Tag Archives: Meridian 59

Remembering Brian Green

The cascade of events, the non-stop drum beat of bad news that this year has been has made me more than a bit numb.  A person can start to feel like they cannot care any more, that so many things are going on that are beyond their ability to control that they just start to let events pass by like visions in a dream.

And then something closer to home hits and wakes you up.

Last night I was shocked to read that Brian “Psychochild” Green had passed away.   A tweet showed up, echoing around the people I follow, that announced his death.

My reaction was perhaps a bit blunt, but like I said, I was shocked to hear the news.

He was probably best known for being on the team at 3DO that developed Meridian 59, an early entry in the MMORPG genre and later, after 3DO shut the game down, how he and a partner obtained the rights to the game and relaunched it.  Their company Near Death Studios, ran the game as a viable business from 2002 until 2010.

Brian was a big believer in community and was involved in many, including what I tend to think of as the neighborhood of blogs that seemed to gel around VirginWorld about 15 years back.

Zenke’s representation MMO Blog island back in the day

He was as involved in that community as anybody and often made time to read and comment on blogs large and small that were interested in the genre.  He left a lot of thoughtful comments here, though for some reason the spam filter had something against him and I had to fish many out of there over the years.

And, of course, his own blog was often quite active.

A blog header from another time

His last burst of posts happened a year ago, when he joined in with the community once more (he was a mentor in the group) for the Blaugust celebration of blogging, writing up a series on role playing.  But his posts go back to 2004 on his site. (All backed up at the Internet Archive.)

I actually got to meet Brian a couple of times up at GDC in San Francisco when the VirginWorlds collective would get together for dinner.  Here we are back in 2010.

Dinner at Le Colonial

In that picture is Darren (The Common Sense Gamer), myself, Brent (VirginWorlds), Neil Kirby (who was speaking about AI at the conf), Karen (Journeys with Jaye and Massively), Shawn (former Editor-in-Chief at Massively), Sinea (GuildCast, RingCast), and Brian.

The last time I saw him in person was at GDC in 2011 when Potshot (Skronk in the instance group) and I hung out with him for quite a while.  While Potshot could not hang around for dinner, I tagged along with Brian as he went to meet up with Damion Schubert and spent the evening listening to development stories from 3DO, Meridian 59, The Sims Online, and a few things I had to sit on about the then in development Star Wars: The Old Republic.

At that point he stopped running Meridian 59 and was working on a few indie projects.  He was also involved with Namaste, the Storybricks product, their Kickstarter, and their dalliance with the EverQuest Next vision. (He wrote a series of posts about the whole thing later on.)

Later he packed up and left Salinas (of John Steinbeck fame and about an hour from where I live) and moved to the east coast to join the team Mark Jacobs was putting together to build Camelot Unchained.  At some point that ended, which gave him more time for other projects, streaming, and joining in on the Blaugust celebration for a few years.  He did not join in for Blapril this year, though he was logged into Discord every day so his name was always on the mentor’s list.

The last I saw of him online was on Twitter where he would announce his appearance on a weekly Twitch stream with Maulgrim, which often involved playing Warframe and talking about indie dev topics, the last one being on August 4th.  He passed just two days later.

And now I feel guilty that I never quite found the time to watch that stream, though some of the episodes are archived so people can go back and watch/listen to them.

His passing thus appears to have been sudden given he was streaming just a week or so back.   But natural causes covers a lot of ground.

The responses to the post on Twitter shows both how many lives he touched and the shock and dismay of the communities of which he was a part.  He is missed already.

Brian “Psychochild” Green : Nov 1, 1973 – Aug 6, 2020

Other remembrances:

The Other LOTRO Store, A Symptom with No Cure

Poor Aragorn, son of Arathorn, King Elessar Telcontar, reduced to shilling for mouse pads and coffee mugs.

Don't Touch MY Coffee!

There, in the Warner Brother’s Online Store, tucked back in the corner behind all the Lord of the Rings Movie Official Merchandise, there are two coffee mug styles and three flavors of mouse mat.

Is that it?

I suppose, working in high tech, I might be totally the wrong person to judge the usefulness of either, having been given by various companies and at a myriad trade shows, enough mouse pads to cover the playground at my daughter’s school and enough coffee mugs to drain an Olympic-size swimming pool.  None of which is enhanced by the fact that I:

  1. do not drink coffee
  2. use a trackball, not a mouse

And while I might be the worst possible marketing scenario for these items, I have to think that some combination of Cafe Press and gifts from people who don’t really know what you like must have killed the market for coffee mugs and mouse pads to some major degree.

And it isn’t like I would be totally adverse to some merchandise that represents one of my favorite games.

At one time, before it faded from too many washings, I proudly wore my “I got the Babel Fish” T-Shirt.  Likewise, I had a very nice Net Hack T-shirt that from the Lore Sjöberg, back when he was making T-Shirts.  I even have a Meridian 59 T-Shirt around here somewhere, though I wore it one day when we were painting the house this summer so now it has a not insubstantial amount of Kelly-Moore “Lemon Grass” on it. (Sorry Brian.)

I would buy some stuff… if you offered decent stuff.

But no, we get coffee mugs and mouse pads… and the infamous EverQuest Zippo lighters.

It's like they never saw Beavis & Butt-head

They have actually, finally, sold out of 8 of the 16 different lighters offered at the SOE Station Store.  I think they’ve been in the SOE store since 2000.  A tough break if you were going to finally break down and buy that lighter with the Wizard logo on it.  They probably have plenty of Ranger logo lighters left though!

But then SOE marketing has never been long on taste… or sense.

This is what they think of people who play Free Realms

And don’t even get me started on Figure Prints.   That is all I need, a World of Warcraft dust catcher.

Though, to be fair, Blizzard has licensed out and you can get some decent WoW themed T-shirts or hoodies.  And the EVE Online store also has a few acceptable items, though I’m not buying a model battleship.

I just don’t wear T-shirts out and about that much any more… except when I am painting the house apparently.

What I want is a nice polo shirt, or better still, a good, solid, 100% cotton, crew-necked sweat shirt… not a hoodie, I hate hoodies… but a classic pull-over sweat shirt!  One of those with your game logo on it would do me nicely.

Is that too much to ask?

How about you.  What do you want?