The possible end of the Internet’s greatest video game forum

NeoGAF has been the most important and highly trafficked video game forum for nearly 20 years. Starting out as the Gaming-Age Forums, or GAF, the site quickly became a place where the everyday gamer could post alongside industry insiders, developers, publishers, and some of the most hardcore hobbyists from around the world. Big news and news leaks would often appear on NeoGAF ahead of any of the main news sites. It was often said that the gaming news cycle would originate at GAF, head to the news sites, and come back to GAF for discussion.

For a video game enthusiast, daily visits to NeoGAF were mandatory. Personally, I have been posting or lurking on the site since late in 1999, when it was still in its infancy, all the way up to today. I’ve seen it go through its fair share of drama, but nothing like what is happening now, which ultimately might be the death of the site. Tyler Malka, the forum’s owner, has been no stranger to allegations in the past of poor behavior. Heck, Tyler, who posts as EviLore on the site, has even posted about his behavior in ways that always made me weary of him. Mods and users would tend to look the other way on EviLore’s behavior, but it seems as if the final straw has fallen.

Over the weekend, fallout of the #metoo movement found its way to Tyler Malka’s feet. A woman, who lives in the same city as Tyler Malka, posted about going on a road trip with a friend. She initially withheld this friend’s name out of fear for retribution, but went on to give details of some deplorable behavior. The woman and her friend were out drinking, and after having a bit too much to drink, the woman went to shower to try and make herself feel better. The friend, without invitation, entered the shower fully nude behind her. When she denied his advance and sent him away, the friend began to treat her coldly and rudely for the rest of the trip, as if she had somehow wronged him. At the time, the woman was also in a committed relationship, which was no secret to the friend. After several people showed the woman support, she felt comfortable enough telling people to “Google EviLore” to see who the man was.

In the following hours, NeoGAF saw a revolt. Mods and admins began to quit, leaving the site unmoderated. As news spread, NeoGAF users began to post “account suicide” posts where they called out EviLore and denounced the forum. Unable to keep up with the bans and scrubbing of the rebellious posts, the forum was put into maintenance mode, not allowing for any browsing or posting.

Today, the mobile version of the site is accessible at times, but it’s nothing but an empty shell (see the screenshot below). The desktop version is still in maintenance mode. While we wait for Tyler Malka to respond to these allegations, the future of the site is up in the air. We’ve been told through Twitter statements by former mods that Malka intends to respond formally, but the amount of time this is taking isn’t encouraging and the community has lots its patience. NeoGAF refugees are ending up forums that have popped up over the years that catered to disillusioned NeoGAF ex-pats, including slaent.com, which rose up when EviLore cracked down on the NeoGAF NBA community.

It’s hard to say if this will be the ultimate end for NeoGAF. I’m sure that if the site went live again today with a new admin and moderator team in place that some segment of the population would stick around, but the community has been forever changed. ResetEra is offering to be the new home for NeoGAF members, and even Gaming-Age themselves have started to ask publicly if they should bring the forums back into the fold once more. But as for me, I’m done supporting any community that will support Tyler Malka in any way going forward.

Seeing NeoGAF go away is bittersweet to me. I’m happy that the community refuses to put up with Tyler’s poor behavior, but NeoGAF has been home base for me online for nearly 20 years. It feels very odd to not have it as part of my daily morning, lunch, and evening check in. I’ve had many ups and downs with the site, but even with this crazy end, I can’t help but feel a measure of sadness as the site fades out under such ugly circumstances. But this is a good sign. It’s a sign that starting to put an end to allowing sexual predators to get away with their awful actions. We’re starting to care more about people than we care about convenience of breaking news and clever gaming memes. While Tyler Malka will never be held legally responsible for his actions, at least we can take away the thing in his life that he was most proud of.

I hope that whatever happens with NeoGAF is for the better, and for that to be possible, it needs to be a future without Tyler Malka involved in any form. Until that happens, good riddance to a once-great online community and forum.

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