Zak McClendon's farewell message

When I began working at the GIA in late 2000, it was my dream to someday work for a professional gaming publication. Now that the site is closing, I can honestly say that I don’t have any regrets because that goal has already been accomplished.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned at the GIA, it’s that professionalism – at least in the odd realm of videogame journalism – is more about performance than paychecks. There’s very little in the world of gaming that is truly “exclusive.” Want import impressions before anyone else? Suck up the cost of overnight shipping and bust your hump getting them up before anyone else. Want to break stories before other sites? Stay up until 3 am every night keeping a close eye on the Japanese sites. Want to provide coverage of quirky, smaller titles that are slipping through the cracks at other sites? Well, that one’s easy – just care.

And that was really it – the GIA staff has always been the most passionate, dedicated group of people it has ever been my honor to work with. We were also blessed with a huge number of friends of the site, who just wanted to see us succeed, and were always there to provide support, background information, and hott newz scoopz.

For me, the GIA’s position as a fansite was its greatest strength. If we wanted to take an extra day on a review to get it right, we could. If we wanted to polish something through four levels of editing, we could. If we wanted to give major coverage to a game we knew .0001% of our readership cared about, simply because it was something we felt they should care about, we could do that too. Naturally, we also felt the responsibility to our readership, but our first obligation was to make something we were all happy with. If we succeeded at the latter goal, the former almost always took care of itself.

As you may or may not have noticed, the Internet had a major upheaval over the last year. Videogame websites have dropped left and right and advertising has become something that’s only profitable when it’s horribly invasive. Finances are a part of why we’re shutting down, but I’m happy to say that the GIA is not a casualty of the Internet crash – we’ve simply accomplished everything we’ve set out to do and now it’s time to enjoy a blissful retirement. I seem to remember there being more to life than videogames, and I intend to go back and find out exactly what those things are.

It feels a bit odd, after all this time, to be writing something for the GIA in the first person. Though I've contributed a lot to the site over the last year and a half, I hardly consider myself much of an Internet personality. I’ve always seen myself as a man behind the scenes and this much bald-faced sincerity is, frankly, a bit embarrassing. If anyone is actually reading this, then I’m flattered; if anything I ever contributed to the site mattered to you, then I’m honored.

I’ve made friends to last a lifetime at the GIA and been given opportunities I never would have expected – but it never would have happened if it weren’t for you, dear reader. There are few things in this world as precious as actually having an audience and the GIA’s readers never ceased to amaze me their intelligence, wit, passion, and kindness.

I certainly won’t miss writing release date stories or thumbnailing screenshots. Nor will I miss the staff – I plan on keep in touch with all of them. But I will miss the readers and the community that grew up around the GIA.

Thank you and goodnight.

-- Zak

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