Noah J Nelson on Friday, Sep. 14th
Once upon a time there was a blogger named Brandon Boyer, who ran a site called Offworld. It was, for a year, the place where the happy mutants of the Boing Boing tribe went to get their fill of odd gaming news. It had a special place in the hearts of many gamers. But the Internet, like gravity, is a harsh mistress and its fickle ways led to the demise of Offworld.
Over a year went by before Boyer would launch a Kickstarter campaign to create a new site, Venus Patrol, that took up the Offworld cause. In October of last year Boyer closed his round of funding, earning over $100K– while seeking just $50K. The evidence was clear: people wanted a site like Offworld and were willing to pay for it.
It has been almost a full year since that Kickstarter wrapped up, and Boyer’s Venus Patrol has been dark– aside from two public events– until this week. Now the blog is back on the indie games beat, and Boyer has brought along the entire Offworld archive. The site is running off of a subscription model that mirrors that of public media. The core content is free, but subscribers get access to exclusive music and games that have been created just for the site.
Boyer’s connections to the indie game world run deep. He is the founder of the Independant Games Festival, which runs concurrently with the San Francisco edition of the Gamer Developers Conference, now in its 15th year. This means the blog’s content will be of a high caliber, but the real innovation is in this new/old model. More and more it feels like a riff on the public media model is the wave of the future for online media. Where Venus Patrol is in a year may augur the wisdom of that assessment.