Fortunately, I got what I wanted, which was this: the world of gaming had all but forgotten me and moved on, barring a few who remembered me as having had some sort of mental breakdown.
However, one of the tiny handful of comments I read that even mentioned "Mr Biffo", described myself, Videogaiden's Rab Florence, and someone called Jim Sterling as the "the Avengers of video game journalism".
Firstly... having been away for nearly 7 years, I felt anything but part of the world of games journalism. Secondly, Rab I knew - we'd communicated intermittently for some years. I was a fan of Consolevania and Videogaiden, I liked his writing, and I was flattered by the association.
Jim Sterling, however... I'd never heard of him. I was curious, and so I went off to find out more. Interestingly, Sterling began his career shortly before I'd disappeared, and in those intervening years, he had cultivated a major following through a blunt and honest style in his reviews and opinion pieces - both written and on camera.
I've kind of kept an eye him ever since - as much out of sheer curiosity as the fact that he's a compelling figure, who sometimes makes good points - from his hugely successful Patreon campaign, to this week, when the indie games studio Digital Homicide hit Sterling with a $10 million lawsuit, for "libel and slander".
Digital Homicide - a small, two-brother outfit - feel that Sterling's videos mocking their games has damaged their business and reputation, and that his aggressive style led to further harassment from his fans.
Probably on the advice of his legal team, Sterling hasn't commented publicly on the case, barring a few veiled comments on Twitter ("I have nothing yet to say about any legal situations. In unrelated news I am in a very confident mood today.").
I've not played any of Digital Homicide's games, but they don't have the best of reputations. In an excruciatingly awkward podcast from a year ago, between Sterling and Digital Homicide's Robert Romine, Sterling defends his actions, stating that if you have released a terrible game - and have asked people to pay for it - then you should accept when critics lay into it. Which is fair enough, of course.
The podcast is worth listening to - though it's over 90 minutes long, and is a bit of a grind between two people with entrenched opinions failing to actually hear one another. I think it's an enlightening dialogue, that points clearly towards the lawsuit. Frankly, neither side comes out of it well.
It's interesting to me, given that indie developers feeling attacked by reviewers is a subject I've touched on a few times recently, specifically with regard to the PewDiePie/Bear Simulator issue.
We're living in an age of super-critics - where the Jim Sterlings and PewDiePies have a global audience.
By contrast, it's also an era where games released by individuals, or a tiny team, are more of a thing than ever. Both Sterling and Pie owe at least a degree of their success to playing Indie games, and mocking the especially crap ones.
Listening to the podcast between Romine and Sterling, and trying to read between the lines, you've got someone who is clearly hurting, who feels attacked, ganged up upon. Romine's voice teeters on cracking at points. He states that he's married with three kids, and that his income is tiny next to Sterling's. That, to me, is telling; certainly, I've felt backed into a corner on occasions when I've felt that those I love were threatened. Or, at least, my ability to look after them was threatened.
By the same token, Sterling comes across as an arrogant, patronising, braggart. Of course, those sorts of qualities frequently stem from insecurity, and the fashion in which Sterling defends himself, and laughs quite literally in Romine's face, suggests as such. It's profoundly disrespectful, and bullying - from a man who has the strength of a following of thousands to back him up.
More than that - it's devoid of any degree of empathy. And that, more than anything else, is why Jim Sterling is being sued for $10 million.
I can't imagine for a second that Digital Homicide's case has legs, not least because they're representing themselves.
There's no defamation, as far as I see; they released their games, and they should expect whatever criticism comes their way. Even if it's from a shameless showman like Jim Sterling.
Who, lest we forget, only cares because getting angry about things, that he could otherwise completely ignore, is what gives him his income.
Nevertheless, for all his swagger, I'm sure it's a hassle that Sterling can do without. Unfortunately, it's hard not to feel that he has brought it upon himself.
Sterling surely takes comfort in the fact that he has public opinion on his side; Digital Homicide's reputation is already toilet-level, their shovelled-out games are unloved, and they've now been marked out as a convenient target for abuse. But as always with any dynamic, you're dealing with human beings on both sides.
If there had been some degree of self-awareness or empathy from either Sterling or Digital Homicide, it wouldn't have reached a position where a games critic is now being sued for $10 million; something that should never have happened. If they had gone into that podcast without their backs already up, with a bit more openness, and prepared to listen, we wouldn't be in a position where reviewers might now question what they say, for fear of being sued.
Instead you had two people defending themselves, occasionally launching an attack, and getting nowhere. Both made reasonable points, and both made terrible points. Both were utterly inflexible.
Yet coming out of it, it was hard for me not to come down on the side of Romine - simply because he's the little guy. And it's bizarre to me to think that we're now living in an age where the games critic is the big fish, and the developer the small fry.
I may think Digital Homicide's lawsuit is pointless, but it also feels like a last resort, like they've run out of options in the face of what they see as the playground thug. You might be able to tell them they're wrong, but you can't deny them their feelings.
See, what worries me is that I see a lot of my younger self in Jim Sterling.
I don't want to sound like the old, wise, man talking down to the next generation - he's not that much younger than me, and I'm not that old - but I can remember a time when I wasn't able to entertain the possibility that I was wrong.
Even if I knew it on some level, it was easier to either deny my wrongness, or laugh in the face of others, or come out on the attack. Thing is, I know that a big part of Digitiser's popularity was built on that - Fat Sow calling people idiots, or being insulting to people who'd written us letters.
But let me tell you this... as entertaining as it might've been, it wasn't always necessary. Had I been more mature, more fully formed, a more comfortable in my own skin sort of an individual, I could've found another way. A better way. And I think it's that which bothers me - that sort of attack-y, playing-to-the-crowd, discourse has become the norm. It's point-scoring for cheap laughs, and I have come to hate it.
Of course, I'm not for a second saying that critics should soft-pedal on indie games - or any games. If something's crap then it's crap. Warn people to steer clear. Give your opinion. By all means do it in a way that's entertaining, but if the only way you can be entertaining is in a way that comes across as attack-y or insulting, then you've got about as much creativity as the people you're criticising.
I'm not saying that's Jim Sterling specifically - he knows what he's talking about, he can clearly write, he knows how to talk in front of a camera - but I just think we can all do better. We can all find a way to talk to one another, whether it's directly, online, or through a review, which isn't simply an expression of all our inner angst and anger, or because we want the likes and retweets.
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