It took me the better part of 18 months to accept it, but the only way to fix an abusive relationship is to end it.
This decision has been a long time coming. Ever since the first time Ben threatened me with violence for disagreeing with him, I knew that this show was approaching its end date. By the second time it happened, it became clear to me that I had to make this decision sooner rather than later. Before things would escalate and become physical.
It would be incredibly convenient to point to one single moment that made continuing the show unacceptable. But as I assume is the case with most harmful relationships, the transgressions came in ebbs and flows, alternating between praise and abuse. Gradually shifting what was or wasn’t acceptable conduct between us. I was accused of enriching myself by way of review copies, I was blamed for holding up the growth of the show because of my inflexible schedule, online communication with other contributors, publishers or designers would be taken over by him, cutting me out of the conversation, and he would occasionally belittle or outright insult my ability or willingness to put in time and effort into making the show.
Looking back our working relationship behind-the-scenes has repeatedly been defined by a one-sided drive to dominate and control the show and by extension me. In small ways as well as large, slowly pushing me aside to impose his own name on the show. Starting from rewriting the origin of how the show came to be, referring to it as his show online and generally presenting his persona as fully representative of the show as a whole. If you’ve ever wondered why we ended up with two distinct twitter accounts, this is your answer.
While I was hoping that most of this behaviour was just a long-winded process of dealing with grief, the recent weeks have shown that even somewhat positive turns of events do little to change our interaction. Instead they only temporarily mute an underlying disrespect of my person, the work I do or my desire to have my contributions acknowledged.
To be honest, one of the reasons I dragged my feet for so long is that I love doing this. I love sharing my enthusiasm for games, I love talking about games seriously and in-depth. I love treating them not as a trivial hobby for the perennially immature, but as part of modern culture, looking at the games people love and seeing ourselves reflected in them. I even love the pretentious way this all sounds, and I really don’t care that it does. Novels and films used to be thought of as trivial and intellectually flimsy until people started talking about them earnestly. That is what I want to do and who I want to be.
I am not an emotional punching bag to be put down to make somebody else feel better about themselves, nor am I a captive audience for morning rants about the evils of SJWs, the slippery slope of punching Nazis or the alleged awfulness of the rest of board game media. The fact that I can’t quite rule out Ben showing up at my place to beat me up for doing what I do here, should tell you how fraught and uncomfortable things have been.
And there is no reason why I should continue to allow them to be this way. So I won’t.
All of which leads me to a long list of apologies.
I apologise to the listeners, who’ve enjoyed the show and encouraged us to keep going. I’m sorry that I couldn’t. I feel like I’m taking something you’ve enjoyed away from you, but I had to make the decision to remove myself from a working environment that was bad for me.
I apologise to our contributors Nick, TC and now Nicole. All of which have done tremendous work and who now have one less platform to engage the community with. I’m sorry for being responsible for keeping your ideas and love for games away from people. But I hope this is only a temporary setback, and if you’ll have me I’d love to work with you guys in the future. Or even just sit, chat and game should we ever find ourselves on the same side of the Atlantic.
I am especially sorry that Nicole has unwittingly been caught in the crossfire. After having championed the inclusion of a female voice on the show for more than a year, and having it get shut down because “none of them are at our level” and “I won’t put my name on something that is dogshit”, I was overjoyed when one highly respected member of the gaming community reached out to us by e-mail to suggest names. Among them Nicole’s. It breaks my heart that this is when the show ends. Especially in light of how enthusiastic and open Nicole has been about her contributing to the show.
I apologise to our Patreon backers. You’ve shown your support and appreciation of the show openly and explicitly and I never expected it to reach the level it has. Thank you for everything. There are still outstanding commitments I am determined to fulfill. Two of our raffle winners are still waiting on their prizes, and I am going to see that they get them as soon as possible. I’ve split the funds the campaign has collected and sent half of it to Ben to do as he deems appropriate. I will use my half to pay for shipping the prizes, and will refund what is left to any backers that feel wronged by this sudden end of the show.
I apologise to the publishers (and in some cases designers) who were kind enough to give me review copies in Essen. Since there won’t be a show to review them on, I plan to put together a video review for each in the coming months. What little reputation I may have, I expect to be in tatters. But I accept it as a necessary part of taking this step.
And I have to apologise to myself. Both for abandoning something that I love doing, but also for choosing to ignore the numerous red flags that continued to pop up, because I was willing to accept a certain amount of discomfort in order to create the show. I will still be around in some creative capacity, looking for new ways to engage with people, talk about this hobby I love and create content of some kind. If you happen to look for a contributor or collaborator on something, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I vastly prefer doing something with others than on my own.
The site will be up until March 2018, as will be shows. After that, I don’t know where you’ll find us. Yet.
And that is a wrap on Perfect Information. Thank you for coming along for the ride.