July 6, 2009

Release Date

Sometimes it can be fun when nobody's paying any attention. Take the first six months of Hit Self-Destruct, when I'd do things like invert every colour on the front page for one day without any explanation, or imply that I was ending the site forever. If I had stopped doing Hit Self-Destruct back in those days, I would have lied about the reason. I'd say that I was giving it up to realise my dream of being a community manager or having my own MTV show. Now, though, chastened by the existence of an actual readership, it doesn't seem appropriate to say anything other than Hit Self-Destruct is actually ending, this month, five posts from now.

There's no community manager job and there's no MTV show. There's no obvious change in circumstances that would force me to stop doing this, and I'm not giving it up so that I can do something else. Hit Self-Destruct was always something that would end eventually, and this is the ending.

Registering "Hit Self-Destruct" -- third choice of name -- in October 2007, I went in with no expectations or any sense of obligation, other than that I had accumulated enough thoughts about video games that could be exorcised in about four decent blog posts. There's a lot that has been surprising about how Hit Self-Destruct has turned out since then. Certainly, one of those things is that writing about video games on the internet for free could be one of the more fulfilling things I've ever done. And given that, the biggest surprise of all is that I'd ever want to stop doing it.

I never did Hit Self-Destruct full time; never even got to think about video games full time. Very few of the other demands on my time are as important to me as Hit Self-Destruct, but I can't quit any of those. I can't give Hit Self-Destruct as much time as it deserves (or its readers deserve), and so I can't make it as good as I want it to be anymore. This is a depressing reason to stop doing something, but, on the other hand, it allows me to leave at a point where the body of work here is still fairly consistent.

I think that I've probably accomplished about as much with Hit Self-Destruct as I reasonably can. If I kept going, I do not believe that the posts would get any better, or that there would be any more of them. Under those circumstances, I'd rather not do Hit Self-Destruct at all than see it slow to even more a crawl, past the point where anyone even cares if it's still going or not. This is how it ends, then.

There are five posts left until Hit Self-Destruct is done. I won't be done, at least I hope not. I have no idea what I'm going to do after those five posts. It won't be Hit Self-Destruct and it won't be a regular blog about video games, but after writing for this site every day of my life for almost two years, I now can't imagine ever not writing something, or not wanting an audience for it. This was so much fun to do, and thank you for that part. No more MTV jokes: if you were a Hit Self-Destruct reader that makes you a good friend of mine. I appreciate your attention and hope that you'll consider giving it again to whatever I come up with next.

Whenever that will be. I don't know what I'll do until then; I might play a video game. Or maybe I'll try something else.

30 comments:

Ben Abraham said...

At first I was like "Holy Shit he can't!!!"

But then I was like, "You know what, he can do whatever the f*** he wants!"

Stay awesome Duncan.

Alex Denham said...

Nooo! I was genuinely distressed when I read this post!

But I hope this means you're going to write a novel or something, I can't wait for whatever you do next.

Your blog is one of only three I check daily hoping for a post, please let us know what you're doing when you make up your mind. All the best Duncan!

Chris Remo said...

I am dismayed to read this. However, I also congratulate you for maintaining such a remarkably consistent volume of output while being one of the most unique and clever voices in whatever field this is. If you feel this particular well has run dry, then that's how it goes. But well done.

Hopefully you don't end up, ah, hitting self-destruct on the whole video game writing thing. That's just my little joke, there.

Anonymous said...

5 more posts..

I shall savour them to their fullest then, as the last gospel of the mighty HS-D.

Thanks for the wordiness and giggles.

Michael Abbott said...

This is bad news only if it means you stop writing. Which I'm sure you won't. So rather than bemoan the loss of HSD, I'll thank you for everything you did here and look forward to whatever comes next.

Best of luck, Duncan.

Generic Lighthouse Unit said...

This is very fitting for this blog - how many sites have you visited that actually sets a deadline to their decline? Hopefully you'll find yourself a new home-place out there. I'll be googling your name every ten minutes or so.

/random nobody

n0wak said...

It's been a good run and the weblog will be missed, but, as you say, once you start writing it's hard to stop so I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the future. Cheers!

Nels Anderson said...

So long, and thanks for all the fish. All the delicious, delicious video game-y fish.

I'm sure where ever you hang your hat next will be similarly awesome. We'll miss your thoughts until then.

qrter said...

Sad news! Yours is one of the few gaming blogs I actually follow regularly.

Thanks for all your work.

Hope you'll still post/publish something if and when it occurs to you, somewhere.

(I couldn't have been any more vague and all encompassing than that.)

gatmog said...

As someone who has humbly operated a gaming weblog in my spare time for over 6 years, I know exactly how you feel, and I know exactly why you're calling it quits. You also have the respect for your readership to let them know it's coming, rather than write a post and disappear completely. You also have the foresight to know that you can't keep this up forever - it is an enterprise that is entirely driven by available free time, and the desire to write. This realization comes to everyone, in time.

I've seen games writing "movements" and "cliques" come and go, but in the end it's all the same. Instead of getting caught up in this rabble rousing and battle cries for "ethics in game journalism" or "where's our Lester Bangs?" or "let's reform game criticism!" you seemed to put your finger on what we love about video games and make it into something interesting to read. And because of that, your writing at HSD was both appropriate and timeless. That's what I'm going to miss.

Steve gaynor said...

Hmm.. I'm reminded of a similar announcement recently by one Sarah Palin. Coincidence? Personally, I doubt it..

Matthew Gallant said...

This is a sad day for the blogocube, but I respect your reasons for wanting to stop. Your writing always hit a nerve with those of us who've lived and grown up with video games, thanks for sharing it with us. I look forward to your future projects, whatever they turn out to be.

Apolo Imagod said...

Good bye... and thanks for all the fish :-)

Austin said...

In a way, this is good news, because it means I can go back and revisit all the posts I skimmed through to read later.

Duncan, this blog was an intelligent treat that further attested to my initial vibe from the early 7sd bloggity blog days, that we're gonna end up rolling in the same posse some day.

Until then.

Iroquois Pliskin said...

Duncan, I'm going to miss the hell out of Hit-Self Destruct, because the way you write about the video games is very different and smart and good. My only consolation is the hope that you will continue to write about something and that I will be able to read it somewhere in the future.

Andrew said...

I can see why you'd want to stop doing it if you think the quality or timing would suffer, you've posted a majesty of thought-provoking, interesting and funny posts, with every variant in between.

My immediate thought was "awww", since now I will have less to look forward to - although I admit the last month, as my comments state, I didn't even find the time to read your longer pieces - no doubt if those are what you wanted to do, well, it's pretty epic.

I hope you write somewhere else on and off, or do come back to this blog. I'll keep the RSS feed in my reader, awaiting the news...that one day Duncan writes again!

That or I get to say thanks in real life. While it's fitting given the medium, I don't think text really states how sad me, or I think anyone posting here, will be once the void creeps in.

Chris A said...

It's a shame to see ya sunsetting the blog, but at the same time, looking forward to where you'll go next.

(and please do post a final entry here pointing us in the right direction once you've decided what next is, so we can follow along)

Jorge Albor said...

I've got to chime in with all the rest in saying your work will be sorely missed. All the best for your future path. For all of our benefit, I hope its writing something we can all consume sooner rather than later.

LiathroidiDana said...

Have to say I loved this blog, and am very disappointed about all this.

But as long as you keep on writing (Videogame related or not)I'm happy.

Best of luck mate.

Nathan Grayson said...

Duncan, thank you so much for writing such an excellent blog. Each of your posts has been a joy to read, and you're right; I've never seen a volume of work stay so consistently top-notch for so long. Best of luck in whatever you choose to do next. I'll be incessantly F5-ing HSD and your Twitter feed until you let us all know what lies ahead. Then I'll incessantly F5 that too.

Yes, even if it's a book. I'll find a way.

Paul said...

It's a joy to read good writing - no matter what the topic.

You can be proud of what you've done here.

Richard said...

Just tell me where and i'll be there to read it.

Go Duncan Go

mtvernon said...

Thanks for EVERYTHING, but, in particular, for letting us know. I'm sure I speak for everyone in saying that we'd've been awfully disappointed at stopping by from time to time only to wonder what had happened such a top-notch writer.

All the best!

Duncan said...

You guys.

qrter said...

Pile on Duncan, everyone!

| Balu | said...

Aww you are gonna close hitselfdestruct? =( Too bad I have been reading your blog for almost 5months now and I really like it. But I understand your position. However, I have another suggestion, why not go on a hiatius and come back when you think you are ready? You have built a good blog here so pls don't kill it. =)

Wordsmythe said...

I hope you won't be abandoning our conversations on Twitter and elsewhere as well. It's hard enough losing your contributions on this site.

Thanks.

touche_bitch said...

Such a shame. It's rare to find such a prolific and continually interesting blog/blogger.

All the best from us all at Touché, Bitches!

Adam said...

I'm definitely going to miss Hit Self-Destruct.

Thanks for writing all of these great articles for free and good luck with whatever comes next.

juv3nal said...

HSD will be missed, but I'll be interested to see what other online writing you get up to.