Friday, August 17, 2012

12 Years

Celebrating 12 Years!

The date came and went without even a ripple. In fact, it didn't dawn on me until about a week later that The Armchair Empire has been in existence for 12 years.

The official date of registration of the URL -- -- was August 5, 2000, two days before my first son's first birthday and on the same day Alec Guinness died.

That was when all the trouble started.

Email was relatively new to me at the time. I still sent physical letters to people, with stamps and everything, and the web was relatively primitive so finding correct email addresses didn't always bear fruit, but when it did it sent a thrill up my spine. Big manilla envelopes would arrive with wads of press releases and product announcements that I poured over again and again. I'm not sure why they held such a power that they commanded I read them, but I did.

From there it was long process (and sometimes agonizingly slow) to gain enough cachet with publishers to have product sent over. Then there were the action figures. Man, did I ever get excited when the UPS, FedEx or Purolator guy drive up to the house! I rarely ever knew what was coming, which has more to do with my forgetful nature than anything wilful on my part in an effort to be surprised.

My wife got sick of me calling five or six times a day to ask if anything else had arrived.

And it wasn't only that. For some reason having a website was enough of a wedge to crack open the way to people I've always wanted to talk to, like Al Lowe and Jeff Green. That part was really exciting and because I didn't have an editor to reign in my enthusiasm a lot of that bare enthusiasm came through in my writing.

Some of those early reviews and editorials and features are really awkward to read. Occasionally, I made some kind of connection or actual sane comment but other times, well, I didn't. I wrote an editorial that implicated Doom developer id Software (specifically John Carmack) with the theft of the source code for Half-Life 2. That was just bizarre looking back on it.

After 12 years of The Armchair Empire my enthusiasm isn't quite at the level of those early years, but I still enjoy the writing and editing part of things. And now we're trying to be more interactive and "hip!" with the launch of and YouTube channel.

I will readily admit that there have been times, sometimes long stretches where I just wanted to through in the towel, sell the site or abandon it, but I've always come back to it. For some reason.

Well, it's because I like writing. I'm not sure if I need to justify it beyond that. If I can't get a full time gig writing about games or being creative that way, I can certainly maintain it as a hobby. And that's exactly what I've been doing for the last 12 years.

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