It feels weird to say it, but here it is; after six years of service, I’m leaving Chooch. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by, and it feels like just a year or two since I first joined up with the site, but here we are. Life’s changed a lot in the time that I’ve been here, and so have games, and, if I’m honest, I think both of those things are why it’s time to step away.

In a lot of ways, it feels really bittersweet to be leaving. I’ve been blessed to work with some truly great folks here at Chooch, and over the years, I’ve met many more, forged friendships and generally had something to keep me grounded and sane at times when life didn’t seem to make much sense otherwise. There’s a great group of people here at the site, and I’m sure those who rotate in and out as things continue to grow here will be just as wonderful. I’ve learned a lot about the industry and myself as a person working here, and it’s been an experience that I’ll always cherish and wouldn’t trade for the world. It’s strange in many ways, though, because while I’m sad to be stepping away from Chooch, I absolutely will not miss having to be actively involved in the conversation around games.

I alluded to this in my end of year list, but I think this past year was the breaking point for me in terms of how I relate to and interact with games and the surrounding ecosystem. From rampant workplace abuse, to the general negative and toxic environs that seem inherent to discussion of the industry, I’m pretty burned out. I quit social media about eighteen months ago, and even though that did help some, it’s still become pretty impossible not to feel like video games and everything surrounding them are pure poison right now. I’m getting older – I just turned 30 – and as my available free time shrinks more and more with every passing week, it’s starting to feel like games are not something worth pouring myself into any longer. I used to devour new games, follow every little controversy and story, constantly juggling everything from major titles to little indies like Emily is Away or Detention, and I relished it. But now, it’s just impossible to feel good about any of it, when it seems like every aspect of the industry and the surrounding discourse is rotting my brain.

I hope that by stepping away from Chooch, that I’ll manage to find a way to reignite the passion for games I once felt. I’m looking forward to playing games on my own time, at my own pace, purely for fun, and not because I have to do it “for coverage”, or because I’ve tricked myself into thinking that I need to have a hot take on everything. I’m looking forward to touching the stuff I missed out on, revisiting the stuff that made me such a fan of the medium in the first place, and having fun again. This is an industry and a life that takes it out of you, and it’s not something I think I can justify doing any longer.

I hope I leave the site in a good place and in good standing. I know I often clashed with people regarding my opinions, both coworkers and the wider general consensus, but I always tried to be authentic and honest, and I hope that came through in my writing and in the podcasts and videos I appeared on. 

I wanna thank everyone I worked with here at Chooch for being such kind, wonderful and accommodating coworkers. I especially wanna thank John for giving me, a total stranger, a shot all those years ago. I learned a lot here, and I love you guys. I also wanna say thanks to everyone who ever read something I wrote and had nice things to say (or even mean things). I’ll still be around the community, and you’ll still find me on the Discord, posting about Wardlow in the wrestling channel or whatever.

I’m also still gonna be on the internet in general, with my film work over at Subsequent Moviepodcast continuing, alongside former Chooch alum Ryan. We just started going through the filmographies of John Travolta and Nic Cage, and we’d love it if you listened. 

So yeah, that’s it! I’m out! Take care, and I’ll see you again someday.

About Niall

Niall is the last remaining emo kid and can usually be found hiding from Michael Myers in Dead by Daylight or waiting in vain for fights in DOA6.

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