So, what do you do when you get handed the reins to a website with a five-year history1 and a collection of essays that is impressive, to put it mildly? When your previous editor-in-chief announces you with a fanfare that practically makes one run in fear of not living up to the hype?
These are rhetorical questions. Since I’m now the overlord of Onto, as I like to call this place, I have the freedom not to answer them. Clearly I’m drunk with power and unfit to rule, so I’m hoping Hannah, our beloved former helmswoman, has a pretty solid reason for abandoning you all to my whims.
It turns out she does. Getting into NYU to study game design? *whistles* Drop everything and go for it, baby! Like former former Onto boss Bill Coberly, who went off to become a lawyer, Hannah is pursuing a dream, and that is something anyone, especially in our generation, thoroughly deserves.
Since I don’t have any plans to become a lawyer or a game designer, and I don’t have a PhD thesis looming over me anymore,2 I don’t expect I will be yanked away by life’s pressing matters any time soon. I will hold the fort for as long as I am able, or maybe even look for a less martial metaphor to express what I want to express. Rather than intending to defend our territory, cower the local peasants into submission, and conquer the land held by my treacherous cousin Kevin, maybe I should be talking about growing an orchard. There, that sounds much nicer.
I want to thank Hannah for embracing the daunting task of taking over from our founder Bill when he went to law school. It’s never easy to inherit a baby — since that’s kinda what a website like this is — from its daddy, hoping you’ll be able to raise it properly, but that’s what she did. Hannah started the website on its path to become a place to discuss more than just videogames, and it’s a course I intend to continue. While I have a particular philosophy to undergird that direction, this is not the place or time to discuss it. More on that soon.
Briefly put, though: The Ontological Geek will be even more dedicated to discussing pop culture in a broad sense, and to placing cultural artifacts into a wider societal context. This means you will still find thoughtful videogame essays here, as well as the occasional podcast. But also marathon discussions of movie series,3 book essays and reviews, pieces about card games and tabletop roleplaying games, discussions of game music and soundtracks, and who knows what more will come?
I also want to thank Bill for taking me on the regular staff a couple of years ago. I came knocking on the door with my usual bravado, suggesting that the site might run a themed month of articles dedicated to religion in games. And it was so. Later, I submitted some more guest articles and eventually I got invited to become part of the regulars. Thanks, Bill! The themed months are something we’ve done two more times as well, gathering articles on horror and romance, and I look forward to curating more of these themes myself now that I’m in charge.
Finally, thanks to all the regular staff and our guest contributors, who’ve always been the lifeblood of the site, writing without any compensation to bring you the best in games criticism and related analyses.
My initial archness notwithstanding, I’m actually genuinely excited to be taking over as head of Onto, and I will do my best to keep the orchard watered and tended. It will remain a place where our regular staff can grow their fruits, but there’s always room for wanderers to come along and join in. So here’s my official invitation to all dear readers to have a look at our contribution page and see whether you’d like to become part of this project.
Since I’m a linguist by trade, and Dutch to boot, I can’t help but see myself out with a bit of cheese. Now that I’ve been handed the reins, I intend to reign justly and lovingly, in order that we can all make it rain.
Here’s to the future!