Thursday, March 05, 2009

Level cap reached

No more Level Up.

I doubt he'd agree, but I owe N'Gai Croal a great deal. He was the first blogging heavyweight to link to Insult Swordfighting, to what I thought was a throwaway post about the similarities between the biggest game blogs. He kept linking, and those traffic spikes were followed by links from sites like GameSetWatch, Gonintendo, and even Kotaku itself,* all of whom, I have to assume, got to me through Level Up.

N'Gai's embrace of the New Taxonomy of Gamers is a debt I will never be able to repay. He first spotlighted the series in a comprehensive response last April, referenced it in a podcast, and was still mentioning it in Slate's Gaming Club in December (and then, between the time I wrote this post and the time I scheduled it to publish, he linked it in the last-ever Vs. Mode at MTV Multiplayer). While it would be genteel of me to say that satisfaction with my own work is reward enough, it would also be a bald-faced lie. The response from readers has been gratifying and validating. Every month or so, it seems, somebody else discovers the series, links to it, and discusses it. That's at least as much N'Gai's doing as it is mine.

For a few years now, Level Up has served as the hub of a certain type of videogame writer. Although there were always plenty of people doing interesting, thoughtful work about games, for too long they were isolated. N'Gai was like a switchboard operator, making the necessary connections to get the information through. I always talk, in general terms, about the need for a more thoughtful and substantive cultural conversation about games. N'Gai actually made it happen.

Whatever he does next, I'm sure he'll do well at it. But we will miss him.

*None of whom has linked to me for ages. Come back, Maggie!


Anonymous said...

Well consider this, he's passed on the ability he once had to you in a sense. Now you can link out to the little guy and do the same for others, planting the seed I guess.

Not a bad asset to have. I'd say. ^_^

Apolo Imagod said...

Funny what you say about him giving you visibility... I just stomped into you excellent article about the Taxonomy of Gamers through him -- specifically the last Vs. mode on MTV. Great article by the way! (I mean yours on the taxonomy).

Matthew Gallant said...

A Level Up link was sort of the Knuth check of game blogging. I guess I'm too late to earn the former, but I can still work on the latter!

Here's wishing N'gai the best of luck in all his future projects.

Iroquois Pliskin said...

while we're on the subject of bloggers who made careers for others, a very personal big ups to a certain M. Krpata for linking to an article I wrote 'bout rock band last spring when Iroquois Pliskin's blog was like 3 posts old. It made it onto Penny Arcade 'cause of him and of since then of course it's all gone downhill for cluclu land since then. But it couldn't have gone downhill without your help!

Mitch Krpata said...

There's nowhere to go but down when you start off with a link from Penny Arcade (not that I would know, Tycho!).

Surely that mention in Multiplayer yesterday must have given you a bump.