Double Agent
The Feast of Fools- April 1, 2002 - Brooke Bolander, Drew Cosner, Chris Jones, Erin Mehlos, Allan Milligan

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this column are those of the participants and the moderator, and do not necessarily reflect those of the GIA. There is coarse language and potentially offensive material afoot. I'd like to say 'Thank you' on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Erin: What, after all, is a grand finale ... without a rousing reprise from the entire cast....?

That's right, readers. We're celebrating DA's final curtain with five-way Agent-on-Agent action -- A,B,C,D and E, together at last for the column's final celebration of cynicism, snarkiness and sodomy! Like ammonia, chlorine bleach, tetramethrin, lime and sulfuric acid, we are five great tastes that taste great together! Free drinks at the rail.

Brooke: I've already said goodbye once, it's 3 in the morning British time, and my inbox has 147 new messages from you people in it. So for the duration of the column I'll be speaking in emoticons and fangirl Japanese. All good things - Calvin and Hobbes, chocolate bunnies, MST3K - must come to an end. Otherwise they become moldy, or at worst, Garfield.

Drew: You know, I told myself I was going to think up the wittiest, snappiest intro of my career today. Not only is this the final DA installment, I'm also being placed in direct competition with my fellow Agents. So I set myself to thinking, and 20 minutes later ended up with a picture of Squall if Squall was a bicycle being ridden by a pacifier. Oh well.

I hate when your balls get caught in the chain.

Chris:Truth is, I've always wanted to be part of a heroic, grandiose, last stand - to join together with a group of brave and honorable men and women and ride off into the sunset for one last, decisive battle that would be remembered throughout history, no matter what the outcome.

Instead, I get to write a column with these people. Sigh.

Allan: Back for one last column as a Double Agent. Huh. Who's have thought? Well, I guess it's time to remind all of you why that disclaimer up there was drafted in the first place.

Erin: Let's go.

Brooke: Zing!

Chris: Onward.

Drew: Let's get this show on the road.

Allan: Let's rock.

You can be me when I'm gone
what if i were to tell you I would Take control of this

Chris: I just gotta admire this guy - since I'm assuming nobody could possibly be so stupid as to think we'd just turn the site over to the first random stranger who asked for it, I'm thinking he's just so self-confident that we couldn't possibly resist putting it in the hands of Mr. Balls o' Steel. Love the chutzpah, dude....

Allan: I would tell you that you'd best learn how to capitalize a fucking sentence properly before I'm liable to hand over several thousand dollars' worth of hardware, several legal documents, and countless hours of work over to you. But thanks for asking.

Drew: The last time I left important matters in the hands of a complete stranger was the time I paid a bum 5 dollars to watch my niece for a few hours. I won't repeat that mistake again....

I tried crazy-gluing her pieces back together, but my aunt saw right through it.

Brooke: ... and I WAS that niece. Thanks a shitload, Drew...

And don't forget to give me back my black t-shirt
Indeed, in these dire times, I can only think of one quote that fits this situation, from Ben Folds Five:

"Give me my money back, you bitch!"

Gimme a friggin' break! I'm sorry our donations didn't do enough to fund your condos in the Bahamas you capitalist pigs. But all of us donaters don't get OUR money back, damnit! This reeks of corporate scandal, I tell you. You're no better than Enron, becoming a huge money pit for those who supported you, all the while laughing to the bank! If I ever meet any of you, I'll make you eat my shit, then shit out my shit, then I'll make you eat the shit you just shit out but was originally the shit that I made you eat...

But it goes deeper than that. It's like we readers have lost a child today: A money-grubbing, free-loading bossy child who always bitches about MegaTen games, but a child nontheless. Indeed, it's like The GIA is the retarded child of the internet kept solely alive by it's loving supporters, who have neither the heart nor the will to beat it to death with a rusty shovel. I for one, am glad to see the pain and suffering ended. Toodle-fucking-oo, ladies.

- Dexplosivo

P.S. - Just so you know, I'm still pissed about that "Final Fantasy Gaiden" prank you ballmunchers pulled. Have you no shame? This is what you get for screwing with your readership for a few cheap laughs. Bastards. R.I.P. GIA, 11/22/98 - 4/1/02... Wait, OH FUCK~!

Allan: I've been using the profits from this scam to invest in a midget farm in South Dakota. Little people, raised and customized to your tastes, on demand.

Brooke: I named mine Sparkles!

Chris: Wait, wait... Money? What money?

Drew: People get so huffy when you screw with their heads and toy with their emotions for cheap giggles. Lighten up, assholes.

Chris: Base facts, folks: the GIA server costs $1050 a month (expensive, but we move nearly a terabyte of data a month). We paid off two months debt, and since September we've paid for 8 more months, which adds up to a grand total of $10,500. Factor in our new HD and other hardware expenses, site renewal, and on-site technical support and the GIA doesn't have enough funds left over to embezzle a cheeseburger.

Denial is not just a river in Africa
Is Jet Set Radio Future one of those Xbox exclusive titles where'exclusive' means it's going to come out for other systems in sixmonths?

Kinda looks like fun.

~Ian P.

Drew: Ian, don't change the subject. The site's gone, and we have nowhere to keep you anymore. I have no choice but to release you into the wild, where you can once again be free. You probably won't last the hour, between ravenous predators and competition from your own kind, but hey -- shit happens.

Brooke: It was either that or blow your head off with a double-barreled shotgun, but I hate getting blood on myself

Chris: Cue Old Yeller music...

Allan: If we carry your body back to the Gameforms site, Ian, we can produce many Green Pikmin.

Erin: All of which I can lose in a reckless assault on that Smokey Progg summbitch....

Delusional states
I wonder how many angry letters you'll get from people you will have tricked from this new April Fool's joke. You already tricked amajor site : It's at the bottom of their page. I swear, you people spend more time on April's foolsjokes than any other video game site it seems. You people have way too much time on your hands :)

Pendy the FF guy

Erin: Time? Is that what this is? And I was just about to send Drew after the fuckrag....

Chris: We've also fooled gullible sites such as Penny Arcade and Toastyfrog - it's amazing how easily people who've built up long-standing professional relationships with us will fall for long, drawn-out email conversations showing a deteriorating site and staff, and take you at your word when all of that finally gets pushed to the front. Idiots.

Brooke: Do not bother Chris, for he is quick to anger and you taste good with ketchup.

Time of your life: good riddance
Dear Allan.

I can't say that I'm sorry to see the GIA die. See, you guys are nothing but a bunch of graphics whores, Square-sucking syncophants and poseurs. You dilute the field of video game journalism, not renew it. Where is your coverage of Fire Emblem? Or Dragon Quest VIII? Of King's Field? Why are you ignoring the strongest new RPG of this millenium, Morrowind?

Because you're cowards, too afraid that a true role-playing game would destroy your paltry opinions about FMV and clichéd stories. Because you dream of reviewing movies, not playing video games.

None of you cares about games. Good riddance, GIA.

- Terry

Allan: So. Terry. So sorry that you're not going to miss us. Really. My kitten just keeled over, right in my lap, at the news that you won't be missing the GIA. He always had a sensitive heart. But I hold no grudges. Because, really, bearing a grudge against you would be like wrestling a leper: easy enough, but hardly satisfying.

GIA did not cover Fire Emblem very well. Given that only one title in the series was developed while GIA was in operation, that seems somewhat reasonable to me. Nor did we talk about King's Field. This is probably because the entire series was insufferably dull, with the first-person perspective evoking the look and feel of classic PC RPGs like Might and Magic, yet totally lacking in charm, depth, or intelligence. Nor did we speak of Dragon Quest VIII - I'm sure that it would've been quite exciting for us to post twenty inteview quotes stating that yes, DQ8 will eventually come out, no details yet. Readers across the world could be enthralled by the lack of solid news. And my, how can we dispute your in-depth analysis of Morrowind, what with it not being released on X-Box yet and all? Why, to hell with this Gameforms crap! Lead us to the promised land, Terry! You alone can show us the path to glory!

So let's see, a man who's raving about the "strongest new RPG" that hasn't been released yet is lecturing me about being a syncophant. I'm a poseur. I'm a graphics whore. As are we all, here at GIA. This is, clearly, why we championed Vib Ribbon. This is why the extremely pretty Legend of Dragoon was savaged. This finally explains our obsessive coverage of the Megami Tensei series. We're whores. Let's be honest about it. We'll go down for anyone with twenty bucks and an opinion about video games. Form a line at the door.

Or maybe, just maybe, we were able to speak to the hundreds of thousands of people who have visited this page. I guess it's hard to see, from up there on the peak of the holy mountains. Maybe you should try getting the fuck down here with the rest of us. Down from where you put yourself as God to the gaming public, and ask what gamers, old and young, male and female, newbies and hardcore, would like to know more about. We did. Maybe we didn't do enough for some peoples' interests. Maybe we got it wrong. We gave it our best.

What's your excuse, asshole?

GIA: The Last Battle
Interesting day to post "The End". Of course, I've known Mr. Vestallong enough to hold a flag of suspicion in his direction, but Isuppose I can behave as if the story is true. At the very least itmakes for an interesting Double Agent column.

Not a whole hell of a lot to say, really. Gaming Intelligence hasbeen the most consistent website I've ever witnessed, and itsresources have proven invaluable to me on a day to day basis.Necessity demands that I live and breath games, so its heartening tosee other people do too.

I suppose I'll finish up with a pie-bald threat (and I know how muchDrew loves that): I dare all of you amazing bastards to go to E32002. I mean, how am I supposed to talk about what I'm doing withoutAndrew Vestal's "Gitaroo-Man" glaze, Nich Maragos' "it still feelslike work" trot, and yet another free t-shirt?

Richard "KuZap" Knight Game Designer - Orbital Media

Chris: Fear not, boys and girls; the tattered remnants of the GIA will be reunited this May at E3, where we will drink the finest champagne, eat the finest burritos, and sleep in the crummiest motels imaginable.

Seriously, one of the odd things about having our staff scattered across the northern hemisphere is that we hardly ever get to see each other in person - this year's E3 will be somewhere between a wake for the GIA and a coming out party for Gameforms, and I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Drew: My favorite part of E3 is where I fall asleep inside of a hooker

Brooke: ...And I WAS that hook-..wait, no I wasn't.

The Dead
One possibility is that you folks at The GIA have pulled off one of the most despicable pranks in the history of internetkind. That's fine,pranks are good.

Another possibility is that The GIA is, in fact, closing down. That, in and of itself, is not a problem. The vast majority of your readership cansympathize with the disgusting amount of unpaid hours you all put into the site, despite having actual jobs, school or a social life.

However, doing so on April Fool's Day is extremely poor taste. To drop this bomb on a day where nearly everyone will shrug it off as a joke,then discovering the next day that the site they love is actually disappearing is disgusting. In fact, I can hardly believe that each of youwould throw away your credibility just so you can have something as "clever" as this to chuckle over. So, until the day the server actuallyshuts down, I'll have to take this as yet another prank. Because if it isn't, well, then the lines...

"...the GIA cared"


"Gamers are intelligent people who love games as much as we do...and who deserve to be treated with respect."

...become the biggest joke of them all.

-Jason, hoping for the best

Allan: The GIA did care. We loved our readers. Every one of them. Except you. You don't deserve love. Ever.

Chris: Seriously, Jason's got a point here. One thing he's missing, tho, is that this really and truly is the end: we have no site, and thus no longer have to worry about our credibility. The dead have no troubles. Looking back at things, it does seem odd that we'd pick today to drop this on people, but from our perspective this has been a long time coming, and above all else, it's good to have it over and done with.

I could also take the time to tell you what our real AFD joke was gonna be, but truth is, it's so damn good I'd just as soon hang on to it for a while.

The Pariah-ish
Well, Milady DA, since I'm one of those weasely people who didn't stick with the staff through the entire duration of the site (in fact, I resigned less than a month after joining staff -- twice), I guess I'll have to settle for elbowing my way into the letters queue to offer my parting thoughts.

I feel privileged to have had the most "inside" outsider's vantage possible for the entire lifespan of what has undoubtedly been the single best gaming website ever crafted. But truth be told, even as the site's number one name-dropper and hanger-on, I doubt I can express any final thoughts that someone else won't state more effectively. I readily admit that the GIA has done much more for me than I have for it; my sporadic contributions of text and art can't begin to compare to the way the site's content, focus and personality have impacted my own work. More than any other publication, the GIA inspired me to turn my crappy little joke of a personal Geocities website into a less-crappy hulking monstrosity of a personal website: a site which has frequently threatened to devour my very existence over the past three years, making it both a blessing and a curse, but definitely a significant part of my life. My extremities lack sufficient digits to count the number of friendships I've made or strengthened as a result of my involvement with GIA -- friendships among both the site's staff and the regular visitors. I've also learned that a lot of people whose work I genuinely admire share an equal respect for my own, which is always good for a growing lad and his ego. Heck, in an indirect "it would take too long to explain" sense, the GIA is even responsible for me stumbling upon true love.

I'm sad to see the site take its curtain call now -- another casualty of the Internet, and the end of the most professional amateur site ever. But having witnessed firsthand the amount of time, energy, money and passion poured into the site by the people who have crafted it, I can certainly respect their decision to take back their lives, close the doors and refuse to allow the site to drag out into sustained, perfunctory mediocrity.

Still, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say: baby, I'm warm for your Gameforms.

Best of luck to everyone who helped give the world a fantastic website. And my most sincere thanks for being so damn awesome in general.

J. Parish

Chris: Once more Parish says everything that needs saying and leaves me with nothing to say.


Brooke: And once again he doesn't send me his Nall plushie. Smug bastard.

Drew: It's heartwarming to know that I was, in some small way, responsible for something that threatened to consume another man's life. Without being bodily present, to boot. Until I finish my machine that lets me punch people over the telephone, that's about the best I can hope for.

The Return of The Return of The Return of Aeris
It's about damn time.

Exactly three years ago you did a preview for theAtari 2600 port of FF7, and I have yet to see a reviewor any other followup story on the project. I assumesince there was no retraction after April 1, 1999,there is no reason for me to believe that this gamedoes not exist.

I am saddened by your lack of coverage for a greatgame simply because it is on an inferior machine.

Graphics whores...


Allan: Actually, the Atari 2600 port of FF7 was, in fact, cancelled. The basic gameplay was successfully ported over to Legend of Dragoon, though, so please see that review for further details.

I will admit, shamefully, that I never did review the first game preview I wrote for GIA: No One Can Stop Mr. Domino. I was afraid if I reviewed it, it would push down the news item below it, which would knock down another, and that one would hit still another, and so on, until the entire index page had been toppled off the Internet completely.


Cherry Pie
These April Fool's jokes just keep getting more pitiable. You guys seem rather needy. I would never "off" someone's family becausethey insulted Xenogears, probably praise them. I don't dabble in hobbies out of revenge anyway. If you were going, it would beworse I suppose.Also I would never, for any reason, put sugar in someone's gas tank.

Will those who contributed to the server fund get money back? I gave two-thousand dollars by the way...

You know, this is . . .excuse me . . .a DAMN fine cup of coffee!

-Rand. The smarter one.

Allan: Well, it's clear that the only way that we can answer this letter is by looking... to Tibet. I've studied the mysticism of that small country for many a year now, and I've come to the conclusion that the true answer to why the GIA is shutting down can only be found by spiritual means, not rational.

Transport yourself to a small room. The walls are all red, as you sit back in a small chair, now aged into senility, as Andrew Vestal dances before you in his moogle suit. Yet your gaze is drawn to Erin, who stares at you listlessly.

Erin stares at you, and you feel like you've seen her before, even before you entered the Black Lodge. 'THEW ORLD ISSQ UARE,' she says, as she dances a sexy gypsy dance for you.

And then the dream ends, and all you know is that you're already dead, wrapped in plastic, and will never again see the sun.

All you need is love
Hey Erin!

The GIA's not dead, only sleeping.
The GIA's not dead, only sleeping.
The GIA's not dead, only sleeping....................


Erin, tell me, you'll be back at Gameforms, right? I haven't even gotten to step two of my elaborate plan to make you fall so madly in love with me you'll move to Europe yet...

How did you do it, Erin? Chris left. Even though he left his steel-toed, Size Titanic BOOTS behind for someone to try and fill, applicationsflooded in. When the smoke had cleared, Brooke Bolander stepped forward, kicked asses, took names, chewed gum, blew bubbles andwas quickly removed from the stage for what I'm led to believe now was her sarcasm (???? Since when is that too much for us hardcore DAreaders to handle? We endure DREW, for chrissakes). Another girl appeared. The audience was ready to rip her a new, shall we say,defecational orifice for DARING to take mistress Bolanders place.

But, by a precise combination of cloying sugar and vitriolic acid (namely, a comparison of 1:99), and a gaming history that dated furtherback than FFVII (a quality that ms. Bolander sorely lacked), she charmed the pants off of everyone (no, not LITERALLY, you dirtymindedwoman), and proved that she had more hair on her chest and larger balls than most of the readership (again, NOT LITERALLY!!).

Most importantly, not only did she perpetuate the site's opinion that VIDEOGAMING is an art form, but she also proved that quarreling andbitching is one too, and one of life's greater joys, at that. Me being an avid proponent of this line of thinking, Erin wormed her way into myheart, in an even shorter time than Chris, and without the use of artificial methods like Drew (who just ripped my chest open and carved"Drew was here" in my aorta).

Many moons later, ON APRIL FOOL'S DAY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, The GIA is shut down (or is it? How dare they do it on precisely thisday, and how low it is, and how completely in sync with the site's sense of humor). I cry (literally this time). But there is hope! A new site ison the horizon. Erin might be back! It is not the end!

I love you, Erin - as I love all the GIA staffers. I've been here since Day 1 (only 85? Wow, how extremely cool!), when the untoppable,unstoppable Allan Milligan was DA (and I look back to those columns the way many people look back to older games - throughnostalgia-colored glasses). It's been such a support for me to read your work - and of all the readers' - because over here in Holland,gaming is even less accepted as a developing art form than it is in the USA or even the UK - blank stares or outright laughing scorn is what Iget whenever I bring it up. There's nothing like an intelligent discussion to revive my faith in the games and, especially, the community.

I've loved each and every column, news item, feature, or other update on The GIA because you guys always took the medium seriously (butnot too seriously). Thank you for all your hard work, your stress-relieving humor and your intelligent swipes, scorn, sa(va)gery and segues.Most of all, thank you for having people to look up to.

Marijn Lems, AKA Sir Farren.

Brooke: Don't worry honey. We'll get you a new GIA.

Chris: One with an untwistable stomach!

Erin:I will in fact be aboard as Gameforms' letters columnist. The carry-over staffers figured my third nipple would be helpful in garnering hits for the fledgling site.

Brooke: Is that garnering hits or garnering ... no, I can't say it.

Drew: That's not the only reason we want you around, Erin. How are we supposed to open beer bottles without your front teeth?

Chris: *sniff*... no Dutch guy ever said he loved me... *sniff*

Allan: Sadly, I have moved on from those days that looked bright in rosy hues, having found love and acceptance in the arms of a former prostitute, who loves me for who I am, and not how many Fire Emblem games I own.

Thanks. It was fun.

Allan: Agreed.

Drew: Agreed.

Chris: Agreed.

Brooke: Agreed.

Erin: Agreed.

Closing Comments:

Erin: And now our revels are at an end, and I am thrust into the somber role of executioner; the straightman who has to bid DA goodbye, not only for myself, but for all of us -- something I am wholly unfit to do.

What to say? For four years the Double Agent was the GIA's man on the streets; the Everyman who brought gamerdom together to talk -- and to think -- about their obsession. Between Allan, Drew, Chris, Brooke and myself, we've devised an impossible slew of topics ranging from the trivial to the profound, and each of us has found his or her own niche, connected with his or her own flock of readers, and made a name for him or herself doing our own, unique (and usually distasteful) thing, but before any of us were Double Agents of the GIA, we were just bitchy, anal, obsessive gamers.

Now that the sun has set on a fan site that will never be forgotten -- a site whose immortality each of us geeks had a hand in , for crissakes -- and you know what...?

Nothing's changed.

And we'd have it no other way.

When the going gets rough, stick some Band-Aids on your pansy-ass thumbs, yo, and be sure to keep an eye on Gameforms. We'll see you around.

-Erin Mehlos, et al.

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