Two weeks ago, The Escapist sponsored a writing contest among its readers on the topic "What The Escapist Means to Me." After perusing the entries - some profound, some humorous, and some bewildering - our own Editor-in-Chief Russ Pitts picked the best of the best to feature here on the front pages. Though there were many great entries, it was Jans "Frybird" Maeuer who, in our opinion, best expressed the answer to the question.
What The Escapist Means to Me, by Jans Maeuer
Whenever someone, maybe a famous critic or a politician, in search for an easy answer (read: scapegoat) for the problems of society, denounces games, the greater gaming community is quick to react. "Games are art," may be the most common argument of those defenders. But are games actually treated as such by those people?
Look up the big gaming sites and communities, and try to tell me that they treat games as an art form. Granted, some may go above and beyond giving out arbitrary scores and creating the hype for the "next big thing" and may touch upon aspects of "gaming culture," but in most cases, it's easy to see that gaming is treated just like any other hobby.
That is where The Escapist makes a difference. A gaming magazine that is not about colorful advertising, forced review scores and special features like "The Top Ten Games with Boobs in it". This is different; special. One could even argue that it is not about "games" but "gaming." Game culture, aspects of game design, and the gamers themselves are front and center here. It examines why "we" play, not how we do it. Sure, as The Escapist grew larger, it has integrated more conventional content like "classic" reviews and news, but the core, the one thing that makes this little part of web space special, remains. Games are treated as experiences, part of a greater culture, and more than every other page on the internet I visited, as "art."
If someone would ask me what makes videogames so special for many people, and what are the reasons why people play, the next best thing to actually playing games with him would be The Escapist.