Love You All

By Nathan Grayson on July 23rd, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Hey RPS,

There was a time when I thought I’d never write this post. I still kind of can’t believe I am, to be honest.

I’ve spent the past week and a half fielding questions from people asking about the new RPS job listing. Well, here’s why: I’m leaving. It’s really strange, though not necessarily in a bad way. I’m glad to see so many people eager to give up their consciousnesses to the hivemind. I’m glad this site has made an impact and inspired all these folks to take up the pen for the most glorious crusade of all: writing silly words about videogames. You may not always agree with the stuff we run here, but goodness knows we try. We want games to better in so many ways, and few things make me smile bigger than the knowledge that a bunch of you have said, “Yeah, you know what? I want to be part of that.”

It’s just kind of… surreal. I’m moving on from RPS. I never thought I’d see the day.

I’m doing it for a lot of reasons. I’ve loved serving you beautiful/handsome/one-million-tentacled readers, but it’s time for me to move on. I want a change of pace, a different (even if only ever so slightly) challenge. It’s time for someone to take my place, someone who’s burning to do it right.

That is not to say Jim, John, Alec, and co haven’t taken incredible care of me. I have never worked with better, kinder, more compassionate people. Never. During every low point – every dumb life crisis I’ve bumbled my way through, every time a publisher has taken aim at me for, er, doing my job – they’ve had my back 100 percent. These are people who trusted me implicitly every step of the way, spent ample time and effort to ensure that I was ok in countless situations. They did their absolute damndest to make sure I was cared for, physically and mentally. They never felt like bosses. They were – and still are – friends. Family. Some of the best I’ve ever had.

While working at RPS, I’ve had relationships end catastrophically, developed scary health problems, watched friends who were way too young pass away. I am not good at asking for help, but I never had to. Usually it was just a simple IM from John. “Hey, do you need to talk or anything? We’re here for you.”

This is getting hard to write.

I’m gonna miss the hell out of your comments and responses to my articles. Yeah, some of my more… controversial pieces brought serious nastiness out of the woodwork, but by and large writing for the lot of you has been a pleasure. I remembered when I first started at RPS, I was so intimidated. I thought to myself, “How am I supposed to pen anything useful for an audience that is, near as I can tell, smarter and more clever than I am?” You all accepted me with open arms, even when my writing style was rough and about a thousand times more overwrought than it needed to be, when I got too goofy or idiotic, when I was flat-out wrong, and when I tried my hand at – DUN DUN DUN – video.

I can’t even count the amount of time I’ve spent laughing like a total nutcase at comments you fine folks have written. RPS has amassed an army of geniuses. If we wanted to start some kind of dystopian future war using telekinetic cyber mages, I have no doubt we could do it by forcefully conscripting you.

We wouldn’t. (We might.)

I learned a ton by writing for you all. I know I wasn’t the most active commenter, but I was always listening. When you criticized me, I took it to heart. Sometimes I obsessed over it, even. But that made me better. Thank you. I really, really, really dislike vitriolic shouty-ness, but I understand that even that comes from a place of passion. You care. I care. We may not always care the same way, but we’re united in that feeling.

Being here taught me to care about new things, too. I never thought myself openly sexist or racist or homophobic or anything like that before, but I also didn’t understand how systemically ingrained many of those mentalities are. Writing about them helped me learn how to be less shitty, helped me become better at caring about other people no matter how different we are. And anway, we’re all human. In the grand scheme of things, we’re not very different at all. I promise that no matter what I do with the rest of my life, I will carry those values with me, wield them like a sword. These things matter, they make games better, they make people better. If you don’t like that, too bad.

I am going to keep writing about games. At least, for now. These are strange times. Writing about games – you know, with words – is in a big transition. I don’t think the career will die entirely, but I also recognize that YouTubers and Twitch streamers are having a big impact on the field. I’m trying to adapt as best I can, but I still feel like a fish out of water with it all. I will probably always be a writer first and foremost, for better or worse.

Writing is too important to give up on, though, and I still think real, hard-hitting reporting is needed in this world – perhaps now more than ever. There’s so much deception, whether it’s publishers giving fans the silent treatment on important issues (quit it, Ubisoft) or, well, publishers straight out paying YouTubers sans explicit disclosure. Moreover, honest, from-the-heart stories about life and experience and humanity (and, yes, games) – the kind of stuff Cara and Jenn Frank and Mattie Brice write, a lot of things collected on sites like Critical Distance or in The Sunday Papers – are incredibly powerful in writing. We need more of that. I hope we get more of it. Truly good games writing still matters. I believe that from the bottom of my heart. I hope RPS continues to be a bastion of that. I believe it will.

Prospective RPS writers, pay attention to that stuff. At one point Cara told me to be aggressively vulnerable in writing, to wear my flaws and my fears on the outside of my heart, to bleed and not care who sees. Do that. The most powerful thing you can bring to writing – about games or otherwise – is who you are. And don’t be afraid. If you see an injustice or something about a game that really bothers you, talk about it. Be loud. Shout until your fucking lungs burst, and then stuff them back in your chest and do it again until all that’s left is oblivion. If it pisses someone off, well, important thoughts rarely please everyone. Do what you do and mean it.

And if people say you fucked up, consider why. Maybe they’re wrong (and sometimes they are very right), but there’s always something real to what they’re saying. Otherwise they wouldn’t say it. Consider where it’s coming from, if nothing else. You may not need to change anything about yourself (and often you will), but always seek to understand. That is how you grow. And mark my words: you should never stop growing. You’re a child. You will never stop being a child. You will die a child.

And for god’s sake, be good to each other. I’ve watched so much of the discourse surrounding games become more and more about inclusivity and understanding – at least, in our more idealistic moments – but I’ve only seen communities grow more vitriolic. I won’t lie: I’m worried. I’ve seen some amazing friends straight up get chased out of caring about this stuff. It might be easy to say they’re quitters or something, but that is absolutely not the case. It’s just, like, how much energy does any one person really have to expend? How much of it can they put into enjoying something despite ceaseless torrents of anger, unpleasantness, hatred, and cynicism? It is important to call out bad things, but if you’re not doing it with the hope that things will get better – if you just want to be angry for anger’s sake – you are hurting everyone, yourself most of all.

I see so many online conversations about games that are predicated on this notion of negativity by default. An idle observation is immediately interpreted as a complaint. A nascent larva of a discussion is stomped into a million argumentative pieces. These aren’t conversations. They’re arguments in which everyone wants to shout over each other, contests in which we hurl words to wound rather than explain and enrich.

You know what I hate? Hate.

Be awesome to someone today. Be awesome to someone every day. Someone you don’t know. Anyone. Even if they’re an absolute shithead to you. I guess this post is where I’m supposed to list my “greatest hits” or something, but fuck that. If you take away one thing from me, let it be that: be good. Do good. In games, in life, in whatever. Respect people. Be excellent. Love even if you get burned over and over and over for it.

I love you all. And I believe you all have the capacity to be great. Some of you already are. I’m leaving, but I’m not really going anywhere, so I’ll see you around. I’m going back to being a reader and a viewer and a commenter, just like you. I can’t wait to see what we make together.

Hello, John here. I wanted to add something to Nathan’s post to thank him from the bottom of Horace’s infinite heart for his amazing work for RPS. Nathan joined RPS in 2012, and has had such a massive impact on the site. While we were trying to hire a news writer, we accidentally got one of the best journalists in the business. Nathan’s instinct for finding a story, speaking to the people involved, and exposing the truth, is remarkable. He’s also just a completely lovely person.

We’re going to miss him hugely, both in terms of what he has brought to the site, and as one of the nicest guys you could hope to work with. We wish him enormous good fortune as he moves on, and can’t wait to see what he’s going to do in his new job. And if his new employers are ever mean to him, we’re going to kick their asses.

Nathan is truly one of the Good Ones, and unquestionably has the best curly mop of hair in the business. We love what he’s brought to RPS, and his mark on the site is permanent. We love you, Nathan!

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272 Comments »

  1. HybridHalo says:

    Thanks for all your work Nathan.

  2. Forceflow says:

    All the best, Nathan. Thanks for everything!

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    Lars Westergren says:

    I will miss you Nathan, thanks for all the great stuff you wrote and good luck!

  4. HiFiHair says:

    All the absolute very best, Nathan. Thank you for your work so far. So very excited to see what comes next!

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    Stijn says:

    I really enjoyed your articles, Nathan. Good luck in whatever comes next, and thanks for this heartfelt and poignant farewell piece!

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    Shockeh says:

    All the best Nathan, hope your next challenge is as exciting, and good luck to the poor soul who needs to fill your shoes!

  7. gschmidl says:

    Thanks, Nathan. I enjoyed both your writing and especially also your video thingies.

  8. AshRolls says:

    Hippy! Thanks for your interesting and entertaining articles and good luck in the future Nathan.

  9. adamsolo says:

    Logged in just to tell you that I loved reading your posts. Funny, provocative, transparent, entertaining. All that at once. Brilliant. RPS: Good job finding a person as good as Nathan. I’m sure you’ll find somebody excellent though.

  10. NooklearToaster says:

    Good luck with whatever comes next, I always enjoyed the discourse you brought to the table. Hopefully wherever you’re off to appreciates the hell out of you :)

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    lowprices says:

    Gosh darnit, you made me tear up at work with that.

    Logged in for the first time in ages to say good luck in wherever life takes you, and that we the commentors will miss you, you silly, big-haired, big-hearted American. X

  12. Ben Barrett says:

    Good luck dude.

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    bcrowe says:

    Best of luck Nathan, I know you’ll be missed.

  14. TehK says:

    http://www.nooooooooooooooo.com/
    :(

    I wish you all the best, Nathan. You did a great job here and I’m sure you’ll continue to do a great job elsewhere!

    • Zorlan says:

      Damn! Nooooooooooo indeed. ‘Tis a sad day at RPS.

      You will be greatly missed, Nathan – I truly hope I will read your words again.. somewhere, someplace. I shall be searching!

    • 65 says:

      I’ll add my ‘Nooooooooo!’ to the chorus.

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    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    The Hive Mind has lost its Americas pseudopod. A grave loss. Remember to plug the holes in your skull with something soft and non-absorbent until the control polyps in your cerebrum have all migrated out, then you can have the cranial damage repaired.

    Sad to see you go, old chap, but I understand you must do as your sentient mop of hair bids you.

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      Gap Gen says:

      EDIT: Ah, the plugin doesn’t save the link time. Relevant bit is at 50 seconds.

    • Cara Ellison says:

      Smingleigh and I shall be attempting (and failing) to make a Kinja account so we can support your new career at the Kotakus, my fine-haired friend.

      This piece made me cry Nathan you lovely bastard. I am glad anything I said was useful and I enjoyed your company at every games event and beer time. I will never forget you calling me a ‘word ronin’ because I did eventually take to the road.

      See you at the Kotakus. I salute you

  16. JonClaw says:

    Was really bummed when I saw who the author was. Thank you, Nathan, for all you’ve done here! You will be missed.

  17. killias2 says:

    Good luck! You will be missed!

  18. flaillomanz says:

    I dusted off this old account expressly to tell you that these are not tears. They are… uh… it’s raining! yes, that’s it. Or maybe I have something in my eye. Like rain. Or dust.

    I cannot begin to tell you how much your writing has influenced me… much like with you, there have been bad and good times… but knowing I could always come here, read something deliciously written, a true 5-star gourmet experience, and feel better about myself… helped a lot.

    I know there’s others like me out there. If you were to add all of the happiness you’ve given us together, I could safely wager that you’ve saved at least 0.75 lives. Maybe even 0.93!

    All jokes aside, I and all of us here, whether lurkers or commenters or passing readers, wish you the best of luck… and know this; you will always have friends here. You will always have a place to return to, if you wish so.

    The new guy can keep your seat warm for you. Just try not to forget about us here – we certainly will never forget you.

    • jakeandfinn says:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGes7FDmHAM

      i am not crying, i was just cutting onions, i am making lasagna (for one)

    • Orija says:

      You do know that he isn’t dying, right? He’s just leaving a job so you can save the tears and eulogy for later. I mean, jesus, do people have a penchant for being melodramatic.

      • Nanmais says:

        I don’t understand why you feel the need to belittle this person’s reactions and emotions. So you didn’t get teary. So you don’t have the same things to say to Nathan. So what? That’s not a problem. Why is the opposite one for you? Everybody reacts their own way. What’s wrong about that? I mean, really? And what’s it to you? Why would other people’s reactions bother you? It’s also ironic that Nathan wishes for people to be less harsh one towards another in this community and this happens. And thank god this isn’t a eulogy. If you wait till people are dead to tell them what they mean to you and what impact they’ve had on your life, even if they’re not friends or family, well isn’t that pretty sad and pointless?

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        FriendlyFire says:

        Someone sure missed the end of Nathan’s post where he asks people here to be good. You disagree with someone but have nothing to add other than vitriol? Keep it to yourself.

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    Hanban says:

    :’)

    See you around, Nathan!

  20. rabbit says:

    a really nice, real important article. i’ve been a looong time lurker and only signed up to comment just the other day – but your name’s been at the top of many articles i’ve loved over the last two years or so.
    take care – be good.
    f

  21. McDan says:

    It’s a darn shame to see you go Nathan, but you’ve done great work for RPS and I’m sure you’ll be amazing at whatever you do in future. We’ll be watching to see how you do!

  22. GuybrushThreepwood says:

    Best of luck Nathan! Let us know where we can find your stuff!

  23. karthink says:

    Hey Nathan, you know the bit about being sexist/racist as an institutionalized default state? You helped kick me out of it too. Thank you for that, and your long form interviews and essays. Good stuff. Good luck.

  24. Chillz says:

    Can’t think of a comment to express all my feelings, curse my limited vocabulary. I love you Nathan, wish you all the best and a great big Thank you! from the bottom of my heart.

  25. Jason Moyer says:

    Damn it, there goes one of the reasons I continue to visit this site multiple times a day. Good luck with whatever you do and try to keep us updated on your whereabouts. And instill some humor into John on your way out. K/thx.

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    distantlurker says:

    Kill all the rats, not just the 10; slay the priest & rescue the Dragon; never stop leveling up; until we meet again.

    Farewell, hero.

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    Screwie says:

    Thanks Nathan, for everything you’ve contributed to RPS. Wishing you the best for whatever’s next!

  28. jpm224 says:

    “If you see…something about a game that really bothers you, talk about it. Be loud. Shout until your fucking lungs burst, and then stuff them back in your chest and do it again until all that’s left is oblivion.”

    I tried that once, but in the end I still just had Oblivion.

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    Stellar Duck says:

    Best of luck Nathan!

    I’ll miss you and your pieces so I’ll be waiting to see what you do next!

    Thanks for all the words.

  30. zappeo says:

    good luck Nathan, thanks for all your hard work <3

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    Gap Gen says:

    *hugs*
    *gets slowly, but inexorably, absorbed into mass of curly hair*
    *body is never found*

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    skalpadda says:

    Thanks Nathan, I’ll miss you and your epic hair.

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    Melody says:

    You’re an amazing writer, Nathan. I wish you best of luck in everything. I’m going to miss your words here on RPS.

  34. Veldzhes says:

    His Name is Robert Paulson.

  35. Kival says:

    Thank you, Nathan, for all your good work. I really liked some of your most controversial pieces!

  36. quarpec says:

    tl;dr

    goobye

  37. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    You will be missed! Best of luck with all your future endeavours!

  38. TomxJ says:

    All the Best Nathan!

  39. Tei says:

    Good luck and thanks for all the good articles.

    I never say bye, because It can happen that I have to take the same bus the person I said bye, and It could happen that the only empty places are together. And we end awkwardly next to each other, after saying bye.

    If you feel like you have something awesome to share with this community, please send it to the RPS, so they share it with us.

    Don’t worry much about hate in forum threads. Education is a never ending task, but is never ending for the bad and the good. Every day, decent new posters are born.

  40. Noviere says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful words(and occasional moving pictures), Nathan Grayson! <3

  41. hilltop says:

    I didn’t expect to get this choked up so soon after waking up.

    I’ve really enjoyed your work so far. Your absence on the site will be felt. Good luck with your next step.

  42. TheMoatMonster says:

    “You should never stop growing. You’re a child. You will never stop being a child. You will die a child.”

    An amazing piece of writing, right there. And true. Goodbye Nathan, and best of luck for the future!

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    Skeletor68 says:

    Thank you for all your articles Nathan. The posts about violence and martial arts especially hit close to home. If I could write, I would write like you.

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    Gap Gen says:

    Also, “You’re a child. You will never stop being a child. You will die a child.” is a pretty accurate description of the life and times of my villagers in Banished.

  45. Cedori says:

    So sad when someone says goodbye… But, that is life, everything has to move and change… I hope Nathan will move to some place at least as good as RPS, and will change to be at least as likeable and nice as he is now (how does this called “change” though).
    What I want to say is: Good Luck in your life, Nathan – I’m sure we all here changed a bit for the better too all thanks to you.

  46. toxic avenger says:

    Thanks for everything–your insightful articles, taking the chance on writing on “controversial subjects”(that shouldn’t be controversial, and most importantly pissing off the dumb dumbs who aren’t satisfied until gay or female characters look embarrassingly stupid in video games. Please keep writing. You are a joy to read and have such a playful relationship with language that is a breath of fresh air. You will be missed!

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    TheTourist314 says:

    Cheers! Happy trails, Nathan!

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    BathroomCitizen says:

    Goodbye Nathan, I hope you’ll have good fortune on your next job!
    I’ll really miss your news, you always put me in a good mood every day.

  49. Horg says:

    I mash my arms into my monitor in a futile attempt to hug you goodbye through the internet.