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Editorial: GF! According to Aaron, an Intro to GF 4.0
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posted by: Aaron Stanton
date posted: 12:00 AM Sun Nov 7th, 2004
last revision: 12:00 AM Sun Nov 7th, 2004

A Brief GamesFirst! History according to Aaron
(not to be confused with Shawn's History, which is probably more
factual? than mine):

    Long, long ago, in a land much colder and farther north than most of the United States, wise men gathered together, warmed by a fire and deer skin clothes, around a stone tablet. One said, We must reach out to our fellow man. We must teach them things, things like how to recognize good games from bad, and how to build fires, and how to dress trendy.?

    Yes,? another agreed, But we haven't been trendy since moose skin became the new deer. And that fire is only there because we haven't let it go out since the big lightning strike of '94.?

    So the first of them, and the wisest, said, So let us teach about good games, and bad games, and the value of quality game design.? So then one of them, who was known to the world then as a Web Master?, chiseled HTML code into the stone tablet, and words about games like Hop-scotch, Dodge ball, and Fallout II. Then, the tablet was taken to an oracle who knew how to type, and the oracle chiseled the code into the glass of a computer monitor with an ice pick, and a website was born. Over the years, many words have been chiseled into many monitors, and the chisel and the ice pick and the stone tablets have passed from generation, to generation. It was the birth of an era?

And then there was a new launch?

Today, at around three o'clock pacific time, on an overcast and murky day, I buried my chisel and my hammer in the backyard under a little gray ceramic tombstone I had left over from Halloween. If you push a button on the back, little glowing lights come on, and it gurgles at you. I think it's supposed to be a creepy laugh. The days of chiseling our articles onto stone tablets before turning them over to our editors for review have passed, and in their place stands a new way of doing things. An era has ended. Some might call it progress. Some might point out that it's far faster and cheaper to transfer text electronically then it is to FedEx my 25-pound stone sheets from Idaho to New York every time I chisel The End? on the last page of an article. Yet, to those some, I'd point out that there are drawbacks to our new super-cool, speedy, and life-changing editing and posting system. I'd point out that while all the new electronic data might someday be lost during a Matrix style takeover of the world, our long-lasting stone tablet reviews would probably someday be discovered by future archeologist, and placed in a museum as the embodiment of quality 21st century writing. But hey, if you don't want to be famous way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way down the road, honored by a machine society, that's ok. Fine. At least we get to do some really, really cool things in the mean time.

But seriously?

The fact is, contrary to what your mother might tell you, arriving early has its disadvantages. When GamesFirst! opened the door back in 1995, just a year after lightning brought fire to our GF! ancestors, the Internet was still pretty young, and the languages used to build it were younger still. GamesFirst! will be 10 years old soon, and when we launched, when we were still on version 1.0, modern programming languages like Java and PHP hadn't made the rounds yet. They didn't exist. Online magazines that came later, like GameSpy, which is now five years old, or GameSpot, or most of the other gaming sites on the net, were born to an environment rich with tools for running an online magazine. GamesFirst, on the other hand, started out coding by hand, and has upgraded from there over the years. With passionate writers and editors, a unique personality, and some of the best gaming commentaries on the web, any limitations GamesFirst! might have had over the years can be entirely attributed to its older system of production.

    Which we have now replaced entirely.

    And you're gonna want to stick around for the ride.

    There are a lot of things to get excited about with the new launch. The new production system will drastically reduce our turn-around time from receipt of a review title to publication. That by itself opens up new roads that go a very long way. But perhaps what I'm most excited about is the possibility of greater communication between GF writers. As GamesFirst! has grown, we've found ourselves operating with a geographically spaced staff. On one hand, that allows us a great deal of flexibility; we are virtual commuters. On the other hand, it misses some of the old slap each other on the back during a round of co-op play? camaraderie that comes whenever you have a group of GF writers together in the same room. While E3 is almost always a highlight of the year, it's only partly for the deluge of games. Mostly, it's one of the few times each year that I get to hang out with the people I work with. And they are some of the coolest people you will ever meet. They're kind of weird, like me, and I'm guessing, like a lot of our readers out there. The new GF! system allows our team to better communicate, to be a tighter community, and when you have a community, things develop that wouldn't have been there before. Part of the reason I'm so excited is that because of that, we'll have more to offer you as our readers. In a very real way, you as our readers are part of the group too. You play the games we play. We write for you, and each other, and our passions, and I think that will become more evident as GamesFirst! grows.

    As an independent site, it's our job to bring you a fresh perspective of the gaming industry. We look forward to being able to do that now better than ever before. And if you're ever wondering, we've got a spot on the couch here for ya, and an extra controller.