March 29th, 2014 - The rumor had been rattling around for several weeks, evolving more recently into an "open secret", and now it has been confirmed in a four thousand word flourish of glorious definitude: Jace Hall, film and television producer best known for his online reality series The Jace Hall Show, has personally come forward with an official statement as the new "Head Custodian and Caretaker" of Twin Galaxies.
In his lengthy introductory address to the competitive gaming community, Hall lays out his vision for the future of the organization under his ownership, highlights of which include:
- The reinstatement of FREE score submissions. To quote his statement: "As long as Jace Hall is the Head Custodian and Caretaker of Twin Galaxies, Twin Galaxies will never be charging for score submissions or adjudication ever again. Period." (The new policy may even entail refunds to those who paid to submit scores during the previous ownership.)
- The anticipated return of the website within the next 30 days.
- Increased transparency and consistency in the organization's behavior and processes.
- A new adjudication system, entailing an overhaul of the refereeing procedure and the elimination of secrecy in gameplay.
- The return of material that has been dearly missed—including classic news articles, and the treasure trove of history and community that was the original Twin Galaxies forum.
Hall also made it clear that ownership is now his alone, meaning that there will be no internal conflicts, competing imperatives, or nagging financial entanglements.
A recent article on KitGuru.net that had spread through the community in the weeks prior to yesterday's announcement shed something of a lurid light on these matters. Jon Martindale's very intriguing piece reported infighting, bad-faith intercessions, looming litigation, and even Walter Day "fleeing to India" with tens of thousands of misappropriated dollars. A downright scandalous chain of events seemed to be unfolding.
Many accused the KitGuru piece of intentional sensationalism at best, shameless lying at worst, but it was clearly relating at least a piece of the truth, and with it came a palpable dip in the gaming community's already low morale.
Hall's letter, however, has sounded the all-clear: according to him, any previous "loose ends" and points-of-contention regarding Twin Galaxies ownership and renumeration have been resolved. So much for a scandal (we can hope).
Any doubts about a disgruntled or on-the-lam Walter Day have been dispelled as well, with Day himself personally composing a letter in which he endorses Hall with great enthusiasm, confidently handing off the reins of his creation and (re)announcing his retirement from competitive gaming to pursue his musical ambitions (a retirement which, some might skeptically note, has been promised for nearly a decade).
The consensus reaction to the statement has been almost unanimously positive. Gamers are celebrating Twin Galaxies' return, and seem to have taken an instant liking to Hall.
While still a new acquaintance to much of the community, even gaming's lifetime cynics must concede that Hall's mission statement demonstrates an unmistakably personal and intimate understanding of the community's history and its ongoing problems, as well as the promising hope of intelligent, creative solutions. Hall's resumé in the entertainment industry, and with video games in particular, speaks for itself. He brings with him a wealth of talent and resources.
In other words, he gets it, and has what it takes to make great things happen. All of us have grown at least a little weary of "new era" promises—first after Bouvier in 2009, then Adler/Knucklez in 2012, and the turbulence throughout which persistently refused to settle.
But now, five years into this rough ride, as we once again begin anew, we can hope that the third time will be the charm.