This month we’re celebrating Virtual Bastion’s 5-year anniversary by sharing our favorite memories of the site, blogging, gaming, and our online friendships. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane!
When I started up my own blog in late 2011, I had no inkling that it might ever lead to bigger things. I simply figured I tell my gaming stories and that’d be that. Maybe a few people would be interested in them, maybe no one would. My whole point then was to simply lend my voice, become a better writer, and have a little fun. Choosing to write about games, while inspirational, was secondary. I could have chosen to write about ice cream or gardening or cars or whatever, but I knew that with video games, I had garnered enough experience to make telling my stories somewhat worthwhile. Never in a million years did I think that I’d end up collaborating with other game bloggers. But somehow, the the road of blogging led me to Virtual Bastion, and I’m ever so glad that it did.
The road there was far from smooth, though. In fact, in the couple months prior to the official formation of what was then United We Game, I had become part of another game site that’s since gone defunct. It was my first time contributing content to a game site, and it was extremely exciting. It was also extremely challenging. The site had a single owner but included contributors from places far and near. Trying to get everyone on the same page with the owner’s vision for the site was difficult, and it eventually folded as a result. It’s an experience I’ll never forget, and one that has since informed my work with others online.
In the wake of that former site’s demise rose what would become Virtual Bastion. But let’s not jump too far ahead just yet. Because first there was United We Game. But even before that, there was collaboration.
I first met The Duck of Indeed and Hatm0nster (the proprietor of his own site called “My Two Caps”) in the comment section of my blog. I must admit that both did right by their names, because handles like theirs are hard to ignore when you’re all bright and new to the Internet! Over the course of my first full year of blogging — that would have been 2012 — we all regularly followed each other, commented here and there, and became genuinely friendly. Our first teamup came in the form of a couple collaborative posts (which then included a fourth member, Planet Zombo), ones where we’d each answer a single question on our own blogs while linking to the others’ answers. The ultimate goal was to help each other gain a little more exposure in the blogosphere — not that we had delusions of grandeur, but rather it was a way to help boost each other views and confidence. From this work also developed a sense of camaraderie, which lent itself well to further work together.
It was Hatm0nster who helped bring us all together, though we all worked hard to come up with that first name for our first site. “United We Game” made sense, because our idea then was to reach out to other small bloggers, as we had done for each other, to help their words reach a wider audience. Building the site, its name, and its reputation took time, but we eventually found ourselves with a number of contributors and friends. As with any growing site, people came and went — we all had (and still have) real-world responsibilties, after all — but our core mission drove us to keep at it. With the gaming blogosphere’s rapid expansion, new folks appeared on the scene daily. And it was always exciting to welcome aboard fresh faces and fresh ideas.
It only made sense that “United We Game” would eventually evolve. A lot has changed in gaming and game blogging since we started just five years ago, and things will undoubtedly continue to change. I lend my personal thanks here to Hatm0nster, The Duck of Indeed, and all the folks who made “United We Game” an enjoyable online refuge. And here’s to the next five years and beyond, ringing in new ideas, facing new challenges, and most of all, providing thoughtful discussions about gaming’s past, present, and future. Cheers!
Shoutouts to our contributors from years past! Each of you helped us build this site into the unique entity that it is today. “Thank you” really doesn’t cover it, but thank you!
C. T. Murphy
David Russell Gutsche
Derek “Gamer Crash”