Podzilla 1985

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The End of Blogzilla 1985

It's with a heavy heart that I write this final entry of Blogzilla 1985. The site will no longer be updated after this post.

How did we get here? A lot of people close down their blog sites due to either a lack of interest or a lack of viewership. I'm proud to say that BZ85 has neither of those problems. We're as opinionated as ever, and we have a dedicated following that I am grateful for.

There are a myriad of reasons behind the closure, the most important of which I'll discuss at the end. First, I want to talk a little bit about the history of Blogzilla 1985 and why it was always so important to me.

I started this website five years ago this month under the title of "Blogs They Don't Want You to Know About." There were probably four or five posts under that title, and I believe all of them dealt with the state of the MMORPG industry. I'm a big fan of the genre, and I found that my greatest success came from writing about it. Of course, there was no success with those posts. I think I had two to five viewers per article, and it was disheartening.

But, it was definitely a personal blog back in 2009. There were no fancy banners, custom graphics, or any sense of style or flair. It was a simple blog for me to complain and whine about whatever was on my mind before I went in to work at Gamestop. I'm pretty sure the only people who read it were my then girlfriend Lindsey and my cousin Ryan.

Thanks, guys!

I had no real affection for the site, and I quickly abandoned it when I got an offer from MMORPG.com to write for their site and get paid for it. I wrote a handful of articles there, but left after a disagreement with the direction their site was going. I spent the next year or so doing nothing with my writing, as I fell into a trap of real depression after I lost my job at Gamestop and found myself dealing with a chaotic family.

My one legged elderly dementia ridden father lived with my half brother and his harpy of a wife, and I soon found that he was being abused by her when she accidentally called me and I overheard one of their fights. After months of bickering and fighting, I cut off ties with the rest of my family and took care of my father as he went in and out of different convalescent centers before finally moving into an apartment of his own. It was a very painful time in my life, because my father was the only family I had now, and all he ever wanted was to die. I watched him wither away into a fragile lump of flesh that used to be the big strong father that I wanted to remember him as.

In my darkest hour I reopened my blog in July of 2012. It was more than just a blog site now. I rechristened it Blogzilla 1985 in honor of my favorite Godzilla film, and I poured my heart and soul into it. It became an outlet for me to express myself and connect with people again. I had sworn off human contact after the ordeal with my family, because I just didn't feel like I could handle people anymore. It was easier to write to them and about them from behind a computer screen.

Blogzilla 1985 helped me keep what little bit of the human soul that hadn't been ripped out of me by my personal life. It's no exaggeration that on more than one occasion, writing this blog kept me from doing something terrible. I was weak, and it helped me regain myself.

Of course, the views still weren't there. By this time I had established a good fanbase of my own through personal interactions out in "the real world," and it translated to some success with BZ85. I went from four views in 2009 to upwards of fifteen per article when I reopened the site. By this time I was writing as therapy more than for attention, so it didn't bother me as much. I was happy with the site, and that was all that mattered.

That all changed on October 5th when I published an interview I did with up and coming model Christine Adams. She was the perfect person to draw attention to the site. She was obviously gorgeous, a gamer girl, and had a penchant for getting naked in her photos. Most importantly to me, she was very nice and damn interesting to talk to. We became friends afterwards, but in the months that followed we just kind of lost track of each other.

Still, her presence on the site launched Blogzilla 1985 into a new level of success.  Thanks to her, those fifteen views shot into the hundreds, and then the thousands for the site. It became popular enough that I brought in other writers to help keep the content coming.

It was at this point that things may have gotten a little out of hand. The people who started writing for the site each had their own style and subjects, and while they were all great at what they did, the site kind of lost its focus.

I would be a jackass if I didn't thank them for helping me when I needed them the most. I couldn't have done this site without them, and I want to thank Lindsey, Phil, Melissa, Louie, Ryan, and Osby for all of their contributions.

With more writers and daily content, BZ85 became kind of a phenomenon for me. People were excited about it and we had a lot of crazy ideas that never really came to fruition. We were thinking about designing t-shirts, merchandising, making spin off sites, etc etc. It was a fun time to be a part of Blogzilla.

With the new success, I got do a lot of cool things. I interviewed a lot of great people, including a personal hero of mine. In the course of the next year I interviewed old friend and radio DJ star Hunter Hendricks, former Electronic Arts designer J.P. Harrod (who got to work on my favorite game of all time, Ultima Online!), and even world renowned ufologist and nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman. It was a wild ride, and I still can't believe such interesting people took time out of their busy lives to talk to me.

From 2012 to the end of 2013, Blogzilla 1985 was a real hit. People cared about my thoughts, and I felt really good about myself.

It was near the end of 2013 that I found out my father had been diagnosed with cancer. I was already working a full time job now as manager of local game store Gaming Grounds in Southeast Missouri, and I decided to spend as much time with my father as I could before he passed away. For the next better part of a year I spent most of my free time at his side, and Blogzilla 1985 obviously suffered for it. There weren't enough hours in the day, and what was left of my family came before my own life. I stopped working on BZ85 for the most part, as did most everyone else on the roster. Lindsey kept it updated as often as she could, and I will always be thankful to her for her dedication to my dream.

My father passed away from cancer earlier this year, after nine months of immense suffering and a lot of catching up with his youngest son. I was glad that he was out of pain, but I fell into another depression. I had no family now, and I had never felt more alone.

Just like before, I turned to Blogzilla 1985 for comfort. I rebooted the site with just two authors - myself and Lindsey. We wrote until our fingers bled, and Blogzilla 1985 became a hit again. Within weeks we were fetching hundreds of views per article, and I felt like I had a purpose again. Writing was my true passion, and while I would never claim to the world's best writer, I was proud of what I had done.

And then, on August 25th, I posted an article which would grant me my greatest success at the cost of my pride. I was furious over the closure of the GameStop in the West Park Mall of Cape Girardeau, MO. It was where I worked for four and a half years as manager, and I had a lot of great memories there. I also still had a handful of good friends who made their living there, and they were now out of the job. I wrote a blistering personal attack on the company, and after a dare to a friend to post it on Reddit,I found myself with a lot of unwanted attention.

As of this final post, that post is at over 39k views and still climbing daily. It was an infamy I never wanted, and it shook my desire to keep writing for Blogzilla 1985 as I didn't want it to be overrun with Redditers. I'm not a fan of that particular site, and I doubt I ever will be.

After a few weeks things settled down a bit, and I continued to write. However, the whole Reddit thing was constantly in my mind, and it was an uneasy feeling that I couldn't shake off.

I posted another article about the dangers girls face after the whole Fappening ordeal, and once again the site was bombarded with views. It became clear to me that the people coming to the site were just looking for naked pictures of celebrities, and it upset me. If you don't believe me, just look at this log of search keywords that brought people to Blogzilla in the past month -

the fappening 2
fappening 2
kate upton fappening
fappening part 2
the fappening part 2
fappening part 2 jennifer lawrence
mary-kate fappening
stars self fappening
"the fappening"

The articles I was most proud of had met with some success, while just having the word Fappening in an article title drew thousands upon thousands of horny internet losers on to my site looking for porn.

That was the last straw. I began to question my worth as a writer. I realized I was now catering to an audience I didn't want, and I felt like a sell out. I don't want to be remembered simply as an "internet writer." I want to be a celebrity, and I want people to remember my name. But there is no real fame to be found on a medium where any no talent hack with a cell phone and no morals can become an overnight sensation.

I have decided to retire Blogzilla 1985 before it becomes the kind of thing I despise. It may sound uppity to some, but it's the way it is. I'm thirty two now, and I need to find the kind of success that doesn't begin and end anonymously behind a computer screen. I'm going to devote myself to my fiancee, my work, my friends, and all of those great stories that have been swirling around in my head for years.

If I find success someday out there in the "real world," perhaps I'll come back and write about it here. But until the day I've found the success I've been looking for, Blogzilla 1985 will remain a happy memory of a very troubled soul.

I want to personally thank you all for helping to make this so successful. You made me believe in myself again.

Until we meet again, my friends.
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