The Escapist (magazine)

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Escapist Magazine
The Escapist Magazine Issue 1.jpg
Cover for The Escapist's first issue: "Gaming Uber Alles"
Type of site
Video game website
Available inEnglish
OwnerEnthusiast Gaming
Created byAlexander Macris, Julianne Greer, Jonathan Hayter, Greg Lincoln, Jason Smith, Tom Kurz
EditorsRuss Pitts
Websitewww.escapistmagazine.com/v2
Alexa rankIncrease 10,826 (March 2017)[1]
LaunchedJuly 12, 2005

Escapist Magazine (formerly known as The Escapist) is an American video game website and online magazine. First published as a weekly online magazine by Themis Media on July 12, 2005,[2] The Escapist eventually pivoted to a traditional web journalism format[3] and became well-known for a roster of popular video series.

In 2018, Escapist Magazine launched Volume Two, a rehauled website in conjunction with its purchase by Enthusiast Gaming, who also own Destructoid.[4]

History[edit]

The Escapist was conceived as a PDF-format magazine by Themis Media, whose president Alexander Macris had previously found success with its sister site WarCry Network. Editor-in-chief Julianne Greer had not been involved in the gaming industry before The Escapist, and had a background in marketing and new media.[5]

The premier issue featured pieces from well-known gaming-community authors including Jerry Holkins, Kieron Gillen, and John Scott Tynes. Following issues included work by Tom Chick, Allen Varney, Jim Rossignol and other top writers from in and outside the game industry, including a four-part piece by leading game designer Warren Spector.[6] According to Themis, by late 2006 the website had 150,000 monthly readers.[5] The website MMORPG.com noted that the webzine had become the "flagship brand" for Themis, which runs other websites and ventures related to the gaming industry, with the reputation of "a widely read and highly respected form of game journalism" and "paying writers top dollar".[6]

On July 9, 2007, the site relaunched with a completely new design, which also saw the end of the weekly PDF issues and a shift in layout to one more similar to other websites.[7] Although the weekly topic and publish schedule was retained, new regular content additions included more game reviews, editorial articles, conference coverage, and a relaunch of Shoot Club by Tom Chick.

The most notable addition to the content lineup was Zero Punctuation, a weekly animated review series that led to a four-fold increase in web traffic.[8] Within the next four years, The Escapist contracted several creators including LoadingReadyRun, Miracle of Sound, and Bob "MovieBob" Chipman, as well as helping launch Extra Credits as a rebrand of its creators' videos.

In 2010, The Escapist launched a membership service called the Publisher's Club which for $20 a year removed advertisements from the site, conferred forum benefits and entry into special contests.[9]

Dispute and Decline (2011-2017)[edit]

Around the end of July 2011, there was a dispute between The Escapist and James Portnow, the producer of Extra Credits.[citation needed] After not being paid for months, the Extra Credits team needed to pay for surgery for their artist, Allison Theus. They began a charity fund, separate from The Escapist, and received substantially more money than was necessary for Theus's surgery. They planned to use this extra money to create a game publishing label, where the revenue would go directly into funding subsequent projects.[10] Alexander Macris stated the money should have been used to create more episodes of Extra Credits for The Escapist and to compensate Themis Media for donation incentives, such as premium memberships and T-shirts.[11]

During the dispute, a number of other contracted creators spoke out in support of Extra Credits, relaying similar stories of mistreatment by the management. Among them were MovieBob, LoadingReadyRun, and the creators of No Right Answer. Later, those creators would also break ties with The Escapist, leaving Yahtzee as the sole contracted creator by 2017. As a result, Extra Credits broke ties with The Escapist, moving to Penny Arcade and later becoming independent.

Macris would later become involved with the sale of Themis Media to Alloy Digital, as well as supporting the Gamergate controversy in 2014 by openly adopting stricter policies.[12] He would later become a business partner with Milo Yiannopoulos.[13] Editor-in-chief Russ Pitts later cited these actions as key reasons for the decline of The Escapist in subsequent years.

On November 15, 2012, it was announced that Themis Media had been acquired by Alloy Digital for an undisclosed sum.[14] For a few years afterwards, Alloy cross-promoted Smosh Games on The Escapist. In 2014, Alloy Digital merged with Break Media to form Defy Media,[15] with a consolidated portfolio that did not mention The Escapist.

In an open letter posted October 21, 2017, it was announced that all paid employees had been laid off by Defy Media, leaving only Yahtzee and a number of volunteer moderators.[16][better source needed]

Relaunch (2018-present)[edit]

In July 2018, The Escapist was purchased by Enthusiast Gaming, owner of Destructoid[17], and a relaunch was announced with editor-in-chief Russ Pitts at the helm,[18] which came into effect September 2018 and the website name changed to Escapist Magazine Volume Two.[19] The Big Picture, produced by MovieBob, was the first series to be officially relaunched alongside the continued Zero Punctuation.

Hosted content[edit]

The Escapist has hosted a number of ongoing video series and webcomics, most of which pertain to video games, although they have expanded to other aspects of geek culture. Note: time postings are in EST.

Current[edit]

Zero Punctuation[edit]

Zero Punctuation is a weekly video game review series created by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw. In the show, Yahtzee plays an animated caricature of himself who doesn't stop speaking for any punctuation, hence the name of the series. Posted every Wednesday at 11 AM.

The Big Picture[edit]

The Big Picture is a general media discussion series hosted by Bob "MovieBob" Chipman and is the first show to be revived since The Escapist was acquired by Enthusiast Gaming.

Past[edit]

  • A Good Knight's Quest
  • Anthony Saves the World
  • Apocalypse Lane
  • A World of Her PWN
  • Daily Drop
  • de-rezeneta
  • hasta la vista
  • Doomsday Arcade
  • Doraleous & Associates
  • Drawn By Pain
  • Drinking Games
  • Escapist News Network
  • Extra Credits
  • Game Dogs
  • Ginx TV
  • GoodBadFlicks
  • I Hit It With My Axe
  • Jim & Yahtzee's Rhymedown Spectacular
  • The Jimquisition
  • Kung Fu Grip
  • LoadingReadyRun, a weekly sketch comedy show created by Graham Stark and Paul Saunders.
  • LoveFAQ
  • Media Sandwich
  • Miracle of Sound, music video series for videogame and movie themed songs by Irish musician Gavin Dunne.
  • Movie Defense Force
  • Name Game
  • Pro Gamer Gauntlet
  • Reel Physics
  • Rebecca Mayes Muses
  • Show About Game Shows
  • Space Janitors
  • Stolen Pixels
  • Tales from the Table
  • There Will Be Brawl
  • Top 5 with Lisa Foiles
  • Unforgotten Realms
  • Uncivil War
  • Videogame Theater
  • Creature Caster Master
  • Escape to the Movies with MovieBob
  • High Definition
  • Movie Bob Intermission
  • Movie Bob Intermission - Marvel TV
  • Dark Dreams
  • Unskippable
  • Feed Dump
  • No Right Answer
  • Cinemarter
  • Judging by the Cover

March Mayhem: Developer's Showdown[edit]

March Mayhem: Developer's Showdown (commonly referred to as March Mayhem or simply MM) is an annual event hosted by The Escapist to determine the most popular video game developer in the industry. The event was first introduced in 2008 and takes the form of a series of opinion polls, split into four divisions (North, South, East and West) each consisting of 16 developers. In each round, developers are eliminated down to two, who then compete in the grand final.

The event was criticised by many site members due to the site's policy of allowing developers to advertise on their own websites and games in order to gain votes. Further criticism ensued in 2010 when Zynga was permitted to enter the competition despite multiple controversies surrounding the business practices of the company and debates whether Facebook applications could be considered games.[citation needed] There was also significant controversy over the 2011 result, considering winner Mojang hadn't officially released a game as of March 2011.[citation needed] As a result of this criticism and a generally negative opinion of the contest by Escapist users, March Mayhem did not take place in 2013, but was then revived in 2014 in much the same format, albeit with greater community input in the initial 16 developers chosen.

Results[edit]

Year Winner Runner-up
2015 BioWare Telltale
2014 Valve Corporation Firaxis
2012 Valve Corporation BioWare
2011 Mojang BioWare
2010 Valve Corporation BioWare
2009 Turbine BioWare
2008 Turbine Harmonix

Awards[edit]

In May 2008, The Escapist won the Webby Award and 2008 People's Choice Award for Best Video-Game Related Website. The Escapist also won this award in 2009 after a protracted voting battle between the members of The Escapist and the website GameSpot. In 2011 The Escapist again won three Webby Awards: Best Games-Related Website, People's Voice Best Games-Related Website and People's Voice Best Lifestyle Website.[20][21][22][23] The Escapist also received a Mashable Open Web Award for Best Online Magazine in 2009[24] and was named one of the 50 Best Websites by Time magazine in 2011.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Escapistmagazine.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Archived from the original on 2017-05-04. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  2. ^ Themis Group (July 12, 2005). "Themis Group Launches The Escapist". gamesindustry.biz. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  3. ^ "The Escapist Escapes From Pseudo-Print Chains". GameSetWatch/CMP. July 13, 2006. Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  4. ^ Spangler, Todd (July 26, 2018). "Defy Media Sells The Escapist Gaming Site to Canada's Enthusiast Gaming". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Gaming's Top 50 Journalists". Next Generation Magazine. October 17, 2006. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  6. ^ a b Dana Massey (May 19, 2006). "Support company thrives as the MMO giant grows". MMORPG.com. Archived from the original on October 20, 2007. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  7. ^ Julianne Greer (July 9, 2006). "Editor's Note: Pens, Paper and Pretzels". The Escapist. Archived from the original on October 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  8. ^ "Zero Punctuation Equals Millions of Views". NewTeeVee. Archived from the original on 2008-02-05. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
  9. ^ The Publisher's Club, retrieved 28-02-2014 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-11-29. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  10. ^ "Because Games Matter By James Portnow". Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-11.
  11. ^ "A Response on Extra Credits". Archived from the original on 2012-11-29. Retrieved 2011-08-11.
  12. ^ Usher, William (September 15, 2014). "The Escapist, Destructoid Update Their Policies, Ethics In Light Of #GamerGate". CinemaBlend. Archived from the original on September 12, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  13. ^ Rob, Shimshock. "The Man Behind The Milo: A Chat With The 'Supervillain' CEO Of MILO, Inc". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  14. ^ "Alloy Digital buys website Escapist". Variety.com. November 15, 2012. Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
  15. ^ "DEFY Website". DEFY Media. DEFY Media. 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-06-26. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  16. ^ JoJo (21 October 2017). "An Open Letter to The Escapist Community". The Escapist. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  17. ^ Spangler, Todd (26 July 2018). "Defy Media Sells The Escapist Gaming Site to Canada's Enthusiast Gaming".
  18. ^ "The Escapist Magazine is to relaunch, with former EIC Russ Pitts at the helm". MCV. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  19. ^ "Welcome to Escapist Magazine Volume Two". The Escapist. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  20. ^ "Webby Nominees". Webbyawards.com. 2011-10-28. Archived from the original on 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  21. ^ "Webby Nominees". Webbyawards.com. Archived from the original on 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  22. ^ "Webby Nominees". Webbyawards.com. 2011-10-28. Archived from the original on 2011-12-24. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  23. ^ "Webby Nominees". Webbyawards.com. 2011-10-28. Archived from the original on 2011-12-24. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  24. ^ "Open Web Awards 2009". Mashable. 2009. Archived from the original on 2013-03-01. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  25. ^ "The 50 Best Websites of 2011". Time Magazine. 2011-08-16. Archived from the original on 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2013-03-14.

External links[edit]