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You Will Be Missed (Part 4) May 11, 2013

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, You Will Be Missed.
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I’ve been following gaming news for over ten years and I’ve been involved in the industry for over eight years as a staff writer on various sites. I understand that not all companies last forever, but there comes a time when you are so caught up in the activities of an organization that when it shuts down, a part of you goes with it. It’s happened to me more times than I can remember, but here’s a list of companies from my experiences that are no longer with us. They’ve either been shut down, gone bankrupt, or were taken over so badly that they are no longer the same company I loved. It is a sad story to see such great potential end abruptly, but like life we have to move on, but we will never forget.

After the article I did earlier in the week about the one year anniversary of the demise of Qore, I thought about some other journalistic pursuits that have also been shut down recently, and then I started thinking about a lot of other companies that I can remember quite fondly that are no longer with us.

So, kick back and relax as we dust off the You Will Be Missed series.

Game Developer Magazine – I first got exposed to Gamasutra because of a postmortem they published for Star Trek: Elite Force, a game developed by Raven Software in the year 2000 which I happened to like quite a bit. I was in High School at the time, and was taking Business courses along with my usual workload. One day, the teacher asked us to do research online for any available business articles, and with gaming as my primary interest, Gamasutra was the first site I went to.

A big portion of the same network which hosts events like GDC and websites like Gamasutra.com, was Game Developer Magazine. This was a monthly magazine which was made available for around fifty dollars a year. However, this wasn’t some magazine like PC Gamer or Game Informer, which catered to gaming players, this was a magazine for those game’s developers and featured articles about the best ways to make games. To me, the best part of GDM was there would be a new Postmortem every single month!

In 2005 I got a subscription to Game Developer Magazine, and I immediately became hooked. I discovered that some great games received postmortems in the magazine and that many of the postmortems the magazine published have to this day not been reprinted on gamasutra.com. I only had the subscription until around 2007, so sadly, I know there were a lot of great postmortems that I missed out on in the years since. Hopefully Gamasutra will choose to bring these classic and insightful articles into a free archive anyone can view.

Nintendo Show 3D – Hosted by Jessie Cantrell, Nintendo Show 3D was a bi-weekly short series released for free through the Nintendo 3DS’s eShop. Each episode would be entirely in 3D and on average focus on previews for two upcoming 3DS games and announce any special promotions in the Nintendo eShop. The show would wrap up with a short segment of a random task in 3D. Jessie had a great personality which made her a great fit to host the show. This was the best way to learn about promotions, free content, conventions, and what games were coming out, and it was fun.

Instead of being downloadable like Qore was, Nintendo Show 3D streamed their episodes, similar to Netflix or Amazon, which meant it wouldn’t take up space on an external SD card, but you would need internet access on your 3DS to watch it. The big selling point about this series was that it was shot in 3D, which gave viewers an incentive to watch it on the native 3DS screen. Sure, you could probably watch these videos on Nintendo’s YouTube Channel, but unless you were watching it on a 3DS, you wouldn’t be able to get the full effect.

Sadly, the show has wrapped, and Nintendo is sticking to streaming Nintendo Direct videos on a regular basis through the service. While Nintendo Direct is a decent series which gives some in-depth previews and always seems to break news, the series seems more appropriate for the Wii U than the 3DS. It is not in 3D, and you’d be better off watching them on YouTube or your Wii U.

Well that takes care of some of these journalistic pursuits which are sadly no longer with us, but that’s not the end of the companies that are no longer with us.

Palm Inc. – This was the company that defined the Personal Digital Assistant, as they were the ones who could deliver a portable device that could do just enough that the user needed, had great battery life, a simplistic and easy to understand interface, and one of the best handwriting recognition systems ever developed.

The hectic and much publicized development of what would eventually become the webOS platform is considered by many to be what brought about the downfall of Palm, and eventually lead to it being purchased by Hewlett-Packard. Sadly, I believe that Palm’s party was over much sooner than that. As soon as Palm spun off its software and hardware divisions into separate entities in order to improve the chance of licensing their operating system to other handheld devices, the company could no longer maintain its original design philosophies which had served them quite well up to that point. When the corporate licenses all dried up as cell phones became the dominate personal devices, it should have been a big warning bell to Palm that they needed to reintegrate themselves in order to get the best performance out of the hardware and software they were selling separately, but they chose to go a different route.

I still have my Palm VIIx and keyboard hanging up, still working just as well as the day I bought them. However, I’m no longer able to use most of its best features, like HotSync or palm.net service as technology has long since passed the COM port, and the wireless infrastructure the palm.net service made use of has been shut down for over eight years. I keep it as a reminder of a once great company at its best.

Software Etc. – I know one guy online wrote a really nice article on the fall of Babbages, but I never had a Babbages in my area.   I can’t think of any other store I appreciated having in my area more in the year 2000 as I appreciated having Software Etc.  Software Etc. was like a beacon in an otherwise ignored monument to consumerism.  I don’t normally get sentimental about retail stores because let’s face it they’re a business just like any other, but Software Etc. was anything but typical.  They sold PC games and they were pretty much the only store in my area that had a wide selection of quality games they sold at a decent price.  I could remember going into a Software Etc and buying classic PC games like Giants: Citizen Kabuto, X-Wing Alliance, and Messiah for around $20 a piece, with fully intact packages.  Now Software Etc. is owned by Gamestop, and at least from what I’ve seen in the United States, pretty much all of the venues that had Software Etc. signs have switched to the Gamestop philosophy, and if I want PC games, my options aren’t as wide as they once were.

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