Maggie Has Left the Tower

This weekend, I finished grading final exams, toted up final grades, went out to celebrate. And, as of this post, I also penned my last words as a Kotaku writer.

It has been a wild and pretty wonderful ride (spanning two countries, two coasts, my first year of grad school, and lots of other stuff), and I'm not nearly eloquent enough to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude for and to everyone who made it so. I'm terrible at goodbyes on a small and extremely temporary scale (as anyone who has ever had the misfortune of dealing with my anxiety upon parting can attest), so saying goodbye to Kotaku and the wider community of readers, writers, and other sites that it encompasses for me is a bit too much. So, I'll simply say 'thank you' instead, which still doesn't seem like enough for all that I've gained from this. Thanks to all of you who read and commented, and the whole staff here — especially our fearless leader Crecente, who gave me a chance — both past and present, and everyone out there in the blogosphere who gave me time of day and more. I've enjoyed it all.

I've been really fortunate to meet some incredible people thanks to this job, and even more fortunate to have a good excuse to go through some of the wonderful, thoughtful, and unique sites out there on a weekly basis. Some of my favorites (both for sentimental and content reasons, both popular and off the beaten track) are below; had it not been for a lot of these people who continue to share their thoughts, musings, research, and more random bits of writing, my weekends would've been very boring indeed.

ihobo is the new game-only spinoff from a perennial favorite, Only a Game, which has launched a couple of commenting firestorms here.

PlayNoEvil has great news and analysis of game security issues from all over the world and from all sorts of games.

I really adore the writing of the guys at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, though PC gamer I am not.

Ian Bogost is both the world's most random IM conversationalist and incredibly patient when fielding the barrage of dumb questions I tend to lob at him regarding game studies. I can always count on him for thoughtful, interesting essays and posts on Gamasutra, Water Cooler Games, or his newest venture (along with some of his students), the Games & Journalism project.

Michael Abbott's The Brainy Gamer has provoked some great discussion, especially in regards to his RPG syllabus.

Banana Pepper Martinis and Vorpal Bunny Ranch are two of my favorite wackily named and incredibly thoughtful blogs.

GameSetWatch saved my butt more than once on really slow weekends (thank you Simon!).

You should already be reading Leigh Alexander's Sexy Videogameland; if you're not, hop to it.

Offworld is a new kid on the block, but is already proving to be a good source for lots of stuff; the guys at Hardcasual aren't exactly new, but have recently reappeared — so close enough. They're always good for a laugh and something a little different.

I've been reading Lost Garden for a long time, and Daniel Cook's observations, prototyping challenges, and musings on the future are always full of interesting information.

The How They Got Game set from Stanford is pretty awesome in general, especially the wonderfully nostalgic Stephen M. Cabrinety Collection blog.

A great aggregator if you're into interactive fiction and other related topics is Planet Interactive Fiction.

Finally, one of the things I treasure most about my Kotaku experience has been getting to meet (in real life) more than a handful of really, really awesome people thanks to the gig. One of many is my friend Al, whose blog I was reading a little before I got to Kotaku; he writes about some less covered aspects of gaming, including the RFID trend in Asia, and general East Asian craziness. At the very least, read about how his DS Lite saved his life on a mountain in Japan, a true story that made me laugh and laugh the day I found out I was leaving Kotaku and really needed something to make me smile.

So, go forth, read, and enjoy — in addition to your Kotaku fix, of course. I'll miss not being able to share some of my favorite things with the wider Kotaku audience, but hopefully there will be someone to pick up my torch. But, despite being sad about leaving, I am really looking forward to: working on a project regarding Chinese MMO culture alongside my regular academic work, sleeping in, not having anything to do for at least one day on the weekend (it's been a while!), and not being chained to my laptop for the weekend. I'm taking a break from the blogosphere, but I'll be back in the swing of 'game journalism' at some point in the reasonably near future, I hope (since I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to miss the routine of it all). Until then ... thanks, guys. It's been fun.

What they had taken pleasure in has now passed away in an instant, so how could their hearts not give rise to longing? ... A long or short life depends on the transformation of all things: everything must come to an end.

Wang Xizhi, Lantingji xu, 353 AD