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It's interesting, really, how much lives change. I just got back from a three-month overseas trip after five years at uni and with a law honours/media double degree under my belt. I am about to start hesitantly stepping out into real world for a proper job. Sliced Gaming (nee Gamebiz) has been a constant of mine for years, and while at times it was an effort I enjoyed having a place to put down thoughts on my hobby. It was a great distraction when needed and a great outlet for creativity.
Over the past few years, I sensed that all the staff here were increasingly busy with our lives, and I put aside the hope for a site redesign. I understood that we were never really in it compete for readership or audience. There were days where we truly were a presence on the Australian gaming landscape, but it required dedication and time that none of us could provide any longer. We lost a few staff members to that attrition, and when you're a small site with no pay incentives it's tough to find replacements who are interested in writing for its own sake; who have the passion for the industry to be able to maintain a commitment. We all fought that battle - I wrote over 1500 news articles on this backend alone and I'd be lying if I said some of those weren't a slog.
I'm trying to work out how long I've been doing this. I think I started writing when I was 14 or 15. I had frequented a forum called CubeAustralia, and when that shut down it merged with Gamebiz, which before then hadn't had a Nintendo presence. I'd been posting on those forums from about 13. That was ten years ago. I'd made a few suggestions to the mods there, and they asked if I'd be interested writing some content. When Gamebiz imploded on the discovery that a few staff members had been plagiarising content, we spun off Sliced Gaming without them.
It takes a certain degree of passion to keep at this industry day and night, and I greatly admire people like Vook who can achieve it. Of course, that comes at the cost of less time to focus on the rest of your life. Plus, I started to want to enjoy games, rather than analyse them. If you put your critic hat on it's sometimes hard to just relax. I needed games as a way to unwind, not as another chore. I never saw this site as more than a hobby, and that's probably why it faded. You need dedication to make it something bigger. I don't know if we all had it.
I want to thank all the great people on the publisher side who have been so gracious as to support a little site like ours far beyond when it was probably sensible to do so. The crew at EA, Activision, Nintendo and SEGA, and many more, which have over the years been a cross-pollinating, revolving door of PR staff, have always been far too liberal with their review copies and event invitations. It was with their support that we were able to cover as many of the big games as we did. And of course, all my thanks to the great friends on the staff and forums here who shared this fun little ride with me. I know I'll keep in touch with many of you.
Even as I type this I feel conflicted. It is the end of an era. I don't want the site to just disappear into the ether. The forums are functional, and our news and reviews archive will remain. As an end to day to day content, I think it's probably time. I am immensely proud of what we produced here. It will be hard to stop thinking about this industry, but when I do write something it will be at the new home for my sporadic musings, nickschaedel.com.
It's going to be tough letting go of this place.