was two yearstwo yearsago this week that Al Wildey and I purchased
GamesFirst! from our erstwhile friend Zap Riecken, and much has changed since then.
Truthfully, when we took over the site we didnt have much of an idea what we were
doing. We were just two mild-mannered college professors who liked games and had a little
web design and game journalism experience. We didnt really know anyone in the gaming
community, and nobody knew us--we were the web equivalent of a couple of kids putting on a
show in the garage. Back then we didnt review console games, we didnt have an
ad service, and we were thrilled when we got review copies of bad games from obscure
companies in the mail.
Thats all changed now.
We started reviewing console games when some drunk employee at Activision accidentally
sent us a copy of Tenchu for the Playstation. At about that time, this punk undergrad
student of mine named Shawn Rider was beginning to write for us. (We gave him HEDZ for his
first review. Heh, heh.) He was a big console fan, so he asked to do a review of Tenchu,
and we grudgingly agreed. The guy at Activision stayed drunk, we got more console titles,
Shawn wrote more reviews. People liked them, so we asked Shawn to write more, and then to
be our console editor. Now he gets free Playstation 2s in the mail while regular
people, as he calls them, have to pay for them at the mall.
In the last two years
weve been through two servers and four ad serviceswe could write a book on
thatand to two E3s. Weve learned
that PR people in the game industry change jobs a lot. Weve discovered its
easy to find people who know a lot about games and easy to find people who write well, but
hard to find people who do both. When we find them, we keep em. Now we get review
copies of games in the mail just about every day, and were not quite as
thrilled when we get a review copy of a bad game from an obscure company.
While we were learning all these lessonsmany of them the hard waythe site just
kept growing, and in the last two years page views have gone up over 1500%. Cursed by this success, we figured it was time for
a site update (we havent done one in two years). Some of the changes youll see
us implementing over the next few months include our stylish new look, a switch to daily
posts (except on weekends, when we sleep and drink in terrible amounts), vastly updated
cheats (pain in the ass, but what the people want), a weekly poll and weekly contest, and
(eventually) bulletin boards and GamesFirst! email.
What stays the same is our
commitment to well-written and honest reviews, previews, and articles. Thats
whats worked so far; we figure it would be a mistake to move to poorly-written
Finally, were grateful
to our readership for their support and suggestions. We couldnt have done it without
you, and hope you like the changes to the site. We
welcome any comments or suggestions; feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.