It is with shock and dismay that I find it my duty to report to you all the death of our mutual friend Shamus Young, this morning at 3am, of cardiac arrest.
Shamus called an ambulance at 6pm yesterday night for odd chest and stomach pain, and was transported via ambulance to the hospital where his wife Heather met him from work an hour away. They were able to remain together throughout the rest of the ordeal. The doctors ran a suite of tests, which were all negative until a heart enzyme test came back elevated. The decision to admit him was made due to the high heart enzyme levels, but his Blood Pressure and O2 remained normal. He continued to experience unusual cramping and weakness, so the doctors attempted to rule out stroke and anything kidney related with more tests. The doctors at the ER and hospital worked with his nephrologist to check everything. He was in the process of being admitted when suddenly he went into full cardiac arrest. The emergency staff worked on him for 20 minutes, but were never able to establish a heartbeat.
Although this may seem sudden, it is not entirely unexpected. Shamus already hated dialysis and would be miserable with a transplant, so there was not much expectation of ongoing quality of life. He kept making comments about not being around. Not depressed, just not expecting to be with us much longer. The family, while surprised at the suddenness, were not surprised at the outcome. The kids were in the process of moving back to be nearby and help; This process has been sped up and they will be moving back this weekend.
Shamus is survived by his wife Heather, their three children- Bay(24), Peter(22), and Issac(20), his mother, brothers, and sister, nieces and nephew.
About the site: The family intends to keep the site up as long as possible, both as a legacy as well as a secondary subdomain with uploads of other content he never finished or never posted and other possible content. We also intend to make his source code available in the future as open source. While we, the family, all have WordPress/backend/blogging/varying levels of programming experience and can maintain the site ourselves, we also welcome those with experience who would be interested in helping maintain the site. Please direct emails to [email protected], though it will be a while before we get on top of that aspect of our lives. (I would set up a new email for this but honestly, there are too many other things to deal with at the moment and I have access to all Shamus’ internet infrastructure.)
In lieu of food and flowers:
If you would like to offer financial support, Heather’s account is @tinybookdragon on PayPal or son-in-law’s Cashapp account is ElliotRneaJubilee
You can find his books here.
Due to lack of space and health issues (Heather has severe food allergies and is recently diagnosed celiac) we request that no one bring food or flowers. Instead, here are some ways you can help as they deal with their loss.
The memorial service for Shamus can be viewed on Youtube here. His obituary is also hosted on their website:
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627 thoughts on “The Late Shamus Young”
Long-time reader, infrequent commenter. So incredibly sorry to hear this. If there’s anything we can do financially to help the family, alongside prayers and condolences, please let us know.
Thanks. I put a PayPal link in the post.
Thanks so much Paul. So sorry for your loss as well.
Thank you so much Paul. I also transferred a token amount to your paypal account as listed on your website. I know you and Shamus lived quite a distance apart. I can imagine you want to attend the funeral so this is a small contribution towards the traveling or other unforeseen costs you have. I would normally not make it public when doing something like this, but I know you would not ask us yourself if you needed it. By putting this on top of the comment thread I hope to inspire others to do the same.
Saw that this morning. Thanks for the gesture.
You’re right on both counts, I’d like to attend the funeral, and I wouldn’t ask if I needed help. Fortunately, I am well-supplied with cash money. What I don’t have so much of is time, but we’re all hurting for that now.
Thank you for your response. The thought that you might not have a choice due to monetary concerns was awful. I am glad that isn’t the case. Take care and all the best!
Likewise devastated to think of the loss for the family. Been a fan of Shamus’s work going back to DM of the Rings. His work will long be remembered fondly. My condolences and prayers are with you.
I had no idea he was this ill. I’m so sad. He was a great guy and brilliant writer.
Been following this blog for 12 years on and off.
I don’t even know what to say. What a shock. I’ve been following Shamus for I don’t even know how long at this point. 15 years, maybe?
My condolences to his family.
Like the previous poster, I’ve been an avid reader and patron of the site for ages (though rarely a commentator). My deepest condolences to Heather and the rest of the family. Shamus’ insight and humour will be greatly missed.
Been reading since the early 2010s, this is remarkable. Best wishes to the family and friends
I’m so incredibly sorry to hear this. My condolences to Shamus’ family. Just a monstrously unfair thing to have happen.
Rest in peace.
I’m so sorry to hear this and shocked. Best wishes to the family in a terrible time.
Echoing what’s been said, condolences to the family, and to you, Mr. Spooner, and if we can help please say so.
Shamus’ obsessive nitpicking and analysis has often been the highlight of my day since I started following him during his first go-around at The Escapist. He will be sorely missed.
My sincere condolences to his family.
I’m not one to comment often but I have enjoyed Shamus’s writing for more than a decade. I’ll miss him. My condolences to his family. RIP, dude.
Shocking even with the recent health info he’s posted — his work has entertained and impressed me since DMotR. My condolences to his family and loved ones.
Shamus provided a form and depth of critical analysis that is hard to find these days. He made me appreciate my gaming hobby in a whole new way. I will miss his insight.
I’ll even go so far as to say that, for quite a long time, Shamus was the only content creator in the gaming space doing long-form analysis.
In recent years a few youtube creators have popped up that do similar things, but even they aren’t able to manage the depth and breadth of Shamus’ writing — almost certainly due to the fact that video is much more difficult medium in which to produce content.
Rest in peace Shamus.
I’m so sorry to hear this. This site has been part of my life for easily 12 years. Shamus’s programming blogging convinced me to try coding, which has now been my career for over 5 years. His gift for clarity and candor will be missed.
Praying for his family and friends.
I am shocked and saddened. My heart goes to the family and friends. Donating to paypal immediately.
Paul, I am sure this was not easy for you to write. Thank you.
Most of the writing is just cleaning up the info that Heather sent me. I only did it so that she wouldn’t have to. God, that poor woman.
As a friend, a longtime reader, and a one-time colleague, this especially hurts to hear. It’s partly because of Shamus that I managed the jump into professional game dev, and every once in a while, when confronted with some silly eccentricity at work I’ll think “I bet Shamus would want to hear about this.”
Though I won’t be able to share these anecdotes with him any more, I’ll continue to remember him, his incredible wit, and his careful analysis of everything he loved forever.
I am deeply saddened by this news. As a veteran programmer, I have enjoyed Shamus’s skills and analysis since I first became aware of him back in the mid-00’s. He will be endlessly missed.
Oh no. I know it wasn’t entirely unexpected but somehow it’s still so shocking. I’m so sorry. Condolences to everyone, especially his family.
He will be sorely missed.
As someone who grew up with in a third world country with no gaming community, finding this place over a decade ago has been one of the highlights of both my time on the internet and life in general.
I loved reading Shamus’ views on gaming, coding and so many other topics. His insight and the community he fostered are incredibly meaningful for me.
Rest in Peace Shamus
I’m in shock about this. I’ve followed this blog since back in the DM of the Rings days. Shamus has always been a voice of insight and clearheaded kindness. I will miss him dearly.
I am absolutely heart-broken. He sounded like he was doing well, and he provided no hint to me that things could be seeing a downward turn. It sounded positive when we spoke about it. Naturally, I didn’t want to say much about it, as I wanted to keep things positive.
For those interested, I made VODs of our reaction to the Summer Game Fest and Xbox & Bethesda Showcases here and here.
I cannot summarize the influence and inspiration Shamus had on me as someone continually blogging about and trying to critique games. I managed to tell him how much I admired his ability to just pump work out before we started streaming our Game Fest reactions, and I still do. He was beginning to write again while on dialysis. He still sat down with me and did podcasts and commentary, and even humored me at times. It might sound weird to say, but part of me felt, and even now feels, compelled to try and carry the torch of what he did. It also feels foolish for a variety of reasons, not least of which is my inability to write about the sheer variety of topics he did, or with the careful and considerate voice that he had, and most importantly, on that consistent schedule that he managed.
This hurts so bad.
Paul, if there’s ever anything you want to do, be it in memory of Shamus or just to continue doing some work in his spirit or something, please reach out to me.
I wish there was something more I could offer.
I will never, ever, delete this bookmark.
Likewise – if you need anything from me, Arvind, or the other Good Robot folks just let us know.
>I will never, ever, delete this bookmark.
Amen to that man, this is staying on my bookmark bar, right at the top, forever.
Same here! I’ll also be happy to donate to pay hosting fees for keeping the site up for as long as humanly possible.
Shamus was an utterly remarkable writer and a major source of inspiration. And, well, just a very interesting and nice guy, as far as I could tell without knowing him personally. The uniquely nice community he has built on this website, is, I think, testament to that. Not much more to say, other than that he will be missed dearly. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and everyone who knew him enough to mourn his passing.
Oh, that is quite a shock. I am so sorry for your loss.
Honestly, I don’t know what to say. I’ve enjoyed reading Shamus’s thoughts ever since the terrain renderer project and the thought that he is just gone saddens me deeply.
My condolences to his family.
Wow. I did not expect this. It sounded like Shamus’ recent prognosis was positive. We are all worse for his loss. My heart goes out to his family. He will be missed but not forgotten.
I’ve long considered Shamus and myself to be living parallel lives in a kind of CYOA sense where we had slightly different starting points but made pretty similar choices along the way. I’ll miss his presence; maybe I’ll have to start creating some things now, instead of relying on him to document our journey. Rest in peace, fellow traveler.
Terribly sorry to read this. I’ve read Shamus since his column at the escapist. I love his long-form games analyses, his writing was something unique.
Sincere condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed.
I’ve been a reader of this blog for such a long time (though hardly ever posted a comment) – got here through one of Shamus’s columns in The Escapist and stayed for the insightful commentary on PC Gaming, and my absolute favourite series on procedural programming, world generation, and many others. To an extent, Shamus had inspired me to continue pursuing programming as a hobby, which then allowed me to use it professionally when I decided to change careers and become a software engineer.
Shamus had affected my life and the lives of many other people all over the world that he had never met, and I am so terribly saddened to learn that he is gone. His wit, sense of humour, and intelligent and original thoughts will be sorely missed on the internet, where all of the above are becoming harder and harder to find.
My deepest and heartfelt condolences go to his family. I remember when my mother passed away four years ago, the one thing I needed to hear the most from those who knew her was that her life had mattered and made a difference. And just in case Shamus’s loved ones and friends ever read this comment, I want them to know that Shamus mattered, and that his life made a great deal of difference to many. Those who frequented this blog will surely remember him, as I know I will.
Back when Shamus gave an update on his health, I wrote:
This is sudden news so I have a hard time putting my feelings into words, but I wish I’d told him about all the things I liked about the blog, that kept me here, for that decade. I guess I felt like I didn’t want to write him off, even though I was afraid this might happen soon. I enjoyed his book, I thought his autobiography was interesting, and I loved all the retrospectives. The Mass Effect one is something in particular I kept coming back to, which made me laugh, which made me get how he thought about them, and which made me look at those games differently. Since I liked his writing so much, at one point I sent him a mail asking if he’ like to do some comics with me sometime since he was reposting the old Chainmail Bikinis – and while he didn’t have any plans at the time I was flattered he seemed to give it some consideration.
I’m sorry for your loss, and extend my condolences to his friends and family. And other readers, for that matter. I’ll miss Shamus Young.
What can I, a rando on the internet, really say at a time like this?
Thank you, Shamus, for sharing yourself with us and being part of my routine for the last ~20 years.
Same here. Thanks so much to Shamus and his supporters for his work.
I am shocked, especially so because I had the site open, and only refreshed it just now…
Thank you Shamus for sharing your excellent insight, and may you rest in peace. You will be sorely missed.
My condolences to his family, friends, readers, and everyone close to him in any way.
So sad to hear. Difficult to imagine there won’t be a little corner of Shamus online anymore. Over the past 16 years (gosh it’s been a while) I’ve read his writings on such a variety of different topics, but somehow with his voice and personality he made it all engrossing. I never even played Mass Effect or Final Fantasy or programmed anything beyond a vcr, but so much enjoyed reading Shamus’s thoughts about it all in book-length detail. The internet won’t be the same without him.
I am so saddened by this terrible, terrible news.
He will be sorely missed.
This is so incredibly sad. Shamus is the only blog I ever followed. And that for years. I enjoyed his humour, and kindness. Condoleance from France
This site has been a daily browsing location for me for ten or more years now. Shamus had a great way of looking at the way games are constructed, from a unique perspective that enriched my understanding of the form, and of fiction in general. The community he fostered here as been a great boon to my normally introverted lifestyle, and it’ll be difficult to imagine the future without him.
Just using the past tense phrase ‘Shamus had’ kinda hurts.
I’ve been half expecting and completely dreading this post since he gave his last health update… and still I’ll need to take some time to process. I only knew him through this blog, but his insight and wit will be sorely missed.
This is one of the last blogs I still read and his was the only podcast I could listen to.
“This is one of the last blogs I still read and his was the only podcast I could listen to.”
The same is true for me. I have been following this site daily for about 15 years, and was happy every time that I saw there was a new article.
His enthusiasm, his anger, his insight, his interests, his humor, his unique brand of nitpicking… I loved it.
I feel that he had so much more to say, and I don’t think there is anyone who can replace him. Deeply saddened.
Yeah, I’ve been worried about seeing this as soon as he posted about the end-stage renal failure.
I was hoping for a few more years at the least. My uncle’s had end-stage renal failure since he was in his early 40s, and he’s almost 70 now. Granted he’s on his fourth kidney (meaning he’s had two transplants so far), and awaiting another, but I was holding out some optimism for Shamus and his prognosis. God, I’m just gutted.
I join with everyone here in mourning Shamus. My sincerest condolences to his family.
I, too, have followed this blog for years and years, since early on in the DMotR, I believe, or maybe even a little before. I always enjoyed reading his code analysis, about the challenges of gaming programming, as it is so different from the coding I have done for the last 15+ years. Shamus had such a great way of evaluating everything, he helped me look at writing in games or movies in a different way, and all his insights will be missed.
Rest in peace, Shamus.
I long ago lost track of how long I’ve been checking here as one of the first things I do every morning. Though I’ve rarely commented, I’ve always enjoyed Shamus’ work and this unique community.
Though I felt this might be coming eventually, I’m still surprised it came so soon (and it always would have been too soon) and he’ll be dearly missed. My condolences to his family and friends.
Oh no. My heart sank when I saw the title.
What can I even say? It’s crazy. I was just listening to his voice on the last episode of the Diecast an hour ago.
After Shamus told us about his health problems, I expected this to happen at some point. But I thought dialysis would have at least bought him more time, or that we’d have more warning.
His knack for writing complex subjects in understandable ways was amazing, and his writings on writing and story construction have been an influence on how I think about media. This is such a loss for all of us.
My heart goes out to Heather and his children.
Rest in peace, Shamus. You will be missed.
Heartbroken to hear this. Shamus Young’s writings and the Diecast have been a regular part of my internet experience for well over a decade. I didn’t comment much but always read new articles when they appeared in my rss feed.
He will be deeply, deeply missed.
I’m gonna miss you man
My condolences to Shamus and all his family and friends. It’s hard to quantify how much Shamus’ nitpicking and critical analysis taught me to see not just video games better, but dang near everything creative. Hopefully this blog is able to stick around long enough for others out there to discover the wonder that was Shamus’ writing.
As with everyone else, I’m incredibly sad to hear this :( Been reading Shamus’s writing for years, and deeply enjoyed his opinions and insights. Farewell :(
I have been a long-time reader (since the original DM of the Rings days) but never felt the need to de-lurk before now.
It is a testament to Shamus’ sense of humor that when I saw the title of this posting in my RSS feed, my first thought was that it was a snarky article from him about some new (or old) project. The awful alternative didn’t hit me until after I had already clicked on the link.
My deepest condolences to Shamus’ family and friends. From the impact his writings have made on me being this far away, I can only imagine the sense of loss for those who actually knew him.
Oh I’m so glad I’m not the only one who had that initial reaction. I clicked in, read the title and went, “hah hah, very funny.” And it took me a good five seconds of reading and processing to understand what I was REALLY reading.
It really is a testament to him that that was our first thought, though. I hadn’t thought of it that way, and it makes me smile.
Ya. Ditto here. I thought it was a pun. I had to read the first sentence multiple times for it to sink in that it wasn’t word play.
Initially thought it was in jest as well, but reading the first line was soon followed that terrible sensation of the heart sinking.
I was hoping it was a joke. But something at the back of my mind was telling me that it wasn’t. I’m so sad that that little something turned out to be right.
I also had that immediate reaction. Was like ‘oh, what old opinion is he revisiting and mocking?’ because that’s in character for him, and… Wow. Damn.
I had a similar thought process myself. Something like, “please let that be a joke – even a bad one. I’d much rather be disgusted by dumb gallows humor than be about to read about Shamus’ passing…” Followed by, “damn. I was really hoping for a joke instead. This sucks.”
Oof, yes, this was me as well… I started to smile and was all ready for the joke and then… gut punch. Glad to know I wasn’t alone on that.
I join in giving my deepest condolences to his wife, daughters, family and friends. Shamus shall be missed.
In gaming heaven, the critique is done by Shamus Young.
Augh, that last line got me. How am I supposed to moderate the comments when I keep tearing up?
Not that they have needed any moderating. You all are the best.
Even though I never actively participated in the comments or streams I have been reading this blog for what feels like my whole life. Rest in peace, Shamus. You will be missed. Hope the blog stays up as a memorial of some kind.
A memorial, yes. And also a repository of really good analysis, humor, thoughtfulness, curiosities, creativity, knowledge, kindness and good faith critique.
You won’t find this stuff anywhere else on the internet. Shamus Young brought something unique and special to online gaming and nerdy/geek discourse, and we are all the less for his departure.
My condolences to Shamus’ family. I wish them strength. Also my condolences to you Paul.
Shamus shared his thoughts and parts of his life on this blog. His writing style was very engaging and personal. It felt like reading the writings of a friend, even if he didn’t know me personally.
Rest in peace, Shamus. I will miss you.
Twentysided was brought to my attention the first time when the Mass Effect retrospective was linked from the Dutch hardware site nl.hardware.info somewhere in 2016. Because of my obsession with Mass Effect I read the retrospective and that was it.
Somewhere in 2017 I reread the retrospective and from there began to explore the rest of the site. First all things Mass Effect, then DM of the rings, Stolen Pixels, all programming posts etc. Then I found that Shamus also had a fair bit of articles on the topic of himself.
These personal articles were of great help to me. At the time I had just moved out with my girlfriend (now wife) to the west of the Netherlands for my new job. The articles on Shamus’ move to Boston and him not feeling very happy there really resonated with me. He shared many life lessons in his personal posts just by recounting his own experiences. What to do when you can’t pay the mortgage anymore? What if you are living somewhere where you are not happy? A post about the different ways people display affection. A post about the high percentage of marriages ending in divorce is probably inflated by people who are bad at marriage and marry and divorce multiple times. And many more. Shamus was born 19 years before me and I found it very valuable to read his experiences at the start of my real adult life, where I was starting to have some proper responsibilities. It gave me a measure of comfort and peace of mind for the journey ahead.
That was his great gift to me. Thank you, Shamus!
I’m really shocked and upset. I hoped that Shamus would pull through his troubles.
I first started reading this blog thanks to DM of the Rings. I always found it a joy to read Shamus’ writings. I loved his thoughtful and critical analysis. His System Shock fan fiction is one of my favourite books.
Thank you for all your hard work Shamus. I’m really going to miss seeing your blogs pop up, and knowing I’m in for a treat.
My condolences to the family and community. Shamus made us part of his life for 14+ years. I will always remember him and his stories. Thank you and good-bye!
My condolences to Shamus’ family and friends. Shamus was a great writer and I always looked forward to his work. The world will be poorer without him.
Oh that’s awful news. I remember the pre-DMOTR days when it was just a handful of commentors, getting a link to my old blog from Shamus felt awesome. It’s been so difficult putting together a coherent comment. Starting to see blogging contemporaries disappear.
I feel an obligation to say something, but I have no idea what to say. I’ve enjoyed the site for years. I showed up for DM Of The Rings but stayed for the programming posts and then the long-form retrospectives for games I mostly still haven’t played. I don’t even really care about Mass Effect, but for some reason I read every single one of Shamus’s many, many posts on the subject. Mr. Young could write and write well. I’m going to miss him.
Oh, this is so painful.
I feel as if I lost a dear friend that I’ve never actually met.
He will be dearly missed.
I feel the same — a friend I never met but will always miss.
Love and best wishes to the family.
Condolences to the family. I have been a long time reader of the blog and never really much of a commentator. That said, I always looked forward to everything posted here. This blog remained what felt like a glimpse back into the days of the content I used to enjoy on the internet before it turned into Reddit.
I had been concerned reading about his health for awhile and it really sucks to hear this. I hope they can raise donations for the family and to keep the blog up as a tribute as well.
I’ll echo that sentiment. Shamus blended kindness, incisive intelligent, and tolerance for other perspectives with a temper and exasperatedness in a way that represented the potential highs that a single person can reach on the internet. He represented, to me, a holdout from an arguably superior era of content creation, in which long-form thinking and critique found an audience largely independently of a profit motive and without ladder rungs lowered down to dummies. Intelligent expression for the sake of itself. I’ve appreciated it for 15 years, and appreciated this blog for about seven years.
Best wishes and prayers to Heather and family and thanks to Shamus for his role in me becoming a more thoughtful, critical, and hopefully kind person.
That’s a shock. I mean, I knew his health was bad, but I was really expecting him to somehow get better and post tons of articles again. He was starting a new series about Deus Ex!
This is especially depressing because Shamus’s blog was one of the last of its kind around. Even if the blog is kept online, it just won’t be the same without the new posts and community discussions. =(
Shamus put so much laughter and insight out into this world, and it is a darker place now that he’s gone.
My deepest condolences.
I’ll deeply miss Shamus content. Came for DM of the Rings what feels like an eternity ago, somehow stayed even after The Escapist semi crashed & burned, was deeply amazed even myself by how much the biography made me care for somebody I’d never met, face palmed through Mass Effect, and somehow just kept checking in even over the years.
I didn’t always agree, as my comment history no doubt could show, but I always deeply respected when Shamus gave an opinion on something. He had a real gift for actually explaining his position on stuff, and wasn’t afraid to elaborate even if it took ten K words for something that a few hundred would read. AND SOMEHOW, he almost always managed to make it funny AND informative, too.
He’ll be missed. RIP.
Same same. Been here since DMotR, and I think this site is the only one that I’ve been consistently reading since those days. Sporadic commenter and Shamus and I didn’t always agree, but he always tried to foster a community where we didn’t have to agree, and I respected that a lot.
Heartfelt condolences to friends and family. Thanks Paul for letting us know, and for the donations link.
Yeah. Community and respect, those are good words for this site.
To be honest, I think I’ll miss those as much as the man himself. Shamus had a real knack for fostering debates and consideration, and there’s precious few places online where that happens civility without a ton of bots & moderation nowadays, let alone mostly organically from a friendly community.
Like… I’ve written a solid A4 for some articles on this site just in the comments trying to elaborate a point in detail. And I not only felt almost always that they actually got not only read—a dang near unique & wonderful relic for the ever faster web, but sometimes got just as long-winded and verbose but interesting counterpoints in turn. An even greater rarity where you so often online feel like you’re shouting into a bottle, and just hoping those words get somehow bobbed along to somebody that cares.
I am unfortunately unsure how long it will last, given how central Shamus was to this site and the both timeless and ephemeral nature of web stuff, but I do hope that just what a beautiful oasis of discourse he created gets recalled as part of his legacy. Keeping a site like this nice, readable, free AND civil is one of those things that even major organizations and newspapers frequently fail utterly at, and somehow Shamus made it seem effortless for nearly two decades.
Really hope that is acknowledged. It was quite the feat.
I’ve never been much of a commenter, but I’ve been here since the early Spoiler Warning days and in all that time this site has consistently been one of my favourite bits of the internet. Shamus always seemed to have a unique perspective, and I’ve never stopped coming back to see what he’d be tackling next, whether that was industry news or longform coding projects.
My condolences to Shamus’ family and friends. He’s left his mark and will be missed.
I’ve been a reader of the blog since high school… probably 12 years now. Also his Escapist Magazine column (from back in the day). Also his novels.
Shamus had a unique perspective and a sharp intelligence. I always enjoyed the things he had to say and the insights he shared with all of us.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends in this time of loss.
Shamus Young, you will be missed.
I don’t know what to say. I’ve only been following Shamus’s blog for the past two years and been a lurker most of that time. He may very well be my favourite media analyst, critics, and pundit, and he’s definitely my favourite blogger and moderator. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from him on how to think better, write better, and be a better person. He was just so understanding, witty, eloquent, and insightful with words in ways that I am only beginning to manifest myself, and in ways that I still yearn to emulate. (Whatever disagreements I may have had in the past, I will always like and greatly respect the man.)
We all knew about his condition, and I was really worried for him when he first broke the news, but I thought when he said he was on the mend that I could give in to optimism and believe he’d make it through. Ever since he gave the all clear on others doing audio readings of his books, I wanted to surprise him with a grand series of videos edited around his Mass Effect Retrospective, and send him whatever earnings they may have received. (I never even got started, and now I’m unsure about whether to go through with it or not anymore, even as a tribute in honour of him and his legacy.) And so, I’m devastated to learn about his passing and that we won’t be hearing from him again.
I can’t imagine what his family must be going through. All I can give at the moment is my deepest condolences and my hopes that they will be able to taste the sweet with the bitter, remembering their husband and father for all the joy and good he brought them and others.
Rest in Peace, Shamus Young. You will be deeply missed.
I was first introduced to Shamus’ blog by Jeep Barnett after writing a short article about the physics implications of Portal. He encouraged me to comment, which I did, but didn’t really stick around. About three years later, a friend from university (the same Clint Olson who created a print version of Free Radical) recommended that I check out Shamus. This time it stuck, and I’ve been a regular more or less ever since the spring of 2010.
The main thing that interested me about Shamus’ work was the procgen stuff. Around the same time I was dabbling with procgen modeling, and wrote that famous bit of tree-generation code for Minecraft. I had an irrational sort of hope that Shamus would mentor me, so when our first direct interaction was both on the topic of procgen and unqualified affirmation, he had earned my undying admiration. The video-game critique and writing was fun, but it was the programming that kept me coming back.
When he published his AutoBlography in 2012 I bought a copy, and made a recording as I read it out loud to my little kids. He felt like a family friend after that, and the kids would talk about “Shamus” as casually as you would an uncle. Later that same year Shamus posted the initial fragment of “Fall From the Sky” and I took it upon myself to complete the work. Reading, studying, and re-reading his unfinished and unedited prose gave me a new appreciation for the man’s unique style and thought process. When the book was finished years later I had a newfound appreciation for Shamus’ authorial capacity. Some years later, I wrote:
Which brings me to Shamus’ creative style. He was a man of singular vision; Seemingly incapable – for good or for ill – of incorporating others’ thoughts, suggestions, or ideas. If you agreed with him, and liked what he was doing, fine. If you didn’t, also fine. But there was no room for changing his mind, no process of coaxing or convincing. Like his comment moderation style, he created as he did not because he thought it was the best way out of many, but because he was unable to do otherwise. When I proofread “The Other Kind of Life” all suggestions but the most technical errors were dismissed without comment. There seemed to be no way for him to incorporate creative feedback. I reached out to him with so many creative projects over the years, but none came to fruition.
My middle son walked up while I was writing this and asked me why it looked like I was crying. After explaining what had happened, he responded, “So you can’t go work for him any more? That’s sad.” And yeah, it is. But in another way it’s happy. The work is over for him, and now comes that long and glorious retirement that he had always hoped for, but could never really bring himself to expect.
Shamus was mortal after all. No matter how strong my desire for collaboration, for mentorship, for friendship, for making that final game with him that would live up to the promise of Starflight and No Man’s Sky and Spore combined, for completing the story of Deck, of Alice and Simon and Gilbert, for reaching that little boy who loved puppies, and couldn’t touch them because it would kill him, and just wanting to see him smile, just wanting to be able to help him enjoy this world so full of suffering, no matter how strong we wished it, what we got was this instead. God grant that it is enough, for us and for him. I pray for the repose of your soul Shamus. “Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” May we meet again on those shining streets where sorrow is no more.
no man is ever finished
he will live still as we digest and refactor our collective memories
a diminished role in the future for sure
but an ongoing of sorts nevertheless
whether publicly or in private
we cherish him and every thing that drove him
and through us some impact yet remains unmade
we have one less friend to giude us
but one more light in the sky
forge on friends
Beautifully put. You’re only gone when your impact can no longer be felt; when the ripples you caused in the pond of influenced humanity quieten to stillness
I look at all the reports of impact on this page and through them it’s clear you’re absolutely right that “some impact yet remains unmade”
With Shamus it’s not a pond: it’s a sea; it’s an ocean. He’ll be here long after I’m gone and though I wish that wasn’t solely metaphorical the thought makes me only slightly less happy than I am sad
Shamus and I talked regularly…ok, as regularly as anyone not in his household actually ever talked to him in person… about a Starflight/Morrowind in Space game. It was great conversation, but Shamus’ creativity was to broad to focus it all on ONE thing for such a thing.
I turned his book into a screenplay. He read it and shrugged. He was content to the way he left ‘Witch Watch’ and didn’t want to do anything more with it. I talked to him about follow-ups and he smiled politely and said ‘Cool man. Good idea’ in that tone of voice that I new to mean ‘I’m just being polite. IDGAF’.
He loved this site and his followers. He really did.
Yeah, a really baffling sense of creativity. In his own words, “I am a slave to my passions. I either must work on something, to the point of obsession, or I can’t work on something, regardless of punishment or rewards offered. There seems to be very little middle ground.” https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=13068
I talked to him about writing a sequel to Witch Watch as well. Would be interesting to put together a fan film using your screenplay! I’d love to hear more about “Starflight/Morrowind in Space” too.
My deepest condolences to his family and all of his friends: Losing someone….leaves a hole.
On my side i discovered this blog through a comment on rock paper shotgun one day many many years ago….
Like many i stayed for the wtitingg (namely the mass effect ) and then the community which was/is a small haven full of intelligent interesting and wonderful people.
For me, amongst all of the interesting words and insightful analyses, this community is the greatest thing out there and it’s something magical that shamus managed to get it all together and to get it to work for so many years.
Tonight the world is a little more empty
I found myself today clicking once again on the bookmark…knowing what i’d find here and to read the messages of the rest of the whole community and a little pang was felt as i saw the size of the article and well… i realised that the boss is not longer there to worry about whole articles being on the front page :(
between that and the typolice who are now suddenly unemployed…ah, the fallout will be felt for a long time.
Been following this site for about 14 years now, as the only videogame community I take part in. Shamus’ posts were always engaging, fun, and springboards for philosophizing about the nature of entertainment. He will be deeply missed.
Since it came to mind, and seems appropriate: Pearl Jam’s Man of the Hour.
This really hit me. I was only brought to this blog a couple years back by MrBtongue but I’ve stopped by here almost daily since then. Shamus was a really unique writer, he could write about any topic and it would be interesting. He is 1 out of 2 podcasts I listen to and patreons I support. I’m going to miss him a lot. I’m so sorry, Heather, family and Paul.
This is not what I was expecting to wake up to. My heart goes out to Shamus’ family and friends. This site has been a constant for me for years and I will feel its loss deeply.
Godspeed sir, you were one of the greats.
I figured I could tell a small story here. Back when I was first eligible for the Covid Vaccine I had just received Shamus’ Mass Effect Retrospective Paperback and decided to bring it with me to read while standing in line/waiting the 15 minutes after the shot. I stood there with the book crooked in my arm while the line ever so slowly moved forward. Eventually I made it to the chairs which were in rows all facing the same direction, ready to get my shot, only to find out that the book was so heavy that my arm had cramped and I couldn’t unbend my elbow without being in excruciating pain.
Needless to say I was very embarrassed in this giant warehouse trying to relax my arm and the lady administering the shot told me “Just turn the chair around we’ll do your other arm.” Queue me turning my chair around, the only 1 in the building against the grain, got my shot, and had to wait 15 minutes. For those 15 minutes I read with the book on my lap, having learned my lesson.
Oh, thanks for reminding me the book existed. I think I’ll go buy that now.
I wanna join my voice to the others, my condolences. I was a passionnate reader since the last few years. You will be missed, Shamus.
Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ve been reading twentysided since 2007 or so, and for awhile I was reading every article. I had hoped Shamus would be with us awhile longer with treatment, and I’ll miss him. My prayers and condolences for his family and friends.
I was shook reading this.
I was mostly a lurker and reader around here.
Shamus influenced my live quite a bit. As I stated many times before his work inspired my master’s thesis. Today we lost another special games critic.
He will be sorely missed in my life.
My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends.
May his spirit of snarky nitpicking live on forever in us.
I want to append a few more thoughts after processing the fact, that Shamus will no longer enlighten and light up my life with his insight and humour.
I am still thankful for him answering the stupid questions on the Diecast. I giggled, when he mispronounced my nick name. This one is not on him. My nick is mispronounced in both languages I speak. But still it made me laugh. Mostly because it sounded as if I were some boss in a Megaman game. One of those bosses, who sprays oil and the weapon you get as a reward is awful and will never be used. I still had same questions on the my mind but I never sent them due to me having a chaotic life for the last 18 months. I will never get an answer to them but that does not matter.
As others have said, Shamus had a major influence on our lives. I feel I sold his influence short in my earlier statement. I said he inspired my master thesis. That is just not far reaching enough. He was the one, who got me thinking about the topic of procedural generation. So I wanted to create my own generator. Which I did for my thesis. It might just be some ASCII file, which is generated and the thesis itself might be more of a proof of concept than something usable. In any case, this website is cited in my thesis. As is usual for master thesis in Austria, one copy is preserved in the Austrian National Library. He most certainly never knew that. But maybe someone in the future will find my scientific paper on the procedural generation of dungeon crawler levels and will come here for the primary source of my citation.
I am still saddened and shocked.
The feeling, when reading the news for the first or tenth time feels similar to me like a few years back, when I read that TotalBiscuit had left us.
TB and Shamus had a major impact on how I view my hobby and my job and the industry I worked in for six years.
I am more than words can express thankful for that.
My thoughts go out to everyone he left behind.
Hear hear. Both eloquent, insightful and entertaining individuals, the loss of whose content leaves a big hole left in games journalism, analysis, and the sort of comforting entertainment content that I enjoyed greatly and shall now miss.
Same here. I rediscovered Shamus as part of my search to find an earnest creator similar to Totalbiscuit. Before that, I was just occasionally reading his column on the Escapist.
I’ve not said much, but I’ve been reading this blog site since ~2010 and now the era’s over…
My heart goes out to the family.
So sad to hear this news. Will continue praying for his family and friends.
I am so sorry to hear this. My condolences to his family. What an incredible loss.
It feels so trite to say how much I’ll miss his work when his family is going to be missing everything about him, but his work has been a part of my life for a long time. I remember getting my sister and late father Witch Watch for Christmas the year it came out. We enjoyed reading and discussing it together. I’ve read about dozens of games that I have no intention of playing. I’ve read about amazing programming projects. I bought a card game. I’ve learned of the trials of his life. Shamus created a lot in this world, and I’m grateful.
I’ll miss you Shamus.
I’ve been reading this blog for so long, it seems incomprehensible that I won’t get to read anything new by Shamus again.
Condolences to his friends and family, know that there are many of us fans all around the world who feel for you
I never have words for this stuff. I’m sorry to hear it.
I’m sorry to hear of his passing. May his memory be eternal.
I’m so sorry to hear about this. I’ve been reading his content for years and not only was his content well done, but he seemed like an overall good person. My condolences. He will be missed.
Shamus will be sorely missed! He was a man with insight and perspective into many things–and whether an article was on an area of interesting interest or not his writing style and wit meant I read it all gladly.
I learned so much here, and mourn his passing.
To Shamus’s friends and family…the words are infinitely not enough, and yet, there is nothing else to say. I am so sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace, and may his wife and children also find some small measure of peace soon.
Thank you, Shamus. The past ~15 years of your life’s work has been immensely appreciated and influential. I hope that this site remains preserved as a resource and legacy for as long as the internet as we know it exists.
This blog has been a part of my life since high school, for probably more than 15 years.
Since it survived the death of the blogosphere I somehow thought it would last forever, even though Shamus’s health updates didn’t sound too good I somehow wasn’t worried.
It’s hard to overstate how important Shamus’s work was/is for me, how fundamental it was in buiding/finding my sense of humor, how it thought me to be critical of video games and their cliches, how it introduced me to many other creators who’ve since become very important to me, how I’ve loved is as a safe space for writing in video age, and last but not least, how darn fun it was to read.
I also really liked the community Shamus has built here – although I’ve never commented frequently, I somehow always thought of this site as my place on the web and I doubt I’ll ever forget about it.
My sincerest condolences to Heather, the kids, and the rest of the family.
R.I.P. Shamus Young
Started lurking here just a few years ago. Shamus wrote some of my favorite pieces of topical writing. He was funny, insightful, and straightforward (a rare quality even among the best critics).
My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Sic transit gloria mundi.
My most heartfelt condolences to Heather and the kids, and friends.
Been following the blog since I think the early escapist stuff of Shamus, and listening to the Podcast since when it was mid double digits.
He, and you more recently, Paul, have been a part of my daily routine for a sizeable portion of my life, and despite never speaking to you in person, being on the diecast as a guest (or co-host) was something I sometimes daydreamed about, especially when listening to it ony my bicycle commute.
Despite only glimpsing at him through this screen, he felt like a fatherly friend to me.
So, while I might not sob uncontrollably, I am reading what I type through a thin veil of tears.
You will not be forgotten! I hope all the pets in heaven are hypoallergic!
That’s horrible to hear, and even more at how sudden it seemed. My thoughts are with his friends and family.
His Pixel City and other programming projects got me into programming 15 or so years ago, and this site has been on my “websites to subconsciously go to,” list ever since.
R.I.P. Shamus, and for the people who were close to him, please take good care of yourselves, especially in the near future.
I didn’t comment that often, but I checked the site basically every day since the early days of DMotR. This is devastating. There was really nobody else like him, my condolences to his family and friends.
I’ve been reading this blog for most of my adult life; Shamus has done as much to shape who I am as some of my face-to-face friends.
We are all poorer for losing him.
There are many creators I enjoy the work of, but very few I would be greatly upset to lose. Shamus was one. And I am. Rest in peace.
Man, just thinking back to how long I’ve been reading this site and how little of the content that even comprises. I started reading about when the Mass Effect retrospective was starting, so only around 7 years. I’ve been reading everything since then, though, and had gone back and read some of the older things. I used to read through old articles to waste time at work when there wasn’t enough to do. Then one day I couldn’t anymore, and I like to think it’s my fault this website is blocked on the Department of Defense proxys.
There was the “Twelve-Year Mistake” series that helped me a lot, as it made me realize I had made the same darn mistake. I got a house that was cheap for its size, and it was because it was old and inefficient and needed a lot of work. It took too much energy to keep comfortable, had more space than I needed, and required so much upkeep and repairing that it was always nagging at me what would go wrong next and all the little things I had to keep doing. Thank you for helping me figure out where so much of my frustration was and avoiding that mistake the next time.
I think I might miss the Diecast even more than the regular blog though. I’ve listened to the podcast every week it was made since around episode 90 and looked forward to it every week. I even subjected my boyfriend to listen to it with my every week while doing other chores around the house. It was always relaxing to me. So thank you for the years of entertaining audio too, as well as Paul, and Issac for the editing work.
Oh no… I don’t comment often as english is not my first language, but I’m following Shamus since DM of the rings. Condolences.
My sincerest condolences to all of Shamus’ family and friends. For what is worth, he did a fine job through many years of cultivating a respectful, insightful corner of the Internet and will be sorely missed even by us strangers over the net.
I wish I had something intelligent to say beyond the lame-ass “I’m so sorry” that feel so empty right now.
I assume his family has access to the Patreon account, yeah? If so, I plan to keep my donation going for as long as they keep it active. This site has given me so, so much happiness over the years, I feel like its the least I can do.
Goddamn. Was gonna be drinking tonight to the start of the Stanley Cup Finals, but I’ll be raising my glass to Shamus instead. We lost a real one today.
Also, it feels kind of shitty to say, but I don’t know how else to phrase it…I’m happy for his sake, if not his family’s, that he went out on his own terms, or at least as much so as can be expected. Dialysis is a nightmare, and I’m glad his last months were spent at home NOT dealing with all of that.
Y’know, anyone remember Inside the Actor’s Studio, and that Bernard Pivot questionnaire they would always ask the guests? The last question was, “if heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you at the Pearly Gates?” I think my answer, as of right now, just became, ‘hey there Brit. Shamus is waiting in the other room. He’d like to show you the new Mass Effect game he and his team just finished.’
Sigh. Love to Heather and the kids. Keep us posted if there’s anything we can do besides help with money. And thank you, too Paul, for letting us all know, and keeping us in the loop.
That bit about the new ME game in heaven just made me tear up a bit. Well put.
Let me join everyone in offering our condolences. Shamus’ departure is a loss to us all.
“I assume his family has access to the Patreon account, yeah? If so, I plan to keep my donation going for as long as they keep it active.”
I had this same question, and the same plan: I’ll leave my Patreon donation running for as long as I possibly can.
Soldierhawk, I remember the day, all those years ago, Shamus linked to your Youtube blind playthrough of Half-Life 2 and how fun it was to see a new player discover the game and all its twists and turns for the first time. I even watched one or two episodes. It’s so cool to see that you’re still around, and the community the man managed to build online.
Thank you <3. I remember it too, like it was freaking yesterday. I had been a fan of Shamus' for so, so long–he's literally one of the reasons I was inspired to start LPing and writing about games. He and Spoony were my two biggest inspirations. I can't even begin to explain to you what it was like to click onto the site one day…and find that he not only knew who the hell I was, he *had linked to my YouTube channel.* It was such a true and pure "oh my GOD senpai noticed me!!!" moment lol. And then, a few years later, to be invited onto his podcast a few times….I can't even describe it. I know he wasn't 'famous' in the traditional sense, but he was someone I looked up to so very much. He was famous to ME, so having him care about what *I* had to say was absolutely surreal, in the best way.
I actually went to do another Black Mesa video this weekend and…I just couldn't. I couldn't, because I clicked into my editing software, saw all the Black Mesa stuff, and my first thought was, "oh man, I'm near the end! I should email Shamus so we can schedule a discussion of the ending on his podca…." And then I remembered (again), and I just had to close out the software without doing anything. I just couldn't.
Not that I'm giving up on the LP or anything of course, it just felt too soon. I associate my LPs, and especially my Half-Life LPs, with him SO so much. I still haven't quite grasped the fact that I won't be able to talk about Black Mesa with him anymore.
He invited you on the Die Cast? That’s awesome! I’d totally be down to listen to those episodes. I remember when I actually got a chance to speak with him too and I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think any one of use here will forget the impact and inspiration he was to each of us.
Maybe there will be a day when you come back to your Black Mesa project. Probably not soon. Heck, probably not ever. I know how that goes. But maybe one day.
SoldierHawk(e) was in at least these three episodes, but I feel like there was at least one more:
There was indeed one more! The WoW/Spec Ops/GTA episode:
And thanks for scaring those links up, Paul. I might take a ride down memory lane and listen to those in a week or two. I’m so grateful they exist.
And who can forget the Andromeda episode:
And the HL2 episode:
And what I think is the first episode you were on, talking about the Mass Effect trilogy:
Holy crap I had no idea I was on so many. Damn.
I’m so looking forward to listening to these. I didn’t actually usually go back and listen to the episodes again. Thank you so much, Paul, for digging those up.
You’re a gentleman and a scholar, Paul. Thanks for the help.
Dang, Soldier, you were popular. :)
I guess I was lol. I remember all those convos, but not that they were on so MANY shows. Man.
I thought I wouldn’t be able to listen to them, but I queued one up anyway and…it was actually nice. Such good memories, and nice to hear us laughing together at silly video game things.
Oh I’ll be back at it. I wouldn’t want to leave it incomplete. I just need a week or two y’know?
I absolutely hear ya. Keep trucking on. I think that would make Shamus happy.
This is devastating. I’ve been reading TwentySided and listening to the Diecast for years. Please move me to an alternate timeline where this did not happen.
Like many of the others commenting, I have been visiting this place and reading Shamus’ words for well over a decade, drawn here by both his writing and the near-unique community he was able to foster through his particular moderating style.
My sincere condolences to his family and those close to him. He will be very much missed by a lot of people.
I’m shocked and saddened.
I followed Shamus ever since the Mass Effect days. He seemed to be a very decent and thoughtful person as well a fine writer. His clearheaded but biting wit and good humor have been and inspiration to me and many others.
The internet is lesser without him. Godspeed and I wonder what they eat in Heaven.
I’ve been here for a very long time as a reader and (very, very occasional) commenter. Shamus’ commentary has been a part of my life, from the long-form book version of System Shock, through the insightful re-telling of DM Of The Rings, through the whole Escapist build-up-and-collapse, through Deus Ex and other RPG anlysis, through the epic analysis and breakdown of the Mass Effect trilogy through the many shorter and longer development articles (Which, as a non-gaming developer I found really interesting)…
This was the blog I joined Google Reader to follow… and then migrated to Feedly upon the Google shutting down yet another project. Trying to find out when I started reading, I found I’d shared a Google Buzz (Remeber that?) link back in 2010… so at least 12 years…
I’ve read the entire blog, from start to now, having gone back to the beginning at a point, using an RSS catchup service to syndicate a few articles a day in order to catch up; sometimes spending a few days just reading. The quality was always excellent, the story telling was self aware and yet interesting. Despite never having spoken to Shamus, he was a part of my routine, and I looked forward to reading more…
None of us get out alive, so all we can hope is that our legacy lasts… I really hope that Shamus is satisfied with this epic construct, built day-by-day as a modern-day epitaph to one mans desire to analyse and make things better…
I’ve sent a small token to the family, in the hopes that I can help mitigate any stress over money they’re feeling at present. It’s not much, but I hope it can help in a small way. Farewell, wherever you are Shamus…
I’ve been following Shamus since the mid 2000s and was lucky enough to make a game with him. He was very kind, intelligent and a joy to everyone he interacted with. He was a source of inspiration for me since a long time, one of my college projects was inspired by his development posts.
I’m at a loss for words, my condolences to his family and friends. I’ll miss him :(
As a longtime reader of the blog and fan of Shamus’ work I am saddened to hear this.
It says a lot that most of us here have been here for 10-15 years. So long spent following one person is a great testament to his quality and the worth of his words. From comics to analysis to personal stories, Shamus always had something to say worth hearing, and it’s a terrible loss that we won’t hear anymore.
Love to his family. I hope they get through this as well as possible, and I hope it’s some small comfort knowing that all of us here will remember him for as long as they will.
Far from what I’d expected to see when I opened up the bookmark today.
…Damn. I’ve been reading this site off and on for 7 years now, mostly as a lurker, very rarely a commenter. Always so many thoughtful posts and fine critique to be found here, even when the age of the blog had long passed.
My condolences to the family, for what they’re worth. I can’t imagine what it’s like- I’ve lost a lot of personal heroes throughout the years, Shamus being one of them, but I’ve yet to lose a family member.
A common ancient belief was that immortality was in memorable deeds- to be remembered by the living was to live forever yourself. With how many people his wit and wisdom have brought to the site over the years, I don’t doubt his spirit will live on.
I think I discovered this blog in college -I think I came via DM of the Rings via Darths and Droids. And hung around through many topics. I always enjoyed it. It is the last blog I routinely read, and the second to last comment section I sometimes talk in.
He made a wonderful community and will be missed.
My deepest condolences to Heather and the kids.
I look forward to meeting him in person one day. Until then – rest in peace.
I’ve been a reader for quite a while, though not a frequent commenter. Internet communities are still communities. My condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones.
I’d also just like to share something that’s helped me through quite a bit of rough times for quite a while:
I wanted to honor Shamus by re-reading Free Radical. I managed to find a free e-book version on Kobo, if anyone’s interested:
There’s the web version hosted here as well:
Yes, but I the link to the printer friendly version is dead, which prompted me to find an e-book version.
There’s one on Barnes and Noble for six bucks but I don’t know if Shamus’ estate gets any profit from it. I also might have used estate incorrectly as I am not a native speaker.
For a moment after waking up I sort of “forgot” Shamus died and then it hit me again.
I’d love to hear a commemorative episode of Diecast where people who knew Shamus pay him a tribute.
This reminds me, I made a proper book poage for him with links to everything, but he never got it properly linked. Once everything settles I’ll go in and fix it.
We have it up on Smashwords here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/124443
Thanks, Heather. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss, hang in there!
Just another internet rando who’s been checking this blog as part of their routine for more than a decade. I could dig up exactly when and why, but we’re all here anyway.
This place and this person were important to me. I will remember, and tell others so that they remember.
He’ll be deeply missed. He wrote some things about how he grew up that resonated a lot with me and my little family. We think about, and talk about, the things he wrote. And we have for years now.
I’ve read Shamus for 8, maybe 9, years. His presence will be greatly missed.
Somehow, I wanted to read from him the most were his insights about psychology. A few posts of his, about MB classification and about 5 languages of love, it really felt like an old man sharing his experience with the world. I probably needed that.
Now we’ll never know the answer to “But what do they eat?” question.
Oh God. I know he’d mentioned that this might happen, but after the last few updates I assumed his health was doing a little better. I have no words for how incredibly sorry I am to hear this. My deepest condolences to his wife and family, and all those close to him such as Paul – his death is a great loss to us, but far more to them.
I’d like to offer my condolences as well. I haven’t been here as long as many of the people here and didn’t comment too often, but Shamus truly fostered a great community here. I’ll miss his writing greatly; I particularly adored his work on Final Fantasy X and the Arkham series. May he rest in peace.
Shocked and very sorry to hear this. I was an avid reader years ago, although not as much recently.
I will pray for his soul, and for his family.
May God grant him rest forever, and may light eternal shine upon him.
Shamus was (and always will be) one of my favourite writers, and I’ve many and happy memories of reading and re-reading his retrospectives and thoughts — he could be funny, incisive and iconoclastic all at once. If anyone ever earned the title of Renaissance man, it was him.
My very deepest condolences to his family and friends. Gaming and the writing world have truly lost a giant.
I’ve been a fairly regular reader on and off for a few years, but have regrettably never commented until now. I’ve enjoyed reading this blog, and it’s changed the way I look at a lot of things, not even just about video games. I’ll definitely come back to it as long as it remains available. I just wanted to say that, and my condolences to Shamus’ family and friends.
God. I didn’t really think it would come to this so soon. I was just another lurker, and only an active one in the last year or so, but it still tears me up. God bless him in death as he blessed us in life.
Well, that’s awful to hear. I’d say I was only a casual fan of Shamus’ work, but I always enjoyed it and I’m glad for having read it. May his memory be a blessing.
What a terrible loss. Shamus has been a part of my life through his writing for over fifteen years. His unique perspective, mixing analysis and creativity, has always been fascinating to read and ingest, and his analogies on programming have frequently helped me to grasp those concepts to apply to my own projects. Shamus has left his mark on the minds of people all over the world.
I’m so sorry for Heather and the kids, and wish them the deepest of condolences.
What terrible news! I’d enjoyed reading Shamus’ articles since the first time he was on The Escapist back around 2013 or 2014. It was when he was back there a few years ago that I started to follow him here. He is going to be very missed as it was always enjoyable to hear his thoughts regarding a wide variety of topis each week.
He will be sorely missed.
Rest in peace.
Another decades long reader here, I built a bridge on his minecraft server once and got snark because it was bigger than his.
So sorry to hear this, the internet is a slightly smaller less interesting place without him.
Oldest comment of mine google can find is November of 2007, but I know I picked up DMotR partway in and had to go back to get the backstory, so Shamus has been a regular part of my life for probably 15+ years now. I got myself an RSS feed specifically so I wouldn’t miss any of his posts, and the channels of the various blogs and sites have sparked, and burst into flame, and then dwindled over time ever since. Always 20-sided was a steady light of insight, intelligence, and orneriness. Another channel on the feed has gone dark today – one of the oldest and dearest to me.
Looks like your oldest comment is this one, April 2007, but a lot of people read for a while before they comment. Can’t say how much this community has meant to me over the years. I’m kind of hoping we can stick together, but I guess time will tell.
Maybe the forums could be re-opened. Would be the best way to keep the community together.
Please can we keep the community together?
Yes, in one way or another
I’m in a similar position – it seems I didn’t make my first comment until near the end of 2008, but I know I first arrived here while DM of the Rings was in progress. I think it took a while before I started to consistently read content that wasn’t the comic, but once I did, I’ve reliably followed Shamus wherever he went to publish more, even if my direct participation in comment threads has always been quite sporadic.
I am speechless. For me this was well over a decade of some of the best analyses of my favorite art form. I know Shamus made me a better person and hopefully a better author too.
Will miss you deeply, Shamus.
Thank you for everything Shamus! Life will not be the same. R.I.P. and my condolences to his family
Damn… I’ve been reading Twenty Sided here for nigh on 15 years now. I’ll miss his wit and humor, as well as the deep analyses of “But what do they EAT?”. Rest in peace, Shamus.
My condolences to the Youngs, and everyone else close to him.
It feels strange to say this in light of the loss to family and friends but Shamus’ presence on the internet meant a lot to me and he will be sorely missed.
I say presence because on top of his wit, his critical thinking, his humour and smarts it was the genuine humanity with which he shared with us his interests and passions, his successes and failures, his opinions on big videogame industry events and the introspective glimpses into his personal life that made this place special. I wish it could have gone on forever but I’m just going to say farewell to him by stating that this is no ordinary blog!
My sincerest condolences to his friends, family and wife, I loved Shamus Young for his articles and opinions on video games and some Doom levels. I was a not-so-active lurker here but to me, his name will not be missed, may his soul rest in peace…
I’ve been reading since DMotR and I could always rely on Shamus to make entertaining and educational posts. I’ll miss them, but not nearly as much as those who knew him. I hope they are coping well.
My sincerest condolences, I can’t even begin to state how much of an impact Shamus and Twenty Sided have had on my life, losing such a brilliant man is an immeasurable loss to the world. My deepest sympathies to his friends and family.
I can only hope that wherever Shamus is, he can find happiness there, a wonderful human being like him truly deserves the best.
If anything, the profundity of these comments serves the function of a strange form of epitaph; if anyone should ever try to claim that his life was anything less than powerfully impactful, the record presented here shall serve as a stunning refutation. Shamus, you meant a lot more than you ever could have known to a great many. May you have found some ultimate peace, and may your family find solace in the positive difference you have made for so many.
I was just listening to the Diecast this morning and his voice is very present in my head.
I’ll miss you Shamus.
This is utterly heartbreaking to hear. I lost my own father to a heart attack last week so this hits extra hard. Shamus was one of the smartest and funniest writers out there. I will sorely miss checking on his retrospectives every week. I hope this site can stay up as long as possible so we can continue to enjoy his work.
Can’t remember when I started reading, but I know I first saw him on The Escapist. Then eventually I checked out this site and dove into the archives while keeping up with it pretty regularly for a good long while. I did fall off at some point, but I did meet a bunch of cool people on here, have a lot of good memories. I’ll always be thankful for that.
My condolences to his friends and family, I hope he can rest well.
Lurker here, it took me a few minutes this morning to comprehend what had happened and I’m still in shock. Shamus & Twenty Sided have been part of my life since the early Mass Effect playthrough days and there’s going to be a un-fillable hole going forward. Shamus will be dearly missed and my heart goes out to his family.
Wow. Had to take a couple of minutes to compose what I was going to say here.
What awful news. And sudden! I knew Shamus wasn’t well, but I figured there’d be a bit more warning before…this… a slowing down of blog posts, worsening news on his health – something like that. Though thinking about it, I’m sure there was a lot going on behind the scenes that he didn’t mention on the blog.
Regardless: Rest In Peace, Shamus Young. Your insight and intelligence taught me a great deal about good games, bad games and good criticism. You will be missed.
Condolences to the rest of the Youngs.
I am so sorry for this loss, for everyone who knew and cared about Shamus. This blog has made my life more interesting for over a decade, and I can say that about very few other things in my life. I will greatly miss his contributions to gaming thought, and the chance for more novels. He was truly a singular presence in those arenas.
I was afraid this day would come, but did not expect it this soon. Been here since Autumn of 2006 after DMotR started up and stayed around ever since, so nearly 16 years. I’m so sorry for his family’s loss.
First time commentor, I wish it was under better circumstances.
I can’t believe he’s gone. Shamus’s commentaries and insights will be deeply, sincerely missed. I’ve always thought of him as one of the unsung pillars of the Gaming Community, and his works were always a joy to behold.
And now he’s gone.
There are no words.
I found this blog a few years back, when I was nearing the end of my CS Degree. Nerd Culture, Long-Form Analysis, Programming, and Projects are nearly a perfect cross-section of my interests. Shamus’s work was delightful, engaging, and inspirational to me. While I hope to re-read and re-discover old threads for years to come, it hurts that there won’t be any more.
I am so sorry for your loss.
dam, I was literally getting into this fandom today when I saw this, I am sorry for your loss
I just cannot believe he’s gone. I don’t want him to be gone, An irreplaceable treasure of a human being. So much to thank him for, thanks which should have been spoken earlier. But here we are.
You are missed terribly Shamus. Good-bye and thank-you.
Unfortunately I did not know Shamus as closely as the rest of you but I did get the pleasure of seeing him stream/podcast here and there w/ a friend of mine who’s been following him for years, the last one I saw him in being only a few days ago.
From my perception, he was a very enthusiastic, funny and overall happy person who enjoyed gaming along with mods and I never saw this coming as he seemed perfectly healthy to me.
My condolences to his friends and family, too young and undeserved…
May he RIP.
You will be missed.
I’ve been reading this site since DM of the Rings, and I’ve stuck around despite not being a gamer or programmer. Shamus had a unique ability to make niche subjects interesting and approachable for the rest of us, and I always enjoyed what he wrote even when I wasn’t particularly interested in what he was writing about. Very sad news, and the internet is worse for it. You will be missed.
Oh good Lord, no. Another long time lurker here. I lost both my parents over the last couple of years, so I know how Bay, Peter, and Isaac must feel. My deepest condolences to you all.
Although, as I say, I only lurked here, I always had great respect for Shamus’s opinion; he took the analysis of gaming as an artform seriously without ever being pretentious or laboured, and, sadly, that’s exceedingly rare… if not unique. Man, I’m going to miss that. We all will. Thanks for all the insights and the laughs that went with them, Shamus.
And although it’s far too soon to start thinking about such things, I hope Paul (and perhaps others) can arrange to continue something of the blog and the Diecast in his memory.
Yes, still mostly in shock, but we’ll figure something out. Hopefully be able to continue the legacy a bit, but at the very least put up a suitable headstone.
Though I never met him in the flesh, I lost a friend today.
We spoke many times. I played games with him. Even though I haven’t been around recently, I will miss him terribly.
My heart breaks for his family. It is an unimaginable loss.
Krellen. I know he also considered you a friend. Thank you.
Krellen, even though we haven’t spoken to one another in years, I want you to know that I think of you often.
I’m still on Twitter if you want to change the first part of that.
Well, currently, I’ve been going back and forth with Twitter support for the past 2 days trying to regain access to my account, since none of their verification code or password reset emails are sending. Or they refuse to work. So it’s been a tad frustrating.
I saw this earlier today and couldn’t think of anything to say. I can’t even remember how long I’ve been readfing Shamus’s writing. back since The Escapist Days I think. This comes as a rather brutal shock I’m afraid.
My deepest condolences to the family. For a decade or so we’ve been hearing Shamus share your troubles and triumphs. I can’t say that hardly any of us truly know you, but I think a great many of us care.
For RamblePak, PaulSpooner, and Rocketeer & others who got to interact more often, I both envy you and offer my condolences. I pray for your grief.
I hoped one day that I might be able to offer an article or whatever to Shamus myself. I won’t get that chance now.
This is very sad. I’ve been a fan of the blog since 2012 (ish). The internet won’t be the same without Shamus Young.
He won’t read it, but: Thank you for… everything, Shamus. Godspeed.
What a huge shock. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise given Shamus’s recent health but I had hoped for many more months, even years.
Like many others here, I’ve been following Twenty Sided for perhaps 15 years? I don’t read any other blogs – Shamus was the only one who’s views on gaming continued to captivate and inspire me. I don’t generally watch videos or listen to podcasts (although several times I was inspired to with Shamus’s content) so for me it was about his writing, his amazing wit and way of pointing out the hilarity of many of the standards and tropes of gaming culture.
My heart goes out to the family. It’s too soon and not fair.
This is terrible news. I’ve been reading this blog for years and I’ve greatly enjoyed Shamus’s writing.
If the family or friends are looking for help with archiving the site, I’d be interested in helping. Doing a one-time crawl of the site and republishing it using a host like Netlify or Render shouldn’t be too hard (famous last words, I’m sure). And both Netlify and Render are completely free for static sites, at least for now, so the only ongoing expense would be the domain name.
It’d be a terrible shame to lose this site along with the author, so please do reach out if I can help!
Thanks for volunteering! The family has every intention of keeping the site up. They are still discussing exactly what that will look like, but I am certain they won’t let it lapse and disappear. If a static archive is the path forward, they have your contact info.
I have been checking this blog daily as part of my morning routine for about six years now. I’ve never commented, only lurked. I kind of regret that now; it seems inadequate to be thanking Shamus only now. My one comfort is that I know, for a fact, that Shamus checked his analytics, so hopefully had some idea of how far his reach was outside of the visible commenters. Still, I wonder if he had any inkling that, on the other side of the world, an Australian school teacher he had never met would be saddened by his passing.
As many other people have mentioned, this blog feels unique. There’s an endless number of video essay channels on the internet these days, but there’s something uniquely satisfying about the written word. The posts on this site weren’t always tailored for me (I have no coding or programming experience, and am a casual PC gamer, at best), but I checked in every day anyway. Something about Shamus’ unique voice and writing style kept me coming back. Nowhere else on the internet scratches this very particular itch for regular, long-form written analysis of topics that interest me.
I originally found this site through Shamus’ Mass Effect retrospective, a series I have reread numerous times. I initially found it odd that he then tried to sell a hard copy of something I had always been able to access online for free.
I just purchased a physical copy of Mess Effect.
I don’t know what to say. I am incredibly sorry for your loss, and profoundly grateful for the impact Shamus had on me as a young adult.
Farewell Shamus. You will be missed.
Hi everyone. Another reader here who would like to say how sorry I am and how much I’ve enjoyed reading Shamus’ writing in the last few years.
I remember stumbing on “DM of the Rings” and “Free Radical” years ago, but it was only last year that I rediscovered Free Radical and that brought me back to this site.
I know it’s just a piece of fanfiction but I always loved what Shamus did with that story. He took a game which was, in many ways, the foundation stone of a whole genre of modern gaming (“the immersive sim”: Deus Ex, Bioshock, Thief, Dishonoured, Deathloop….)… but that game template (“run around and shoot robots and zombies”), like Doom and Space Invaders before it, was also missing something. Shamus gave that template a story and a soul: a romance and a redemption arc for both the the hero and the villain. That soul he added was something that’s still missing from most of modern gaming.
In a similar way, I have also deeply appreciated how *kind* the discussion forum is here, and that’s not something that happens by accident.
Shamus will be greatly missed, and my deepest sympathies are with his family, but I also know that the unusually positive influence he’s had on the Internet community over the last 20 years will live on.
His work has been a constant in my life for so long, to have his voice taken away is just so devastating. What a terrible loss.
Well…this was terrible news to hear.
Shamus’s writing has been a regular part of my life for quite a few years now, and he accomplished the remarkable task of creating one of the very few civil and well-functioning spaces on the Internet that I’m aware of. The world feels much, much poorer for his loss.
I wish you all the best.
Just so incredibly sad. Rest In Peace, Shamoose.
Thanks, Paul, for doing what needed to be done to share with us. My best to the all the Young family.
I’m devastated. Shamus was a big influence on me – I’ve read this blog for over ten years. I’ll help the family in any way I can.
Long time follower of the blog and his other content.
My condolences Heather and the kids.
May his memory be a blessing.
Oh no. I’ve been feeling utterly devastated all day after seeing this post. It’s so strange how these parasocial relationships happen without you realizing—I’ve never met Shamus but in reading this site I feel like I know him better than I know many people in my life. And I’m so fucking sad today.
In high school I found this blog while I was briefly studying programming, and I found it inspiring to find someone who could write so passionately about coding. I never became a programmer, but my main hobby at the time—composing little pieces of video-gamey music after school—has stuck around. During the early development of Good Robot I reached out to Shamus and offered to write music for it. I was maybe 15 or 16 and pretty clueless, but on the internet no one can tell you’re a teenager I guess. Anyway, he mentioned me in the next article and linked the track I had made, which was a wonderfully generous thing to do for a random kid, and totally made my day (whatever day that was, back in vocational school haha).
I didn’t end up making anything else for Good Robot but it seemed like that track I made (along with a bunch of other people on this site who offered to do music) inspired Shamus to learn how to make music on his own. I had stopped following the blog as regularly by this point, but a few months later I was delighted to find his engaging writing style applied to music lessons, of all things!
So that’s my Shamus story. I’m going to miss reading his writing so much.
I somehow missed giving that track a treatment when I was doing Good Robot mini-AMVs. Maybe it’s time to make one more, for old-time’s-sake.
Rest in piece,
I truly enjoyed the content he wrote and he seemed like a great guy.
Worst last news of the day.
Deepest condolences to his family and friends.
This is terribly sad. I’ve been reading Shamus’s writing ever since DM of the Rings was new, and it would be over a decade before I actually played D&D myself. His writing had a way of topics I had zero knowledge of accessible and interesting, like all the posts about programing. And of course his thoughts on game narratives and sci-fi worldbuilding were always fun to read. I’ll miss doing so.
I am one of the many who took great joy and found great insight in reading Shamus’s work for the last decade or more, but rarely if ever commented here. I nonetheless feel part of this unique community created around this site, and I think it says so much about Shamus that he has built a sanctuary like this on the internet, and his presence and writing and creativity will be missed.
Long time reader, first time commenter. I found my way here due to what became the Mass Effect epic from a mention over on Rock Paper Shotgun, skimming the comments, I was not the only one.
Reading new entries was the highlight of my week when they were getting released. Shamus put so eloquently into words the synaptic grunts that were going off in the back of my brain while playing those sequels. I never participated in the comment section or the forum at the time, but it made me feel good to see so many other people share the same view and discuss things with the same passion Shamus put into writing each entry.
Rest in Peace. And, thank you all.
My condolences to his family.
I love Shamus’s work and am greatly saddened to hear that he is gone.
His writing and critique had a huge impact on how I think about games and stories and his code work and tutorials contributed to my programming experience.
He will be greatly missed.
There just aren’t words. I stare at my screen, I stare at my keyboard, but this is one case of writer’s block that isn’t backing down.
I hope this site never disappears, and will do anything I can, as long as I can, to help make it so. I’m sure I’m far from alone in that sentiment. If there’s anything specific that ever needs done in that regard, my email is attached to this post.
Shamus made the internet–which is really to say, the world–a smarter, sharper, funner place. Long may he be remembered with fondness, and honor, and just a little bit of irreverence. :’)
Completely and utterly crushed. Shamus and I had just entered into a tentative partnership to found a company based on procedurally generating human animation for use in indie game development. Our first meeting (over zoom) was so enjoyable, I felt like I had found a lifelong friend. I can’t believe someone so smart, kind, good-natured, and well-intentioned could be taken away so suddenly. I’m so sorry for his family. I wish I had more words to write, in a more eloquent manner. But I’m just too despondent to put down coherent thoughts. The good die young.
Rest in peace, Shamus
I’m right there with you man. We were going to make a No Mans Sky style spaceships and planets game together. He was working on building up a backlog of articles so he could focus on programming. “I’ve just got to make some time” is what he said. There wasn’t enough time in the world to follow all his dreams, but I wish there was just a bit more.
For what it’s worth, his friendship with all of us was as life-long as it could be. He considered the community here his closest friends. I said it back during the Spoiler Warning breakup, and I still think it’s true. When given the choice between a group of four smart funny intelligent creative gamers who he spent hours with every week, and us poor slobs here in the comments who gave him nothing but a bit of attention, he stuck with us. He framed it at the time as not having a choice, but he was being modest. He did have a choice, and he chose all of us, and he stuck with us right to the bitter end. It was never going to last forever, but as much as there was, he gave to us.
You did find a lifelong friend. And he found us too. We found each other.
That’s beautiful, Paul. Thank you.
And I would’ve loved to see that spaceship and planets game
Came here via DM of the rings – it must have been in late 2008, because I remember that I was already in college, but also that I read DMotR before reading Darths and Droids, which was still late in Episode I when I read it (so it can’t have been later than January 2009).
I think I didn’t pay attention for a bit after that, and came back a few years later to read everything from the “Game Design” and “Programming” categories. I don’t know when I started reading articles as they came out – I’m pretty sure I followed Frontier Rebooted and Good Robot development as they were released (so by the end of 2013), but I also get the feeling that I only read some retrospectives after they were fully published.
I know I was reading lots of content on the site by summer 2016, at least – that was the year I worked in an incoming call center and did a lot of Sunday overtime – they’d have us there in case customers called, but that only happened a few times in the day, and we were allowed to do whatever we wanted as long as we could drop it the moment a call came in, and I remember that this site was one of my favorite ways to pass the time between calls (especially the series about Lulzy that was being reposted as Sunday content at the time).
I never did get around to listening to the Diecast, but would still read Shamus’s notes and the comment section for those posts anyway.
I have an on-again-off-again game project involving procedural world generation that Shamus was a big inspiration for. I’d always hoped that one day when I’d done enough work on it, I could send him a demo build and it might catch his attention enough for him to give some kind of feedback.
Today was a bit of a bad day for me in general, but the worst way to end it was to come here and see a whole obituary posted to the front page.
I’ve read damn near every post Shamus has made on this site since I first started following during DM of the Rings, back in 2008. 14 years his writing has been a part of my life. His wit, his easy-going, casual style, his talent for invective and humorous critique when needed, the intimate, familiar tone of his writing, his openness about his interests and his challenges, his vulnerability in what he chose to share with the strangers of the Internet – in many ways Shamus was a role model to me about what a 21st century writer should be. I know this means little to his family, but I feel like I lost an old friend today.
He touched literally tens of thousands – possibly millions? Dang, I wish he shared his traffic statistics! – of lives, giving all of us a little bit of joy. That, I think, is a worthy thing indeed in this life.
Like many others have said, Twenty Sided will remain right where it has for the last decade – on the very top of my bookmarks. Here’s to you, Shamus. You will be deeply missed.
I’m so very sorry. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Like many, I’ve been reading for years – this site has seen me through some pretty bad times – and I hope so much it can stay as long as possible. Shamus will be so missed.
This feels like losing a relative. It still hasn’t fully hit me yet. I really don’t know what to say. This really was the only place on the internet where you could get fun, insightful content without any of the toxicity the rest of the internet has become. There really was nothing like it, just like there was no one else like Shamus. I’m really going to miss this community, because whatever happens, it’s not going to be the same without him.
For years I wanted to buy him the book Game Feel, but I was waiting to get a decent-paying job before doing so. But I waited too long. I should have done it sooner – I had the cash. January of this year, I actually lost my job, and felt awful when I read about his kidney problems – that would have been a great time to buy him that book. I was actually planning on doing that next month, seeing as just last month I landed a really good job.
But it seems like I waited too long. No matter what, though, I will give what I can to the PayPall. Just like my stupid book idea, it would be woefully inadequate given everything Shamus has done for me by building this website and this amazing community. I’m completely serious when I say that this website has helped me become a better person. Not only by cheering me up during very dark times, but also by helping me be more thoughtful and appreciative with the culture I’m exposed to. Not to mention seeing all the different perspectives espoused by members of this community. If nothing else, it’s made me much more tolerant of different opinions on things I feel strongly about. And that’s been an enormous help when dealing with some of my family members…
But whatever I say here actually doesn’t matter. We’ve lost the sanest person in the history of gaming, and a really, really great and earnest person. And even though he’s never seen me, or even heard me speak, he shared so mich of his life and who he was that I still feel him like a very close friend. Rest in peace, Shamus. You were a true friend.
Don’t worry about not giving things sooner Lino. I also waited too long to gift him some games. I did become a Patreon a few years ago, but my financial situation had already been quite stable for some time. These things take time to do. It’s natural, and no one is blaming you. Don’t worry about it.
Shamus always read all the comments and you have added to the community immensely with all your comments and questions to the diecast. You were clearly enganging with and appreciating his work. I am sure he noticed that and appreciated that about you, regardless of any gifts you might have sent.
I’m afraid I have nothing useful or novel to say… I’ve been around since 2009 it seems, and for a long while now I’ve had a daily routine of opening up a series of websites and going through them. Twentysided was always the first tab.
I’m so sorry, Shamus – you’ll be missed. My condolences to your family and friends.
I’ve been staring at this for a while in complete disbelief, hoping it was some sort of twisted joke, waiting for a punchline that never came. I knew he was preparing us all for it, but I still found it completely shocking. I just don’t know what to say.
Shamus had a massive influence in how I look at writing, not just in videogames, which seemed to be his preferred hobby to discuss, but in everything. His style of humor also resonated with me personally, to the point where it has become extremely influential in how I write. Ocassionally looking at my comment history in this website, it’s very clear the positive influence he’s had on me. While I started as a raging, always complaining lunatic I ended being much more civil and analytical. Once in a while I still find something that enrages me, but most of the time I prefer to calm down and try to understand the nuances.
I hope he knows he’s made my life better. I will miss him like I would a friend. My condolences to everyone who knew him personally.
Oh my god.
I have no words.
I rarely comment, but I have been reading Shamus’ blog religious for maybe 8 or 9 years now, I think. I check the site every day or so. Aside from workstuff and Reddit, Shamus’ blog was the only place I really came to on the internet. I loved this blog and this podcast, the diecast.
I’m sorry, I don’t mean to make this about myself–that’s really not my intent. I’m so sorry for the wife, Heather, and family. I lost my father in 2016 and it still hurts.
I’d like to think I could write something more poetic or important or impactful but I don’t know what to say. I feel like I have lost a friend who never knew I loved him. I loved everything he did. I asked him to write about Prey (and he did!) and I wanted him to write about Deus Ex (and he started it). I listened to every podcast. Shamus never knew who I was (because I am just a fan), but I felt like he was–he was a very important part of my life. I can only imagine the pain for the rest of you. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m so very sorry.
I do not have paypal but I want to help. Are there other ways I can send money? If not then I guess I need to figure out how to make a paypal. I never helped before, I always wanted to, or meant to, and I never did.
I should stop writing before I ramble. But, man, I am so sorry for your loss. For a man who always promoted the idea of “video games, not politics” in his work, what always came through, I feel, was Shamus’ philosophy–which I felt was about love for other people, as well as a love for stories and how you can improve those stories by making them interactive with player agency.
I hope I have not offended with my words. I will miss Shamus very much. I am so sorry for your loss.
Mr. Paul Spooner, I have tried to make a paypal account and send money but I am told my card was denied from it. Are there other ways I can send financial support to the family? You can probably see my email address while others cannot. If you can reach out to me that way–I just want to be able to help at this time.
Unfortunately, I don’t know of another easy way to send support other than Paypal. You could sign up to his Patreon, but that’s not going to be immediate, as it pays out monthly.
Try again with PayPal perhaps?
Sorry I can’t be more helpful.
I added a few other ways that people can help, including my son-in-law’s cashapp, an amazon wishlist that would help as we temporaily combine households and get the kids moved to their new home, and what gift cards we can use (which could be directed at Shamus’ email as I have access to it).
I’ve been following Shamus Since the early days of the Escapist and I’ve enjoyed following his nitpicking and essays even after he moved his thoughts here. And now he’s gone.
I didn’t participate actively on this site. I was a reader, a lurker. it is hard for me to integrate in a new group. but today, I want to, I need to…
Shamus was producing content that was different from the rest of the internet. many are reviewing games, writing code and telling stories, but few do all of that and none do it in a way as entertaining as Shamus did. with him gone, the internet just got a little bit more boring.
I wish well to all of you that had a little piece of him in your life.
my deepest condolences to his close friends and family.
I will miss you, Shamus.
Long time reader, was a bit intimidated by the great community he attracted here to dare to comment. But he was a big part of my online reading life, so of course I had to present my condolences.
I’m sure he’ll be missed all around the planet, a huge achievement for a life. But my heart with the family. Sorry for your loss…
Godspeed Shamus, it’s frightening how such things happen so suddenly. I’ve frequented this site since late 2018, it and you will be dearly missed.
I never thought the loss of a man I’d never met or even conversed with in any meaningful way could affect me so deeply. I can’t even begin to understand what the Young family is experiencing right now. What can I say that hasn’t been said better? Nevertheless, I’ll try to grasp what made this blog and its author so special, even if I’m just kind of shouting into the void in a dubious effort to process my own grief.
When I first came here, it was the heyday of the Escapist and Stolen Pixels was still running. I ended up sticking around, and in the last decade and change I’ve said little but read much. Shamus’ work was right up my alley in more ways than one. Yes, he covered and critiqued subjects that interested me often in a humorous and insightful way, and that’s one reason. But there’s more to it than that. Over the years, his writing helped me see some of the ways software and art could intersect, how critique wasn’t just bashing something you don’t like but looking at how to make it better, and how to take a story apart and examine what made it work (or not, as was often the case). It always felt like he was thinking about or trying something new, and sharing the results with his audience in a manner that could make anything sound not only comprehensible but interesting too. Shamus may not have realized it, but he was an inspiration to at least one person out there.
In the decade I’ve been following this blog I’ve gone from being an eager young Computer Science student to a disillusioned career programmer, but TwentySided has been a constant through it all and a small corner of the internet that felt genuine and welcoming. That might sound strange coming from a lurker, but I love that I rarely had to worry about some flame war raging in the comments when I came by, and that often the comments section could be just as civil and insightful as the main article. To me that feels like a relic of a lost era, and while it wasn’t always perfect I think Shamus deserves great credit for cultivating a site where meaningful, friendly discussion could take place.
I’m sorry it took something like this for me to finally contemplate and attempt to articulate what it has all meant to me. I’m deeply grateful for Shamus working so hard to keep this site running for so many years, through thick and thin. We’re a long way from being able to say death has no sting, but I still have hope that it’s not the final word.
What more can I say? I have a few things, I guess. A novel-length deconstruction of the Mass Effect trilogy was not something I knew I needed in my life, but I’m glad to have it. I greatly enjoyed Witch Watch and I still think about The Other Kind of Life regularly. DM of the Rings is a classic.
May Shamus rest in peace and his family find solace in the midst of the loss.
Exactly this. This website and Shamus’ content in various forms have been a long and not-insignificant part of my life.
Even though he telegraphed this ending, the twist is that it still came way too soon.
I was just talking to someone the other day about Wavatars and their origin.
Thank you, Shamus, for all the good that you put out into the world.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve commented, but over the 15+ years that I’ve been aware of Shamus, his work has improved my life. I found him from one of the old Wizards D&D fora (I don’t think it was Gleemax yet) when someone linked DM of the Rings. I’m pretty sure it was still running, as I think I started reading it before Darths & Droids became a thing, but memories going back that far get hazy. He inspired me to do my own movie parody comic (in the same program, even) as a student project and has shaped my approach to game criticism in my academic career. I couldn’t tell you how much enjoyment I got from his writing, recording, and Let’s Plays over the years, and it seems unbelievable to think he’s gone. He has passed beyond his physical infirmities, at least.
To the Young family (if any should read this), I hope you can grieve and that you find your peace. Shamus brightened the lives of many, including my own.
Thank you. We are all reading, including his mother. The comments are a great comfort to us all.
Y’all take care of yourselves however you can.
Shamus inspired me, as well, to make my own movie parody / campaign comic. Just yesterday I came across the TV Tropes page on Campaign Comics, and he’s still listed proudly as the trope namer.
I can’t begin to count the number of projects that he’s inspired or provided the groundwork to jump start others. The Internet lost a great inspiration, but I think we’re better for the marks he left us.
I was a lurker, only commented a few times.
But Shamus and his work was an honestly outsized part of my life. Coming back here every day or two to check out the latest post, even if I didn’t read it (usually retrospectives, because I was saving many of them for after or during my own playthrough), it was comforting, warm and welcoming.
I’ll miss him a lot.
I’m very sad to hear this. :(
My condolences to his family and friends.
I’ve been reading this website since 2007, I think. Probably even earlier. Shamus was the most insightful and incisive media critic I’ve read, and a wonderful writer to boot. Even at his most strident, his critique was always constructive and never personal. I got the sense he always wanted the best for everyone.
His ability to break down complex problems and to explain them in simple, engaging terms made him a joy to listen to and to read. He was an inspiration for me to write and a major influence on my writing style.
Shamus was also a calming presence on the Internet. The quality of the community he built here is a testament to that. It’s not a coincidence that this place has been a fixture of my life for sixteen years. This is the only place I would still comment at after having written off online interaction in the large.
So long Shamus, and thanks for all the diecast. And the essays. And the advice. And the stories. I’m going to miss you, man.
And the world grows a little dimmer, at least for today. I enjoyed Shamus’ critique and commentary and insight. They will be missed, as will he. I wasn’t expecting to have to say goodbye so quickly. Such is life.
My deepest condolences to his loved ones.
I was recommended this site by my sister during the NV SW season. At the time I didn’t really like reading and so mostly engaged with the videos, but I soon loved a lot of Shamus’s writing. I really enjoyed listening to the Free Radical audiobook that Paul made, and was really happy when the diecast started. I don’t know if I got into They Might Be Giants because of the roller coaster bowling video, but they happened around the same time.
I haven’t been around lately. Still Shamus has had a huge impact on how I think about games, and due to what he wrote and said I have tried some games I wouldn’t otherwise, like the first two fallouts and system shock 2 (although I can’t seem to sink my teeth in it). His comment section has been one of the best I have run into on the internet.
I will miss him.
Edit: I didn’t realize how nastalgic the generated avatar would make me
My deepest condolences to Heather and the rest of the family. While I’ve left only one or two comments, I’ve been following this blog for ages and found many hours of entertainment here. I wish you strength in these tough times.
I just did the math, and I’ve been enjoying Shamus for over 16 years- I got started when he was posting his D&D AARs and while I knew we were all getting older, this comes as an awful shock.
My deepest condolences to Heather and the rest of his family- Shamus, I’ll miss your strong, clear voice of reason shining like a beacon of order in a sea of chaos.
Rest in peace, friend.
A long time ago I stumbled upon a then-ongoing webcomic called DM of the Rings. Then I discovered the rest of the blog and have been an avid reader ever since, marveling at Shamus’ talent at writing in topics ranging from tabletop games to technical programming posts that somehow were always easy to follow even back when I didn’t have programming knowledge myself. My sincere condolences to Heather and the family.
Awful news. I’ve been reading his work for well over a decade by now – thank you Shamus, for all the laughs and thought-provoking insights. My condolences to his family and friends.
I have enjoyed reading and listening to Shamus for 17 years. Condolences to all his family in this dark time. Keep critiquing in Heaven .
I will always remember him for his legendary Mass Effect Retrospective.
I’ve still got the tab open. And I still can’t process the fact that the title is still “The Late Shamus Young”. I don’t know if I said that already, but: My deepest condolences to Heather, his family, Paul, and his friends.
Please accept my deepest and most sincere condolences to Shamus’ family and friends. I’ve been a long time reader of his work and cannot quite process this.
I am so deeply sorrowed by your loss.
Although I never had the chance to meet Shamus in person, I’ve had the pleasure of being a reader and fan of his work since I first came across his procedural terrain project so many years ago, when I was only barely a teen, just trying to teach myself programming and fascinated by everything related to games and procedural generation.
Shamus had such a great and unique talent for writing, and especially for explaining rich technical concepts in a way that made it so easy for me to learn and vicariously share in his own passion and excitement watching each project come together. Although I was never a frequent commenter, ever since that first project I’ve been an avid reader of every single post here, and I have long considered Shamus one of my greatest inspirations.
I’ve been reading this blog through my entire high-school and college education, and Shamus made an indelible impact on the course of my career (not to mention my taste in games).
I wish that I had told him that while I still had the chance.
My deepest condolences to those who had the joy to know and learn with him in person.
I too, will miss him.
Shocked and saddened to discover this. I discovered this blog through DMotR and Shamus’ discussion of a past campaign, which inspired me to take up Dungeons & Dragons, a hobby that I deeply love and continue to this day. That was 14 years ago, now, and I’ve been an almost-daily viewer since. I will deeply miss his humor and insights.
My sincere condolences and sorrow for your loss.
I’m not sure what to say in response to this news. I will share how I attempted to describe Shamus’s importance to some friends unfamiliar with his work:
I genuinely looked forward to that weekly podcast. It was part of my routine. Just being able to count on another episode of Shamus ranting about whatever he had to rant about that week was a steady point in an otherwise chaotic world.
I didn’t get to engage with Shamus in any direct way, but he always felt like a friend to me, and his passing hits the same way the passing of a friend’s would.
I really will miss him.
Rest in Peace man.
I hadn’t expected this to hit as hard as it did, but I’m sitting at my desk in disbelief barely maintaining composure. Shamus blog has been a constant and comforting fixture of my life for at least 8 years. Shamus will be missed. My deepest condolences to the Young family.
I can only wish I left such a legacy of wit, insight, humour, and love for the hobbies we partake in. For me, Shamus was really a man who made the world a better place. I hope this site stays online for long, as I love reading through his backlog.
Thank you for all you gave to us, Shamus!
This is one heck of a blow. My heart goes out to Shamus’ family, and friends alike.
For my retrospective, I first got introduced to his blog by family sharing DM of the Rings with me, and as I travelled the realms of game development & procedural generation over the years, I’d often find my way back here as his many interesting series exploring different programming challenges frequently wound up in my search results. In my friendgroup, his commentary and critique of games like Mass Effect were almost always conversation starters, and it’s through them I’ve found out about his passing.
RIP to a real one. We’ll miss you, Shamus.
While checking if any other sites picked up on this tragic news, I realised Shamus is also well remembered by the doom mapping community:
Also, this hits right in the feels:
Wow, from his last blog post about the subject, I would have never thought that he’d be called an early legend of Doom modding. “Well received” seems to be an understatement.
This is terribly sad news. Through the blog, the podcast and his books, Shamus has been a big source of joy in my life. His writing and his approach to criticism have been an influence and a source of inspiration. He will be remembered with great fondness by thousands of people. My best wishes to his friends and family.
Rest in peace.
My condolences to Shamus’ family.
Like many others here, I found Shamus’ writing funny and insightful and his coding projects inspired me to learn programming myself.
He will be missed.
I’ve read and followed this site for a long time, but only very rarely commented. I still feel like I need to add my tribute here. Shamus will be missed.
I’m so sorry to hear this terrible news.
Shamus’ writing drew me in immediately – I came across one of the Mass Effect retrospectives then went back and read many of his retro and other articles since. He had a fantastic way of thinking about the game worlds and stories and has helped me re-evaluate several games.
Getting notifications of new posts was always a highlight of my day.
My condolences to his family.
My deepest condolences to Heather, the family, and everyone else who was closer to Shamus than I was.
I can’t remember when I started reading here, but it was likely some reference to DM of the Rings that got me here. But it’s a credit to Shamus’ writing ability that what I re-read most and fairly frequently are the long-form retrospectives, including the games that I haven’t really played like the Spider-Man one and even FFX. While I go through his various comics every so often, I can pretty much run the Retrospectives and gaming commentary ones, even the ones that are by now a bit out-of-date. They are, in fact, so good that I often cite them and what Shamus has said for posts on my own blog using his concepts for my own discussions.
For the past number of years, I’ve been pretty much starting my work day by checking at 6 am Eastern time, when the scheduled posts usually went up. It will leave a hole to know that there won’t be a new post from Shamus to read at that time.
So sorry to hear it.
I’ve been reading Shamus for years now, and his analyses made me appreciate good writing in games and other forms of fiction.
I’m absolutely devastated to hear this. My thoughts go out to Shamus’ family. No words I can say could ever make up a fraction of this loss, but I’d like to try and express what this blog has always meant to me.
I’m another one of the long time lurkers, rare commenters. I was hooked from way back in college reading DM of the Rings in 2006 or so. I don’t remember if Shamus’s interview on Fear the Boot introduced me to that podcast or vice versa, but it was about that time. Shamus had this ability to draw you into his writing with its honesty. What I always really liked about it was that you could see his thought process in the writing. He was clearly writing not just for other people, but for himself, and it shows in the words. It’s like he’s thinking out loud, and bringing you along with him. It made it very easy to understand and to trust him, even when you disagreed with his thesis.
It’s also a testament to his character that the man kept a blog like this for getting on for two decades, and it is frankly one of the nicest, friendliest places on the internet. He attracted good people to this place, and it shows in the quality of comments and discussion that turn up even on the most controversial and contentious of topics. In both his posts and his comments he always comes across as open minded, eager to listen but also willing to state his views, and welcoming.
This loss leaves a hole in the internet that I honestly don’t think anything can fill.
Rest in peace Shamus Young. If there is a better place you are surely in it.
I rarely comment here, but I will de-lurk for such an occasion. Twenty Sided has had a permanent tab in my browser for a good 15 years. He will be sorely missed.
Another long time reader but infrequent commenter. My sincere condolences for your loss. I liked Shamus; he usually had something witty or insightful to say about the industry. He will be missed. I can only hope that things work out for you. :( ;_;
For a while now I have been staring at this post, torn between the need to write something and the inability to find the proper words.
You touched so many people, so many lives, with your words. Words that granted but glimpses into the life and the mind of a wonderful man, husband, father. And though I am devastated that you are gone, I am at the same time happy that you were here.
You will be missed.
And to think I was continually putting off my mailbag questions for a better time. This news is terrible, and hit like a ton of bricks this morning.
Condolences often feel trite to me, because I always feel limited by a vocabulary that’s not expressive enough for my sentiments. But since I can’t do any better at this point in time: I am so sorry for this loss. I wish all the best to Shamus’ family and hope they see this through as best they can.
I wish I had the words.
I’ve been following the site since the DM of the Rings series was ongoing. Visiting the site has been a part of my morning routine for so many years. My condolences and sympathies for the extended Young family. He will be missed.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
This is terribly sad to hear, and words fail to capture just how much I liked several of his works, and how much I’ll miss hearing his thoughts, despite me being just a random guy on the internet, and having never met him.
Dear Shamus and Family,
I came to this blog when a friend sent me a link to DM of the Rings, many many years ago. Though I didn’t comment very often, I instantly felt like I belonged here. I stayed for Shamus’s wit, humor and for just generally making the internet a better place. Thank you Shamus!
My condolences to your family at this time of grief. We’ve never met and likely never will. But you have made my life a better.
As a person with a firm belief in God, and living a life of religious devotion, I see death as only a temporary separation. Painful in the short term, but with knowledge of a joyful reunion to look forward to.
Many greetings and much love from Germany!
This was not what I was hoping to read. My condoleances to his loved ones. May his memory live among us for a long time.
Like most who have commented, I have been around, on and off, for a while. I don’t rightly know how long, actually. Somewhen before Star On Chest, I think?
I have even ended up having some bizarre real-life experiences due to Twenty-Sided. Who knew how complicated it was, sending electronic equipment internationally? I don’t even know if it helped making the blog/site more mobile-friendly, and while I am not that interested in the answer, I now know that I will never get it directly.
As someone else said, my initial reaction seeing the title was “heh, what’s he’s been up to now?” and then I learned, and it saddens me. But, it is also a small spark of joy, that even such sad news as this can spark a smile, however sad it is.
Long time reader here. This is such a shock and a tremendous loss. Shamus was such an eloquent writer and I always respected his writing and opinions. I will miss looking forward to his next entry in a long-winded but highly enjoyable and informative series, whether it was his retrospectives or just his general bang-on critiques. Sorry for your loss. Shamus was a real one.
I really don’t know what to say. I’m not much of a reader, but I cared enough about what Shamus had to say that I visited this page every day just to see if there was something new from him, because I enjoyed hearing the way he thought about things. Shamus is hands down, my favorite person who talks about my favorite hobby. The Other Kind of Life is the best take on AI I’ve ever read. I hope all that says something meaningful, but I’m so very sorry for you all.
I’ve been following this site for over a decade, always loved Shamus’s writing, always looked forward to a new piece by him. This is really sad news…
My condolences to the family and to everyone who was close to him, my heart is with you.
Prayers and condolences to his family!
Perhaps the first thing I read from Shamus was something a bit unconventional: I stumbled across Seven Springs, a story from his teenage years. It struck a chord with me, as a teenager myself at the time. Though separated by decades, I’ve saw a kindred spirit in Shamus as he wrote about his life, his upbringing, and occasionally his faith.
There’s a lot of “funny guys on the internet” and “people with opinions on video games”. But Shamus was genuinely one of the few people on the internet who I genuinely looked up to as something of a distant ‘mentor’ figure: a model in his creativity, his productivity, and how he worked at and maintained this “little piece of internet”. It’s heartbreaking to hear of his passing.
At the end of Seven Springs, Shamus recounts that, at the age of 19, he resolved to Stop Screwing Around and see what he accomplished.
And, see, what he accomplished!
Augh, man, you’re making me tear up again.
Yeah, he had his own special voice but he never had a shtick. He wasn’t doing a bit, even though he was always entertaining. He was deeply thoughtful, and spoke his mind as he saw fit, whether to lavish praise on that which he thought well done, or to eviscerate what he deemed of poorer quality, but he never was disingenuous or mean-spirited, at least not unjustly. He had a particular way of dissecting things into their essential parts, but in a way completely foreign to how I would tend to approach the same topic. I think that’s what got me hooked on his writing initially. In Free Radical he spends a long time on what Shodan is, and why she would end up being a malefactor. Not just because “AI spooky, murders people” but because her programming was such that without the ethical constraints she couldn’t act otherwise. I really loved the depths he delved into those ideas, and I will always treasure and revisit the works he left us in his too-brief stint in this world.
I almost can’t believe it. Shamus was one of my favorite writers on the internet.
Faretheewell good sir. I hope there’s an afterlife so someday I can finally buy you that drink you didn’t know I owed you.
This passage from the Autoblography stuck with me when I first read it, and sticks with me now:
Heather, you were there with him, unflinchingly, all the way to the end. You were vital to his being the man he was, who so many of us so greatly respect and will sorely miss. He was a public figure, and so we all knew him in some small but profound way; but he was, is, and will always be yours in a way none of us can approach. God bless you for it, and comfort you and your family now in your loss. No suffering can touch him now, nor ever will again.
Oh well said. For how public he was about his computer-oriented interests, well, that’s not all of life.
Hard to add anything that has not been already said. Thank you for all the years of laughter, wit and insight Shamus. May you rest in peace.
Heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. He was one of a kind and brought so much to many.
I have been reading this website since the days he was posting recaps of his DnD campaign. He was one of the most astute writers and observers of culture and of human beings I have had the pleasure to read online.
I am very sorry to hear this and my condolences for your loss.
May his memory be a blessing.
I picked up a random issue of Dragon Magazine when I was in high school, and for whatever reason they were talking about Shamus’ work on DM of the Rings. On a whim I looked him up, found him being interviewed by Fear the Boot, and started reading/listening. Been a lurker and infrequent commenter ever since. Between the tabletop rpg connection and his frequent essays that somehow always seemed to coincide with the game I was obsessed with, Shamus was my gateway to the internet at large. He taught me and others to be more of a curmudgeon about video games (a medium that could use a good bit more curmudgeoning, if you ask me), to think critically about the media I consume, and managed to have fun doing it.
He was a legend, and the world is poorer for his loss.
The first article here that I remember reading was Dueling Gameplay. I would have been around middle school, frustrated with video games and lacking the articulation to describe what felt wrong about them. I remember following a link from there to Self Balancing Gameplay, and feeling enlightened by how the background systems of a game changed how we perceived it.
I was an kid who wanted more than anything to be a programmer in a time and place where nobody around me knew what that was, and Shamus’s remarks about his career were one of the first places where I felt that was really an option. Free Radical instilled in me an affection for cyberpunk, I first played X-com because of a link on this site, and more than one GM has been pestered with “but what do they eat?” because of Shamus’s influence on me.
So hey. Shamus, it’s too late for me to tell you directly, but thank you for making an awkward preteen feel less weird and alone in the world. Thank you for giving a college student confidence that computers and writing were worth pursuing. Thank you for doing so much of your thinking and writing out here on the internet where we could all learn from you.
To Heather and everyone else who was close to him, I am so sorry for your loss.
Been around for ~8 years. No words. Goodbye, Shamus.
Shamus was the reason I first started programming ~15 years ago. I saw his pixel city project and was inspired.
This simple prompt gave me a new skill completely changed my career path. It is not an exaggeration to say that I would not be where I am today without Shamus’ writings as a continuing source of inspiration.
In an indirect way he had an outsized influence on the course of my life.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Well damn. I didn’t comment here a lot or participate in discussions, but I love(d) Twentysided. Shamus and his content were a consistent source of insight, amusement and inspiration for almost 10 years, and he hugely influenced the way I think about a wide variety of things.
My condolences to the family and other friends. RIP Shamus and thank you for everything.
I’ve enjoyed this site’s content for a long time, I’ll miss Shamus and his wonderful texts. My condolences.
This blog has been a regular fixture in my life for such a long time…I was linked to DM of the Rings while it was ongoing, so presumably 2007. I’m not sure when I started regularly reading the blog, but certainly by the time of Pixel City in 2009. And I was late to Spoiler Warning, picking it up at Human Revolution (and then bingeing what was already an enormous back catalogue!)
This site has been an oasis, an island where the internet was better, more thoughtful, and entirely disinterested in the whims of algorithmic engagement. As much as I’ll miss Shamus’ singular written voice, I’ll miss this, too.
My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
I’ve been a long-time reader of Shamus, though an infrequent commenter. I started reading him in highschool, around the time he started publishing his long-form Mass Effect analysis and couldn’t stop reading him. He helped me understand why I never liked the sequel’s story when I couldn’t put it into words. His comprehensive story breakdowns helped me a better writer.
I also followed his programming posts, like the procgen city and the development of Good Robot. At the time, I thought of programming as an inscrutable art that was beyond what I could understand, but Shamus made it very approachable and instilled in me a curiosity to learn. So it was thanks to him that I decided to study programming and nowadays work as a software developer.
Though you may never know it, you changed my life for the better. Thank you, Shamus Young, and farewell.
My condolences to his friends and family.
This is such sad news. My condolences to Shamus’ family and friends.
I discovered this blog early on during DM of the Rings. It is from an optimistic time in internet history when you could still find closed, moderated communities without having to look too hard. As time marched on and the internet became gradually more corporate, cynical and impersonal, Shamus continued to defy trends. His blog survived the demise of Google Reader. His community continued to be a place where careful moderation allowed all sorts of meaningful discussions to flourish, long after data harvesting platforms disguised as social networking services made toxicity the profitable norm.
To paraphrase DMotR XXXIX: I’m not sure what the challenge rating is on an infinite number of health problems, but I’m betting it’s more than you’re supposed to give to a single mortal.
Shamus never compromised. He chose to continue writing in-depth essays and articles instead of optimising “content” for “engagement”. He maintained control over his website and his community long after everyone gave up trying to do so and moved on to cloud services and walled gardens. He is defying the DM still.
I am so sorry that we lost him.
Shamus made this site one of a kind. My sincerest condolences.
I’ve been visiting this site for approximately six years when I got a link to the Mass Effect retrospective. I guess that was kinda an incisive incident. Like, I never cared much about Mass Effect, or gave a thought about writing, or thought I would like to read about writing, but when I found this I devoured it. I rarely stay up past 11 pm to play games but this kept me awake past 1 am. I never knew how much I needed it until I read it. It taught me a lot about stuff I at best processed subconsciously. It really opened my eyes. And it’s funny as heck. I kept coming back to it. To read some specific entries or just the whole thing again. And then I started reading his other content. It’s just so much great stuff, especially his Let’s Plays. Whenever I have a slow day I come here to read something interesting for some intellectual stimuli or simple laughs (laughing elevates man above god, or so some people say).
In the past years I began checking every day for updates. Where I live it’s exactly noon when Shamus posted an update. Perfect to give me some vigor for the rest of the day. Every Monday and Wednesday had something to look towards, no matter what else happened. And that’s not even mentioning the miracle of creating this community where everyone is reasonable! On the internet!
Shamus was a blessing to a lot of people, and he gave us a lot. Of course we wish for even more, for more opinions, snarky jokes, smart columns, but we will never get more than we have now, since this is the nature of death.
I’m usually too sociophobic to leave a comment but I owe it to him to pay him some respects for all he did.
Rest in peace Shamus. Wherever you are now, I hope the people living there can tell you what they eat and have reasonable hairdos.
Holy shit. I don’t know what to say. Shamus Young was consistently one of the greatest and most thoughtful writers on video games. His loss is a deep one indeed, to me at least.
Such sad news. Thank you for sharing your wit and insight over the years.
My condolences to the family and other friends.
I will deeply miss Shamus. You just don’t see his kind of thoughtful analysis around much these days. Thanks for all the content through the years.
I’ve been a reader and longtime lurker since DM of the Rings. Which has to be going on 15 years ago? Since then this website has been part of my daily routine, I’d check to see what Shamus had posted, go through the comments, participate there occasionally, but mainly just enjoy Shamus’s work. This website has been a comfort and home for all of my adult life.
I remember the DRM Rants about Bioshock, man he was pissed about that! I always loved the programming posts, he had a great way of explaining things to lay people like myself. His humor and insight were right up my alley. From the Let’s Plays to his fiction, I was always ready to lap up whatever he dished out.
I’m going to go back through DM of the Rings now. It always makes me chuckle. I see myself, and all the friends I ever played DnD with in that strip. It was always my favorite piece of his collected works. It’s going to be a bittersweet read this time.
My condolences to his family, I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now.
Godspeed Shamus, you will be missed.
I was also thinking of going back to DM of the Rings. But then I remembered his actual DnD Campaign. I still reread it from time to time, along with Tarson’s End.
Those might have been what hooked me on this site. Or was it one of the EA posts? Maybe the Mass Effect Series? This Game is Bad for You? Crash Dot Com? The 12 Year Mistake? Facebook vs Zenimax?
God, I’ve got so much reading to do….
For whatever reason I don’t recall ever reading Tarson’s End. Thanks for mentioning it.
I always skipped it on the theory that I didn’t want to read the unfinished – because no campaign – summary.
Thanks for the link. I’ve found the stomach for reading what new stuff I can find here.
This shook me a lot worse than I would have thought. I’m a (very) infrequent commenter here, and Shamus and I never “interacted” in any meaningful sense of the word, even with the anonymity veil of the internet taken into consideration in that evaluation. But I’m just one of those people, of whom I’m sure there are many, whom Shamus impacted more than he’d ever know. I didn’t change the course of my life, follow a career, or meet a loved one, but Shamus’ writings were the first time I encountered somebody meaningfully trying to break down story structure and understand it in a way that resonated with me. Sure, I’d encountered analysis via English class, but English class is boring. Somebody explaining why Fallout doesn’t make sense? Okay, I can get into that.
In my entertainment media education, as it were, I don’t know if there is any figure more pivotal than Shamus. He helped lead me towards a pursuit of *understanding* rather than simply absorbing. Movies are, today, one of the great joys of my life and I’m not sure I’d have learned to ever appreciate what makes a story really work if it weren’t for Shamus. Maybe that’s a small thing, maybe I would have come to learn this anyway, but Shamus looms large in my mind as the one who started that transformation. It’s not a grand thing, but my life is objectively *better* because of him.
I started reading this blog in high school. When I started my own small, now mostly-abandoned blog I modeled it on this. I wrote a campaign log, a novel-length endeavor, based on the earliest foundational writings of this site. I took cues from him in the only “video essay” I ever composed. I subconsciously inherited a number of his writing tics. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without Shamus. I’m 30 now, and this place has been a constant for more than half of my remembered life at this point.
We never met. We never really spoke. He wouldn’t know me, nor should he have, my being just another schmuck on the internet, leaving smart-ass comments on a sporadic basis and tossing a few dollars via Patreon each month. It feels odd to be fighting back tears as hard as I am at this moment at the passing of someone who was not, in any immediate sense, in my life. But I am nonetheless. I’ll miss him.
There is far too much “I” language in here to mark someone else’s life. So let me just end with this; Shamus, thanks for everything. You didn’t talk about your faith much, and I don’t know where your journey led you, exactly. But I pray you’re resting easy. I pray that heaven has the Mass Effect sequels you always wanted. And I pray that, as some selfish mercy, I’ll get to meet you one day yet. So long, man.
I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ll miss Shamus’ relentless drive to analyze, critique and theorize. I’m not really an active commenter here but his writing has added a lot to my life over the last five years.
I’ve never been great about coming up with things to say at times like this. That said, I’ve been coming here since around the time DMotR was wrapping up, and this is one of the few sites I’ve kept coming to from then to now. I don’t even *remember* most of the sites I was visiting at that time, let alone regularly visit them now.
Shamus had a unique sense of humor, a wide array of interests and skills, and the ability to just cut through something’s bullshit – whether it be a game, a company, or the gaming industry at large – and identify exactly how it went wrong.
We lost a legend. My condolences to all his family & friends.
Terrible news- his constant intelligence, kindness and humanity have been a daily reminder to me that the world is ok these last 15 years. Im very sorry for his family’s loss.
I’ve never commented but I’m a patreon supporter and I’ll keep that running.
I discovered this blog around 2009-2010 from being linked to the DM of the Rings and read it actively for years and even commented for a while. The last few years I found myself not visiting the site too often, but was still checking in occasionally. Long story short, Shamus’s sense of humour, insight, analysis and amazing ability to break down otherwise complex systems, ideas and issues in a way to make it enjoyable to read (a skill which I wish I could be even half as good at.. it has tremendous value) all brought me a lot of enjoyment over the years. I think it’s fair to say some of it even rubbed off on me as time went, since I’ve found myself to be a lot more critical of fiction writing and analysing the happenings a lot more than I used to way back in the day.
Thanks for all the content and enjoyment, you will be missed.
I don’t make a lot of comments on websites, especially here, but I happened to remember quite a long time ago Shamus wrote an article talking about color saturation and filters in a video game, and how gross an upcoming game looked. He posted a screenshot and tried to alter it, but couldn’t quite create what he was thinking it should be. So I took the screenshot, cleaned it up in photoshop, and posted it as a comment, and he replied that it was pretty much exactly what he was talking about. In the grand scheme of things, that was just one small comment in an enormous sea of other discussions, but the fact that he took the time to reply to me specifically made me feel like I had just gotten praise from a celebrity, and that felt incredible. I always appreciated how involved in the comments he was, no matter how popular or frequent a commenter they were.
And his insight into narratives and environments has had such a huge influence on how I think about stories and settings. I just can’t believe how much effect one person had on me and how I think, and I owe a lot of gratitude over the 15-ish years I’ve been following this site. I’m sorry I didn’t get to express it sooner, but thank you, Shamus.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, your side projects and your life story, your big critical analysis projects that made me think, your charming comics that made me laugh, your quick reviews of things you enjoy that I looked into and fell in love with, your end-of-year lists, your work with the Escapist, your novels and stories, all of it. Thank you.
I’ve been reading and commenting on this blog for so long, it’s hard to even process. Condolences, Shamus has been an institution for years.
Although I never met Seamus or interacted with him in any meaningful way, I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing. I’ve been reading his site almost daily since the DM of the Rings days, and though my number of comments over those years is probably less than the number of fingers I’m using to type this, it still feels like I’ve lost something in my core.
Seamus, thank you for sharing your thoughts and writing so generously for so long. I’ve always enjoyed what you created, even when the underlying subject matter wasn’t something I was that interested in (who’d have thought you could get me to read a novel length analysis of Mass Effect, a game I’ve never played and have no desire to play).
My deepest condolences to his family. Please know that Seamus’s work was a source of delight in the lives of many people, myself included.
Oh no, that’s horrendous. I’m so sorry, Shamus’s blog was such a positive influence in my life. Best wishes to Heather and their children.
I’ve been a reader for at least fifteen years. I remember Spoiler Warning’s first season. I own hard copies of all of Shamus’ books. Listened to the Diecast on my way to work for years. I loved reading his work and seeing the wonderful projects he put out into the world. I only hope that I can have even a fraction of the positive influence he’s had. Many tears were shed here upon hearing this news.
I am devestated. My heartfelt condolences to Heather and the family. I’m so sorry.
Shamus’ work here has been a regular part of my life for well over a decade and I can’t believe he’s gone.
My condolences. I found Shamus’ blog via DM of the Rings, as probably quite a few others. Maybe when there were a couple dozen comics around, I don’t remember, it was around 15 years ago. I’ve read nearly every single blog post. I adored Star on Chest, I’ve read the Escapist comics, I bought the robot game and also all the books he wrote.
Shamus barely knew me, but it feels like I knew him quite well, after reading all his works, and of course the autobiography.
Yes, at times I found his inability to deal with criticism (no matter how constructive) grating, but I still kept coming back because what he had to say was worth taking seriously at the very least, and he was right more often than not. I’m glad to have “known” him.
I’ve been reading this blog for a long time, but rarely commented. I first found it towards the end of DMotR, 15 years ago. Checking the blog has been a part of my daily routine for half my life.
It is difficult to put how I feel into words. He will be missed.
Last Thursday I knew there was going to be a stream with Chris and Shamus reacting to the Geoff Keighley event. I was planning on drinking my special occasion beer and snacking on some wasabi-flavoured crisps. Unfortunately, I had indigestion on that day, and ended up snacking on boring toast and tasteless cheese. On Sunday by complete chance I stumbled upon Chris’ stream where he, Shamus and a friend of Chirs’ were reacting to the Microsoft and Bethesda Showcase. Since I caught the stream accidentally and it was the middle of the day, I didn’t bust out that beer.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I just opened that beer. I poured some out for Shamus, I’ve lit a candle in his memory, and now I’m reading all your comments and remembering last week’s two streams where I got to hang out with him and Chris, and I got to hear Shamus crack jokes, laugh, and be genuinely excited about his favourite hobbies.
So to all of you drinking something – let’s raise one to Shamus! May we keep his memory alive, and remember him for all his passion, goofiness and love for his wife and family!
I first discovered Shamus through a parody in Irregular Webcomic in the early aughts, and I became an avid reader of Twenty Sided for a long, long time, even if I never commented.
It’s not an exaggeration to say he’s been a formative influence on me and how I interact with media. I can say that through him I became a more thoughtful person.
It’s been a long time since I’ve checked this blog and it just so happens that today was the day I had a sudden jab of desire to see what’s been up with him.
This is crushing news to hear, to be honest. I hope for the best for his family, friends, and community. He really did his part toward making the world a good place to be.
Spat out my coffee when I saw the headline scrolling through my RSS feed.
I’m so sorry for your loss Heather, Bay, Peter and Issac. As someone who’s been reading Shamus’s work for half my life I was saddened. I can only imagine how you feel.
It’s such a shame, not only did he write damn good content, he was such a lighthearted guy, I listened to his podcast every week and it was always a fun 60 minutes.
I’m not a religious man so I can’t offer prayers but I wish his family strength to overcome this loss.
Rest in peace, brother.
I’ll add my voice to the hundreds of others here, I guess. I’ve (only) been reading since 2016, but Shamus made my life a little better for his voice being in it. I was even talking about him to my girlfriend, something I reserve for the people I’m very fond of in a parasocial manner, and I really admire what he did and how he did it. I know we wouldn’t agree about politics, but I still have always appreciated the way he guided this community towards kindness and understanding regardless of that; this was just a nice place to hang out for a little while and talk about something that wasn’t life or death, and I really respect him. I hope there’s an afterlife for him to hang out in, free of pain and suffering, and wait for his loved ones to join him. My heart goes out to y’all.
Heather and Family, my most sincere condolences. :(
RIP Shamus and thanks for everything.
My sincerest condolences to his family – and my thanks for their efforts to preserve his work in light of his passing.
Just want to also say thanks to you all for sharing your connections with him. I’ve been kicked around by this more than some – though not you guys – might expect, and reading all of your comments has helped a little. (So did going back and re-reading all of DMotR, and giggling a bit…)
I’m sorry to hear that. I often considered commenting before, but never got around to it. Like many others, I imagine, I found this site because of the Mass Effect retrospective. I still think that’s his best work, in particular because it put into words the many grievances that the fans had but couldn’t vocalise. Besides being an entertaining series, it helped the fandom, for a lack of better word, specify exactly what was so frustrating about the sequels. Several times I found that I agreed exactly with what Shamus was saying, but I hadn’t been able to put it into words until I read his retrospective. That kind of high quality, entertaining and educating analysis was what kept me reading his posts for years.
A sudden death is tragic, but the silver lining is that he didn’t waste away over a long period of time, which is a terrible experience for both the person in question and everyone around them. Of course, that’s not much help for the grieving, particularly not this early.
It’s a shame that this happened right as he seemed to be getting better. I’ll miss Shamus in the future, and fondly remember (and re-read) his old works.
Gutted. Absolutely gutted. I’ve never commented but I’ve been a frequent reader. Shamus’s writings were always interesting, witty, insightful. No words can express how sad this makes me feel. RIP.
I had always thought the phrase was “guttered” like, so incapacitated that one can’t even crawl up from the gutter. Gutted makes sense too though.
But yeah, there was a lot of sobbing for me last week. What is it they say? “Lean into the pain.”
I found this website when I was 18.
I am now 33 and having a hard time putting into words the many, many, many ways Shamus has entertained, informed and inspired myself and, as is clear from the outpouring of similar comments, so many others.
He had a profound impact on the way I view and understand storytelling, game design, criticism and humour, but the
most important lesson I took from him, is to follow my passions, wherever they may lead, as did he.
My sincerest condolences to Shamus’ family, and though he will be missed dearly, I cannot help but smile thinking
of all the amazing things and wonderful memories he leaves behind.
Goodbye Shamus, and thank you for everything!
RIP Shamus. Thanks for the innumerable hours of intelligent, enlightening & often hilarious commentary.
I’m so sorry to hear this! My condolences to the family.
I’m a relative newcomer compared to many of the commenters here, but this has been my favorite blog for the last few years. Thank you for all this, Shamus!
christ this stings. i was never the most consistent reader of this blog, i had no idea about his health, and i don’t believe i’ve commented before today, either, but i always admired shamus’s sheer body of work and how dedicated he was to keeping this blog alive in a post-twitter hellworld. i didn’t agree with everything he wrote, but he was a rare (and independent!) bright spot of wit, analysis, civility, and overall sanity in an industry that to this day is more preoccupied with skinner boxes, drm and self-gratification than anything resembling actual innovation. to say he will be sorely missed is a colossal understatement
Oh man. Opened the site for the first time in a few days and did not expect to be greeted by this. I know Shamus had opened up about his health problems before but this was still a post I never expected or wanted to see.
I first encountered Shamus through his column and Stolen Pixels strips on the Escapist. Between that, this blog, the Diecast, his videos and books his work has been part of my life for years now. His Mass Effect retrospective is still one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever read and I go back and read it either on the site or the ebook version every few months. I never commented here before and I will always regret not letting him know at least once how much I enjoyed his work and what it meant to me.
My condolences to all his family and friends. He will be sorely missed but never forgotten. RIP Shamus
I found this site when I was about 12, sometime around 2009. I was DMing my first D&D campaign and I found his while I was looking for inspiration. From there I found DM of the Rings and became a regular reader. Shamus’ writing style always managed to be engaging in a way that almost nothing else has for me.
The thing that sticks with me the most was reading his autobiography. I was in high school at the time and read a lot of it with my phone on my leg below my desk in Chemistry. It was the first time in my life that I realized I wasn’t alone with a lot of the awkwardness and frustrations I had been feeling my whole life. Ultimately it started to help me learn to cope with them and I guess I came to see Shamus as a mentor of sorts.
I’ve always been a mostly silent lurker here but this has hit me pretty hard and I wanted to share that.
Thanks for everything Shamus. Rest In Peace.
Good bye Shamus and thank you.
Shamus has tangibly improved my life when he decided to be open about his health issues.
I’m in my mid 30s and have high blood pressure. It’s been something that I’d been basically ignoring, feeling that I could “just work on it later”. When Shamus talked about his health last year about how his medication was interfering with his ability to better his health, it kind of struck me deeply. I restructured my life, from eating to exercise to getting proper sleep. I’ve lost weight, gained muscle and dropped my blood pressure from 185/114 to around 155/98.
This is all because of Shamus. Because he was open to the community about his health, something I feel is very difficult to do.
Shamus was a great writer, presenter and a great person in general. He will be remembered for his books, his articles, his comics, his videos, and more but I will remember him as the person who influenced me to better myself.
Thank you Shamus
I just saw Paul Spooner’s video and that’s how I found out. It’s such a shame to hear about Shamus’ passing. Obviously he left the Spoiler Warning cast 5 years ago by now but I always did enjoy his comments on the series. I started watching on the Mass Effect 3 playthrough.
RIP Shamus, I wish his family the best during these times.
“I just saw Paul Spooner’s video”
Could you provide a link to the video?
It was just a short.
I’d like to make (or participate in making) a longer tribute at some point, but that’s all I had in me at the moment without bursting into tears.
Thanks. I’m hopeful Shamus will receive a tribute that he so rightfully deserves.
Wow…. I’ve read this site, more or less on the regular, for about 15 years I’d say. I think I started reading a little bit into DM of the Rings – like so many others. I bought and read The Witch Watch back in the day. As has already been said so well, Shamus had a really amazing, insightful, humorous way of skewering games I really enjoyed (read: Mass Effect, among others). I was fascinated by his procgen work and contemplated tinkering with it as well before I decided to go play Mass Effect some more.
Shamus always seemed to me to be an amalgam of my favorite people. A geek, a knowledge seeker, a person you’d love to have DM your game, and just someone fascinating to sit with and shoot the breeze. I always felt like I knew him and always felt like we’d make great friends if our paths ever crossed. That was much of his magic, methinks.
This place – this site, the internet, and the world at large – is a lesser place today. The good news, though, is that his legacy will still live on. Only about two weeks ago I introduced my son to DM of the Rings. There’s a whole generation that Shamus never met he’ll be able to influence. There should be solace in that.
Like so many above, I’ve been a rare commenter, frequent follower of this blog and site going on 15 years now. It’s surreal and humbling to think that I was just finishing high school when i started, and now I am the age Shamus was when he started this blog. Time is a crazy thing, and I’m glad we got to enjoy so much of it with Shamus, even if it was cut so tragically short.
I’ll be re-reading this blog plenty in years to come. As long as a man’s words are spoken he is not truly gone.
GNU Shamus Young. May he live in the clacks forever more.
I’m so saddened by this news. What a tragic loss?! Shamus’s commentary and writing on games and the industry was insightful, educational and entertaining. Will miss his content and humour.
Wishing the family a long life and my wish that his memory always remains a blessing.
I started reading Shamus’s blog about 10 years ago, when I was in high school. Found it through Stolen Pixels on the Escapist, spent some time combing through his archive, and stuck around for Spoiler Warning and his wonderful insight. I’ve commented a few times but was mainly content to lurk. I remember reading his series of posts on Jade Empire and the Best Plot Twist Ever and thinking “this guy Gets It”. I still rewatch my favorite seasons of Spoiler Warning. And under his stewardship, his blog was an oasis – the comments here are almost as worthy to read as his posts.
And I absolutely loved The Other Kind of Life – I bought the ebook as soon as I finished reading the first chapter that Shamus posted here. It’s one of, if not the most, insightful and well-thought-out science fiction books I’ve read.
It’s hard to sum up what this place has meant to me. It’s hard to sum up all that Shamus was.
Shamus was a good man. May his memory be a blessing for his family, and his friends, and everyone here who appreciated video games and programming as he did.
I’ve been a long time reader, I started around the time of DM of the Rings.
Since the beginning I’ve always looked forward to reading Shamus’ new posts, and checked the site more often than I should have knowing his posting schedule, but my heart hit the floor when I saw the title of this post.
While others have been much more eloquent than I can hope to be, I just wanted to add my condolences and say that he will truly be missed.
I’ve been letting the news sink in over the last 28 hours, processing.
There aren’t many things that folks keep in their lives for over a decade. I began reading this blog in middle school, I think, when I found DM of the Rings, and I’m staring down the big 30 now. There are few friends I have kept for all that time, at least that I speak to regularly. No media series that I’ve followed for all that span of time. No other websites that I still check into. No churches or other organizations that I’ve gone to throughout the whole 15 or so years.
It’s strange to think that, of anything in the world that would have been such a constant presence in my life for this long, that it would be an eclectic little blog in a corner of the internet that hosted commentaries on programming, videogames, writing, composing, and life. But as the many, many commenters on this page can attest, it’s only strange if you didn’t know Shamus.
If there’s any comfort I could provide his loved ones, it would be to know that Shamus touched many lives for the better. It’s possibly the highest calling in life yet one few achieve.
I miss him.
I like to think it’s a little bit of providence that within minutes of this post I found an occasion to link a DM of the Rings comic to my roleplaying group, who are trying to gain entrance to a king’s chambers and convincing the guards that their weapons are “walking sticks.”
Yeah man, I hear you. Since starting to read twentysidedtale I’ve met and married my wife, moved 11 times over thousands of miles, changed jobs 8 times. I’ve been reading this blog for longer than I’ve had a cell phone, longer than my Google account. He did something remarkable, and yeah, I miss him too.
That was well said. I agree with it all.
Good to see you on the ‘net as always, Drath.
Time to throw in my thoughts I think.
Long-time reader – since DM of the Rings, sporadic commenter.
Thinking about Shamus and the impact he has made on my life, it is far to say he has left an indelible mark on my me and attitudes, particularly with regards to media, gaming, media/gaming criticism, but also just a love of writing and showing what can be accomplished if you just Do Stuff. I’ve been too much of a spectator in my own life, something I don’t think Shamus ever was – in his writing it never seemed like he get his health issues (eg, allergies) or life circumstances get in the way of his own happiness, a very helpful lesson for someone such as myself who has been struggling with anxiety and depression for 3+ years.
In truth I have a very similar background to Shamus – being a programmer (although not nearly so good technically as Shamus), and also having a very strong gift for language and writing, which I and more and more waking up to.
I am very sorry about Shamus’ death and I feel deeply for Heather and the family. I wish you all the best and I hope my words help to convey what a big impact Shamus has made on thousands of peoples lives all around the world. I hope to someday make a similar impact on the world, and should I ever achieve that level of success I think I will owe at least a small part of that to Shamus.
Long time reader, very infrequent commenter. I’ve been here since midway through DMotR. Not a big player of computer games (my tastes run to pen-and-paper RPGs), but Shamus was always able to make everything interesting, whether it was the agony of sorting through code libraries in a Computer language I didn’t know or nitpicking the plot of a game I’d never played.
Shamus was a rare communicator. His game analysis was always smart. His works of fiction had excellent world-development and smart plotting. His autobiographical posts were superb. I felt like I knew him.
Shamus also managed to keep this site non-political in an age of exceptional partisanship. I got scolded for a comment once, but I appreciated his holding the line.
This is a sad day–he’ll be dearly missed.
I’ve been following for a full decade, can’t say this doesn’t hurt. Rest In Peace Shamus Young
I’ve stumbled upon Shamus’s blog when someone on Reddit posted a link to his Mass Effect series several years ago. TwentySided and the Diecast with Paul brought me a lot of good moments and taught me a lot of game-related things.
To the family and those that knew him personally, I’m sorry for your loss. I hope you find the grace to feel what you need to feel in the coming days without losing touch with the people and things that bring you comfort and joy <3
I've lost count of the years I've been reading this blog. Shamus played a huge part in shaping the way I think about games and writing. I miss his voice already. For every new immersive sim that hits the market for the rest of my life, I know I'm going to be left wondering what he would've thought about it.
Thank you for everything you’ve shared over the years, Shamus. You’ve brought happiness and insight to so many. You’ll be missed.
Shamus has cultivated a wonderful, kind, unique corner of the internet. If only we could all leave the world a better place than we found it as he has.
May he rest in peace.
Shamus was my introduction to blogs, webcomics, being funny on the internet, taking video games seriously as an art form, and the western RPG genre. If I credit him with introducing me to Skyrim, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Fallout – which I do – he’s directly improved thousands of hours of my life. And if I credit him with showing me that online communities don’t have to be hateful cesspits – which I do – he’s directly improved the last fifteen years.
I know it’s on purpose this time, and it’s the only fitting way to do it. But it made me smile through my tears to realize that I’d give a lot to be able to tell him, just one more time, that the whole post is on the front page.
Tell my dog, “hello”
She’ll like you, I know it. and hell your allergies won’t hold you back no more
Oh my god.
This is unbelievable. I’ve been coming to this site for thirteen years. Shamus’ dry humor and insight have been a constant joy to me. DM of the Rings and the original Campaign Diary helped spark my initial interest in Dungeons & Dragons, and his analysis spurred me to think critically about video games. I doubt that I’d ever have much gotten into them without his evangelizing of older PC titles, since I’ve never had any dedicated machine for them, so I have him to thank for showing me the way to stories and media that has meant a great deal to me over the years. His involvement with Spoiler Warning helped me discover a lot of my favorite creators.
A lot has happened since I first found the site through DM of the Rings in 2009. I was fourteen years old. I think it’s truly impossible to say how much of my interests and patterns of thought have been shaped by Shamus Young, but it’s a sizeable percentage. I’ll never forget his intelligence and wit. Something wonderful has left us.
Thanks for everything, Shamus.
I received my Mess Effect book a few days ago. Im simply devastated.
I wish Shamus family the best. He entertained so many people.
His critique of Mass Effect entertained me before and during so many classes while I studied. I waited 2 years before reading his Prey series so I could read his content without spoiling the game – it was worth the wait.
I’m sad I wont be able to see Shamus’ experiences of the gaming industry as it goes forward. Ill hear his voice in my head often.
Oh damn. When I saw the title in the RSS feed, I first assumed it was a self-deprecating joke, but I also knew it could be real. And then it was real. And I would really prefer it wasn’t.
I’ve been following along for over a decade. Oldest comment Google can find is from 2008.
We have lost a great man. This world was brighter for having him in it. He is finally free of his pain, but we are not free from our own. He touched many lives for the better. Rest in peace, Shamus.
A long-time reader, twentysided has been the staple of my RSS feed and important part of my life for all those years.
I’ll just want to say, Thank you Shamus, for everything.
It’s actually the reason I have an RSS reader. For 15 years, I’ve been using RSS so I don’t miss out on Twentysided. Sure, I added others, but this one is the reason.
My comments are being flagged as spam for some reason.
Let’s try editing this one. I think I used too many flag words on my comment/eulogy. So here goes in fragments. (EDIT: Seems like it worked PAUL’S EDIT: Full comment combined)
I was dreading this would come up in my feed sooner or later, though I held hope he was going to pull through.
I was a fan of Shamus before I knew I was a fan, through odd DM of the Rings pages I’d stumble on the internet having first heard of it on TVTropes of all places. But for some reason or another, I simply could not access the blog from my home IP, so initially, I thought it was a dead blog and a dead webcomic. It would be a few years later during college that I’d find out that I could access the blog fine through my University’s connection and finally managed to read the whole thing and the comments. Which I’ve come to re-read a few times over the years, though I’d not go deeper into the blog at first.
Then in the Escapist suddenly I saw his name on stolen pixels and was curious. “Is this the same guy?” It turned out, it was, and from it I rediscovered the blog and started to actively follow it and comment on occasion. I read Free Radical and while I found fault with it on a few things, it was an entertaining and engaging read that prompted me to later buy both Witch Watch and The Other Kind of Life. Both failed to grasp me as mysteries but were engaging in different ways, with Witch Watch being on the way magic is treated as a serious thing with hard rules as opposed to how haphazardly it usually works in other works of fiction and in The Other Kind of Life on his depiction of a “true” AI, which was the whole reason he wrote the book, his annoyance at pop AI depictions.
He also managed to put into words all my grievances with the Mass Effect sequels despite how I couldn’t quite put the finger on anything more concrete than “they dumbed it down” and “they tried to make it ‘cool’ by copying what was popular”. The narrative failures made me think much more on how to write and guided me as much as Mr. BTongue’s insightful criticism.
I followed the Die Cast from time to time and Spoiler Warning since its debut. Fallout 3 and Deus Ex Human Revolution, in particular, were a real joy to go through and a few popular console games I only know the story thanks to Spoiler Warning. I would always cherish a new episode while trying to survive through college with what I later discovered was deep-set depression. So Spoiler Warning kind of pulled me up during my depressive years almost single-handedly as I got apathetic to even try gaming myself or reading a book, my greatest passions, and got alienated from my family and most of my friends, bumping only from time to time into my best friend.
Despite the fact that outwardly my life only deteriorated after college (no steady work, political upheave in my country, poorer year by year), I am now a much happier man than I was back then, with a wife, friends, and renewed relationship with my close family. Still, during the time I was on open internment for depression, it felt I only slept 90% of the time and occasionally woke up to follow Spoiler Warning with the only friends I thought I had at the time. Almost everything else is a blur.
So I kind of owe my life to Shamus, in a way, now that I’ve put it into words and read it. There were times I didn’t feel like bothering living anymore in my early adulthood but the thought of following the next Spoiler Warning episode was one of the few precious things I was invested in.
It really saddens me how he got done in by something so banal that could’ve been easily diagnosed earlier and that I myself suffer from but got diagnosed by chance. I wouldn’t say I’d trade my life for his, his kids are already raised up and I have a daughter on the way, but it really does feel unfair. Like he’s a victim of the pandemic even though he wasn’t infected.
My condolences to the family. I contributed what I could to his Patreon for as long as I could but at some point the exchange rate to the dollar and my own economic situation degraded to a point I could no longer even contribute a couple of dollars. It was the last thing I stopped paying on Patreon, though.
His influence and impact on this world were larger than he believed.
My condolences to Shamus’ family.
I’ve been reading twenty sided for …I think 10 + years. I remember watching the first episode of Spoiler Warning.
My Shamus story is I actually linked his Star Citizen Diecast to something awful, as I thought his perspective was funny and observant, and a good outsider view , away from the usual, talked-to-death points of “is this a scam / not a scam”
I was surprised he actually took notice enough to include this in a follow up episode of the Diecast:
That episode was one of his favorites. Thanks for plugging it.
I am saddened to see this. It’s hard to articulate how upsetting it is for me, so I honestly wish the best to family and friends.
I don’t remember what it was or when I started reading TwentySides. It was a while ago, perhaps DM of the Rings or related Escapist content. Maybe the D&D and occasional anime commentary. As others have pointed out, this bookmark found its way right to the top of my list and resided there through multiple generations of computers. I appreciated all the content and realize now how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to be here.
Even in conversations with friends, I find myself calling on questions like, “But what do they eat?” or making bad car analogies. Shamus’ voice had an effect on me and clearly I am far from the only one.
I have posted above about my sadness to this loss and my continued feelings. After two days i am here rereading everyone’s comments i would like to share something that helped me through quite a tragic presonal experience.
In 2016 i lost my father in an incredibly sudden way and without warning, thankfully i was in a position where our relationship was good enough that i am not left with significant regrets if not “20 more years…please”. But not having regrets doesn’t help the sadness and grief… especially at the beginning, there is a hole in the world in the shape of the person you loved and it’s difficult to explain quite how much that hole hurts, and why you keep coming back to it. You catch yourself thinking “ah i need to tell them about this”, “i wonder what they think”, “oh i know who could help!”. And every time it burns like hell.
And then… well there is the fact that everyone moves at their own pace, at their own time… and life, inexorably, moves on. You’d want things to stay still (not to stay in your sorrow but, because… things should stop, no?… because they deserve more of my time…because i’m not ready to think the world moves on… ), there are moments where you wake thinking “do you not all realise? The world is irreparably broken! How can you all keep going forward when such a big piece of the world is missing?!”.
And slowly time and life do their thing, slowly you wake up from the nightmare and the good memories are left over, slowly you look orward and accept a world without your loved one… and…it’s ok, it would be better (it always would be) if they were there to watch you succeed, to pick you up when you fall, to help you challenge your ideas and to show you the wonderful world as they see it themselves… But they are not longer there, and whilst sad, time makes it more bearable. There is no hard rule or a timescale (god how much easier it would be with a known timescale!) but for me it took about three years… the pain is still here and still present but it is much more manageable.
It will get better, not now, not tomorrow…but it will, eventually.
Just remember to be kind with yourselves all the way up to that point, you are broken and it’s normal not to be ok.
I’ll leave you with the “ball in a box” grief analogy that goes round the internet every so often which manages to say what i’ve tried to say in a paragraph using only a few simple words and images..
Thanks Kincajou. This is the first grief of this magnitude that many of us have gone through, especially the suddenness of it. It is a comfort to hear from you, that it is survivable.
I guess the longer version of this would be “A Grief Observed” by C. S. Lewis, written after he lost his wife. “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken is tremendous too, if you can find it.
Another long-time reader, and extremely sporadic commenter here.
This website has been a part of my life for 5 years at the very least, and I’ve gone back to read most of the content that had been published before I found out about it. Checking for updates was just a small part of my daily routine, but it was a nice, consistently pleasant part even during the (luckily few) times where most of the rest wasn’t very good.
So, what I want to say is, thank you for having existed, Shamus. The world was better for it, in a very small but extremely real way.
I have struggled to process the news over the past two days, wondering what, if anything, I can or should say.
Having found Shamus’s blog through his work on the Escapist when I was still in high school, I’ve come to appreciate how rare his thoughtful, nuanced and genuinely witty writing is. Beyond that, his passing is simultaneously made more painful and easier to bear because of the amazing community he so carefully cultivated around this blog and how personally he connected with his readership in a shared love for this hobby and art form. Thank you, Shamus.
Having lost a father figure at a similarly young age, I hope that Heather and the rest of his family find acceptance and meaning in the end of his wonderful life and the ways, big and small, it has changed all of ours.
Rest in peace Shamus. Thanks for offering your thoughts and ideas for us so humbly for so many years.
Peace be with Shamus’ family and friends, who knew him best.
I can’t actually remember how I found Twenty Sided, but I’m so glad I did.
Am I missing something, or does the amazon wishlist not have an automatic “deliver to” filled in?
Hmm, you’re right. I’ve forwarded the problem to Heather.
EDIT: Should be fixed now.
Should be fixed now. Thanks for catching it, our brains are all totally fried.
Works now. Thanks.
Perhaps like many, I started reading Shamus after playing the Mass Effect games and going online trying to make some sense of them. I was in high school, and while I had no understanding of literary critique; all I knew was that ME2 was not as good as people made it out to be, and since he had the same opinion, his analysis was obviously the correct one.
But once I was done reinforcing my biases, I started reading his other work, and it was as if a whole new world opened up to me that I had never though about. Whether it was his programming projects in procedural generation, the approachable lessons in game design and technology (I remember reading his commentary on John Carmack’s speech and understanding how games are made for the first time), or his many many musings on various topics that had seemed to be of no interest to me until I started reading this blog. For the past six years, I have been constantly reading him, and getting to know him a little bit better.
Since people are sharing their memories, here are some of mine: When he found his list of top PC games, I went and played as many of them as I could (and I agree with his assessments). Once he sent me a steam key to “Overload” for sending a good question to Diecast, introducing me to 6DoF shooters. Another time, I asked his permission to convert his Mass Effect Retrospective into EPUB, and not only did he give his permission (though I never actually finished it, sorry Shamus!), he went ahead and published Mess Effect on his own. When I started working on my own game, I actually went and read through it and a whole bunch of his other critiques and made copious notes, all of which continue to prove very useful to an Engineer with no formal training in literature, And every time I wanted to burn down Microsoft’s offices for one reason or another, I could rely on his and Paul’s cathartic rants to calm me down.
Since international payments to PayPal, etc. don’t work with my card, I just brought all of his and Heather’s book that are available here through Amazon. It’s not much, but I hope it is useful.
Rest in peace, Shamus. You’ll be remembered.
PS. “But what do people in afterlife eat???!!”
He will be missed. :(
Another long time reader here.
I was expecting to see such a headline in a few years, I am shocked by the suddeness of it.
Rest in peace Shamus
This was terrible news to read. I saw it yesterday, but I couldn’t find the words to say something at the time.
I still don’t think I can properly articulate what I’d like to say, but I’d like Heather and the family to know that I’m so sorry for your loss.
My own father passed suddenly of a stroke in the night several years ago, and I know how it feels when someone is just gone with no warning. I really feel for you all right now.
I’d echo some of the other comments people have made, that the news feels like losing a friend you’ve never met. I’ve been reading this blog long enough that I don’t remember when – the bookmark (as if I can’t remember the address) is in some of the oldest zip archives I have from when I’ve backed up old machines.
I loved Shamus’s programming posts – whenever he had a new series I was always super excited. He had a great talent for explaining complicated topics in a really simple and straightforward manner, whilst keeping the article entertaining.
I bought Fallout 3 after watching him and the Spoiler Warning crew rip into it for I don’t know how many hours. He made the experience so entertaining that I wanted to experience it for myself.
I enjoyed reading his long analyses where he takes apart what works and doesn’t, and what could be done differently on a range of topics.
I liked the personal posts where we got snippets into the happenings of Shamus’s life. His autobiography was emotional to read. I still re-read it from time to time; some of his struggles really resonate.
Whilst I never met him (and only commented I think a single-digit number of times – and they were all just.. dumb. Like, he’s gone now and I never meaningfully contributed to any of the discussions that I got so much out of), his opinions and voice was one I kept coming back to, and I will miss him.
My very biggest sympathies to his friends and family in this difficult time.
Goobye Shamus, you brought so much to all our lives, this page alone is a testament to that. One of your many longtime readers, must have been aware of you for at least a decade by now. All the best to the loved ones who’ve survived you. You will be missed.
This is the second time this site has left me irredeemably *bummed* with no way to explain it to the people around me.
Which I guess is a testament to it’s impact.
I sometimes *hated* Shamus’ take on things, but because of his focus on civility and the obvious assumption that his opinions were his own and not a statement of objective fact, I never had the same personal offense when we disagreed. He also maintained a platform for discussion which could for the most part keep a decent tone and avoid mudslinging, which is rarer than fine gold in today’s world.
I think what I always valued so much with Shamus was that he was honest and he was unique. It may not be that his opinions were all correct or his output perfect in every way. Who could expect a single man to do that anyway? But every iota of his work had him in it, and it was impossible to get that anywhere else. It made his humor unpredictable, his rants entertaining, his community irreplaceable and now it’s making my heart break.
RIP Shamus, there’ll be no replacing you.
I don’t know what originally brought me here – I think I read the Mass Effect series and a few other things, lost the site for a while, and then found it again? – but I’ve been consistently coming to read Shamus’ brain droppings for probably 10 years now, commenting here and there, and I will absolutely miss his unique take on everything going forward. The pure programming stuff was usually beyond my interests, but his focus on interrogating the stories and designs of RPGs and Immersive Sims in particular was right in my wheelhouse. I could, even now, “listen” to the man rant about Mass Effect and Fallout for another 1000 hours. It was a niche interest not fulfilled anywhere else in my life, and I shall sorely miss it now that it’s gone. Going forward, you can bet when I eventually play Starfield, Mass Effect 4 and whatever else I’ll be wondering what Shamus would’ve thought and demanding of the game worlds to know what they eat.
I’ve been a long time reader of this blog, it has been a favorite to have in a tab while at work to read when it’s slow.
It’s also been a haven from politics when I got overwhelmed from other sources.
Shamus made a wonderful piece of internet and a community here. He will be missed.
Another 15-year or so tenure here.
I was struck by this news a lot more intensely than I might at first have expected. I’ve been stuck in the denial phase ever since, still waiting for the next entertaining and insightful post to come up in my feed. The reality is difficult to accept.
To keep it brief: beyond the simple joys of reading his writings, there were qualities that Shamus managed to impress upon me that have made me a better, more fulfilled person.
I will really miss this man.
I feel honestly stunned and lost for words about this turn of events. A part of me always knew that it was possible, but I held out hope that Shamus would beat the odds and continue to live a long, fulfilling life. Like many of the others here, I’ve been following and reading his blog for close to two decades now, and I’ve always admired him as a brilliant writer who managed to elucidate on a variety of fields and topics while also keeping things simply, engaging and entertaining. It’s shattering to know that someone who’s been a part of my life, even at a distance, for so long is now gone.
My deepest condolences to Heather, Bay, Peter, Isaac, and all of his friends and family. I hope that it brings them some comfort to know that the little community Shamus has built up around his blog is rallying around them in this dark time.
Rest in peace, Shamus. You will be deeply, sorely missed.
My heart is broken. I’ve been following Shamus since probably 2005 and is one of just 4(!) websites I check almost daily. I am so sorry for the family’s loss, and also for the loss of all Shamus might have done in the future. A truly sad day.
This news is genuinely heartbreaking. There are writers on the Internet who will be replaced and forgotten in moments. Not only is Shamus Young one of the best game writers ever, with idealism and experience that could inspire the best products, his example in all areas of his life is one we all could follow to make a better world.
I’m sorry that I’m in no condition to help out at this moment, perhaps I will be in future. All I can do is wish you the best, and assure you that I will remember this great and clever man for an exceptionally long time to come. Farewell, you legend.
I’m shocked and devastated.
Rest in peace, good Shamus, we’ll miss you.
I’m absolutely stunned, and completely heartbroken to hear this :'(
Like so many others I have been an avid reader/lurker for, gosh nigh on a decade now I believe?
My heart goes out to the family. Truly a great loss.
It’s hard to believe he’s actually gone. Even with the knowledge of his health issues, the suddenness of it is just… shocking.
He has been a constant presence in my online reading habits ever since I found his column on the Escapist. His creative output, whether about games, the game industry, programming, or his original fiction, has been an endless source of insight, entertainment and inspiration. The Shamus/Josh/Rutskarn/Mumbles era of Spoiler Warning will forever be a fond memory of mine – I have yet to find any other show with a group dynamic that drew me in and made me feel like I’m in the company of the hosts the same way as those seasons did.
My deepest condolences to Heather, the kids, and the rest of the family.
My condolences. I appreciated Shamus’ wonderful perspective, and I am sure many others were fortunate enough to appreciate his company.
In addition to the doomworld.com thread linked above, there’s a Reddit thread with a lot of kind words:
There’s also quite a few posts on Twitter:
There’s also an RPGCodex thread. No link since I’m phone posting.
I learned a new term, “fuddy duddy”.
I’ve got nothing to add that hasn’t been said already, which in a way goes to show how universally loved and respected Shamus was here, and how many lives his writing has formed such a significant part of, and now will leave such a significant hole in. And our loss is the smallest fraction of the loss felt by his family and close friends. Far too soon an end to his twenty sided tale. Rest in peace, Shamus.
Rip into the aethers mate, you were one of the great ones.
Rest in peace Shamus.
RIP Shamus, his work influenced me very much, especially procedural buildings and cities.
I’ve been visiting the blog for years. First time commentating. Shamus’ writing and analysis were always a joy to read. My condolences to his family and friends.
Rest in peace, Shamus.
Ah fuck… I can’t say I’m surprised by this, given the issues Shamus has been facing for the past year or two. Unfortunately it’s sort of felt like waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak.
Ive been reading this site for years; after having been linked to the Mass Effect retrospective back in 2016 (I think?); his wit and incisive critique were always appreciated. I can only imagine how hard this is hitting his family right now, as well as those who were close to him…
Rest in peace, Shamus
I don’t think a week has passed in the last fifteen years without me visiting Twentysided or listening to the Diecast. It’s been a constant source of joy and one of the few genuinely good places on the Internet. Can’t believe you’re suddenly gone, Shamus. You will be missed. My sincere condolences to your family and friends.
Wow, hard to believe. Shamus lived very close to where I grew up and where my parents currently live. I was hoping to try to meet up with him some day. Now I won’t get the chance. We have so much in common. I’ve been reading this blog for years, maybe nearly every post. Shamus’s Pixel City project is what inspired me to create my own procedural city project.
I’ve only been reading here for a couple years. When the Mass Effect remasters were about to be released, I wanted to remember what it felt like when I finished playing the games for the first time. I remember lots of rage and disappointment, but I couldn’t put my feelings into words. So I went searching online for retrospectives, hoping to find something written about the ending that wasn’t just “my choices didn’t matter” or “the ending was just about choosing a color”.
That led me here. I read the 50-part Mass Effect retrospective and thought, “THIS! This is what bothered me so much!” Shamus had put into words exactly what I felt, but with more intelligence and humor than I could ever hope to possess.
So then I poked around the site some more, and found so much more than just video game nerd rage. This blog and the person behind it were really special.
The next time a new nerdy/sci-fi IP comes around, my first thought will be “but what do they EAT?!?!”, and my second thought will be “I wish Shamus was around to write about this.”
I am very sorry for your loss. I’ve been reading Shamus’s blog for more than a decade now,. I’m not sure what else to say other than that he will be missed.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I did a double take when I saw the post title in my RSS reader, and was praying it was some kind of belated April Fool’s prank. I’ve been reading this blog and listening to the podcast for probably 12-15 years. I really related to a lot of what he wrote. I am around the same age, parents were divorced, was into computers at an early age, etc. I really enjoyed all of his writing, the autobiographical entries were some of my favorites.
Requiscat In Pace Shamus
I just want to say thank you.
I started reading this blog shortly before DM of the Rings ended, so, wow, about 15 years, not long after I moved into my first and, so far, only apartment. The one with Gimli and Schrodinger’s lich had me laughing so hard, I slid more than half way out of my chair. One of the few times I’ve laughed that hard. As well as his humour though, the Patron Saint of Nitpicking also had an amazing skill at explaining and talking about a highly technical subjects, such as programming, in a way that made it engaging and fascinating to someone with no skills in that field. Sure, I’m a nerd, geek and dork, just not that particular way. I’ve re-read his series on programming a landscape engine multiple times.
I never got a chance to tell him, but his System Shock novel really made me feel for SHODAN. It was clear she was, in effect, a child brought up wrong.
Finding out he’s passed is, well, it feels like losing an old friend, even though we never really interacted directly. I don’t think he ever replied to any of my sparse comments. Still, he was such a constant in my life, from my earliest days of independent adulthood, and now, quite young, he is gone. Passed beyond the veil to the undiscovered country.
Still, for everything, for laughter, for joy, for understanding, for creativity and for delight over these years, all I can say is . . .
My heartfelt condolences to his friends, family and other loved ones.
I know he will be missed.
Peace to you, Shamus Young.
… now he’ll never be Shamus Old. ;_;
I’d go for a serious note, but I have no idea how to in this situation. It’s weird, and unreal.
Been following Shamus for over a decade, the internet has lost one of the greats.
Vaya con Dios Shamus.
You magnificent bastard I read your book!
I’ve been sitting on the news for the past couple of days trying to actually process it, I think it’s only just properly hit me now reading through the comments.
I followed Shamus off and on on high school, back in the escapist days, and I started following him regularly shortly after heading off to college. The one big thing I remember was in the middle of college, I was going through a health scare of my own, and Shamus’ Mass Effect retrospective wound up being a sort of anchoring point for me. It gave me something to keep looking forward to, to ground myself when there was so much else that was uncertain. It wound up being really important to me, on top of being a fantastic piece of writing that I’ve gone back to to reread for years now. Ever since he remained a consistent source of insightful commentary and good humor. We never really interacted personally, but his work has been an important part of my life.
In all honesty, the news still doesn’t feel fully real. And I don’t really know what else I can say. But Shamus has made something truly special here, both his work and the community surrounding it. I don’t know if there’s another space quite like this.
I’ll miss him.
I’ve been reading this blog intermittently since the mid 2000’s, either when Free Radical got linked from the Looking Glass fan forums, or following some link from Den Beste. Too far back to remember now. I don’t think Shamus ever knew how much of an impact he had though, or on how many. He always had more important things on his mind: his passions, or his loved ones. Even when I disagreed with his opinions though, I admired him. He argued civilly and sincerely; he wasn’t afraid to put himself out there and put his heart into something he cared about; and he adored his family. He gave me many hours of entertainment and helped to clarify my thinking on a lot of things, and he will be missed.
This is going to hurt for a while, but it’s a little easier knowing that at least he won’t be hurting anymore.
I don’t usually comment on the blog much but like many here I’ve been a reader for what seems like my entire life. I started following Shamus while I was still in high school, a kid, and now I’m verging on 30 years old. Reading Shamus’s writing helped me learn how to think critically not only about video games but about… everything. For someone I’ve never met Shamus had an inordinate influence on the man I am and the way I think.
For his family and everyone who was close to him I can give only my deepest sympathy. The world lost a great man and you lost so much more.
I’ve been following the blog for roughly a decade – first linked by Shamus’s Escapist columns, I quickly became hooked on Spoiler Warning and have many fond memories of rushing home from work to see if a new episode was up. I haven’t followed the site quite as regularly since the split, but I’ve still tried to keep up. Shamus had a gift for writing about programming in a way that made it easily digestible for those of us without much technical knowledge, as well as being a good storyteller.
In addition to my condolences, I believe I’m local enough to be able to help with some stuff on that list. I think you guys were still in Butler County? If so, please let me know the best way to coordinate my assistance.
Thank you so much, if you reach out to Paul he can connect you to Heather via email for details.
It’s a peculiar form of grief, to mourn the loss of a person I’ve never actually met, but who I’ve known for so long. Learning of Shamus’ passing saddens me far more than the death of any celebrity – even those for whom I held great respect – because I knew they were strangers to me, and by and large my insight into them as human beings was sharply limited. At the same time, we were not family and I feel it too presumptuous to call him a friend – while I feel as though I knew him well through all he shared over the years, to him I was maybe a vaguely familiar pseudonym that would turn up in his comment threads from time to time – neither a prominent regular nor an invisible lurker – just someone that popped up often enough so maybe my handle was recognizable.
And yet, from my perspective, Shamus Young has been a more constant and valued figure in my life than most of the people I’ve known outside my immediate family. I’ve kept the relationship between us – one-sided as it may have been – active longer than any personal friendship I’ve had. Even when he and I had strongly different opinions about something, I was always able to respect his point of view because he so clearly thought his way through his position, and would take the time and effort to explain that process. And while his thought processes usually resonated with mine where they overlapped, I think it was in the places where they didn’t that I valued his insights the most – I am not a programmer, nor a musician; while Shamus and I both enjoy playing games with a good narrative, most of our other preferences in gaming don’t align much. Yet while I absolutely enjoyed reading his critical deconstructions of games we’d both played like Fable and Mass Effect, or appreciated his humor regarding shared hobbies such as tabletop RPGs and fandoms like Lord of the Rings, it was his series about code, music, and critiques of games I’d never played where his talents shone brightest for me – in making topics I not only knew little about but also normally had little interest both engaging and informative. In so doing, he did much more than simply provide me with years of clever entertainment: he also taught me new things, and allowed me to gain a glimpse into fields of knowledge I otherwise wouldn’t have. I’ll miss that.
I already owned both of his novels of original fiction, and I’ve already been a (modest) supporter on Patreon for some time. But while I’ve read the blog-form iterations of both How I Learned and Mess Effect, I hadn’t gotten around to purchasing them in book form until now. I’ve now rectified that oversight, if only as a token gesture towards easing the family’s passage through the purely pedestrian challenges ahead of them now. I know it can’t help in weathering the emotional and spiritual dimensions of this loss for you – one far greater than my own small sorrow.
Very long time reader here, I don’t even know when I started, only that I discovered Order of the Stick from this site, so at least 14 years.
I’m very sad to hear of Shamus’ passing and my condolences go out to his friends and family.
I don’t know what to say. Don’t know what I could, that hasn’t been said already. But…I’ll try anyway.
Over half my life time ago, around when I was starting high school, I came here from the Escapist. The type of long form written analysis Shamus did here was something engaging and unique, and it wasn’t long before I’d read every article. I didn’t miss a single episode of Spoiler Warning for years, all the way back from the Fallout 3 days when it wasn’t even on YouTube.
I started a video game blog because of Shamus. It’s mostly abandoned these days, but I wrote hundreds of thousands of words because of this man. Because he helped me think about media, helped me take the plunge and re-ignite a passion for creative writing that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
Slowly, gradually, this blog has fallen out of my regular reading schedule. These days I just pop in once or twice a year to binge retrospectives. So it feels strange to stand here, among his friends, family and most dedicated followers, and say what they have already said. But I hope whatever the quality of the message, it helps those who survive him see the quantity. The sheer number of people whose lives have been touched by his.
Shamus Young was a wonderful person. Until the day I die, I’ll remember his name.
This post will have an ontological flavor. If one attempts to witness the human condition with all of one’s conceivable attention turned inward, then it is quite unavoidable to see that ultimately, at out very “core”, we are just pure awareness, with the capacity to construct experiences to be – logically – aware of.
In this life, we are seemingly divided to play dissociated players in dissociated flesh-avatars, while occupying these dissociated bodies in a seemingly separate environment. And yet, it is the exact same awareness that is looking through all of our very eyes.
Shamus always gave me the impression that he sees through the illusion – pun intended – well enough as to realize that the best he could do with it, was to organize it into more and more levels of meaningful sophistication that could stimulate the consciousness(es) of fellow avatars in a beneficial manner, and he indeed has done so on a scale and relevance that continues to impact the consciousness ecosystem with every passing second.
This, I think, is the superbest-, the optimal thing one can do in a human run. Once you witness our mutual human existence via the vaaaaastly indifferent scales of time, (not to mention how time is an awareness-construct, too) you can see that the very essence of Shamus is as immortal as the mere awareness in us that we comprehend this very notion with. They are the same awareness. It is beyond this life, and always was/is/will be.
It is very true that in this brief human life we live, we have no actual knowledge of what awaits us after death, but the first thing I will do after my death, is read Shamus’ retrospective on the experience.
That was a ride. Well said, thank you.
I am very sorry to hear this. My heart goes out to the family.
Aw hell, I didn’t expect this. I I knew he had said his health was poor, but his writing was as sharp as always, so it didn’t really sink in.
Shamus Young, together with Richard Burlew, pretty much taught me how to tell stories. As a hobby novelist and a long time game master, I owe a lot of what I know to him.
Rest in peace, Shamus. You did me a big favor, and I’m grateful.
I got linked to the site by a friend on Facebook about Nov 2010. IIRC correctly, it was the “What does a Robot want” article. At the time I was in college, and the refreshing straightforwardness and engineering/programming mindset really caught my attention. Throw in some Anime introspectives at the time, and I was easily pulled in.
That said, I’ve been following for 11.5 years. I’ve mostly focused on the long form content, and it’s really sad to see him go. From his birthday post last year it certainly gave the impression that he was having trouble and he wasn’t going to be around for a long time, but I certainly wasn’t ready for it this year. 50 is not old.
I’ve been reading this blog since DM of the rings in 2007.
Rest in peace Shamus, thank you for all the joy and insights you’ve given to me
Deeply saddened to hear this news. A highly intelligent and thoughtful man, who wrote superbly well on every topic that he turned his mind to. The world is a duller, less intelligent place without him.
My heartfelt condolences to family.
Deeply saddened to learn this, my sincerest condolences go out to his friends and family.
Well this sucks.
I recall reading his post on his health a few months ago, and this particular line left me shocked and momentarily motionless;
And now it has come to pass.
I read Shamus’ stories from his childhood, and it was a strange sensation; in some sections it felt like he could have been writing about my upbringing. It helped me understand some of the feelings, sensations and experiences of my youth. It was comforting.
Over the years I’ve been followed this site, I read each Ding! birthday update with anticipation, as it often seemed to closely parallel my life, but like reading a couple of years into the future (I’m 45 this year)
I also read, and appreciated, the retrospectives, even though I’ve not played any of the games in question and probably never will, but his deep consideration and examination of the subject matter was engaging and refreshing.
50% of my Steam library is good robot; not a style of game I generally play and not a style I’m very good at, but the open and thorough way he described the development process on here felt like he was bringing us all along for the ride.
I feel for his family. I wish this story could have taken a different turn.
Bye Shamus, and thankyou.
My sincere condolences to the family, I am so sad now.
I frequently visited here, and really liked Shamus’s work. Was it articles on escapist, webcomics, the mass effect series analysis, or good robot.
I will always miss him.
Rest in peace, Shamus Young
I’m so sorry for your sad loss. My sincere condolences to his friends and family; you’re in our thoughts.
I’ve lurked here for a long time without commenting. I’ve always loved Shamus’ writing and insights, and I feel like his personality, sense of humour, and intelligence really shone through his work. This sad loss has hit me surprisingly hard; he seemed like such a good human, and he enriched many people’s lives through his work and writing. I’m so sorry to hear this news.
Wishing you all love, peace, and happy memories.
I knew this would happen eventually as he regularly talked about his health. I offer his loved ones my sincere condolences.
Shamus has been an inspiration ever since I started following his series in proc-gen back when I was still living in France. I introduced many friends and colleagues to this site and we would sit and comment about what we read during lunch. I can’t believe it’s been a decade…
With love from Paris, France and Delemont Switzerland.
I can’t think of any other human being that I have never met, never spoken to, just followed mostly silently for over 15 years (Since near the start of DM of the Rings) that has elicited this much sadness. He was a great blogger and human being, probably the only blogger that I really followed. But more than that: he demistified the subjects that he covered in a way that I haven’t seen before. Many people have commented on his programming posts, but I found that his stuff took the sting out of what things like maths was for.
I am a mature student studying for an engineering MSc after having done an engineering bachelor’s degree, and I don’t think that I would have made the leap from a completely different career if I hadn’t been reading Shamus’s blog.
I wish the family well.
So long and thanks for all the fish. Hope to see him on the other side, all things being well.
Longtime lurker, only commented a few times, but I have followed this blog for over a decade of my life now as a source of entertaining content and thought-provoking critique. I appreciated Shamus for creating and maintaining such a site, and am deeply sorry he has passed.
My condolences to his friends and family. He will be sorely missed.
Longtime lurker like so many others who is devastated by this news. I never met the man but the insightfulness and openness of his posts, both personal and professional, were always a highlight of my day.
I first discovered Shamus as he was writing his Mass Effect series during a rough patch in my professional career and I cannot adequately express how soothing I found reading his insights during my that time. Like with his Wolfenstien retrospective, he took thoughts many of us had but could not adequately explain, and turned them into memorable prose. No small feat and a testament to his intellect.
The world is a lesser place without him and he will be deeply missed by more people than he knew.
As a longtime lurker I am stunned by this news. My deepest condolences to the Young Family.
I suggest that everyone watch this,
I really loved Shamus’s perspective. I think he was one of my favorite gaming bloggers, and just this week I was going back over his old posts just to remind myself of some great insights. It’s sad to find out that he’s gone but he’s left a really positive influence on the world through his writing and his community. My thoughts are with his family.
I’ve never commented on here before, but I feel I had to now…
It feels like I have lost a friend. Like most people here I have never met Shamus, but I will miss his intelligent, level-headed voice in a medium that is often so very far from these qualitites. His writing has shaped the way I assess many things, and I am very grateful for that.
His writing was so witty and to the point that I have used a text by Shamus in my English lessons once (the one about his decision to quit Twitter). So Shamus, wherever you are, your writing has been analysed by German school kids, between the likes of George Orwell, John Steinbeck etc., and they enjoyed it…
Wow. Shamus was way too young for this. His health had been popping up more and more as a topic for years now, but until late last year it was with the sort of optimistic edge that he would be taking better care of himself. Unfortunately, it looks like it was too late.
In may ways, this blog felt like a leftover from the old internet. Shamus was always worried about being able to keep his readership numbers up with such an antiquated format, but while his health-related lack of energy could be felt on the blog for the last year or so, he was still someone who had plenty to say and plenty of ideas to explore. This blog was really the only place I still went to for gaming culture news- pretty much every other outlet had long ceased to have any real value. I think the Diecast was the first podcast I ever listened to, and it was always still good to hear Shamus talk about whatever things came up.
I really hope this blog can stay around in some format for a while longer. It’d be nice to have maybe a monthly re-posting of old content to get some retrospective reactions/comments to it. It would also be nice if Shamus had some kind of successor. It’d just be a shame if the history of thought that this blog built up and that we’re all fluent it vanished.
I’ve never commented on the site before, but I’m another lurker and enjoyer of the content here. I wish my first comment could have come under better circumstances. I can’t exactly claim to be a long-time lurker, but I have gone through the archives and read nearly all of the articles at least once, and the writing has been uniformly excellent. Shamus has been my favorite blogger ever since I started reading his work due to his amazing analysis and insights. I don’t really have anything to add that hasn’t already been said, but I want to add my voice anyway and express my condolences to the Young family and everyone else who knew him personally. Shamus will be missed. I hope that his legacy will continue to inspire people far into the future.
I’m incredibly shocked and saddened to read this. I’ve been a regular reader of Shamus’ site since DM of the Rings and I’ve always deeply enjoyed his writing. His commentary on the video game industry, and his in-depth analysis of individual games, were always a joy to read: insightful, witty, and full of humanity. I didn’t always agree with everything he wrote, but I admired him greatly, both as a writer and somebody whose blog was one of the Internet’s last great remaining personal blogs worth reading. I rarely posted here myself since I don’t post on many forums online, but the community he fostered here, which in my own experience has generally been incredibly polite even on extremely contentious issues, is a testament to his fundamental decency as a human being.
When he posted about his renal-failure diagnosis, I began to worry about him, but I didn’t imagine he would be taken from us so soon. I hoped he would have many years of life left to enjoy with his family, and hopefully entertain us as well with the wit, insight, and heart we’ve come to love over the years.
Farewell, Shamus. My deepest condolences go out to his friends and family.
Oh my god. I’ve been reading his stuff for years, entirely as a lurker. I’m so sorry.
Of the works here, I’m particularly fond of his takedown of the Skyrim Thieves Guild questline, which I still think about quite often while I play the game. I really like his Mass Effect series too.
I’m so sorry. My condolences to this community, his family, and his friends.
I usually check the weblog about once a week, so I just found out.
I didn’t know Shamus personally, though there was the occasional email, comment on the weblog, and the time I bought him Bioshock on Steam. I originally found the site because I was looking for RPG weblogs and Shamus was still writing D&D content at the time, but I’ve been enjoying the whole wild ride. Rants, reviews, devlogs, programming articles, biographical stuff, comics, Spoiler Warning, The Diecast, occasional Youtube videos, a brief detour into writing for the Escapist, and even opening up the weblog to other contributors… were not things that I was expecting from a D&D campaign diary.
The thing that hits me the hardest is that I didn’t finish my game in time for Shamus to play it.
I’ll still be checking the weblog until the final post.
Rest in peace, Shamus. My heart goes out to Heather, Isaac, Paul, and the rest.
I’ve been reading this website on and off for the better part of the last decade. Shamus has always been an insightful and interesting read, regardless of his chosen topic, falling pray to neither tired cliches or excessive speculation. You will be missed Shamus, but not forgotten.
I’ve been reading this site as long as I can remember, lurking since dm of the rings. I’m terribly sorry.
Longtime follower of Shamus’s work. So sorry for your loss. The community is poorer for his passing.
Being younger than Shamus, and not prone to dangerous hobbies, I always figured there was a good chance I’d wake up to a post of this flavor someday, but with how optimistic Shamus was about his health problems I figured it’d be a decade or so off. And being aware of something coming still doesn’t prepare one for it; I saw it in my RSS feed the day it went up, but had to take a few days to process it. I’ve been reading regularly since 2014, ever since YouTube recommended me one of the early episodes of the in-progress season of Marlow Briggs and Spoiler Warning of Derp (which might be a unique entry point among my fellow readers). I’d been meaning to tell him that I finally picked up Good Robot a few months ago when I suddenly realized I could play it on Linux now with Proton; so, uh, if you’ve got Wi-Fi in Heaven, Shamus, I recognized that track from the Diecast outro in it and thought it was cool. Hope I get to say that to your face one day.
What tribute can I pay to Shamus Young that hasn’t been said already? He had an incredible ability to write interesting. He could’ve written about watching paint dry on growing grass, and it would still have been the most interesting (and probably funniest) thing I read all day. Our gaming interests were mostly orthogonal (Minecraft being the only game I know of that we both liked), but I still enjoyed reading all his long-form critiques even though I’ve never been interested in playing any of the games written about. I know he expressed a worry occasionally of being seen as someone with only complaints about things, but I never saw him that way; I always thought it as…”perfomative griping,” not in the sense that he was being insincere or anything, but that he (like I tend to do) took legitimately-felt frustrations and spun them in the most humorous way possible. I’ll definitely miss his particular flavor of writing.
And while I would’ve read every post even if comments were disabled on all of them, the other praise I can offer is his ability to cultivate a community such that after finishing another satisfying post I could hardly wait to get down to the comments to see what people had to say about it (and offer my own thoughts). I hope it’s not too cheesy to say that Shamus offered all of us—commenters, lurkers, what-have-you—a vision of the Internet as a force for good; and while none of us were perfect (I’ve requested deletion of a few posts over the years upon further reflection), it was generally a civil place to hang out, discuss, and even debate. It felt, to use a Bad Tolkien Analogy, a bit like the Last Homely House in The Hobbit before venturing out into the wild and savage Internet at large. (I guess that would make Shamus Elrond? Bah, I’m sure he’d have a much better Bad Car Analogy…)
If his loss is affecting me so much at this remove, I can only imagine how much it—well, no, I can’t imagine how it’s affecting those closer to him than I. All I can offer is my entirely inadequate sympathy, and my continued Patreon support for however long it’s helpful. (If there’s a better place to put that support let me know.)
Marlow Briggs was right around when I was doing support work in Japan, and had a ton of free time. Got really involved in the forums then as well. Not a bad time to join the community, all told.
Yeah, beside Shamus’ writing, a large part of the blog was that he really did read every comment, and there was always a chance he would respond. It wasn’t just that he made something good that we all paid attention to. He was paying attention to all of us as well. I don’t know if he could have pulled that off if he had been any more internet-fameous, so while I’m sorry he never seemed to get the audience he deserved, I have a selfish kind of gladness that he could devote that much more care for those of us who were here. The last chapter of the Lord of the Rings savors of the same kind of grief. He has gone to the grey havens, and many fair things will fade.
“Everything is fine.”
And yet, not everything is fine.
It was in the early days of my PhD in 2007 when a friend forwarded me the link to a recently started DM of the Rings. I was immediately taken in by the combination of goofy jokes, nerdy rules stuff but also genuine character development of the players who were obstinate, silly and unreasonable, but never dismissed or treated as less than human beings by the writer. For the same reasons I stayed to read the blog on and off, learning a lot about the ins and outs of games and the industry and taking great joy from Shamus’ shenanigans as Star on Chest or his massive and meticulous story analysis of Mass Effect. If I never commented much, that was usually because I was too busy reading others peoples’ comments. Those were insightful not only because they were articulate opinions, but also because most commenters were willing to genuinely listen to the others, a testament to the community that Shamus attracted and his moderation of the discussions.
I was sorry to read that Shamus has passed away, and I wish his family and friends much strength in these difficult times. Yet he has left an impressive heritage, not only in the form of this blog, his comics and his books, as many of us have already testified. Over the years, his words have brought humanity, wisdom and joy into my days, whether those days were good or bad. This, in turn, has helped me (I hope) to be more humane, wise and joyful towards others, and thereby, he lives on. To quote from the Vietnamese monk Tich Nhath Hanh’s I am not here:
“I suggested that if they still insist on building a stupa,
they should have the plaque say: “I am not here”.
But in case people do not understand it, a second plaque could be added:
“Neither am I out there”.
Should people still not understand it,
then they can write on the third and last plaque:
“You can find me in the way you breathe and walk”.
This body of mine will disintegrate,
but my actions will continue me.
In my daily life, I always practice seeing my continuation around me.
We do not need to wait until the total dissolution of this body to continue,
we continue in every moment.
If you think that I am just this body,
then, you have not truly seen me.
When you see my friends, you see my continuation.”
There seems to be a pattern … I too started reading the blog during the DMotR time, while I should have been putting more time into my PhD. So first the blog became my distraction, then it became my substitute for playing games (while I was desperately trying to finish that PhD and stopped playing games in hopes that would speed my degree up) — that didn’t quite help, and I took me until 2012, by which point the only reason I knew what was going on in the gaming world was Shamus’ blog.
And ‘that’ in turn led to interesting conversations with other people who had actually played the games we were talking about … mostly along the lines of “have you actually played that game or what are you talking about?” Weirdly enough, Shamus’ writing is also what got me to switch to mostly older/indie games, as my view of the gaming industry became a little more cynical.
That might not sound like much of a compliment, but I think it might have actually helped me a lot because if I had been trying to play half as much after my PhD as I did before, I’ve no idea what would have happened to my job … So thank you, Shamus, for turning me into a more discerning gamer (or an extremely picky one, you choose).
Another thing that helped me in life, more than the gaming stuff, was the discussions of programming concepts. I’m still only using Python and Matlab, but I’ve found that although I didn’t directly learn a lot about programming here, the discussions on programming got me to become a lot more conscious about how I was coding, which in turn helped me, very directly, with my job, and with my own self esteem, which was in need of a little boost after I noticed It had taken me 9 years to do my bloody PhD…
As I’m writing this, I also notice that Shamus’ tone of writing has very much shaped my idea of what the tone of a blog post should be, as I’ve noticed more than once when trying to help a friend with their blog.
I’ve visited this site a lot less often after the very unfortunate break-up of the (in my view) “dream team” of Shamus, Josh, Mumbles, Chris and Rutskarn, also because of some changes in my own life, which may explain how late I’m commenting here…
I’m not a friend of repeating the same phrases “everyone” uses and also not too great at coming up with my own, but I’m of the opinion that the best thing in such times is to celebrate a persons achievements, and remember what they did in their life rather than focus on the fact that they’re not doing that anymore, and I had this idea: There should be a review/gallery/parade of some sorts of all the best and most relevant things that Shamus has made, blog posts or otherwise, as a reminder of some of the great/funny/enlightening things he produced and is loved for.
Not sure how to decide what to include in that review (apart of course from the entirety of DMotR and Chainmail Bikini), but I’m strongly in favour of including this little gem:
Shamus himself put together a “best of” page, which lives at the site root: https://www.shamusyoung.com/
I believe that’s also where the after-article suggestions come from.
This blog has been a major part of my life for the past decade. Even if I didn’t comment much, I read it religiously and frequently recommended it others. I even encouraged students in my classes to read articles like Shamus’ explanation of blockchain, because it did it better than any academic papers.
This news is truly heartbreaking, and my thoughts go out to Shamus’ friends and family.
I’m going to miss him so much.
Oh, my god…
my time on the site was overall short compared to some long time readers, but shamus was the one that taught me so much about critical thinking and story analysis.
I… i genuinely don’t know how to react outside of posting a comment to talk about how much i liked reading his articles. He will be missed.
I very seldom commented but I read everything.
I found Shamus’ analysis of why some stories work and others not so well. He managed to take some difficult stroywriting concepts and make them very clear, which is not easy to do.
It wasn’t so much the what of the procgen but the why that I very much enjoyed, the thought process behind the design decisions was very illuminating.
It was nice to find someone else who thought the first Mass Effect was by far the best of them.
As a person, it was admirable that he was aware of his strengths and weaknesses and how to get the most out of them.
Reading the news of Shamus passing caught me on an already bad day and felt like the terrible cherry on top. Hence I’m a bit late to offer my condolences now. Shamus was one of five people I donated to on Patreon and I always felt good about there being some way to pitch in a little for all the quality content he offered here for free. I first began reading his Experienced Points column on the Escapist back in 2010 or so and became a regular on the blog in 2015 with his Mass Effect retrospective. When he started posting it I was having a rough time adjusting to parental leave and it offered a sense of stability to use the Wednesday afternoon nap time to read his excellent dissection of the Mass Effect series. It was one of those things that meant a lot to me at the time but that I could never post here or in an e-mail without it sounding ultra weird.
The gaming hobby has lost one of its greatest critics and analysts. My thoughts are with Heather and his family.
I was a fan of Shamus since he was writing columns on the Escapist, since DM of the Rings even. I remember watching the very first episode of Spoiler Warning on Vimeo in the hallway of my high school on my laptop. Shamus’s contributions both to making my personal high school life less hell and to serious criticism of video games as an art form I just cannot overstate. I know I’m just some shlub on the internet but please let me say that Shamus made my life better at a very tough time. Losing him is like a punch in the gut. My deepest condolences to the family.
Terry Pratchett said that “a man is not dead while his name is still spoken”. We will remember and speak his name.
Seeing the headline, I was really hoping it’s some kind of a word play. Something Shamus had made up. So sad and shocked that he is gone.
I’ve been following this site since DMotR, lurking and only rarely commenting. Came for the hilarious webcomic, stayed for the honest and intelligent writing, the bold uncompromising vision, and the rants. Oh the rants! I’ve enjoyed Shamus’ critique of games I’ve never played, his insights on programming. I shared his outlook on DRM and was fascinated by his analysis of web hosting issues such as bots trying to flood the comments section. I bought Another Kind of Life on a whim when he wrote about it, and it is a fascinating piece of world building. I loved his style and his humor, this blog was one of the first on my RSS feed, moving into Google Reader and then finally Feedly where I saw this post today and it’s still hard to believe he’s gone.
More than all this, all of the discussions he fostered were civil, intelligent and insightful. A haven for intelligent and respectful discourse on the internet. I actually asked my kids the other day the “Travel to the past with a cubic meter of stuff” question and we had some wild ideas. Thank you for the ride, Shamus. Yours is a breed that is increasingly rare these days.
I will miss you man. Rest In Peace.
I’m frankly at a loss for words for these shocking news. Shamus was a great source for intelligent and reliable writing in the games industry and he will be missed dearly.
All the best to Heather and the kids.
Reading this hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to cancel my plans tonight to process.
Shamus was a unique mind, blessed with the rare combination of deep insights and the skill to communicate them to others – and not only that, but to entertain us readers in the process. He’s left a great mark on the world, and deserved to leave an even greater one. Part of him will live on in me and I’m sure others, for me in my approach to critique especially – and I hope that through his family, friends, and readers the world may still yet live up to him.
My heart dropped like a stone when I saw this. I’ve literally read this blog more than half my life. It got me into D&D and multiple game franchises, and Shamus’ writing, always clear and simple without being insulting, had a great influence on the way I learned to think critically, write and worldbuild. Like so many others here, I feel loss. Reading old archived posts here has been something of a comfort to me in hard times. Having grown up with this blog, I also always looked up to him as a writer, a world-builder, and even just a critical thinker. His writings, videos, and more brought much joy and solace to my life.
I hope it is some consolation that he has inspired and touched this community, the fruit of a good life. He will not be forgotten. God bless.
His writing and criticism was some of the most insightful things I’d read on the internet. And unlike other critics, he would never directly attack individual writers or artists. While other critics quickly jump to the “X” creator is incompetent/fool some kind of conjecture and therefore the game/movie is bad, Shamus would take the time to try and understand why an artist would make a mistake. His dissection of “The Last Jedi” is one of my favourite critiques of the work, and it was only one part of his overall retrospective. He took the time to consider both sides, without villifying it’s fans/haters or Rian Johnson. And whenever he made a critique, it felt like he genuinely had honest feedback to give to creators instead of simply forcing an overly negative tone just for the clicks.
He will be sorely missed, at least by me. May he rest in peace.
Longtime reader here as well, and I echo the sentiments of those above. It is a testament to Shamus’s ability to put so much of himself into his work that those of us who only knew him through that work can feel his loss so deeply.
That said, of course, his loss will be felt most keenly by those who DID know him in real life, and most of all by his family. To Heather & Co., as well as the other family members Shamus introduced us to over the years, I’m praying for all of you. From everything he said here over the years, he surely was ferociously proud of each of you.
Also: please don’t feel the need to keep all of us Twenty Siders updated. Real life and the hurricane you’re living through take precedence. While we’re all anxious for your welfare, we should be low on the priority list.
If, some time in the future, you feel like editing Shamus’ unfinished work and publishing it here, I’m sure all loyal readers will be eager to see it. I will also say that, if the comments above are any indication, I’m far from the only one whose writing was inspired by Shamus’ own. If there’s any interest in keeping the blog running with content inspired by its creator, especially if such an effort was of tangible support to the family, I’m sure there would be plenty of volunteers.
Secondly, I know it must be particularly hard to be planning a funeral on Father’s Day :( This is a song I wrote around the time of my mother’s passing a few years ago. I hope it may be of some small solace to you.
–to the tune of “Slane,” a.k.a. ” Be Thou My Vision”–
Sleep now, my children, for evening is nigh,
Sun’s golden rays now are gone from the sky;
Slumber’s swift currents flow over you soon,
And sweep you to heaven on the crest of the moon.
Heaven’s sweet vale greets you with yet brighter rays,
For paradise hours surpass earthly days:
A warmth there far warmer than any embrace,
And rest far more wholesome in pastures of grace.
Archangel choirs their voices employ,
And our sainted loved ones shall greet you with joy,
For past all reflection or sin-stained facade,
Behold you at long last the true face of God.
I’ll kiss you, my children, if each we awake,
And speak heaven’s dream-words for salvation’s sake;
But if you or I stay where His presence gleams,
I’ll kiss you, my children, on the far side of dreams.
Wherever your husband and father is tonight, I’m sure his heart is with you. God bless you all.
I never interacted with Shamus aside from that one Diecast question I sent in, but this has hit me surprisngly hard. I’ve read his stuff for the better part of a decade now and watched justabout every episode of Spoiler Warning. No other blogger has captured my attention like he did. I didn’t consider him an inspiration, just someone witty and insightful who shared my interest in video games and programming. But now I realize he was and is. I can’t point to anyone else like him.
I actually have my own absurdly long video game retrospective in the works now. It won’t be in the style of Shamus, but I’m certain his writing will make its mark in mine. Now I am fully motivated to finish it, if only so I can dedicate it to him at the end.
I still have some of his work left to enjoy, so I’m gonna focus on that while Paul and the family work through this. This is a lovely community and I hope the site or a derivative of it has a future. Thank you for everything, Shamus.
I just now saw the obituary post on Facebook and I’m still reeling from the shock, not to mention that I’ve come to this post so late after the fact. What a way to find out so late that the closest thing I had to a role model was suddenly taken away from us. I’m devastated to hear this. I used to frequent here and read his articles, and watch or listen to his shows and podcasts all the time. He informed so many of my years as a young adult, from 2010 to ~2016/17, with his insight and wit into video games and its industry, as well as DnD. I will always cherish is webcomic, DM of the Rings, his Let’s Play Spoiler Warning, and countless other projects, including two of his books currently on my shelf. I will always cherish when I got to invite him on a podcast for the now-defunct Middle-earth Network and actually speak with him. Even though I ceased frequenting his blog, I always valued his content, I’m shocked by the loss of such a mind, and I cannot imagine the blow this is to his family. As a fellow Christian, may I one day see him at the Father’s side, perfecting his sub-creations, as Tolkien would say in Mythopoeia, in the new Heavens and the new Earth.
I’m so sorry to Heather and the family.
Could you provide a link to the obituary post you mention?
Obituary is here:
The Facebook post is just a link to the same.
One never expects to find a favourite internet personality to have died.
I- I don’t know how to process this right now.
Not a great consolation, but first time is the worst. In November 2020 my “Shamus analogue” succumbed to covid-19.
He was not such a prolific writer as Shamus, but he was a prolific talker, I listened to his podcast for years so I also felt as if I knew him (I also met him personally once). He was tweeting almost till the end, his last tweet was a photo of his blood oxygen level:
His death was a huge blow, had I now already experienced this, I would have been 10x more devastated after Shamus’ death than I am (and I am pretty devastated, thank you).
BTW. If anyone wants to read Shamus’ content on escapist, there are two links, for some reason – I did not verify if there is overlap:
After one of the site’s reorganizaton the direct links to Experienced Points and Stolen Pixels from his blog posts stopped working.
404 link in the blog post:
Perhaps fixing the links could be automated, in this case it was enough to remove “articles/view/comics/stolen-pixels/4979-” part from the middle.
EDIT: I see the images of the comic are gone. I assume shamus backed them up somwehere, would be nice to get them restored.
The wayback machine still has the originals:
You can punch any of the old URLs there and (eventually) get the comic. At least the handful I’ve tested so far work.
Those comics might have been the reason I found Shamus’s blog many years ago. I remember sitting in my office giggling at one about Civilization, something about a trireme that had sat on the same shore spot bombarding a city for literally generations. He had such a great sense of humor. It would be a tragedy if those comics were lost.
I don’t know how to handle this.
I’ve been reading for… ages. DM of the Rings, at least? I haven’t commented all that often, and I have changed usernames a few times. “Parkhorse” is itself a reference to something or another from an older post or video (Skyrim horse physics, maybe?).
Anyway, just… seeing this, it’s hitting harder than I expected. Normally I don’t get broken up about Internet personalities, celebrities, etc., passing, but… It’s Shamus, man. You know? It’s a sad day.
I know this wasn’t terribly coherent, but man… this is tragic.
Parkhorse was a joke in the Assassin’s Creed 2 SW season.
Shamus writing helped form a lot of who I am in my formative years. Seeing that he’s now gone is truly awful.
I hope the family is pulling through.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends. His work brought joy to many. He was a formative part of my youth- I read his blog daily for about 5 years- and I will never forget him.
I’ve not been around this site for a couple of years, but seeing the obituary post on facebook of all places still hit hard.
Shamus was an impressive man who managed to touch my life through his comics and later on this blog, Spoiler Warning and the Diecast. I will always carry some of the personal slice of (Shamus’s) life blogs with me. The experiences he shared will forever have enriched my life.
My condolences to the family, I’ve gotten to know some of your life through Shamus while you know nothing of me.
I am truly sorry for your loss.
I am sure everyone who knew Shamus at all or enjoyed his work is devastated by the news. He was a thoughtful and kind guy who explained things so well. Twenty sided tale was a unique place with unique and heartfelt takes on random things to do with PC gaming.
Obviously Shamus was talking about his health quite a bit lately and we knew he was in poor health, but this isn’t something you expect either way.
My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends. Shamus had an incredible impact on so many people and he will be sorely missed.
As an aside, Shamus’ previous talks about his high blood pressure and subsequent health problems were an important impetus for me to take stock of my own health, especially as related to blood pressure. I really didn’t realize how much damage could happen in a short time if you let that go. So Shamus sharing these intimate, private medical details may have saved me personally no small amount of future grief, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
I’m so sorry. I don’t even know what to say. I’m just some rando on the internet but Shamus’s writing has been part of my life for almost twenty years, and a world without him is hard to imagine.
My best to his family, and to Paul.
I was trying to think how I got directed at Shamus’ blog. I think I read an article about Thief Deadly Shadows and it contained a link to the famous Shalebridge Cradle article:
No idea when that event occurred, but it must have been well over 10 years ago. I’ve been following Shamus since then.
I’m trying to remember how I found the blog too. I remember reading DM of the Rings in 06 or 07 as a teenager, but I didn’t realize it was Shamus at the time. I think it was when I discovered his Fallout 3 Spoiler Warning LP in 2010, but I don’t remember where I found it. It was around the time I discovered the Escapist, but I don’t think it was there. But I soon discovered, WAIT THIS IS THE SAME GUY, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
I absolutely had an experience like this too. I know the first thing of his I saw was a Stolen Pixels making fun of World of Warcraft (one I ended up liking so much I made it the page quote on tvtropes page) but didn’t read the blog regularly until someone pointed me to a post on here a few years ago.
Yknow, Chad, I think it just might have been Stolen Pixels where I discovered Spoiler Warning, the blog, and that Shamus was the very same author of DM of the Rings.
I haven’t known what to say, and still don’t.
I’m impressed by and deeply grateful to Paul for taking the reins around here while Heather and the kids attend to their duty. My heart breaks for them. No matter how we felt about the man, Shamus was a whole world larger to them.
I’m just a heckler. I can’t claim I knew Shamus. I’ll never live down letting go of the chances I had to know him better, because he’s probably busy, people probably bother him a lot, and I didn’t want to bug him, and there would be better chances some other day.
God, I’ll miss him. I’ve been terribly sad ever since reading the news. But I’ve been reading everyone’s warm thoughts and well-wishing, more and more coming in each day. It’s an awesome comfort to see the difference he made and the place he had in everyone’s lives.
More than any other person, Shamus showed me a way of thinking seriously about stories that was approachable, entertaining, and rooted in a hope and love for games as an artistic medium. To that end, he showed me what it meant to take games seriously as an art form without losing perspective or your sense of fun. I doubt there will be a time in my life when I am thinking about, writing about, or just playing games when I’m not in some way following his example, or trying to.
Shamus has made me laugh for so many years. It’s fair the son of a bitch gets to make me cry once in my life.
Just learned about this from the Diecast while walking my dogs (one of which was basically named after him). It’s really sad. Shamus’ programming blog posts led me into a fantastic career of game and software development, and I will miss him and his blog and podcast greatly. I feel for everyone who is lacking his joy, snark and exuberance.
Goodbye, Shamus. You’ve helped me for a long time. I think your autobiography was the first time that as a teenager I felt like maybe things were going to be alright – because you had a story and it didn’t suddenly end, it just went on to a wonderful life with everything that means, the good and the bad.
I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even be on the career path I currently am without your writings. I don’t think I’ve ever cried when someone like you died – someone I only ever really had a parasocial relationship with, someone who at best has seen my internet name in a random comment section. But you meant something to me. Goodbye.
Man, I didn’t even think about it, but a few days later I am painfully aware that Twentysided is the #1 bookmark on my main device. I klick on it literally to check if the internet is up. I even came when setting up new devices’ settings because I know the colours and dimensions so well I know immediately if something is wrongly configured.
I’m not even a gamer but I have been reading Shamus’ comics, programming series, and general rants on this site for the last 18 years because of the intelligent, insightful, and often very funny nature of his perspectives.
This site is the very first example I ever encountered of an “internet community” where people were actually invested in communicating and being decent people to each other. The fact that it has remained so for all these years, even as other internet gathering places became known for their antisocial tendencies, is a testament to Shamus and to his character.
What a remarkable human being. He will be sorely missed.
I started reading this blog from the Mass Effect series (which was long over by the time I found it, so it was my joy to binge-read it), but never felt the need to comment until now. We’ve been robbed of a truly great person, one with so much intelligence, wisdom, and wit left to give. I am not religious, but all the same I pray that his work continues to reach people and be enjoyed for years to come. Shamus is an inspiration.
Rest in peace, friend. I see and analyze the stories of video games in a whole new way because of you.
I’ve been reading Shamus’s blog since I was in college, although I can’t quite remember when I started. Anyhow, I’m 39 now.
I’ll miss the man’s presence in my life. He had come to feel like a personal friend, even though we were never introduced.
My deepest condolences to Heather and the children—but also my congratulations, for having had him in their lives, and my thanks, for sharing him with the rest of us.
My sincere condolences to the Young family.
I’ve followed Shamus work for well over a decade and it’s always been a joy to read or listen to.
I’m really going to miss the feeling of coming here and finding a new post from him and I can’t imagine how his loved ones must feel in comparison.
Good luck with all the moves and take care!
I was shocked and dismayed to hear this news, even though in his own way Shamus has been candid on this blog about his deteriorating health. I found this blog through the Mass Effect series, and stuck around because his writing and analysis was so coherent and well expressed regardless of what topic he turned it to, it was a pleasure always to read. I didn’t necessarily agree with every point he made, but you always understood entirely where he was coming from and that he was never arguing in bad faith.
I am only sorry that he did not find more success through his writing and own game-making, and that more people aren’t aware of what a fine writer and thinker he was. I feel like he had so much more to give. However, the size of this comment section speaks to how many lives he touched and how well respected he was regardless. One of the reasons for that I believe is, as many others have said, is that he took the time to read every comment and very often responded to them, so the article often felt like not a diatribe but simply the beginning of a conversation with the man. What a great miss he will be. Thank you for all the great reads, friend.
What terrible news. Like many, I’ve been reading Shamus’ blog for the last 15 years or so (I came in around the time he was writing about Neverwinter Nights 2), and have commented only sporadically. But it’s still a gut-punch to read this, despite it not being entirely unexpected given the posts about Shamus’ health and the slow-down in his posts.
We’ve definitely lost something, someone, huge. All of Shamus’ criticism and writing was well thought out, reasonable, and insightful. His posts about narrative construction and story-collapse in games are of course good, but so too are his posts on programming where he clearly explains his systematic thought process, and his posts on his own life where he showed how that thought process is applicable to so many more things (The Twelve Year Mistake, etc).
But what I will miss most is having someone who both preached and practiced tolerance and toleration, and doing so without abandoning his own views and perspectives. I was, and remain, deeply touched by his posts about Neighbor John and the recognition that good people can have bad ideas, and ultimately still do good for others. That recognition that people are not all angels or devils seems to be missing more and more these days. For someone who posted as prolifically as he did, I think it’s also worth saying that Shamus, by example, taught a lot of us how to listen as well – openly, generously, and fairly, while still reserving the right to use one’s own judgment.
Shamus will be badly missed. My best and prayers to his family and close friends as they worth their ways through this.
Like many people, I felt I knew Shamus even though he had no idea who I am or that I even exist. The internet is strange that way. He had a wide range of interests and I always learned something as I read this site, listened to his podcasts or even watched the Let’s Play series he was part of. It was like sitting with someone who enjoyed talking and had so much to say that I didn’t want to interrupt. (Somehow I expect he listened more than he spoke in person.)
Perhaps the article that most influenced me was his Philosophy of Moderation. I’m a community manager and this one article packs so much practical advice for my job, I’m not sure I’d be anywhere as effective without it. I’m sure the information is out there in other forms, but the way Shamus said it just clicked for me.
A few years ago I lost my youngest brother. He had epilepsy and one day he suffered a massive seizure and died. Our bodies are imperfect machines and everyone will fail at some point. On the day of his memorial service, I gave the eulogy and looked out at over a hundred people who loved my brother and took the time to remember his life. We discovered so many ways he’d had an impact on so many people. I guess I want to let Shamus’ family know that he had an impact on me. It won’t make grief go away (in a sense, the grief is greater because of how many people care about him), but hopefully it will encourage you that his life was not wasted. Too short, but full to overflowing in significance.
If you buy all Shamus’ books available on amazon, it’ll cost you a mere 17 bucks (slightly more in Europe because of VAT).
Also, Free Radical is available for 0 bucks here:
“How I learned” is also there, and you set your own price (including 0$).
That book has a free audiobook narrated by the one and only Paul Spooner!
I also narrated Free Radical if you’d like to listen to an audiobook version:
Now I see why Shamus never responded to my requests to produce his books for Audible. I’m grateful they’re available in some capacity. Man, I rarely comment/engage with online creators so I’m shocked at how difficult it is for me to manage this loss. It never felt like I “found” his blog. I just remember reading it at one point and never stopped. I always loved his perspective and it completely changed how I look at games. When I started my voice over career a couple years ago I practiced my narrating/recording skills with his Mass Effect series because I loved his writer’s voice so much. I even wanted to narrate his work for free at one point! Paul, you’re a good man and a good friend. Shamus and his family are lucky to have you in their life. Thanks for everything.
At this point, there’s nothing stopping you from narrating the Mass Effect series. I think the version in the book is more complete and better edited. That’s a big project!
I never got permission to do those readings though. I just did them and told him about them later. I don’t think he ever publicly acknowledged the Free Radical reading. Shamus had a rather uncomfortable relationship with Intellectual Property and collaboration. So, he probably never responded to you not because he didn’t want you to do it, but because he didn’t know what to say.
What Paul said. Yes. He would just sit on emails forever because he didn’t want to or couldn’t think about that project at the moment. He had a multitude of emails from readers sitting in his inbox that he planned to get to eve3ntually until he had to big of a backlog and would give up and delete or answer.
If you want to narrate the book go for it.
Oh, interesting! That makes a lot of sense. I definitely didn’t take it personally as a random stranger reaching out for a, “GREAT collaborative opportunity!” sounds like a headache or worse when you’re already juggling a million things. Free Radical seems like the type of book I’d love doing and Mess Effect would be an epic quest to complete… I’m grateful to receive your graces Heather and I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
PS. I appreciate you and Paul both responding to this comment, it means so much. I would’ve written back sooner if I received an email notification!
Finally got around to purchasing every book of Shamus’ I did not own.
I was going over my subscribed podcasts before my jog today, and I when I saw the words “The Diecast was Shamus’ podcast” in the show notes, I gasped in shock. This is more than just the death of a beloved celebrity for me.
The world will be a lesser place without Shamus. He was a good engineer and an insightful thinker with an incredible gift for storytelling and a fantastic sense of humor. I visited his blog irregularly to read his comics and videogame critiques, but it was when I read The Twelve-Year Mistake that I really felt I got to know him as a person – a kind and honest person with a real moral backbone. He impressed me enough that I occasionally fantasized about meeting him in person. “How cool would it be to be that guy’s neighbor?”, I would sometimes think. I worried about his health, but I told myself a 50-year-old guy has got to have some years ahead of him.
I listened to the Diecast every night before falling asleep. I think it was Shamus’ laid-back voice and non-combative personality that made him a good companion on my way to the land of dreams.
I hope this site and the podcast stay online. I will continue to support them on Patreon.
Day is ended, dim my eyes,
but journey long before me lies.
Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship’s beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Foam is salt, the wind is free;
I hear the rising of the Sea.
Farewell, friends! The sails are set,
the wind is east, the moorings fret.
Shadows long before me lie,
beneath the ever-bending sky,
but islands lie behind the Sun
that I shall raise ere all is done;
lands there are to west of West,
where night is quiet and sleep is rest.
Guided by the Lonely Star,
beyond the utmost harbour-bar
I’ll find the havens fair and free,
and beaches of the Starlit Sea.
Ship, my ship! I seek the West,
and fields and mountains ever blest.
Farewell to Middle-Earth at last.
I see the Star above your mast!
Bilbo’s Last Song, JRR Tolkien
[…] In Paradise perchance the eye may stray
from gazing upon everlasting Day
to see the day-illumined, and renew
from mirrored truth the likeness of the True.
Then looking on the Blessed Land ’twill see
that all is as it is, and yet may free:
Salvation changes not, nor yet destroys,
garden not gardener, children not their toys.
Evil it will not see, for evil lies
not in God’s picture but in crooked eyes,
not in the source but in the tuneless voice.
In Paradise they look no more awry;
and though they make anew, they make no lie.
Be sure they still will make, not been dead,
and poets shall have flames upon their head,
and harps whereon their faultless fingers fall:
there each shall choose for ever from the All.
Mythopoeia, last stanza, JRR Tolkien
Shamus and (while he was associated with it) Spoiler Warning kept me connected with gaming long after I stopped playing games. I used to post under a fake name here (The Dude), but I fell out of touch with this blog over the past few years.
I always popped in once every six months or so and just seeing new posts from him was uplifting. Like how there’s always a new issue of Batman each month. Something that’ll always be there.
I’d always meant to go back to his archives and catch up with his posts someday (no joke; I stopped somewhere in the middle of his massive Mass Effect retrospective) and then continue keeping up once I did catch up. Now I can only catch up. :(
It’s funny how so many of my favorite movies, shows, games, will now be forever tinged with Shamus’ absence. I’m watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy again recently, and remember thinking very fondly of chainmailbikini and DM of the Rings during the AND MY AXE scene. Now this will always be bittersweet.
Bless you, Shamus, you made a considerable difference to almost a decade of my life (most of that decade wasn’t very pleasant).
I was also delighted for years that Shamus could turn this platform into his main job, and kept doing what he loved for so long. He deserved it.
He was the very model of a scientist salarian… :’)
My condolences to his family and friends. Despite only catching glimpses of who Shamus was through his writing, I feel like we’ve been robbed of a great person. I can barely imagine how hard it must be for those who really knew him.
Like many, I wasn’t a commenter on this blog despite reading it avidly. His insight and personality colored a lot of my hobbies for the last decade, and got me into a lot of things I was previously a stranger to.
Farewell Mr. Young. You were a monument of the internet, and someone to look up to.
I am shocked! I’ve been reading Shamus’ blog for 10+ years but never commented before. His critiques of games and current events kept me connected to the world of gaming even after I didn’t have the time to participate anymore. I really appreciated his sense of humor and insight.
The community that he curated here is one of the most respectful and thoughtful communities that I’ve ever seen and I think that has a lot to do with how he always tried to look at things from other viewpoints. That perspective is something I’ve tried to incorporate into my own life. You will be missed Shamus.
My prayers go out to the family.
Given that I did not actually know Shamus, one half of me wants to be analytical and distanced about this, trying to figure out the nature of my parasocial relationship to the man.
The other half of me has literally cried several times over several days since first reading this post.
So whatever else there could be said I think this much is true: if your writing can get complete strangers to moan your passing as if you were a close friend, you have done something extraordinary with your life.
My sincere condolences to the family.
I feel awful that I wasn’t checking this blog more often and am only finding out about this now.
When I was a kid and got my first PC with an internet connection, one of the first things I found was a game/virtual world/chat client called AlphaWorld. My best friend would come over, and we’d spend hours in AW, just exploring and talking to people and stumbling into houses with static images of Sephiroth on every wall.
Years later, I found DM of the Rings, and then Shamus’ old campaign write-ups, and then just started reading his blog every day. I think I’ve read through his Mass Effect retrospective four times now, three times here and once as an ebook. Whenever I’d see a new post from him, it either meant a good time ahead or something far too technical for me to understand, but which I could still appreciate for its ingenuity.
Shamus gave me countless hours of joy and entertainment, years before I knew anything about him, even his name. I’m so thankful to have had his life touch mine, even in such a small way. My thoughts are with all those who are feeling this loss much more profoundly than I ever could. He was a good man. He brought good things into this world.
Rest well, Shamus. Thank you.
I didn’t comment often, but I’ve been following this site since 2015 or so. Checking it was part of my daily routine. It feels weird knowing it has all come to an end.
Shamus’s articles were insightful, funny, and taught me a huge lot about game design and storytelling. He may be gone, but his work won’t be forgotten.
Rest in peace and thanks for everything, Shamus. You were my favourite nerd in the internet.
Like a lot of people I first found my way in here to read DM of the Ring way back when, and I have more or less stuck around ever since. Spoiler Warning, Diecast, Mess Effect and more besides, all examples of things he has been part of or made that have enriched my life over the years.
Since I am not perticularly eliquent, nor purple of prose I can only say that I will miss his particular brand of analysis, car analogies and comedy. May those who knew him well have my condolenses, he will be missed.
I started reading the blog back in 2015. I read the Mass Effect ebook, read the Fallout articles, read the autobiography and various other things, etc.
This was one of the few places I felt I could go to read genuine insight and discussion about video games.
My condolences to Shamus’s family. I’ll try and help where I can.
How sad. I too got here through DM of the Rings and found myself coming back again and again. My condolences.
I’ve been trying to write this off and on for days now.
Shamus had a profound impact on my life, and it’s not hard to see why: Twenty Sided has been a part of my life for nigh-on fifteen years now, which means I’ve spent almost the entirety of my adult life reading this site and engaging with Shamus’ content in some form or another. From Free Radical (I think I have a blurb on the back cover?), to the Autoblogography, to his programming content, he’s really informed a lot of how I try to think about and work my way through my opinions and even problems. His ability to both break technical concepts and processes down to make for engaging reading, and his ability to do the same with his thoughts and critical opinions on media, made for some incredible reading. I think his work stands as a testament to him, and I hope this site is preserved so it continues to for many years.
Sadly it’s been a long time since I’ve been on Twenty Sided; things in my life put me in a position where I couldn’t keep up with the blog as I would have liked. “But that’s fine”, I’d thought, “it’ll be there when I’m ready”. And then I saw a retweet from Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw about Shamus’ passing and my stomach dropped out. I’m still absolutely gutted by his passing, and he will be dearly missed.
I think it’s time to catch up.
Spotted his memorial service on my video feed and came straight here to see the bad news. I’m a long time fan since DM of the Rings and really enjoyed his book The Witch Watch. His insight and analysis into games and their stories was fascinating and he seemed a really great guy. I am so sorry for your loss.
I’m deeply sorry for Shamus’ family and all the people close to him.
The first time I come across Shamus’s work was when I started the university, I got into TTRPGs and people suggested me reading DM of The Rings, which quickly became a source of in jokes in my group. It was some years later, watching silly YT videos about Skyrim that I heard him for the first time (at the time I didn’t know he was the same author).
Since then, Shamus has been one of the coolest guys I’ve the pleasure of reading.
Good Bye Shamus, I’ll miss you.
Shamus’ work gave me great enjoyment and edification for many years.
My condolences for a death too soon, and my appreciation for a life well lived.
10 years ago I left a comment asking Shamus for some advice, and he sent me an email. It was long, and well thought out, and full of heart-felt advice. I did not really expect a response. It was good advice too. I was touched.
On the one hand, I always felt sad that he hadn’t “succeeded” more in programming: he was obviously a brilliant programmer and talented from a young age. I felt bad that he wasn’t working with the John Carmacks of the world. He was an amazing writer as well, and I felt bad that his books were not more famous or well selling. I always kind of hoped he’d get a bigger break than running this blog.
It was stupid of me, really. He wasn’t rich but he succeeded in all the important ways. He was a good father, a good husband, and he built a beautiful community with his work. He touched more lives than most of us get to. He helped a lot of people. Brightened a lot of people’s days. Made a lot of people think. He will be sorely missed.
I was in high school when I started reading Shamus’s stuff. I found his work and his blog through Stolen Pixels on the Escapist, and for a while I was following him and his work almost religiously. I followed Good Robot from its development to its release, read and reread his posts on games I loved like Jade Empire and Mass Effect over and over and over again, and fell in love with his interactions on Spoiler Warning. His insights and critiques on video games as stories shaped a lot of how I look at things, and even though I fell off the content a year or so ago…to know that he’s gone hurts. Back when I was a teenager, he was like this cool internet dad who liked the same things I did and always had something funny and snappy to say. And now he’s gone…
I can’t even begin to imagine what the rest of the family is feeling right now. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know that my grief can’t even begin to compare to yours. Shamus has touched so many lives, including mine, and I wish nothing but the best for those he left behind.
As someone who very rarely comments (I believe this isn’t my first on twentysided, but there certainly aren’t many others) I was debating whether to post anything here, but as I’ve been thinking about this for over a week and after seeing the memorial stream and it leading me to rereading DMotRs and chainmail bikini I’ve realised how much this has affected me more than any death of anyone else I never managed to meet.
I’ve been reading, listening or watching much of what Shamus published for over a decade. I can’t remember how I discovered him, maybe DMotRs, on the escapist or perhaps spoiler warning, but regularly checking this blog became routine. I’ve learnt plenty on the technical side of games, enjoyed many of the looks into storytelling and the jokes. I’m glad to have been part of this community and so sad to see it end so soon, though I’m sure to revisit much of it or catch up with the parts I fell behind on like the diecast.
Rest in peace.
Hadn’t known about this till today when I saw Shamus’s Memorial Service live on YouTube. Such a loss.
I live in a third world country and don’t have many friends that I could discuss video games deeply with. Deep discussions like ones provided by Shamus and the comment sections of his site were like a treasure to me. Found out about him through MrBtongue’s video talking about Game of Thrones, where he mentioned Shamus. Immediately fell in love with his work. I usually check the site a few times each month and but I hardly ever comment. But reading interesting and generally civil discussions in the comment sections which even involved responses by Shamus himself sometimes was always a delight.
Rest in Peace, Shamus. You will always be remembered. Condolences to the family and everyone who loved him whose been left behind.
What a tremendous loss. It seems so strange to feel an emptiness over someone I have never met. But ever since stumbling upon DM of the Rings probably some decade ago, followed quickly by his D&D write up, Twenty Sided has been one of the sites I’ve constantly watched for updates. Always loved how he could articulate a high view of storytelling, and I always go back to his explanation of Story Collapse- such a succinct follow up to Tolkien’s thoughts on Secondary World.
It was much too soon, and I shall miss this great man who I never met.
I too, just found about Shamus’ passing yesterday.
I’ve been reading the blog for over a decade, enjoying his comics for even longer, have been dipping in and out of the podcast more or less since it started, and devoured The Witch Watch a couple of years ago. It definitely seemed like I often couldn’t get enough of his content.
Like many others have said, it feels odd to miss someone you’ve never met so much, but you really will be missed Shamus. You were a fantastic creator and your absence will leave a hole. You’ll be remembered for a long time.
My best wishes to your family and friends at this difficult time. Goodbye.
Really saddened to hear this, and my condolences go out to all those affected by his passing.
I found Shamus through the aftermath of the Mass Effect ending controversy, and have been a fan of his ever since. His writing has been a huge influence on how I view media and especially worldbuilding and storytelling.
Rest in peace Shamus, you’ll be most sincerely missed by yours truly.
Just found out. My condolences. Saddened to hear these news, I was a very infrequent reader of the blog but always found Shamus’ thoughts and views to be stimulating and interesting. Wish I could offer more than empty platitudes, but, they’re all I have.
It’s been forever since I commented but I felt like I should at least add my name to the list of people who care. So sorry for his family, for Paul, and for everyone around here who knew him better than I did.
My deepest condolences to Heather, Bay, Peter, Issac, and the rest of Shamus’ family.
I was shocked and deeply saddened a week ago when I saw this post. So much so that I couldn’t write anything until now.
I first became aware of Shamus through his column in The Escapist Magazine website, back in 2010 or so. His content was easily one of the highlights of the site for me. Eventually I found his blog, and I’ve been sporadically reading it from then on, until a few years ago when I became a regular reader, and a subscriber of his YouTube channel when he revived it.
His Mass Effect retrospective was brilliant, his magnum opus I’d dare say (the fact that it came out recently in book form adds weight to that conclusion IMO) and hugely cathartic for me, since my grievances with that game series very closely mirrored his. Shamus always had a way to clearly and elegantly put into words thoughts that lingered in the back of my head but I couldn’t easily express about games, fiction, media, the internet, etc.
His long form analysis of videogames were thoroughly enjoyable and highly anticipated by me. His analysis of plot structure, tropes and plot holes made me more knowledgeable about the media I consume (and perhaps one day, create).
But most important of all was the man himself. I know this sounds cliché, but Shamus was a unique presence on the internet. Smart, insightful, funny, knowledgeable but also kind, compassionate, understanding and charitable.
He made a point of never talking much about his personal politics or religious beliefs, and in fact made it a rule of this blog to discourage commenters from bringing up these sorts of hot button topics, since they’re bound to devolve into flamewars and personal attacks.
But I also suspect, that he had another additional purpose with this rule: He wanted us to look beyond our own worldview, to empathize with people who have different ideas, and try to understand them. To look beyond the labels and consider different perspectives that we might have previously ignored outright due to prejudices. To be able to entertain a thought without necessarily agreeing with it or holding it as true. This helps us with considering hypothetical scenarios and to better analyse or write fiction. To write fictional conflict and exploration of social/technological/ethical issue without being clumsy, unsubtle, heavy handed or sanctimonious.
Deus Ex and the treachery of labels is one of the best thinkpieces Shamus has ever published (not counting the aforementioned Mass Effect retrospective).
This blog was an oasis on the internet to find mature, intelligent game commentary that also didn’t lack for humor and levity. The community gathered around it and around Shamus is remarkably insightful and kind. An island of thoughtfulness and good vibes in an ocean of internet toxicity.
As a fellow software developer, gamer and aspiring creator, but most importantly as a person, Shamus has been a role model to me.
If there is an afterlife, I hope Shamus is there chillin’ like a champ and having a good rest. He has definitely earned it.
Rest in peace.
“He wanted us to look beyond our own worldview, to empathize with people who have different ideas, and try to understand them. To look beyond the labels and consider different perspectives …”
You aren’t wrong.
This is the hardest thing I think I’ve had to read about someone I’ve never met.
I’ve been reading Twenty Sided since I was a teenager in 2006, when DM of the Rings was new and I landed here from StumbleUpon. I’ve been reading the blog ever since, hooked by Shamus’s unique mixture of insight, humility, humor, and his dogged sense of civility and fair play. The way Shamus frankly discussed his own passions and shortcomings me feel better about my own – as silly as it might seem, I’ve always been terrible at games (despite loving to play them!) and have been extremely embarrassed about that. I was also able became a programmer in part because Shamus wrote so articulately about the development process, showing his approach to solving problems and sparking the joy that comes from answering a question by inventing it in code, and I’ve worked as a software developer since 2010.
Shamus Young was a tremendous influence over me personally and professionally, and I cannot overstate how much I will miss reading and listening to his work. To his friends and family, I wish you the very best and offer my sincerest condolences.
And to Mr. Young himself, should he still unaccountably be reading these comments after his untimely death, I hope you’re doing okay, and that the afterlife isn’t run by the Games for Windows Live people. Godspeed and safe travels, stranger and friend.
I believe I’ve heard of shamus back when he posted his original analysis of Mass Effect 2 back in 2010. I did not have any further interaction until somewhere in 2015 when he was doing his extensive review of the trilogy, ever since then I’ve been visiting TwentySided almost daily. I’ve read Shamus’ articles on Mass Effect with great interest and pleasure since our views on the subject were very similar. Later on, when I began listening to the diecast and reading other articles I found myself again in agreement with Shamus’ opinion and ideas to an almost uncanny degree.
My first thought upon learning that Shamus is gone was a sense of emptiness and regret. Emptiness because of the great gap his passing while leave in the lives of his friends, family and anyone who appreciated his content, and regret of not having interacted more with Shamus in the past.
I can’t think of Shamus as having been anything other than a kind and smart person, who was hardworking and attentive, thus I want to express my heartfelt condolences to all his family and closest friends.
Rest in Peace Shamus Young,
Like many others, I first found this site through DM of the Rings, and here I have remained for 15 years, close to half my life. It is only now that I truly recognize just how much of an impact Shamus has had upon my life.
– Programming? I was only in my early stages as a young programmer when I came upon this site, and I think I have learned just as much about programming from Shamus, as I have from my education. He sparked in me a particular interest in procedural generation; in fact, I have found that nine times out of ten when I decide to work on a hobby programming project, it is a procedural generator of some kind.
– Gaming? His thoughts and musings about games and game design taught me a lot, and helped me better understand why I like the games I like. I knew I enjoyed the gameplay mechanics of the Arkham series; Shamus put into words the reasons why, before I truly understood it or could articulate it myself.
– Storytelling? He had such an approachable, easily digestible style of analysis when it came to storytelling, that it really helped me understand how the nitty-gritty details of it all works to form a cohesive whole. I understand storytelling as a practice better thanks to Shamus, and it makes me appreciate the stories that I love even more.
– And those twenty-sided die after which the site is named? When I first found DM of the Rings, it made me curious to try rolling them. Today, I’m rolling them on a regular basis as the Dungeon Master of a group of five players, still going strong after three and a half years, and Shamus’s lessons in gameplay and storytelling have had a great influence upon how I design encounters, build my world, and tell my story.
To find someone who could teach me but one of these lessons would be fortunate, but to find all of these teachings in one person? That is a rare gift. We were separated by age and distance, and my only direct interaction with you was when you responded to one of my questions on the podcast; still, I considered you a kindred soul and a teacher, and one of my greatest pipe dreams was to work on a project together, as unlikely a dream as it might have been.
As the many comments before me can attest to, I am not alone in feeling this way. Shamus, you have impacted upon the lives of thousands of people, and given each and every one of them snippets of joy, laughter, and wisdom. If I have achieved even a fraction of that when it is my time to say goodbye, then I can feel at peace.
Rest in peace, Shamus Young, and my deepest condolences to your family and loved ones.
Me too, along with a lot of others as you noticed. I feel like that’s where most of my grief is coming from. For me it’s mostly selfish, but that doesn’t make it any less painful.
GNU Shamus Young
I never did get to actually meet you in person, though we had a few close calls at PAX, but like most I felt like I knew you intimately after nearly 15 years visiting here.
Here is a crazy idea, but just hear me out: What if Paul/Heather trained an AI with everything that Shamus has ever written, and then had it write articles about new topics? It could be a living tribute to Shamus the man, while being an interesting experiment in machine learning and procedural generation. The blog could continue to have new content, and perhaps even attract a new audience of people who are curious to see what shAImus™ has to say. It’s a wild thought, but somehow fitting for the legacy of a programmer, writer, and critic.
Interesting that you bring that up. Shamus himself responded to the AI Shamus idea about a month ago. In short, there are no current plans to pursue this, but no one can stop you if you’d like to do it yourself.
You’ll need to feed all the comments through the AI filter, too, to simulate the comment section.
Based on what I’ve seen from such “creative AI” projects, I’d expect it to sound/read superficially like Shamus but make absolutely no sense to anyone paying attention.
I would like to think, though, that there are a lot of neural networks out there who have adapted to contain some of his ways of phrasing things and approaching topics. I’m pretty sure mine has!
There are many eloquent and not-so-eloquent words above. I don’t really have anything more to say.
Just that I, too, will miss you, Shamus.
Been reading the blog since….. god knows id guess around 2010. Very infrequent commenter…… feel like I almost knew him (didn’t of couse). Condolences to all the loved ones in his life. Very sorry to hear the news
A couple of hours after Shamus explained he was shuttering the podcast to concentrate on his health, this. Another piece of the True Internet is lost to us, but never mind that – godspeed sir, and I hope you approve of whatever you find out there.
Did he say that? Where?
I haven’t checked on this blog in two weeks or so due to real life stress and workload. Only learned about it today. It was such a gut punch. I am holding back tears as I write this. Shamus Young was someone whose work I’ve been following for more than 12 years. His writing and analysis articles were always insightful and witty, and often extremely in-depth and fascinating. Tt’s painful to lose someone like him so early. Despite having never met the man in person, this truly feels like the loss of a close friend, a pen pal of sorts.
Please accept my sincere condolences.
My sincerest condolences to the entire Young family. Though it wasn’t unexpected, it is no less tragic a loss.
Shamus was a great man who brought wit and wisdom to many through such a humble endeavour as a simple website. He brought swathes of people together in one place and, through his care and efforts, created the most civil and peaceful space I have ever seen in my decades online.
I can’t even say which article first brought me to Shamus’ writing, but I know for sure that it was at least 15 years ago. 15 years of checking in on the same website to see the musings, obsessions, and insights of a single person. A testament to the creativity and thoughtfulness that Shamus’ early teachers missed.
We all will feel this loss but it is my hope that we can ourselves nurture that same spirit of curiosity and reason, of politeness and humour, that made Shamus a beacon of light for many.
I echo the sentiments of many of these comments. I only just checked in today to see what was going on.
I found Shamus through searching for some System Shock fan fiction honestly, and ended up finding Free Radical (which I really enjoy, I reread it a lot). I eventually found his programming posts, and had fun reading through all of his procedural generation adventures, even if at the time (I was what, 12? 13?) I had absolutely no clue about how any of it worked.
He inspired me to learn programming on my own, and I can’t thank him enough for that. Over the years I’d reread the programming series, (like Project Frontier & Project Octant) understanding more each time. I remember reading his Good Robot series in real time and watching that come to fruition, and bought the game as soon as I could when it came out on Steam. I come back to it every so often as well, its a cute game, and following the story behind it just makes it even more special? I suppose.
I didn’t read the blog every day, but I would pop in every now and again for new programming related posts, game design, this dumb industry, etc. Though I never did post on the blog (anxiety abound), I really did enjoy reading everything here that I did.
Thanks for everything, Shamus. You were gone way too early.
I’m so sorry Shamus has passed on. I feel so bad for Heather and his kids. :( Shamus is only a little older than my brother, and he’s gone far too soon.
I’ve enjoyed his in-depth comments on many games, and found his blog to be a source of insightful and intelligent comment. And his personal stories about growing up loving computers among people who had no idea about them really struck home for me; I was often ridiculed in junior high for being a “computer nerd”.
He will be missed. And, I hope, honored for his contributions.
I am so sorry to hear this. Like several others I was away for a week or so and just checked in on my favourite website for some work lunchtime reading, and am very sad to see this has happened. Both out of condolence, and also selfishly, as it means that I have lost such a welcome source of information, entertainment and insight that has been a go-to for the last several years since happening upon his Mass Effect work on one dreary work lunchtime. I am grateful to have his novelised version of that piece, and the benefit of his work over the last few years. Thank you for everything!
I’m so sorry to learn of this news today. I’ve been reading Shamus since DM of the Rings. Rarely posted but always appreciated his insightful, thoughtful writing.
The last few days I’ve been playing Good Robot and wishing it had been a more successful commercial venture for Shamus, unaware as I enjoyed the game that its creator was gone.
Thank you, Shamus, and thank you to his family for sharing him with us. Even this distant witness to his life and work feels a lot of sorrow at his struggle for life and how soon he had to depart. Rest in loving memory Mr. Young.
–David “Issachar” D.
My deepest condolences to the Young family and those close to him.
I read this blog off and on for many years. As I recall I was linked here from a project of Irregular Webcomic (Darths & Droids), and stuck around for the insight on programming and game design, reading his fiction work like Free Radical, and the many many laughs from Shamus’ work on projects like Spoiler Warning. I appreciated hearing Shamus’ take on life and reading his Autoblogography. This is only a short summary of the things that come to mind, and I join with others in the comment section in saying we’ll deeply miss Shamus.
Been a reader of Shamus’s work for a long time and I’m sad to hear about his death, though I’m not very surprised either. I wish Heather and his kids the best of luck for dealing with this loss and everything it entails. I’ll definitely be donating money soon when I can.
Rest in peace, Shamus.
Much love to the rest of the family. :sob:
This is very sad news. My condolences to his family. RIP Shamus.
I’m sorry for your loss. Shamus was a great, fun and intelligent guy. Enjoyed reading many of his articles over the years.
This is truly Sad and Shocking news to hear. I have been an avid reader of Shamus’ content for years, since I was a little kid reading DM of the rings. Shamus has always been a major inspiration for my writing and analysis, and his measured, insightful critiques are a treasure. I truly hope that the Whole Young Family can find peace in the joy of memories. For my part, I know that Shamus’ time has affected me greatly, and I am very grateful to have experienced his life.
So it goes…
Long-time reader (since the early days of DMotR, around the Mines of Moria, IIRC, so not as long as some of you.) The last few years I was reading roughly every two weeks so that I could read what had gone up since the last time I’d signed in with my morning tea. Anyway… It took my mind a few moments to shift into gear when I saw the headline. I really had no idea what to say. Nearly two days of solid thought have yielded only the following. Shamus touched my life and made it that much better so I’ll always be grateful to him.
So, wherever you are Shamus, thanks for everything.
Thank you for all you’ve given me over the years. We’ve been virtual friends through your blog for many years and though we never met, I feel such deep sadness. You made a huge impact on me and I’ll remember you forever. Thanks bud and I’ll miss you.
Really sorry to hear this. I’ve been reading this blog for somewhere close to seven years now, since I was in high school. Shamus’s work is an inspiration and, though I never knew him, he seemed like a really great guy. I’m sorry for your loss.
Do book sales also support the family? (i.e., o they have access to the Amazon payouts and such?)
I’m so terribly sorry to hear this. Goodbye Shamus, thank you for everything.
I’m terribly sorry to hear these awful news. I’ve read Shamus on and off for fifteen years, since I was a child. He was always a unique writer to me – his style of explaining multifaceted topics resonated with me deeply. Now, as a doctorate student in mathematics, I can tell that his attention to detail in explaining the meaning of the written word was the catalyst – if not starting point – of my mathematical thinking capabilities. Thus, unbeknownst to either of us, Shamus played a large part in my choice of career, and I’m very thankful for that.
Free Radical is one of my favourite books: I never did get to tell Shamus how much I enjoyed System Shock 2 when I finally played it – enjoyed it because it reminded me so vividly of his book. DM of the Rings was likely the first experience I had with Dungeons and Dragons, which has since become a large part of my life, and his campaign is still something I look up to for inspiration.
To the family: I’m so sorry for your loss.
My deepest sympathies to Shamus’ family and friends.
I’ve been following for a long time (since a little before the early terrain generation projects). I’ve found inspiration and encouragement from Shamus work and him as a person.
I always felt a kindred connection through his writing and the subjects he and I both found interesting and exciting.
You will be missed, Shamus.
Rest in peace. Thanks for all these years, you’ve been positively very influential on my life. Much love from Sweden.
I’m truly sorry to hear that. I was aware of his health issues, but hadn’t expected him to be gone so suddenly… I’m a little depressed and can only wish his family and friends that they’ll get through this as well as they can.
I don’t remember how I ended up finding this site, but I read Shamus’ articles on the escapist and then discovered this and the diecast. And I’ve been coming back here ever since, listening to every new diecast, reading every article. Looking back It’s been years now. I wish I commented more, and showed my appreciation for his work more often rather than just lurking.
It might sound silly, but when you listen to someone for so long, and you read about their thoughts on things, hear them share stories about their life. At some point it starts feeling like you know them, even though you haven’t met and you are a complete stranger to them, they become a presence in your life and even though its a completely one-sided thing it still feels like a bond of sorts.
Maybe that’s why this news hurts so much.
Thanks for your work Shamus! You made a special place here in the internet. A cozy nook for us to go to and listen to you complain in great and entertaining detail about Games For Windows Live and the Mass Effect series. You freely and generously gave us your patented Terrible Car Analogies™ for all the nonsense involved in programming, which I now use on a weekly basis and will likely continue to do so indefinitely.
As a game developer, I greatly appreciated your insights into the design of games and the issues with the industry itself. And while I will likely never be John Videogames – President of all videogames, I will do my part, however small it is, to do things better, thanks to your guidance.
I will miss hearing your voice, and reading your thoughts.
Thanks for everything Shamus!
I’m so so sorry. This site got me through allot of tough times just by existing. I can never repay what Shamus, intentionally or not has done for me. All my love.
My deepest condolences to all of the family and friends. I was a fairly infrequent commentator here, but reading 20sided has been a near-daily ritual for me since back when this was still genuinely about tabletop games. Reading this place has been one of my staple morning activities all throughout my university career, and all through my work life. Shamus was an inspiration in more than one way, and he’s one of the reasons I’m in IT right now.
While the last messages about his health had been less than stellar, I still hoped we – and especially you all – would have had much more time with him. I was already preparing to see how Shamus would go off about the service in a dialysis center, or grump about the issues faced after a transplant – no matter how bleak or troublesome something was, he so often managed to word it in such a way as to give joy or at least some quirky insight into things.
He was one of my favorite living authors, if not number one after the death of Sir Terry. As some have noted above, it’s in some ways a shame that Shamus never got the attention he deserved for his writing talent – though in a selfish way I have to admit that keeping things “small” and personal was one of the reasons I so came to love this blog and all it stood for.
The world is a slightly darker place without Shamus in it. I haven’t lost a parent, child, partner, sibling or child yet,and I cannot imagine what it feels like for all of you to lose him so soon and so suddenly. I cannot pray for you, but I will keep you all in my heart and wish you all the best and strength to cope with this great loss. Deepest, deepest sympathies.
I hope it can give some consolation to know that Shamus was truly a force for good and a positive influence in many lives all over the world, that he will be missed, and that, though he could not stick around as long as he and we might all have hoped, that he most certainly left the world a slightly better place than he found it.
I have never been one for using Patreon type services (sorry), but I always wanted to give back in some way. As I promised in my comment to The Final Diecast, I have now since purchased copies of The Witch Watch and The Other Kind of Life, and rounded it off with a small PayPal contribution. I am sure that – compared to many others over the years – this is a very modest token of appreciation, and I am sorry that it has occured under these circumstances. I am not much of a book reader, but in this case I am very glad to make an exception.
I also purchased copies of Good Robot for my six closest Steam friends, and supplemented this with the link to the Good Robot Dev Blog. I remember in a podcast once that Shamus mentioned he didn’t like to paywall his content, because he wanted as many people as possible to be exposed to and enjoy his work. I hope that by spreading his work around to a few more potential fans, that in some small way I have contributed to that noble and selfless goal.
My thoughts are with his friends and family.