A Hardcore Sunset: The End of an Era

It’s currently 11pm on a Monday night as I am writing this, and as I sit here in front of my softly glowing laptop, with Monday Night Football streaming in the background, I was pondering just how I was going to write this column.

This time, I am not going off on a rant, but trying to put words into a much more personal announcement, and one that I have considered for a while now. But let’s just get to the point.

I’m retiring.

Yes, that’s right. After more than 20 years of writing a bi-weekly column that started as my take on gaming from a hardcore point of view up to moments in the gaming industry that have either intrigued or appalled me, I have decided it was time for me to close up my Omen laptop once and for good.

As I said, this has been coming for a while now. When I was given the opportunity to take over for Ken Urben and his Ken’s Corner editorials, I was more than honored to take the position. But over time, it started to become more and more routine for me, and I hate to admit, my love of writing the column started to wane. Even with doing special features such as the Hardcore Awards, the Hardcore Bowl, and of course, Didn’t Spend A Dime, my writing just felt like a case of the same old, same old. You all deserve a columnist with passion, and I need to recharge my batteries.

Of course, I still put some time aside for gaming, as I’m currently going through Death Stranding on the PlayStation 4 and am looking forward to Jedi: Fallen Order when it comes out at the end of the week. So you will still be seeing me around, though I will mostly be writing reviews of games that excite my passion.

Gaming will always be a huge part of my life, but as I get older and wiser, I also find myself getting a little more tired. And that, my friends, is why I decided it was best that I retire from my current position as the hardcore columnist for Gameindustry.com.

Does this mean I am completely gone from the site? Of course not. I have offered to stay onboard as a guest correspondent. That means that I will still provide insights from time to time, and yes, if another game gets wrongfully accused of forced microtransactions, I guarantee there will be another Didn’t Spend a Dime column in their future.

As for ending my column tenure, I will be writing a special three-part series. The first will be my special annual recognitions (including the Badass and Dumbass of the Year awards, the latter having a lot of competition.) Then I will provide my awards for best and worst of the year. And finally, my last official column will be my most memorable moments here at GiN over the past 22 years.

I do want to give my own personal, heartfelt thanks to John Breeden and Nate Wooley for bringing me aboard on this amazing venture back in 1997, and putting up with me through all the good and bad. I also want to thank my former Gamer Geeks co-host Kelly Adams. We had some great times together. And of course, I need to say thanks to my sometimes partner and sometimes foil, Chella Ramanan. Thanks for allowing me to be a guest on Argue the Toss from time to time. It might not have worked out well due to our timetables, but I enjoyed every time I was guesting or participating in those shows.

Lastly, I want to give my successor, Neal Sayatovich, a chance to speak out. Remember when I said that you all deserved a columnist with the same passion that I had when I started 22 years ago? Well, Neal is that person. He’s intelligent, knowledgeable about the game industry, a huge fan of videogames and tough enough to take stands when it matters. He’s basically a young version of me, or something like that.

Neal, let the good folks know what they can expect when you take over for me in January.

Thank you Todd, it means a lot to take the editorial torch from you. Todd’s impact on GiN has been felt by all of the staff, including when I showed up bright eyed and bushy tailed in 2011. In fact, if we are being honest, we will never be able to scrub his hatred of Final Fantasy off the walls. Trust me, we checked with multiple professionals and they said, short of burning the office down, it is there to stay. I also hope that I can feature Todd in future columns to let him vent so he doesn’t explode and start hunting executives at EA.

I will be starting my column, which will be named Skirmisher, in place of Hardcore. Longtime readers know that I usually write a Halloween editorial where I gripe about how bad horror games are. The name Skirmisher comes from my personal play style that I developed playing games such as Fire Emblem and XCOM. My articles will take a look at the many things I feel are wrong with the industry and calling out a few fandoms that annoy me.

Make no mistake, Skirmisher will not be a full war mobilization like Hardcore, but I will give very well thought-out and sometimes sarcastic thoughts on the industry. I hope that you all will enjoy following along with my new Skirmisher column, and I look forward to interacting with Todd’s many fans as well as all of GiN’s amazing readers.

Thanks Neal, and I look forward to having you being my worthy successor! In the meantime, stay tuned for my epic three part career finale!

Currently Playing: Death Stranding (PlayStation 4 Pro)

Waiting For: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

5 thoughts on “A Hardcore Sunset: The End of an Era”

  1. Still love how I’m best known for my hatred of the Final Fantasy series, but in the end I turned around and enjoyed FF XV so much that it even made my Top 5 of the year. But yeah, I might have to put that in my greatest GiN moments ever. Thanks for bringing that back up.

  2. We will miss you so much Todd. Thanks for the decades of hard work and thoughtful skill that you put into your columns over the years. I know how difficult it can be to come up with new and interesting topics every week, even in a fascinating field like videogames.

    I was personally always impressed by how much you knew about the history of the game industry, the developers, the games and the various players. Not only could you give a well-defended opinion on issues, but also talk about the history of the situation at hand and the industry.

    We will miss your wit, your humor, your excellent writing skill, your good-natured, righteous indignation of all things wrong in the game industry and your child-like enthusiasm of all the good parts too.

    We are also glad that you will be sticking around as a sometimes columnist and reviewer. So it’s good that you will still be here brightening up GiN for some time to come even as you pass the torch over to the next generation.

  3. Congratulations on the retirement, Todd! We’ve butted heads over the years, but your’s has always been an opinion I valued. I’ll miss Hardcore as well. It’s my favorite column here at GiN (even more than my own).

    Also, kudos to Neal for taking over and I hope it all goes well! I’ll be sure to keep up with Skirmisher.

  4. I won’t lie, as Publisher you have occasionally annoyed the living hell out of me. Especially on the road. You cared so much and had such strong opinions sometimes it felt like I should have had Breeden put you in a bunker or something.

    But it all worked out well. Somewhere along the way, when I wasn’t looking, you turned into one hell of a writer, Todd. I’m glad I’ve had the chance to get to know you.

  5. Sad to see you go Todd, it was always fun reading your columns and I’m going to miss them, but even still going at it for 22 years is one hell of an accomplishment and makes my 5+ years look small in comparison. Still I’ll hope we get to see you around occasionally.

    Though I will say we have to agree to disagree about Final Fantasy, I will admit that most of the later titles have been very lackluster. XIV seems to be the exception, but that has its own issues, with it being an MMO a major turn off for many people just one of them.

    Have fun and enjoy the retirement.

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