When I found out that GameTrailers was shutting down after 13 years of producing content, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. I’ll admit that I hadn’t been actively checking the site over the last few years, but sometimes the loss of something that was once a big part of your life can still hit you in surprising ways. Before I go on to talk about what I remember the most fondly of GameTrailers, I think I should briefly describe what the site was to those who never saw it.
You first have to consider that when GameTrailers was created, sites like Youtube didn’t exist. In fact, a lot of things that we take for granted when it comes to the internet “experience” just weren’t around. A site like GameTrailers in many ways was revolutionary for a landscape that didn’t have a central location for getting game trailers out to the masses. While they weren’t the only site out there doing what they did, they were able to become synonymous with the distribution of game trailers. In both Quicktime and Windows Media format, I might add. I didn’t even recall that aspect of the site until someone mentioned it in response to the site’s closure. Seriously times have changed. But I digress.
There are a few things I can distinctly recall about when I was visiting GameTrailers the most frequently, which if I had to guess was from 2005 to 2012. The first is the quality of their reviews. While the specific focus of “game trailers” fell by the wayside, their reviews were always some of the best in the industry. Not only was listening to Brandon Jones’ always a highlight no matter what he was saying, but you know when listened to their reviews they knew what they were talking about. They were never apologetic and the reviews never pandered to an audience or demographic. Sure it might have meant that a game you loved didn’t always get a great score, but the fact that they stood by their reasoning is something that I consider a must for media criticism. They’ve only given one perfect score, and that was to Bloodborne in light of the shutting down of the site.
The next were their gaming franchise retrospectives. The amount of detail and info that would go into each franchise retrospective was incredible. If you ever wanted to know the history of your favourite gaming franchise there was a chance that they had already gotten everything you needed to know for you. While some of the bigger franchises are among their older content and thus show their age, they still hold a plethora of knowledge that any person who considers themselves a hardcore gamer should read up on. Personal favourites include their Final Fantasy (no surprises there), Metroid, and Metal Gear retrospectives. You can still find of some of them on Youtube, including the entire Final Fantasy Retrospective in one video.
And finally, and this one is a little non-specific, but it was on Gametrailers that I was introduced to some of the best talents on the internet. Screw Attack made huge strides while their stuff was syndicated to GT. The late, great, Monty Oum’s animations went viral through GameTrailers before they even made it to Youtube. And then, of course, there’s the classic question that I still love saying to this day: “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?” Perhaps one of the reasons why I stopped going to the site apart from the Viacom sell off to Defy was the fact that these guys had all moved on too, and I felt the need to do the same. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but like a lot of things they just become neglected and forgotten over time.
But alas GameTrailers is now a memory. It’s unclear what will happen to all the content on the site and that stuff is still in early days. But in any case, I wish the best of luck to all those affected by this sudden event. If anyone from Gametrailers is reading this, I also wanted to say thank you for making some of the best gaming-related media on the net. I could go on forever with all the great stuff you guys have done and how it’s impacted my life, but I think there aren’t enough words to properly describe that feeling. So for one last time, I’m going to share a video that unintentionally became on of my favourite pieces of GT content.