In case you didn't see Andy's announcement:

I am so excited to tell you about a big change coming to Sometime in the next month, we are switching to a new, faster design. […]

We will no longer be supporting user blogs. This one hurts. We love the great work our community created, but the sad reality is there were more malicious entities attacking us with bots than our company could deal with.

Losing user blogs is the sad final note on a long, sad story.

I loved Game Informer’s user blogs. For years they kept a segment of this website where any reader could write up posts. The tech was antiquated compared to modern platforms like Reddit or Tumblr. Comments couldn’t nest more than one level. You didn’t get notifications when someone replied to your post or your comment. The post editor was a weird rich-text mishmash that was too easy to break. One time strangely formatted OpenOffice quotes broke my entire blog history. The site was bad.

And yet Game Informer’s user blogs were fundamental to my personal and professional development. They helped me go from a high schooler who wanted to be a journalist to someone working in the news industry.

The Game Informer user blog experience was unlike anything I’ve experienced on the internet to this day. You could write an 2,000-word essay about how Grand Theft Auto is about the American dream and not only would people actually read it- they’d leave long, well-thought out comments in response.

This was before the internet had become federated into apps. The online gaming community was not yet divided between Reddit, Tumblr and ResetEra. What you said actually mattered because people knew you.

Game Informer’s user blog community was full of loveable weirdos. There was the elder statesman, a guy who had gotten out of the Navy and put out quality posts daily. There was the Estonian guy, who seemed odd but was effusively friendly. There was the girl who changed her username as often as she changed her favorite band, which is to say often. There was the other veteran, going to school on the GI Bill. There were a couple smart folks who seem to have gone on to become Game Informer interns, changing their account titles to their real names. 

If I have forgotten you, I deeply apologize. All this is kind of vague because to be honest, I haven’t been a real part of the community since 2011. 2011 was simultaneously the peak and substantive end of my involvement with the Game Informer Online community. In August of that year I started college and got a part-time writing gig and that didn’t leave much time for blogging.

But the summer before that… oh man. That summer was one of the most rewarding periods of my life in terms of writing. At the start I set myself a goal: write a blog post every day. It seemed like a crazy pace. By the time college came around, though, I’d more or less accomplished my goal.

Writing daily helped immensely. I would not be nearly the same writer I am today without Game Informer’s user blogs. They provided a space to learn writing and a community for encouragement. They carved out a small corner of the internet where we could debate online passes (the controversy of the early 2010s) without descending into toxicity. It felt like a beautiful secret garden.

I understand why Game Informer is getting rid of user blogs. They don’t really make sense in a world where everyone goes on Reddit or Twitter or ResetEra to talk about gaming news. They especially don’t make sense on mobile phones, as GI’s soon-to-be sunset site was always designed for desktop.

I understand.

Game Informer’s user blogs was a weird, welcoming, wonderful corner of the internet. We are worse without it.

I'll be reading the last of the user blogs and saving copies of my post history locally. If you want to keep in touch, I'm on Twitter and have a Tumblr blog you should follow for gaming news and analysis. Hope to see you all after the redesign, one way or another.