By Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman
The following editorial was contributed by loonygames' associate editor, Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman shortly after the morbid events that occurred last night. While we ordinarily do not run guest editorials by our own staff, the extreme circumstances involved prompted our decision.
pretty disgusting thing happened in our little Quake community this morning. Around 2:00am EST, a report surfaced on Adrenaline Vault claiming that John Romero was dead of a gunshot wound to the head. Instantly, the Internet sprung to life, with chatrooms filling with people asking only one question....is it true?? Within minutes of the initial report, sCary updated his site, telling people that the news had been confirmed by "two Ion Storm employees", and while nothing was solid news, it certainly looked to be true. sCary's site was reportedly pulling in 4 hits a second, and people were begging for answers.
The chat rooms went nuts, with jokes ranging from John killing himself after losing a Quake game to John Carmack to some twisted gay love affair involving Thresh (which Thresh didn't appreciate one bit). A picture even surfaced, claiming to be a photo of John from the morgue.
Things started happening left and right. I was on three different channels on Gamesnet, and news was being pasted in from all sources. A "Chief Billsworth of the Dallas PD" said it was a different "Jon Romero." Mynx called the Dallas PD. Some random person in chat called the Frisco County PD. Another person called the Dallas Morning News. I called a friend in Texas. Nobody knew what was going on, and everybody was concerned.
One conversation I had even went so far as to mention how the grudge scene died after Kurt Cobain died...could the same happen to Quake?
Mentions of Romero's work...how we wouldn't have a game to play if it wasn't for him...how Daikatana would never be finished...some tongue in cheek, and some morbid jokes, but some very serious thought about how John Romero had effected all of our lives and nothing would be the same if he was gone.
And then it was official, John Romero showed up on EFnet and proved he was, indeed, alive.
Then the questions started. Why did it take so long (almost 2 hours) to prove this was a hoax? Would it have been so hard for someone to pick up a phone and call him? Surely, he had a beeper someone could call. Was this an intentional prank? Just what the hell was going on??
I was sent the following irc log:
Fingers, for those who don't know, is Ikka Keränen, level designer for Anachronox, employee at Ion Storm.
So what's this mean? Rather than pre-empt the insanity, and legitimate concern that followed the initial Avault posting, it appears that Ion Storm, and John Romero, consciously let this happen. They knew the story was going to break, and did nothing. To further that? Two staff members at Ion even confirmed the story KNOWING it was a hoax.
This is disgusting. One of the best things about our community is the concern people show for each other. The speed at which information travels, well, that's the Internet for you. The fact that, for some reason, it appears that Ion Storm chose to exploit this, is sickening. Whether it was a publicity stunt, or an attempt to see how the community would react, it's an evil, cruel joke to play.
Television stations, newspapers, police departments in the Dallas area all were, no doubt, deluged with questions about John Romero. All of this could have been prevented?
And there still is the question of how Avault got the story in the first place. Supposedly, nobody named Romero was killed in the Dallas area. Where did this come from??
Now, if it turns out, Ikka didn't know what he was talking about, John honestly couldn't be reached for three hours, and Avault truly posted what they thought was correct news, I suppose all this is moot. However, as of right now, that does not appear to be the case.
This is a very sad day in gaming history. We were all taken, at some level or another, by someone we very much respect, and a company we supported. Nobody reacts very well to being played a fool, and I think Avault, sCary, and everybody else who thought this may have been true all deserve full explanations from John Romero. As of right now (it is the ungodly hour of 6:00am here on the East Coast), none has come. A simple .plan update would have explained everything. I want an explanation.
We all deserve it.
- Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman is an associate editor for loonygames.
The Editor responds:
As I mentioned above, normally I wouldn't have run this, but I do feel that the events that occurred last night deserved some analysis. Personally, I don't feel that fingers should be pointed at anyone, as this is one of those events where anyone who had anything to do with the spreading of information, true or otherwise, would probably just like to pretend this whole thing never happened.
Unfortunately, that cannot be done.
To John Romero: alow me to extend my appologies on behalf of our community.
To Angel Munoz at Avault: this ordeal represents an incredible embarrassment for you no doubt, however it is a good indication of the level which many places have stooped to in order to get "the latest news". Like the recent CNN retraction, your site will grow from this, and (hopefully) never run a unconfirmed story again. The Internet is made for hoaxes, it is our job as journalists to rise above them.
On that note, let's forget this ever happened. :)
- Jason "loonyboi" Bergman.
|Credits: Guest Editorial logo illustrated and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. Is Romero Bleeding is © 1998 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and not nice.|