Thank You Kris!

November 19th, 2013 | Posted by Ben Abraham in Announcement:

Hello readers, fans, and friends of Critical Distance!

Back in 2009 when I started this little website, I had no idea what would happen. I thought, at best, it might become a moderately useful resource for the game blogging community. In the years since, Critical Distance has become something of an institution, part of the landscape.

In 2011, after two years of running and managing the site with a bit of help from some friends, I had reached the end of my endurance. Luckily, Kris Ligman was there and willing to take over the site, and since then it has been almost entirely her project.

It’s now 2013, two years since Kris took the reins and now she too is stepping down to take a well earned break while we reorganise a bit. So this first announcement post is to say thank you to Kris for the awesome and wonderful work she has poured into the site at great personal cost for over two years now, and to let you know that we’ll be making some changes over the next few weeks. The second post, coming in the next few days, will be to explain what’s next for Critical Distance, and to outline what our ideas are for the site to keep it going in a more sustainable way. Kris isn’t “leaving” Critical Distance, but she will be stepping back from leading TWIVGB every week and hopefully when we come back with the new TWIVGB it’ll be easier for all involved (and we hope to get you, dear reader, involved a little more as well – but more on that later). We’re still not quite sure right now whether we’ll miss any weeks of TWIVGB coverage between now and when we transition to the new format, but we’ll do our best.

Last week I contacted just a few people from the community who have been involved with Critical Distance over the years and asked them for a short message for Kris. If you would also like to leave a message of gratitude or appreciation for Kris and the work she’s done, please leave them here in the comments.

Brendan Keogh

Kris, the time and effort you have put into keeping TWIVB running for more than two years now has been utterly crucial to the sense of a real, emerging ‘scene’ of games criticism that has matured the past few years online. Without your sacrifice of your time and your strong curation, we wouldn’t have the great community that so many of us depend on. Thanks so much for all your work!

Cara Ellison

The attention Kris paid to my work was profound and beneficial in so many ways, and often helped me think that I wasn’t writing for nothing. Basically, Kris helped me build my career into something I could do on a weekly basis after I lost my job and had to go full time. That’s an incredible impact on me and has provided me with a way to pay my rent. Knowing I was being appreciated by someone who receives a lot of games criticism was important, and I’d like to continue this favour for others. Thank you, Kris.

Kate Cox

Being regularly featured on Critical Distance quite literally changed my life.  It drew attention to me and my writing that I otherwise would not have had, and gave legitimacy to what I was putting out there.  That attention led directly to my being hired at Kotaku for 2012 and completely changed my career path and trajectory forever.  That is one hell of an impact and I owe y’all, and Kris in particular, a drink or seven for making it possible.

Richard Clark

Kris, thanks so much for all the hard work you’ve done on Critical Distance. I’ve always thought of Critical Distance as a place where I can be regularly challenged by games writing rather than pandered to, and I know you had a lot to do with that. I’m especially grateful of the way you have featured a spectrum of perspectives and voices that I wouldn’t otherwise read or consider. I hope you realized how crucial and appreciated your work has been!

Richard Lemarchand

Dear Kris, I just wanted you to know that I think that the work you’ve done for Critical Distance is extraordinary. The energy and effort that you have put into the site has allowed it to remain one of the most – even *the* most – important places on the internet to get an intelligent, even and humanistic view of the state of games criticism and culture.

But beyond the editorial and intellectual chops you’ve brought to the gig, what amazes and delights me time and again is the well-considered wit with which you frame everything. I never thought games criticism could be so funny. Thank you for all your hard work. You’re brilliant!

Kate Simpson

Hey Kris, congrats on two years of CD. Thank you so much for all your hard work on your amazing link roundups, and everything else you do for the community! – Kateri.

Patrick Lindsey

I think Kris has done a fantastic job and I’m a huge admirer of what she’s done with CD.

Chris Dahlen

Thank you so much for all your awesome work!  Critical Distance is one of the last sites out there leading people to smart game crit, and the world would be poorer without it – I know I would be, too.  Thanks for keeping it going!

Johannes Koski

Hey, Jason!

Please tell your most excellent human that her contributions to Critical Distance have been the highlight of my week, month after month both pre and postdating your arrival to the scene. I know Kris spending time compiling CD posts might mean less petting for you, but you know, Jason, I think ultimately it has been in your favor too. Not that you’d read the blogposts or anything, but surely CD has a better blog-to-petting ratio than if Kris did, say, This Week In Investment Tips Blogging. So, thank your most excellent human for me, and tell her that she’s awesome!

Eric Swain

I remember what was not too long ago, but seems like an aeon away, when an excited neophyte who squeed with glee at being followed on twitter and over time evolve into the hard nosed, no nonsense, typewriter pounding professional we have before us. It takes more than enthusiasm and intelligence to do this week in and week out (but certainly needs them), it requires a certain endurance of mind, eyes and spirit. It’s one thing to do it once in a while, but quite another to keep at it. Thank you for your tireless ongoing effort.

Alan Williamson

Where do I start? Kris has given her time, often thanklessly, to reading and curating thousands of essays over the past two years. If it wasn’t for her work at Critical Distance, I wouldn’t have kept blogging at Split Screen – never mind joining the CD team to give back to a community that I found so encouraging and supportive, then launching Five out of Ten with the friends I had made including Kris herself! I owe a lot more to her than I can realistically cover in a paragraph.

Kris, thank you for your superhuman efforts over the past couple of years. You make me proud to be a part of Critical Distance, and you’re a great friend.

Matthew Burns

Every so often a cultural commentator poses the question: “where’s all the good games writing”?

Thanks to the efforts of Kris Ligman and her co-contributors over the past two years, we’ve been able to point to a ready answer each time– Critical Distance. The site’s weekly roundup of notable games writing tracks important issues, highlights breakout work, and helps to amplify voices that might otherwise become lost. And its regular publication serves as a valuable record of the trajectory of the discussion over time.

Please join me in thanking Kris, Ben, Eric, Alan, and everyone else who works hard to make Critical Distance happen!

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14 Responses

  • Thanks Kris, for maintaining what is probably one of, if not the most important resource in games writing – CD provides a constant reminder that we collectively have the ability to advance games to new places, by highlighting opinion pieces, analyses, essays and other works that sometimes are so tremendously important that they contribute in shaping the whole industry. By showing us all, time and time again, that this writing exists, and finding new voices worth listening to, and new points of view worth considering, CD has become arguably the most influential website of them all, and it would never have held that position without your continued excellent work. Also you’re super cool on twitter.

  • Thanks so much Kris!

    I can only echo some of the sentiments above. Not only do I enjoy checking out all that writing each week, I feel that the curation may be even more important than most of the individual writings. I feel that curating blogs is a crucial step in connecting the writing community, and to keeping conversation going.

    I hope that CD will continue to fulfill that role, but I have little doubt.

    All the best! -Oscar

  • Thanks from another loyal reader, you’ve really enriched my understanding of games with your work here. Not to mention giving me something to look forward to at the start of the week.


  • Alex Park says:

    Kris, thanks for being awesome overall and for the kind words when including my work on TWIVGB. I was new to CD but right away knew there was something exciting and needed going on, a lot of it because of your work. Cheers!

  • I’m foolish for not responding in time to get into this thank you post Kris, but I want to be sure to understand how absolutely critical and important your work for Critical Distance has been. Your efforts and TWIVGB as a whole have opened me to writings, conversations, and thought that I would never have been privy to. Likewise, Scott and I rely on these roundups to collect our own thoughts on subjects and to inspire our work. Literally, doing what I do on a regular basis would be so, so, so much harder with you. A little post in the comments sections isn’t nearly gratitude enough, but for now it’ll have to do. THANK YOU!

  • Gus Mastrapa says:

    I have always appreciated Kris’ tireless work compiling all of this excellent writing. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that seeing my work in there every so often helped keep me going.

  • Lana Polansky says:

    Hi Kris,

    Thank you for putting so much heart and effort into something so important to games discourse. Without Crit Distance a lot of good writing would get swept under the rug. It’s really awesome that you dedicated so much time to curating the work of some great writers and thinkers whose work deserves attention. Not a lot of people would be willing to do what you’ve been doing to benefit the medium and its communities. And on a personal note, thank you, also, for being so gracious to me about promoting my work, and giving me a chance with CD. If this doesn’t elevate you to Eternal Scout status I don’t know what will.

    Enjoy your time off, you’ve earned it.

  • Andrew says:

    I’d like to thank to everyone involved with Critical Ditance and especially Ben and Kris. I am videogames journalist and enthusiast who follows the site over a year. And I am very grateful for the work you do. It’s very rare to do things purely out of passion with no money involved. I also know how hard it can be to run a project so I appreciate the time you spent with it. Thank you. Critical Distance has been a quality food for thought and inspirational at the same time.

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  • psepho says:

    Kris’s work at CD, and the amazing body of writing she has collated and shared over the years, is basically what opened my eyes to serious critical thinking about games. Not only have those writings hugely enriched my appreciation of the medium, they have also challenged me repeatedly to re-examine my wider political behaviours and cultural assumptions. I am certainly a better person for it.

    So — huge thanks Kris!

  • Bowser says:

    Dear Kris without you nobody would know the real story: Mario is the real monster! Thank you for your valiant, and timeless efforts. Every rehashed RPG needs at least one good one and I like to think that Critical Distance is that vessel the one good one (disclaimer) of gamings journalism the critical voice that lets the medium of gaming reach lofty heights but also gives us food for thought.

  • Andy Durdin says:

    Thanks Kris! Your curation of Criitical Distance has been excellent.

  • Crit-dit (sounds better to me than Crit-dist, even if it makes no sense) is indeed a top resource for keeping track of the best new game-related writing out there, and I’m very pleased it’s going to continue.

    Thanks to Kris in particular for asking me to cross post a piece I did for FullGlassEmptyClip a while back over on Gamasutra. Dunno if it made an impression on anyone, but it was nice to get the pat on the back from someone who spends massive amounts of time reading gameblather.

  • Evan says:

    I know I’m late in replying to this, but I’m another loyal reader. I hope you guys who have done the bulk of the work in keeping this website going realize how important it has been. I imagine that in a few decades Critical Distance will appear in game history textbooks much like Cahiers du cinéma is discussed in film history textbooks today. You should take great pride in the work done here!

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