and no diecast I was getting worried. I hope everything works out.

    1. Daimbert says:

      Yeah, that’s the odd situation that we’re in with the blog now. If Shamus misses posting a Diecast or some other posts we immediately raise the question of “Did something else happen?”

  2. MerryWeathers says:

    The Early Days. (2005-2010) The proofing is pretty bad, and the content is pretty scattershot. In the first couple of years I often treated the site as a way to communicate with my friends. Also, I hadn’t authored any of my formatting tools yet, and I was using a cheapo webhost with some low data caps. So these posts are filled with postage-stamp images and random formatting oddities.

    Looking back at your really old posts, I noticed that even you joined in on the slapfighting and shitflinging that sometimes occurred in the comment sections haha. Now look how far you’ve come.

    If you ever had something to say or advice to give to your past self, what would it be Shamus?

  3. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    If BioWare announced that The Illusive Man was getting his own spinoff series

    Why would they do that when they can use XTreme super kewl space ninja Kai Leng?

    1. Chris says:

      Because they knew they could never top the Kai Leng cereal scene.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I mean, they could actually do that scene. And think about it, there could be TWO boxes of cereal to give the player choice!

    2. Asdasd says:

      My first thought reading this was that it exists as the new Hitman trilogy (excepting that basically every character except 47 is an Illusive Person).

  4. Mephane says:

    I’d like the images to break out of the column and reach across the page.

    Please no. That sounds horrible.

    If you want to show off screenshots at a higher resolution, I suggest adding hyperlinks* to those images, leading to a higher resolution version.

    *And I cannot stress this enough – regular old school hyperlinks. No fancy scripts that open overlay frames with a larger version or a picture gallery or whatever. Hyperlinks give you the the ability to middle-click or ctrl-click an image to open it at full size in a separate tab.

    I have surgery in 14 days. I know it sounds weird, but I’m actually really looking forward to it.

    There is nothing weird about looking forward to a surgery that is supposed to increase or restore your quality of life. :)

    1. tmtvl says:

      I agree with the picture hyperlinks, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication after all (saying attributed to Leonardo da Vinci).

    2. kincajou says:

      I am in agreement on this,

    3. Echo Tango says:

      I’m not sure about “horrible” since I don’t know exactly what Shamus had planned, but I suspect it wouldn’t be good except for people with very large monitors? Like, how does an extra-wide image work on my phone, where everything is resized to fit in a skinny column? Would images just make me have to scroll horizontally to see everything? What about if I’m viewing the site in a left-half-screen[1] window? Do the images again just go off into the parts of the site covered by the edges of my window? Horizontal scrolling sucks, because mouse wheels go vertical by default. :|

      [1] I do this, so that the paragraphs aren’t so wide that I visually lose the line at the end. There’s no separate line-spacing setting apart from zoom and font size, so this is how I have to read many sites.

      1. Shamus says:

        On mobile, the site would look exactly as it does now. The wide images only kick in if you’re viewing the site on a great big monitor.

        Like, on my 1920×1080 monitor, the left and right gutters are over half the screen. I’m proposing having the images reach into that space.

        1. Echo Tango says:

          My screen is also 1920×1080, but I view the site with a window that’s resized to half of my screen. Would the wide images get enabled/disabled based on window size or resolution?

          1. Shamus says:

            I… don’t know.

            1. RamblePak64 says:

              Typically the CSS calls necessary for responsive design are based on the width of the browser window. I believe you can specify device if you want, but given you never know what size someone’s browser is going to be at the time, most responsive frameworks like Bootstrap and any customization sticks to the size of the browser window. Most mobile devices only really run apps at full screen, from my understanding, so resolution and window size are by default the same.

              This is from my experience building this stuff, at least. Someone smarter and far more into the depths of HTML/CSS/Javascript could easily swoop in and correct me if my experience is inaccurate.

            2. Echo Tango says:

              Seems like actual screen dimensions are only available in JS, and CSS should just have the window and document sizes available. (That was only about 5 minutes of Googling, but I suspect I wouldn’t find much more than that.)

            3. Jeff says:

              I’m kind of surprised the columns and picture widths don’t scale to the size of the browser window.

              Not that I’d notice since I’m usually visiting while at work, in a window taking up only a fraction of the screen.

          2. tmtvl says:

            I believe viewport size is easier to get than monitor resolution, it would also make more sense to use that.

    4. RamblePak64 says:

      I am honestly in agreement, but I’ve also never been a fan of the sort of scroll-happy web designs that phones and tablets have standardized since a lot of my reading and browsing is still done on desktop. Spreading the screenshot full-width is fine on those lower-resolution models, but even if my web browser isn’t full-screen, such design on desktop feels like… well, it feels like back when you’d accidentally click on the “mobile” link for a website and everything is stretched way too far across the site.

      I far more prefer having a max-width to a page. Plus, there’s still something to be said about how stinking big these large image assets end up being.

      That said, you clearly have a vocal group against the idea (assuming you mean what I think you mean), but are those fine with it just not speaking up? Or will no one know until the design is actually implemented?

      1. Echo Tango says:

        There seems to be a lot of people who only visit the site for comic books, video games, etc, and skip right past posts on technical issues or stats on the website. So if that group has any complaints, I don’t think we’ll hear them until it gets shipped.

  5. Philadelphus says:

    Congratulations on sixteen years, that’s a real accomplishment. I started reading in 2014—I remember because I randomly stumbled upon Spoiler Warning (I don’t remember why—I’d heard of DM of the Rings before but hadn’t read it) a few episodes into the Marlow Briggs Spoiler Warning playthrough, and then just stuck around.

    I started a personal blog in 2010, and I’ve apparently got a weird mental off-by-one error going for it since I went to write a five-year anniversary post and realized it was the sixth anniversary, and this year went to write a ten-year anniversary post only to realize it was the eleventh anniversary. So judging by form I’ll most likely write a sixteenth anniversary post in five years. It’s bizarre, since it started in January 2010, you’d think that’d be about the easiest possible date within a decade either way to remember how long it’s been since.

    1. Daimbert says:

      I started mine in April 2010, but did manage to get the five and ten year anniversaries right. Which is amazing to me because I keep forgetting how long it’s been running.

      I can’t remember when I started reading this blog and how I came across it. From browsing in the archives, though, it had to be around the time DM of the Rings started because reading back a number of the early posts I don’t remember before hitting a string where I remember all of them, but there are a LOT of early posts that I don’t remember.

    2. baud says:

      I remember starting reading around 2012-2013 and it’s a kinda fun story (at least to me) and I don’t think I had told it before (or I did and forgot :) ): At school (university level in France) we had a computer room that was in open access most of the day, where you could go and use any of the dozen of computers or just plug a laptop. One day I was hanging there during a break and I spot another student reading a weird comic on a computer, made from captures from the Star Wars movies. I was intrigued, so I went to check the browser history on the computer after he left, as everyone was using the same user session. I learned it was Darth & Droids, a webcomic (first time I encountered them, in fact), I was hooked and started reading (and continue to this day, now into the sequel trilogy). Then reading the FAQ, I learned about its inspiration, DM of the Rings, but I bounced pretty hard from this one (I then read it years later and enjoyed it), but I checked the blog and started reading. I don’t really remember if I started following regularly or not at the time, but that’s how I discovered the blog.

      1. baud says:

        I went on archive dive and I tried to see if I could point toward the first articles I read, but couldn’t. I realize that I’m missing the shorter series (like the Star Trek week or the Zombie plan I read during my recent dive) and more variety (at least it feels more varied when browsing the archives). Also the links toward the old escapist website are finally dead, including the Stolen Pixels one, which appear sometime ‘From The Archives:’ links between the articles and comments.

  6. General+Karthos says:

    I’m uncommon! I’m a Mac Gamer. (Yes, dammit, we exist. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers….) I use Chrome though as my main browser on this computer. I use Safari on my M1 gaming computer though. Only because I’m too lazy to download Chrome and Safari fulfills 99% of what I use the internet for anyway.

    1. Geebs says:

      My main gaming machine’s been a Mac since the 68040 days, but most of my Steam library stopped working with Catalina and it just doesn’t seem viable anymore. These days, my Apple TV is a more viable and performant games machine than my laptop by a large margin.

      As for those browser statistics – the colours are pretty hard to make out, but do people using Android phones just not browse the Web? And do they really all use Samsung’s (no doubt horrible) browser over the stock Android browser? I guess maybe “Chrome” includes a mobile version.

      1. tmtvl says:

        While I am the rare unicorn what uses Firefox on Android (and unlike iOS it’s actually Firefox rather than reskinned Safari), I wouldn’t be much surprised if 99.99% of Android users just stick with the default Chrome browser.

        1. Echo Tango says:

          I also use Firefox on Android. I have no doubt that the vast majority of phone users don’t care enough to switch their browser from Safari or Chrome.

          1. pseudonym says:

            Same. Firefox on android. I have to say the experience hasn’t been flawless. Sometimes firefox crashes on some web pages, but it is still better than the alternative. (In the late 2000s we worried about spyware, now everyone is using spyware as a service it seems.)

        2. Geebs says:

          Yeah, that makes sense. The last Android device I owned ran version 6 or 7 (I think?) and the default browser was “Android Browser” rather than Chrome. I used Firefox on it until it got killed by an expanding battery and I went back to iOS.

      2. Lino says:

        I’ve always used Android, and for all of my phones the default is Chrome.

      3. Aarwolf says:

        I am the Android and Samsung Browser user and it’s just covenient. Nothing horrible, and much faster than Chrome.

        1. tmtvl says:

          Those are just Chromium skins, though. I doubt they’ll be that much faster than Google Chrome.

    2. Zekiel says:

      I’m a PC gamer but do 90% of my reading on an iPad using Safari, 9.9% on an Android using Chrome and 0.1% on my PC using Chrome.

  7. Coming Second says:

    Congrats man. I know those sixteen years have been hard on you in a lot of ways, but you built a body of work you can be really proud of, and a considerably sized audience that are interested in what you’ve got to say. That’s more than most people can say.

  8. ContribuTor says:

    Regarding browsers in general, and Safari specifically, the interesting split you don’t have on your chart is desktop browsers vs mobile.

    You’re not seeing Safari so high on that chart because of Mac as a desktop platform (most Mac users I know, including me, run Firefox or Chrome).

    You’re seeing it because iPhone uses Safari, and about half of all web traffic these days is from mobile (including this post).

    1. kincajou says:

      yup, that was my first thought too.
      In the smartphone world, most people rin what they have which means chrome or safari (generally).
      A quick glance at smartphone market share puts apple at circa 15% of the market which is what we’re seing for safari up there.

      as such i wouldn’t be hasty to call edge dead just yet, coming pre packaged with every windows copy on the planet will certainly have its power (as it does for chrome and android, and safari and ios). My suspicion is that if we only look at desktops, edge may pop up significantly.

    2. Ninety-Three says:

      Similarly, Chrome is beating IE/Edge by such a wide margin because it’s the default Android browser, if you look at a PC only graph Firefox is a respectable #2 and Microsoft is at least on the board.

    3. Henry+Chadban says:

      Sounds about right, I’m viewing this on safari right now because I’m too lazy to install another browser on my phone. But I always use chrome on my mac

  9. Asdasd says:

    Congrats. I started reading some five-odd years ago after the Mass Effect series was linked in the comments of an RPS article. You may have slowed down, but you still put out more worthwhile posts than they do these days.

    1. Henson says:

      I recently checked out RPS, since I hadn’t been there in years. Was shocked to find most articles only get 3-6 comments total. What the heck happened? (Guess people just lost interest)

      1. Asdasd says:

        A lot of things. Since they were bought out by a big media conglomerate, that was in turn consumed by a bigger anything-and-everything conglomerate, they’ve gotten rid of beloved old writers (including all of the founders), replaced them largely with fresh-out-of-college hires still wet behind the ears, taken to mixing native advertising loaded to the nines with affiliate links into the content stream, attempted a failed pivot to video, and generally just a gradually intensified their focus on running the site as a business rather than as a community.

        Which, well, fair enough. I’m sure they have performance metrics to meet, and god knows there’s little enough money in writing these days. But that’s where I’d attribute the sharp dive in comments.

        1. Kyle Haight says:

          To comment on RPS you need to register an account. When I try to register it always fails. So I don’t comment because the site literally won’t let me and they seem to have no interest in fixing the problem.

        2. Zekiel says:

          When I used to read RPS the comments section was sometimes better than the article, which is saying something since the articles were generally great.

          In particular the inevitable pun thread could be awesome.

      2. Distec says:

        There are many reasons I stopped reading RPS. But even setting those aside, I wouldn’t be surprised if their atrocious redesign just made the site too damn ugly to look at. The vaguely nostalgic red/black color scheme was cozy to me, and the day it changed is the last time I ever visited the site.

        Also everything posted above.

      3. John says:

        Was shocked to find most articles only get 3-6 comments total. What the heck happened?

        Eh, it depends on the article. A re-hashed press release doesn’t merit a lot of comments. Now that RPS is a real, actual business rather than the side hustle of four scrappy young freelancers, there are a lot of re-hashed press releases. But there are still features and reviews with actual authorial voices that remind me of the site in its younger days. Those tend to get more comments, but they’re hard to find amid the deluge of announcements and trailers.

      4. DGM says:

        RPS also got very woke, as I recall. And most people don’t go to a video game site to be lectured to about that stuff.

  10. Glide says:

    Congrats on having a website old enough to borrow your car! It’s become an important part of my gaming life and your writing has sold me on several excellent games I loved that I might not have otherwise tried, like Prey, Unrest, and Night in the Woods. Here’s to sixteen more (or as many more as you care to give us)!

  11. Ninety-Three says:

    Safari is so common because it’s the default browser for iPhones (and Chrome beats IE by so much because similarly, it’s the default browser for Android). If you look at a chart of PC browsers it’s Chrome #1, Firefox at a respectable #2 and Microsoft is at least on the board.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      Dangit, this comment got made in two places and I tried to delete it but apparently the deletion didn’t stick. Stupid wordpress.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        See? Mistakes like that contribute to your 2,472 comment debt to Shamus.

  12. PPX14 says:

    Good work

  13. Sabrdance says:

    TVTropes will ruin your life, but it did lead me here (for DM of the Rings, sometime in the Fallout 3 Spoiler Warning), so for that I’m always grateful.

  14. Smilodon says:

    Huh, Shamus’ post count per year has really been going down that much? Still feels like he’s posting a lot of stuff, wonder why…

    *sees post length per year*

    Oh right, that adds up.

  15. Joshua says:

    I remember way back in September of 2006 or so when one of my acquaintances posted a link to the then newly released DM of the Rings, and have been here ever since.

    Congrats!

    Now I want to pay for a Twenty-Sided t-shirt, that proves I was here, and heard of it first.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      2,055 comment search results, though that certainly includes several mentions.

  16. RamblePak64 says:

    I’m not sure what my next long-form retrospective will be. It really depends on what I’m able to hammer out with my guest contributors. Specifically, I want to tag-team a particular game with alternating posts. This is a big project and we’re still hammering out the details. Hopefully it all works out.

    Oooh, this sounds intriguing.

  17. Jeremiah says:

    Oh wow 16 years! I don’t really recall how long I’ve been visiting, certainly since the DMoTR times; maybe around 2006/2007. Pretty much the only blog I still read with any regularity.

  18. Lino says:

    16 years down, now here’s to another 160! They’re working on the technology, Shamus, I know you can make it happen!

    Ever since I rediscovered this blog a couple of years ago, it’s quickly become my favourite place on the Internet. A lot of things have changed in my life since I started coming here (and not all of them for the better), yet TwentySide has remained the one constant amidst an ocean of uncertainty – a calm little oasis where there’s always something new to ignite my interest, and where I always feel welcome.

    By the way, I love the rotating backgrounds (I frequently write gibberish in the Search bar; that way I get no results, and I can see the whole picture). However, I still miss the feature you had where the post displayed the number of comments as a combination of dice, and had a little line commenting on the number of comments…

    1. tmtvl says:

      If I remember correctly it killed performance, which is why it was removed.

      1. Lino says:

        Aaawww! Damn Shamus and his need for speed!

  19. The Rocketeer says:

    Happy Sweet Sixteen, blog!

    Conspicuously absent from your reckoning of the eons: any mention of DM of the Rings or your Escapist work, which, along with Spoiler Warning, is what initially drew me and many of the other longtimers to the site.

    1. Lino says:

      Hear, hear. I had stumbled upon DM of the Rings (and at the time, didn’t understand any of the jomes, so I promptly dropped it), until I then rediscovered him, years later, through the Escapist (and I subsequently went about reading through all the archives, particularly enjoying DM of the Rings and the Mar Tesaro campaign).

    2. Erik says:

      I’m another of the DMotR generation. Some other webcomic figure linked it back around the breaking of the party (early 2007), and I’ve been reading along ever since.

      Congratulations, Shamus. You’ve built a significant body of work here, and anniversaries are great times to appreciate great work.

    3. John says:

      Yup. I stumbled onto DM of the Rings sometime circa 2008–I wish I could remember how–and I’ve been here ever since.

    4. Zekiel says:

      Happy birthday blog! I was another who came via DMofR, possibly around 2010? I can’t remember where I heard about it though.

      That is a loooong time ago….

  20. Fluffy boy says:

    I started reading the blog around 2014-2015. I remember at the time there were semi-regular series about programming projects like creating a city simulator or the development of Good Robot. Are there any plans to bring back projects like those in the future or will you be focusing on retrospectives for the foreseeable future?

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I think he’s had a couple programming posts in the last year or so. Not that I can remember the details… ^^;

  21. pseudonym says:

    Congratulations Shamus! May this site bring you happiness for years to come!

    I wish you all the best of luck with your surgery! I hope you are able to get plenty of rest physically and mentally to recover afterwards.

  22. Dreadjaws says:

    Happy birthday, Twenty Sided! I cannot even begin to remember when I started reading the blog or how I found it. I mean, I know how I found it, by reading your webcomics on The Escapist (you were still on the original back then) and then following you here, but I wasn’t an avid Escapist reader, and all I really remember from it are your webcomics and column. Pretty sure Mass Effect 3 wasn’t out yet.

    I’d like the images to break out of the column and reach across the page.

    Please do a test run for this before fully implementing it, because honestly it sounds kinda nasty, and not in a sexy way.

    Anyway, I finally managed to get Prey to run properly on my PC, so now all I need is the hardest thing to get: time to play it, so I can finally properly follow on your retrospective.

  23. SidheKnight says:

    No, Thank YOU for creating this blog, Shamus.

    It saddens me that you’re going through a rough time with your health. Let’s hope you’re right and things get better after the surgery.

    Live long and prosper.

  24. Dev+Null says:

    Thanks Shamus! I came in somewhere around halfway through DMotR I think. First comment google can find is May 2007.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      You’ve got 1,293 comment results as “Dev Null” plus another 11 as “Dev+Null” (all recent)

      1. Dev Null says:

        Oh hey; I hadn’t noticed that + creeping in. Wonder where it came from, since I never type my name.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I mostly check the site from work where I have to type the name every time but at home I’ve also noticed the errant + popping up between the two words of my nick so not sure what’s up with that.

        2. Sord says:

          If you URL encode some text, spaces get translated to + symbols. So most likely something is writing your URL encoded name to a field that should not have been encoded (most likely on the backend). And sometimes the bug is that the backend is URL encoding text twice and the browser only decodes it once…

          1. Chad+Miller says:

            I think it was a one-time thing that reencoded everyone’s previously-saved info and the only people who still get the + are the people too lazy to reenter their name.

  25. Paul Spooner says:

    I was introduced to this blog back in November of 2007 by Jeep Barnett (of Portal fame). That was also when I left my first comment, though I didn’t become a regular until around the end of 2010 when Clint Olson independently recommended I take a look.
    Since then I’ve made just under half the comments that Shamus has, at 3,283 (including this one), though that may include other people’s comments that mention me by my full name which (depending on how Shamus is asking Wordpres for his comment count) may also explain Shamus’ comment count discrepancy.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Daemian_Lucifer has still got me beat though, at 4,008 comments and a whopping 19,358 comment search hits.

      1. Drathnoxis says:

        He hasn’t posted in ages though. I wonder what happened to him.

        1. Paul Spooner says:

          Yeah, his last comment was this one almost exactly three years ago. If he had ever posted a link to a website or anything to de-anonymize himself, that would have been a starting point for tracking him down, but as it is it looks like he’s gone without a trace.

          1. DGM says:

            I haven’t hung out here myself in a good while, but I’m sad to hear he never checked back in. I have to assume the worst at this point. :(

  26. Richard says:

    Shamus, for the six years I have been aware of your blog, it has been my favorite place on the internet. (Also I use MS Edge I’m sorry please don’t hate me).

    Congratulations and thank you for all you do, to ESPECIALLY include having PREY 2017 being your current retrospective.

  27. Drathnoxis says:

    I hope that Guest Contributor is The Rocketeer and the game is FF-12.

  28. RoastBeef says:

    Congratulations on 16 years! I think I got sent here by someone linking to Free Radical from the TTLG forums calling it something like “the closest to canon that a non-canon story can be”. I’ve been visiting pretty regularly since a little before DM of the Rings, though I’ve never been much for commenting.
    I just wanted to say that I appreciate what you do, and look forward to seeing what you do next. Stay well!

  29. Aaron Breland says:

    I’ve been reading since the sites early days, since before the escapist era maybe since 05 or 06? I think I may have found the site originally through the roller coaster video? Any way, thanks for everything. I’ve loved everything but especially the autobiography- as someone with similar experiences but 4 years younger and with zero programming skills it meant a lot to me.

  30. Happy blog anniversary Shamus, and I wish you a rapid and complete recovery from surgery. I started reading DM of the Rings around the same time I was playing Lord of the Rings Online sometime around 2007 as a lurker. It took the first Mass Effect Spoiler Warning for me to start commenting. Thanks for many years of great content.

  31. WWWebb says:

    As someone who still doesn’t grok watching other people play video games (I would never have invested in Twitch), the Spoiler Warning era is, in my mind, the Escapist / post-DMOTR Comics era.

    That said, the couple Spoiler Warning episodes I DID watch would occasionally have really good discussions. Now I’m wondering if YouTube’s auto-captions can recognize different voices, and pull a true transcript.

    Odd that I’d happily spend an hour reading a transcript of Spoiler Warning with random screenshots inserted every minute or so, but it’s pulling teeth to get me to actually WATCH anything longer than 15 minutes on YouTube.

    1. Lino says:

      Bear in mind that a lot of people don’t actually watch long YouTube videos – they listen to them like they would a podcast. I “watch” these kinds of videos while working (especially during some of my more repetitive tasks), some of my friends do it while doing chores or working out, I’ve heard a lot of MMO players do it while grinding… Maybe you should try to find an appropriate task to pair these kinds of videos with, especially if they’re something you’re interested in.

  32. Laserhawk says:

    I would say pretty much everything BUT The Die-cast got cut. The site used to have comedy mmo fiction, stolen pixels, and guest articles all at the same time. It then got reduced to just Die-cast for awhile. On the bright side, we have the Prey analysis now, so things are looking up! BTW, still a fan Shamus.

    1. Shamus says:

      Memory is a treacherous thing! I don’t think there was ever a period where it was “just the Diecast”.

      The Diecast went on a 10-month hiatus from Mar 2017 to Feb 2018.

      Meanwhile, we’ve had (almost) non-stop retrospectives: Wolfenstein II, Black Desert Online, Grand Theft Auto Series / Grand Theft Auto V, Spider-Man, Control, Rage 2, Civilization 6, Jedi Fallen Order, and now Prey.

      However, you’re right that there’s been overall less content with me working alone. If you didn’t care about one of the games I listed above, then it really would be “just the Diecast” while that series was running.

      1. Radkatsu says:

        Don’t forget FF10!

  33. Misamoto says:

    If you wanna mess with the website, I’d look into improving the mobile experience. It’s fine as is, but the annotations are far from perfect, for example

  34. Radkatsu says:

    Hey Shamus, if you want some more guest content, I’ve got a fairly sizeable series I’ve basically never posted anywhere focusing on Fallout 3. While the story analysis has been done to death (by you and others), I focused more on the ‘world’ of Fallout 3, looking at the locations and how, with a bit of tweaking, they might have been improved to create more of a cohesive setting with less of the theme park attraction feel. This includes things like factions as well as locations.

    It’s like… 20 parts or so? Generally averaging 1-2k words per post, some longer or shorter of course. I’d be more than happy to email you (or upload an archive, since it’s likely 60+MB due to images) the lot to have a read, if you feel like checking it out.

  35. Galad says:

    A bit of a late reply, but er, thank you for quite a bit of content to read, watch, listen to, and occasionally play (Good Robot and Unrest). I think I first started following your blog back in 2009 or 2010, and while I don’t pay as much attention to it nowadays, I try to catch up eventually (hence the late post, hehe). I find that following your blog, and Spoiler warning, as well as the occasional /r/games reddit browse, but mostly things we talk about and play with people I voice chat with is quite enough gaming subculture to absorb. Thank you for enlightening a newb on immersive sims, there was a lot of good stuff I had missed in Prey, both back in 2017 when I first played it, and quit frustrated at the seeming inability to exit deep storage during the “get locked out” quest, and nowadays when I am in the process of finishing it. Cheers to another uh.. 16+ years? So long as you enjoy doing this, at least.

  36. Bubble181 says:

    Sorry for the late reply, i was on a three week holiday :-)
    Congratulations on 16 years of Twenty Sided! I’ve been around since somewhere in the DMotR, I know it hadn’t finished yet when I started following around here…But a long time ago, anyway.

    Still love all of the text stuff, still don’t bother to watch/listen to any of the video/audio stuff (well, I did listen to and liked your musical forays). The general slow-down of content has been quite noticeable to me, mostly since, well, I open the blog once a day arriving at work and always hope for a good start to the working day with some fun/interesting comments, and I find myself more often disappointed since nothing new’s up. I don’t mean to say you disappoint or that I would want you to do more or anything, please don’t take this as a criticism or a complaint! I mean it in the “aww, we’re out of good coffee today, guess I’ll have to settle for the off-brand stuff today” or “nuts, my colleague beat me to eating the only good cookie in the breakfast basket we get” type, not the “this author has really lost his shine,he’s not putting out as much good stuff as before” type of disappointment.
    Anyway, since your post count is going down and the length of your posts is going up, might I suggest that if you care about this sort of thing, publishing your long-forms in more, smaller parts may be a way forward? I could technically limit myself to only reading half a post every day to prolong my pleasure but obviously that doesn’t work :-D

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