The medium is the message: an SSW memorial Posted this on facebook, where it seems a little out of place but what the hell:
Back in the 90s when I worked for Cavedog I had the pleasure of helping to run Boneyards: Total Annihilation: Galactic War, a persistent online world based on the fantastic if somewhat sparsely storied RTS game. I got to write some storylines, develop some characters, help evolve the gameplay in frankly innovative ways for its time and generally have a lot of fun with it. As it never quite left beta before Cavedog's demise the population of the game remained small and even kind of intimate. I was sad to see it go, but I got to put down "Ran a small universe" as an item on my resume and I will always remember it fondly.
Now another small universe is coming to its end: Secret Society Wars. Odds are you've probably heard me talk about it, and the small community of great people I met there. The game's humor and tone was right up my alley, the shoutcast radio station run by the players often played music I found that I really really liked, and I found a home in one of the 5 secret societies for which it is named: the chaotic good "Society of Oddfellows". SSW was a labor of love for its creator and it showed.
Set 1000 years from now, you find yourself awoken from cryogenic sleep to a universe where due to nanotechnology everyone is functionally immortal. A universe run by Emperor Norton himself, and filled with casual violence from improbable and hilarious weapons against even odder people and creatures, with "sex0r" always an option and food and booze an integral part of all of it. Sometimes slick, sometimes crudely drawn art at other times mixed with tweaked photos, it was always inspired and truly one of the most hilarious things I've ever played.
In recent months the community has been stable and perhaps a little stagnant, and I discovered after an absence of a few months that this is the end, and soon it will be gone. I'll miss it as a place to hang out and chat, I'll miss the quirky people and the great music, and I'll miss the gameplay that always made me smile. I understand why it's coming to an end, why this small universe that I loved now fades into a memory - but I'll always cherish those memories.
As we travel through this new millennium communicating and interacting as we do though so many different means and services - facebook, livejournal, twitter, linkedin, reddit, xbox live, a huge variety of massively multiplayer games and blogs and so many more - increasingly we see the truth of Marshall McLuhan's famous words: "The medium is the message." I don't know that I could tell you in words exactly what the message of Secret Society Wars was - only that it was a message that I heard loud and clear, and one that I will hear in my heart, with love, forever.