In mid 2010, I began writing about video games on a blog at 1UP.com (RIP.) By the fall of that year, I transitioned that content over to a self-hosted site called Invisible Gamer, for the simple reason that I needed a way to prove I was legit enough to get into Nintendo’s E3 press conferences (my, how that worked out… Nintendo stopped doing those conferences entirely only two years after they started inviting me to them!) But something unexpected happened within the first couple of years of the site’s life: it evolved, becoming a mentoring platform from which I could edit and advise a revolving staff of young writers looking to hone their voices and break into the games business. Nearly a decade later, I can’t adequately express how proud I am of the nearly 1,000 pieces of content the site now hosts, or of the growth I’ve witnessed from so many passionate Invisible Gamer alumni.
But something else happened over the last decade that I’m not so proud of: I forgot to nurture my own development.
I went to film school to learn how to translate observations on the human condition into visual storytelling, but it’s now been 11 years since I finished my most recent screenplay. I’ve tried to satisfy that part of myself by infusing my games writing with a humanistic approach, but I’m discovering with increasing frequency that that’s simply not the kind of games writing anyone but my closest friends is interested in reading. Meanwhile, the stories I really need to tell have remained locked inside of me, their development frequently stunted by the alluring distraction of free video games to review.
But no longer. As of the first week of May 2018, I’ll be closing Invisible Gamer for good, and re-investing my time in the kind of writing that matters the most to me. Podcasts and web shows will remain available at YouTube, iTunes, etc.; written content will be backed up for writers who need it for their portfolios, but will no longer be available to read online. We have a few more posts planned for the next month or so, but beyond that… well, I suppose this is goodbye.
To the many people who’ve made this whole thing worth doing, some thank yous are in order.
To Jeremy Parish, Stephanie Lee, and Rich George, whose respective encouragement and championing of my work led to some great opportunities at IGN: thank you. You three may not remember all of the specific things you did for me, but I’ll never forget a single one.
To Brien Bell, who served as Invisible Gamer’s first Managing Editor and brought us our first regular contributors. Brien, you were the heart and soul of the site in those early days, and it never would have lasted so long without your help.
To Gabe Gurwin, who took over that position when Brien left and kept the ship running tight and upright during our most prolific years. Gabe, you’re perfect.
To Tristan Ettleman, who used Invisible Gamer as a platform for some of the most unique and unforgettable editorial content I’ve ever seen, and whose talents have never ceased to amaze me. I wish I had your confidence when I was the age you were when we first met.
To Seth Scott, whose contributions to the site over the years have been innumerable and invaluable, from creating logos and show themes to being a part of some of the absolute best things we ever did here. I’ve learned a lot from you, and I cannot wait to play Membrane when it launches on the Nintendo Switch eShop tomorrow. I am so, so proud of you and Jess for dreaming big and daring to follow through on those dreams.
To Austin Clark, my brother, who wrote Invisible Gamer’s one and only weekly feature (on my favorite topic, retro games!), and who continued popping in for years after everyone else had moved on to help keep up the illusion that I wasn’t the only writer still contributing to the site. I love you.
To Neal Ronaghan, who helped me feel like I belonged when I moved to the city I’d spent three decades dreaming of, and who’s reminded me numerous times over the years that there are good and bad reasons to do things.
To my wife, Delia, who’s chased every dream along with me from the very beginning of Invisible Gamer. I love you even more than I love Austin.
And to everyone else who’s helped the site in one way or another—Amy, Brjann, Eric, Eugene, Frankie, Jack, Jonah, Jools, Nathan, Tony, Zach, Golin and SEGA/Atlus folks, and anyone else I might be forgetting—from the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything.