You might have already heard, but the day is here: today is Alec's last day at RPS. Come say farewell in the comments below, while I pick through my feelings.
Before I worked at RPS, I was a reader of RPS. I knew all of the original founders from their work at PC Gamer and other Future Publishing magazines - and knew them personally from various pub haunts around Bath - and so I also knew what to expect from a site coalesced by their powers combined. In those first couple of years though, it was Alec's work I was most excited by.
Within a few months of the site starting, there was Go Team!, the founders' series of love letters to each of Team Fortress 2's classes. This was the moment I switched from my-friends-are-doing-a-thing curious to a-proper-regular-reader, and it was because of Alec's part one on The Heavy. There was also his Aliens Versus Predator retrospective, and the "Worst Ninja" Ultima Online diary. (There was also the fact Alec was designing/coding the early versions of the site.)
A couple of years later, there was Locked Doors, a rant against a videogame enemy so universally derided that the post was RPS's most visited that year. And for a number of years thereafter. I didn't know that at the time, I just liked its poetic sentences:
Locked door, I hate you.
I hate the way you are resistant to knives, to guns, to sledgehammers, to rocket-propelled grenades, to weapons that rewrite the very laws of physics, to dark unearthly magic, to punches that can knock a man’s head clean off.
When writing these leaving posts, I always repeat the same line: RPS takes the shape of the people who work there at any given moment. That's obviously never more true than when talking about the founders. RPS will permanently contain an Alec-shape within it, like a comfortable divot in an old mattress.
I'm confident that the values Alec and the other founders established are embedded in the rest of the team here, and are not lost when anyone departs, but still I've found myself thinking a lot about Alec's work and what we'll need to replace in his stead. Most obviously, we're losing a lot of experience; there's not too many games journalists with double-digit numbers of years under their belt, and even fewer that are nearer to twenty than to ten. This experience means Alec holds a deep knowledge of PC gaming history that isn't easily found elsewhere, particularly around RPGs, strategy games, and genres that often sit at the very heart of what RPS is about. On top of that, there aren't many games writers around these days that share his willingness to tinker with mods, ini files and graphics cards alike, and to accentuate his games coverage by digging into their guts.
(Also, who will toss out XCOM 2 turns like this - and make one of our YouTube channels most enduringly popular videos in the process?)
(Also also - I could do this for a while - who will we send on trucking sorties in American Truck Simulator now? Who else will write a touching and relatable autobiography-through-games like Raised By Screens?)
I have to stop now. Suffice to say: for Alec, our doors will always be unlocked. Hopefully we can entice him back inside once in a while.
Don't let that stop the grieving and the wailing and the rending of garments. Take to the comments, sing your farewells, and if you've got a favourite Alec article (Alecle), share a link.