Game Chef

Game Chef
One last thing I swear

You know what’s weird? No mention of the event or any of the games coming out of it on this year. Well, Wilhelm Person mentioned it, in a single sentence, in the “Stuff to Watch” thread for June. 

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a really strong connection between that website and the contest. Like, it was actually organized IIRC on that forum for some years. So its absence is really weird now. Yeah, I know the event was also connected to The Forge first and more formally, but it’s pretty obvious why that won’t be happening again.

Has the audience at changed that much? I don’t know, I rarely stop in but I was curious about any GC chat that might be happening in there, which led me to this discovery.) Has Plus supplanted it in some way? That doesn’t seem likely since it’s still a very active scene. Was there a conscious decision to assertively split the contest off? To shed its Forge and/or S-G connections?

Maybe James Stuart can shed some light on this? Or Cheyenne Wall-Grimes or Stentor Danielson? Totally just interested in the history and development of the event this year, and if this is stirring up something weird, lmk in sideboard and I’ll pipe down.

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0 thoughts on “Game Chef”

  1. Anyway, something constructive, it’s funny how we associate things with when we come to them. I first saw game chef at the forge and first participated at 1km1kt, so everything since then has been “that new way” to me.

  2. SG is marginally alive, I just moderated some silliness there. But it is a shell, because I think anybody with anything exciting going on is here and not there any more, leaving people who like to talk and not do lots of room to talk and not do. Which is a shame, because this is a walled garden, and a fresh-faced doer who lands there is out of luck.

  3. Gonna suck even more when Google pulls the plug on plus and we all have to Twitter our excitement about Pluto and how much we hate Gamechef.

  4. John Stavropoulos just encouraged me to leave G+ in a fury after having a fight about racism and the classist substrata of GMless games.

  5. The first time I did Game Chef was the year that JWalton took over and had everybody start their own development blog. And all of the old hands engaged in constant negativity about the format and complained that forums were really a necessary component. (Personally I liked the “achievements” format of that year, except for the part where JWalton flaked out on completing the final round of it).

  6. I have the exact same opinion on 2009 as Dan. WTF is wrong with that JWalton asshole. Game Chef is Mike Holmes or nothing, newbs 😉

  7. P.S. Game Chef was never run on SG, for the record. It ran on an independent Vanilla installation for which most of the files were lost. We still have archives for the Forge & 1KM1KT years.

  8. Yeah, there’s a 10 page essay/retrospective floating in the ether on why things are the way they are now (re S-G; not necessarily the intersection of S-G and GameChef (which I ran in tandem for a few years even)).

    Some of the reasons are private.

    A lot are public.

    This has a lot of truth in it:

    The absolute most vanilla, whitewashed, simplest explanation that stays light, for me (and perhaps other admin, I can’t speak for people) is:

    Basic moderating S-G is a part-time job (10-20 hours a week).
    Making it Healthy and Growing it (not in “number of users”, but “as a community”) required the effort and vision of a full-time job.
    But I already had a full-time job; and about every 2-3 years since I created the site, I “upgraded” to a job, position or role at work that required more time, more responsibility: More money, more people who relied on me IRL, and a more “meaningfulness” to work that made me want to go “all in” and not half-ass it. At the time I interviewed with Hans at that link above, I had a job that had me working 10+ hours a day and training at nights, on top of finishing up TBZ (side note: S-G exists because I was slacking on finishing TBZ).
    Right around that time, G+ started gaining speed, and became a place where I could take all the friends I made in a decade on S-G, and communicate with them more personally. It sucks that there’s no forum-like indexing, and if you happened to miss that Really Cool Thing that one guy posted, it’s pretty much gone forever from your voluminous feed. But you can create spaces, safe-spaces, and even micro-communities here without a lot of work. You can be the admin of your own “forum”, and I like that.
    I was hoping (and made several public calls to the newer crowd) that as I (we, actually; at that point me, Kira, Jason, John etc were already checking out) retired from moderating S-G someone else would step up and continue it forward, not just as a user but as someone with a vision (and time) for community, but that didn’t happen, alas.
    Cut to 2-3 years later; and I moved overseas to a non-English speaking country, doing one of the most intense jobs of my life in a language I’m non-native in, while working with and growing the gaming community in Japan… Yeah, zero time to visit S-G to talk, much less steer.

    There’s a lot more to it than that, and a lot of dark, dark shit that I only lightly alluded to in the interview above, starting with the phrase “I’ve seen firsthand”… I’ve got a lot of awesome memories of the site, and friends for life (like real “IRL” friends, not just internet buddies, attributable to the fact that we met on S-G), but in times quiet retrospection, I’m still pretty haunted by a lot of the stuff I saw unfold on S-G; or more accurately, “in the spaces surrounding S-G, like S-G, Knife Fight, GenCon/Story Games X meetups, etc”. Bullying (mostly this), Silencing, Unchecked Monoculture, etc. It’s the scars of naively running a non-profit community or conducting an 8-year sociological experiment, but sometimes they run deep; especially in the “I should have done X at the time but didn’t” style hindsight.

    Which leads to: Why weren’t people talking about GC this year on S-G?
    * Pro: As Jason said, most of the creators left S-G. Which to me is not as much a negative (though it seems weird to say “Pro!”); I wanted to make S-G a site focused on play that happened to have creators, and a lot of the current talkers are actually playing and organizing play (and not just talking about Wanting to play).
    * Con: And it just so happened that no one thought to post more about it there, alas.

    (note: James Stuart is an awesome human being, represents the best of us. But when I gave him S-G, it was made fully with the idea that it was to grow the S-G Newsletter that he was doing, and not that he’d be “the visionary to steer the forum into the future” (in other words, I didn’t want to dump it into his lap and say “okay buddy next 10 years of growth are entirely on your head bro, CYA!” So please never, ever attribute something bad (or lack of good/better) re S-G to him, it’s fully on my head); that the forum would basically stay in its current format, without “growing”, with the basic admin/maint required to keep it going, but with the addition of his awesome newsletter… until X happened. X being “someone steps up”, or “something changes, and it is time to move it again” or “it’s time to dim the lights, bar’s closed”. Currently I see it a still-active (surprisingly so, I see lots of movement in the past few days, but usually from the same people) appendage to a great newsletter.


  9. I check in there if I still need a fix of people talking about rpgs; but honestly a lot of the conversation is deep theory stuff (which I’m not interested in), new folks talking about stuff that old folks already talked about 5-10 years ago (like forge terms, how to deal with people at the table, etc), and people designing their heartbreaker mechanics (god love ’em, but I’ve seen enough mechanic ideas with no context for a lifetime)

    I end up browsing Burning Wheel’s forums more, and no one posts there!

  10. Andy Kitkowski – Thanks for that summary, and I’m off to go read that article in a minute.

    Thank you for giving us a terrific place for a long time.

    PS: Regarding G+’s unfriendliness to newbies: I know that I made a lot of friends here who were new to the Forge diaspora crew, and are now pretty central to it. Obviously I can’t know how many people didn’t get into the scene because of the walled garden aspect, but I do know about several who have gotten in. And I think that’s because of the spirit of openness and inclusion that Andy, among others, helped seed into the heart of this scene.

  11. From Andy’s link:

    Andy: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Although not necessarily Another Project, it can also be things like Playing Video Games to blow off steam but far too much steam-blowing for the amount of work (guilty), getting caught up in talking about the project rather than working to complete it (guilty), little acts of basically self-sabotage that don’t seem that way at the time.

    Why are you talking about me, bro!? That’s not cool!

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