So You’ve Lost a Newspaper Column

A Guide for Beginners

Let me just get this out of the way: for good dialogue, check out Tales from the Borderlands, for roguelikers, check out Vagante, for casuals and browser-players, check out Fallen London, for grand strategy, check out all the big titles by Paradox Interactive, for RPGs, check out the soon-to-be-released Pillars of Eternity, and for hype, follow me into my subterranean stasis chamber to wait for Witcher 3. There. Video Games.

Now then, for those still interested (or those whose eyes glazed over at the above paragraph), let’s talk about my column: It’s about to disappear! In about four hundred words. Now around three hundred and eighty. Now—wait. This strategy isn’t working.

Let’s start from the beginning: how the fuck did I get a column? Where am I? Why does it hurt to breathe? All good questions. Suffice to say that it’s not what you know, it’s who you make customized anime characters for on their birthday that really counts. And now, from humble beginnings, to still humble continuations, to an increasingly humble ending. I submitted articles to Synthesis just about every week for a little over a year, making me a regular yet relatively new and alien columnist. For reference, many of these writers hold fancy parties together. I’ve seen the pictures. Nothing escapes me. Except, you know, going to parties.

Now here I am, squandering my opportunity to use my primary skill set (an unpleasant amount of knowledge about video games) in order to reminisce about the column that has produced a fragment of what many of the other writers have. Yet still, I am losing my column, the first time anybody else ever paid me (enough to pay for approximately two bowls of phở) for my words. Before that, the only person who ever paid for my words was me.

Having a column was neat. I could go online and look at it. If I had ever wandered into a coffee shop, I could have picked it up and read it. If the demographic of people who read, understood, and were interested in my articles existed, I’m sure I would have had some minor recognition. Even hypothetically, these things are neat. Although I can’t say I’m terribly proud of the massive achievement that was me yelling at video games (in print!), I can say that it was neat, it was something I enjoyed, and it was something that gave me some outlet into a world not so narrow as a 1680×1050 monitor. It was an achievement for me that, at the very least, somebody wanted to print my articles, even if I never really found anybody who wanted to read them.

I will miss it. I will miss leafing through (or more commonly, scrolling through) the Synthesis and seeing my opinions alongside small-time writers with the enormous ambition of being endlessly avant-garde, and the comforting settlement of being crass and maybe a little intoxicated. To my colleagues, and in particular to my editor Amy, I wish good luck and a constructive parting from the paper. To my readers (hi Dad) I wish an easy ending. To myself, I wish I had a better line to end on.

pwasted@synthesis.net