The Gaming Intelligence Agency

November 22, 1998 - April 1, 2002

   The Gaming Intelligence Agency is shutting down.

   That's the end of the story. The beginning comes nearly four years ago, in August 1998, when a group of five people--no more than kids, really--looked at the current online gaming websites and thought, hey, we can do this. We can do better. The five kids were Brian Glick, Brian Maniscalco, Allan Milligan, Andrew Kaufmann, and Andrew Vestal. They had no money, no industry contacts, no serious online experience. They were too young and foolish to know that their ambitions were impossible. Jeremy Parish designed the site layout, the quintet scrambled to assemble content, and they launched. When the GIA debuted on November 22, 1998, it received an inauspicious first-day total of 85 guests.

   This last month, we averaged over 36,000 visitors a day.

   How did the GIA grow from Yet Another Videogame Fansite into one of the most-respected voices on the web? The answer is cliché but true: the GIA cared. To us, games weren't just trivial diversions to be dissected into a laundry list of "features." Games (even bad ones) are art, created by artists, and deserving of contemplation and respect. Gaming journalism didn't have to be parroting the corporate line or unedited, stream-of-consciousness blogging. Game writing can be real, serious writing, brimming with research, focus, invective, and wit. And our readers weren't just binary sheep seeking a "buy / don't buy" proclamation for a game. Gamers are intelligent people who love games as much as we do, who welcome in-depth analysis and discussion about their favorite hobby, and who deserve to be treated with respect.

   And because the GIA cared, you cared too. You sent us news tips, contributed artwork and fan fiction, discussed and debated in Double Agent. You read the site each and every day. We never would have bothered if not for the appreciative masses, whose love we felt both through the daily hit count and the personal letters you sent. Our readership was our lifeblood and without you, updating would have been meaningless. Our sincere thanks goes to everyone who has supported the GIA throughout the years.

   The GIA broke exclusive stories that wouldn't have otherwise been told. We were the first to report on key stories more times than we can count. We brought our readership's attention to obscure gaming gems they might otherwise never have known. We set a standard for quality and depth of hands-on impressions, previews, and reviews that no other site on the Internet, fansite or professional, could match. But in spite of our successes, it's time to say goodbye.

   To begin with, we're out of money. Maintaining the GIA server is expensive, and the Internet economy is in shambles. When the GIA suffered a catastrophic system failure in the Fall of 2001, many readers came to our aid and donated money. We were and are unbelievably grateful for your generosity. In the nine months since we solicited those funds, the money has gone entirely to keeping the server up and running. It was well-needed, well-appreciated, and well-spent. We know that we have yet to deliver a number of our promised entries in the Gauntlet of Pain; we have no intention of welshing on our debts and have devised a plan to bring the content to you.

   But it's not just an issue of money. The GIA has weathered worse financial crises than this and survived. Why shut down now? Put bluntly, many of us are tired. We've been updating the site day in, day out, for years, and it's been wearying. We're not the kids we were when the site launched; many of us are college graduates now, struggling with the real world. All of us still love games; most of us still want to contribute to the industry. But we've grown increasingly unsure that the GIA is the best way to make a difference, and as long as the GIA is around to consume our time, we'll never have a chance to find out otherwise.

   Some current GIA staffers (along with a few new faces) intend to launch a new gaming website: Gameforms. Gameforms will launch on May 1st with a dedication to providing the same high quality coverage of the same genres for which the GIA is famous. A good deal of GIA content will migrate to the new site, and current readers should feel right at home. Gameforms' URL is; bookmark it now and check in frequently for pre-launch updates and information. Gameforms will also host the outstanding entries in the GIA's promised Gauntlet of Pain.

   But the GIA's last update is today: April 1, 2002. The site will remain online as an archive until April 30, 2002, at which point the server will be permanently disconnected and the site taken completely offline. Any content you wish to access past that date should be saved locally to your personal machine. You are welcome to repost GIA media on your own website, as long as it is sourced with a link to the on the same page as the media. We ask that you please do not repost any writing from the GIA on your own website.

   A number of the GIA staff have written farewell messages to our readers. The GIA was a website like no other because it was staffed by people like no other. It could not have achieved its success without the constant, selfless contributions of its peerless staff.

   Thank you for reading the GIA.

Feature by Andrew Vestal and Staff, GIA.
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