Shack Chat: What does Shacknews mean to you?

This week, in honor of the 25th anniversary of Shacknews, we invite the staff and community to share what Shacknews has meant to them.

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Shacknews is many things. At the core, it’s a website, but for many of us here it’s so much more. It’s community, talent, friendship, opportunity, a Quake fan site, a fun forum, a place to get your gaming and tech news and reviews, a world of great folks from all walks of life… It’s 25 years worth of memories too. The Shacknews 25th anniversary was this week and in honor of the occasion, we get sentimental with this week’s discussion and invite Shackers to do the same.

Question: What does Shacknews mean to you?


Life - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor

For me, Shacknews has been my life for the better part of almost 11 years. Even when I took that one year to venture off to Yahoo Esports (RIP), I never truly left this place. It's where I've made my living, it's where I've been able to provide for my loved ones, and it's how I've been able to step into the world of gaming. It's made my dreams come true.

When I was first hired by the GameFly team to work as an intern, I didn't know a lot about Shacknews. My knowledge of gaming sites were basically IGN, Joystiq (RIP), and Destructoid. What's funny is, a lot of people still aren't all that familiar with Shacknews. We've been working to change that, pretty much from the day I first walked through that door. Will we ever be IGN? Probably not. But you know what? That's okay.

I've said a lot of times, whether it's on a podcast, livestream, or what have you, that we're the outsiders. Shacknews isn't what a lot of people think of when they think of gaming news or media. We're not on the "cool list" a lot of times. (That's been made abundantly clear over the years.) But you know what? That means we're the Bad News Bears. We're the Mighty Ducks. We're the Cleveland Indians (The ones from the Major League movies, I mean. Maybe the IRL ones, too, sure, why not?). We're the perpetual underdog. We don't have big media money backing us. We're not funded by the corporations of the world. We're a ragtag crew who want to talk about games, play the latest hotness, and put smiles on people's faces in the process.

We've always done things our way. And as you've seen through our Quakeholio story, through sHugamom's letter, and through Greg's 25th anniversary trailer, our way has changed a lot over the years. But our way has made a lot of people happy in the last 25 years. And think about that, we've been here 25 years. I'd say we must be doing something right if "our way" means we've outlasted some of the biggest names in the gaming media space.

I don't know what's next for Shacknews. I know we aren't going anywhere, that's for sure. Whatever happens next, though, I'll leave our readers, our most loyal Chatty posters, the ones who have left us, the ones still with us, the old Weekend Confirmed crew, Andrew Yoon (my dear friend, who I miss everyday), and everybody else on this: Welcome to the world of Shacknews. You're in for a hell of a ride.

The opportunity of a lifetime - Donovan Erskine, Pokemon trainer

Shacknews will always hold a special place in my heart. As the only staff member younger than the actual website, I wasn’t around for the early days, but it’s been so awesome to be a part of it for the last several years.

Shacknews gave me the opportunity to work within the gaming industry at the age of 18 while I was still getting through college. I lived out my dream of attending E3 (three times over) and got to meet and speak with so many people that I used to look up to.

Quite simply - Shacknews changed my life. I knew I wanted to get into this business but had no idea how I’d do it, how long it would take, or if I’d even be able to pull it off. It’s not lost on me how lucky I am to do what I do, and I’ll always be grateful to Shacknews for making my dreams a reality.

Doing things our way - Blake Morse, Proud Co-EIC Papa

I’ve worked for a number of sites of varying shapes and sizes over my nearly 15 years of doing this video games journalism thing, but I can tell you that none of them have had as much moxy as Shacknews. I’ve always been a firm believer in paddling your own canoe and I think that’s why I fit in so well here. We march to the beat of our own drum and do things our own way and that’s largely due to being independently owned and operated. We are beholden to no one and chock full of passion for what we do. Whether it’s doing something like the Great Quakeholio Tournament, having a funeral for E3 at E3 with the dude who created Rick and Morty, or gaming with Ice-T, we go for it in the most ridiculous and incredible ways.

In the three years I’ve been a part of this crew I’ve had more amazing experiences and opportunities than I’ve had in my entire career. It’s the first time in my life that I feel my skills, experience, and expertise were truly appreciated. It just feels like home. I honestly feel like could ramble on forever about what Shacknews means to me and how much I love it here, but I think I’ll try and cram it all into one sentence to end it here: Shacknews, its staff, and the people who come to our site daily and support us means the world to me. I am so extremely grateful to be here and very proud of our entire team. Here’s to another 25 years of doing it for Shacknews!

Friends - Chris Jarrard, Has better opinions than fellow staffers

For a long time, Shacknews was the black site I went to when Voodoo Extreme didn’t have enough content in a day to satisfy me. When VE shut down, I started lurking hard. Eventually, I started talking and, over the course of several years, came to know a wad of people who I consider lifelong friends. It is reassuring that whenever I think about it, I know that the black site is still there.

Home away from home - Sam Chandler, deliverin’ the goods

This year marks my four-year anniversary at Shacknews. Since I’ve been here, I’ve written thousands of articles, across a broad range of topics and genres. From news and reviews to guides and opinion pieces, I’ve done it all. And throughout all of this, Shacknews and its community have been here to welcome me as if it was another family, another home - and it is. It’s a place where I can be myself. A place where I know I’ve got colleagues I can trust and a community that will be there to chat with, even if it’s at some ungodly hour. Like taking care of your own house, it’s exciting to work on Shacknews, to see it grow, evolve, and improve through my effort. I can’t wait to see how my home away from home continues to flourish over the next 25 years!

Home - Bill Lavoy, Co-EIC

Shacknews means so many things to me that it’s tough to figure out where to begin. It’s given me the best job I’ve ever had. It’s given me a place to be a leader and become a better leader. It’s given me somewhere to refine my skills with writing, SEO, streaming, video creation, social media, and more. Shacknews and Asif gave me my first trip to E3 because I hadn’t experienced it before. It’s given me colleagues and friendships that I’ll hold onto forever. It’s given me more than I could possibly name in a single Shack Chat post.

In a nutshell, Shacknews means home to me. I think different members of our community and staff view it as home in different ways, but I genuinely hope that everyone else loves Shacknews as much as I do, and gets that feeling that they’re home because they get to be a part of it… Because they can’t imagine not being a part of it. Here’s to the next 25 years.

A cozy place among great people - TJ Denzer's Shack journey has only begun

I haven't worked here as long as Donovan or been in the community like Chris or Bryan before I was here in an official capacity, but the moment I arrived at Shacknews as its News Editor in 2019, this place fit me like a glove and I've strived to wear it well. A part of that was that I'd been in the journalism game for a long time before I worked at Shacknews and a lot of my work put me parallel alongside people like Blake, Greg, Sam, and Asif well before I ever put my name on a byline here. These people were friends and colleagues from an extremely rad place that had no lack of presence as I was on my own journey. I was in the audience of their E3 show with Justin Roiland in 2019. I attended the Quakeholio tournament in 2018 and watched with delight the shenanigans and triumphs that were going down. I traveled to LA, Germany, and Las Vegas and had regular rendezvous with Greg during events to talk about what coverage we were working on.

It was by sheer chance that my journey finally saw me enter these hallowed grounds and the Shacknews Year of the Games 2019 felt like a trial-by-fire in which I came face to face with the folks I've come to consider some of my best friends in my industry. It was my first time showing my face and personality live in front of Shacknews at large... And yet I never ever felt like a stranger here. I felt like I was right where I should be. You know how they say the grass is always greener on the other side? Now that I'm here, the grass has never stopped being green where I'm standing. I've gotten to know the familiar faces of the Shacknews Chatty in my news articles and the comments (yes, I read nearly all of them for better or worse, haha). I've gotten to know the familiar visitors in streams like Indie-licious and the Shacknews Dump. What's more, I've been afforded opportunities that have always warmed my heart to be part of here in this place.

I spent years traveling between freelance and outlets, building my talents, but I've never been in a place that constantly makes me want to bring my AAA game and give back to the staff and the community like Shacknews. And I'm honored every day to be here with every precious chance to be my best as I chase my own dreams, try to craft better coverage and projects than the day before, and also continue to bring the content that Shacknews management, Shacknews viewer faithful, and the world outside these hallowed grounds want to read and watch... Hopefully for even further decades to come.

Everything - Greg Burke, Head of Video

Words cannot describe how I feel about Shacknews. “What does it mean to me?” Quite literally everything. This place has allowed me to travel the world, play video games, and work with such an incredible group of people. This is an amazing ride and I have to thank John Gaudiosi, JB & Asif Khan: three people that believed in what I did, took a chance on me, and noticed how important I treat my work. I really have no clue what I’d be doing if it wasn’t for Shacknews and GamerHubTV. I’m thankful every dang day that I wake up and get to do what I do in an environment that is flexible, creative, and awesome.

The right fit! - Steve Tyminski- Livestream personality/Contributing Editor

Shacknews’s 25th Anniversary was this week and the question that it brings up is “What does Shacknews mean to me?” This is a very interesting question to me as I have done quite a few things for Shack over the years.

I have to backtrack a little bit as I was working on a site called GamerHubTV, writing reviews, previews, and occasionally posting video posts for the site. That being said things didn’t really pick up until GamerHub and Shacknews merged and became one entity. I was still working at GamerHub but had risen to the rank of Editor-In-Chief. It was during this time that I was asked if I wanted to work more on the Shacknews side of things and I jumped at the chance to do so. This meant my written posts would be seen by more people as well as being able to attend events like E3 and PAX East more often. It was during an E3 when I got to meet most of the staff in person for the first time, that I could get to know everyone and not just be another face on the Internet.

Fast-forward to a more modern time where I’m the host of a livestream show on the Shacknews Twitch channel. Being able to be myself on a show and play video games means a lot to me. Shack gave me an opportunity to be seen by a large group of people multiple times a week. I have made some new friends during the Stevetendo show and the secret of me being “good” at video games is still alive! Our Shack staff is a great group of guys that you could go out for drinks with. A group that you could tell why the Jets are better than the Browns and be fired for a few minutes and then be welcomed back with open arms. We’re a group that an answer to a tweet could have multiple answers as well as “Banana” and know Banana is going to win that poll. Shacknews has that fraternity atmosphere, except for the hazing is to play Link to the Past at least once.

Shacknews has given me quite a few opportunities in the gaming spectrum and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Community and friendship - Bryan Lefler, Contributing Editor/Forever Shacker

25 years of Shacknews - what an achievement! This website means the world to me and that is not a cliché or oversimplification. I’ve been a registered user since 2005 and a timid lurker for a few years before that. I made my way here through various links from other gaming sites of the time, such as VoodooExtreme, Blues News, etc. The front page content was always worth stopping by to see, but the “Latest Chatty” posts always seemed to have the most engagement. After lurking in those threads for longer than I should have, one thing became apparent. This was a real community of gamers.

The feeling that resonated from Shacknews Chatty was somehow different than any other forum or comment section I had used before. After dipping my toes in a few posts and becoming more comfortable, I found my true calling to Shacknews: ShackBattles. With Source Engine games starting to release, a new era of ShackBattles had dawned. Servers would see full player counts in multiple games almost every night of the week. Those days cemented Shacknews as a community that I truly connected with and cared about.

From there, my involvement in Shacknews would grow to the point where I started hosting ShackBattles in my living room on a monthly basis. All Shackers were welcome to come play fighting games and enjoy an evening of fun and rivalry. This became Shacknews Phoenix Fighting Game Nights and we enjoyed nine straight months of gaming and community. I will cherish those nights as some of my favorite gaming memories ever and I hope I can someday bring the Fighting Game Nights back and celebrate the Shacknews community in person again.


And that covers our sentimental outpouring. But what about you, Shackers? After 25 years, what does Shacknews mean to you? Let us know in the Shacknews Chatty section below and look forward to plenty more Shacknews 25th anniversary content right around the corner. Thanks for sticking with us. Happy birthday, Shacknews.

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