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March 09, 2024 ・ Blog

My career has never been the subject of anything before, so this is a weird one for me. The Back Page podcast, hosted by my friends Matt Castle and Samuel Roberts, asked me to join them and talk about my experiences as part of their apparent mission to collect all the Edge editors on the show.

If you can steel yourself, I guess you can listen to it here.

I talked a lot about the winding journey that led me to here, and while I enjoyed a chance to be self-centred, a lot of it wasn’t much about games, so I hope it’s interesting.

Mostly, I’m cringing at the thought of how much I failed to mention – or celebrate – the many people who’ve helped and accompanied me along the way. But I did profusely thank my wife, who, when I was offered my job on Edge1, said, “You really want it, so I think you should go for it,” despite knowing it would mean a move across the country to Bath, where she knew no one, and huge changes to her job as a commissioning editor of books. I don’t know what our lives would be if she hadn’t been so generous to me that day.

Anyway, thanks to Samuel and Matt for inviting me on and being so embarrassingly nice.

Also incidentally, I bumped into another reminder of the distant past just a few days earlier when Tony Coles in his newsletter Affectionate Discourse mentioned writing about games for me when I edited Edge’s website.

He described that era of Edge Online, around 2010, as “weird”, and it warmed my soul. I had a remit to maintain the site as an industry news source because it made money out of job advertising. But I wasn’t interested in interminable industry news, so I wanted to add voices like Tony’s, people could could express their deep passion for games – and deep knowledge and insight – in exciting and relatable ways. Like the best game journalism, right?

I’m glad he remembered those days like that, even if I don’t think I really succeeded in translating Edge for the web.

This isn’t the main thing Tony says in his newsletter, though! He talks about the way online content is treated completely differently to magazine content, and this hit home, both in terms of my personal feelings about being pulled off Edge to work on its website (which I did not want), and also in terms of knowing so much of what I worked on is lost to the everlasting tumult of internet content.

…when you consider that the entire back catalogue of nearly every videogame magazine published in the UK has been comprehensively scanned and archived and distributed, you can grasp the sheer force of will for this to happen - this is the degree to which that content is valued. Quite why we haven’t taken on the same idea of value for online writing is perhaps down to that lack of encapsulation into a commodity such as a magazine issue. The notion that online text is a rolling, continuous stream prevents us from commodifying it via quantisation, even if particularly famous and infamous news days in videogame history make for fascinating snapshots - especially if you include reader commentary as a vital part of the overall text.

Edge Online, naturally, is long-dead, now only accessible in fragmentary form on the Wayback Machine across two URLs, edge-online.com and next-gen.biz. Most images are broken, links don’t work, and I can’t find any of Tony’s stuff. My collection of Edge issues remains intact in a cupboard behind me.

  1. A few months back Margaret Robertson was a Back Page guest (another Edge editor acquisition), and was touched to hear her reminisce about hiring me, and appalled to learn that my starting wage as deputy editor was higher than hers as editor. ↩︎