Born in the dim and distant past of 1up, before the various 1upocalypses which have hit the site since then, The Squadron of Shame came about as a result of a podcast feature dubbed “The Pile of Shame”. The concept of The Pile of Shame seems to have entered into popular consciousness in recent years, but the first time I ever heard it was on 1up Yours, when it was used to describe that ever-growing pile of shrink-wrapped games (or, these days, things in your Steam Library) that you somehow never get around to playing for one reason or another.
The 1up Yours guys agreed to play Tim Schafer’s Psychonauts, which was widely regarded as being “good” and somewhat overlooked by the masses. They lasted a week before they gave up, so a number of members of the community stepped up to the plate in an attempt to succeed where they had failed.
Putting together forum threads and a 1up Club page to discuss the game, we found a number of like-minded gamers who enjoyed coming together to discuss games at considerable length, and in a markedly more intelligent manner than many of the “lol noob”-type people out there on the Internet. Over time, we took on a wide variety of other “missions” — taking on games which the masses had passed by and delving into them to discover whether it was actually worth going back and exploring them. Sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn’t.
The turning point came when 1up merged its largely-disparate forums into just three general-purpose areas. The formerly intelligent discourse found on the 1up Radio boards was drowned out by the million voices of 12 year olds who thought Master Chief was da bomb, and our experiences were sullied by trolls coming on to our threads, criticising us for “walls of text” and completely derailing the discussion.
Before UGO took over 1up, we decided it was time to leave once and for all. We took to Twitter for a while, but we were scattered, and not everyone in our group used Twitter. It felt too “public” — although we always were a public group, there was an element of the “book club” mentality about it — a group of friends who knew each other well and enjoyed each other’s company, but were still welcoming to newcomers.
Over time, we tried to come up with a way to resurrect the Squad formula. Thus, the Squadron of Shame SquadCast was born. Beginning as a game-focused podcast in which we concentrated on a single game and discussed it at great length and morphing into the topic-led discussion show we have today, the show has always been an enjoyable thing to be part of — and to listen to. We also have a small but active community at our “temporary” home: the Squadron of Shame Squawkbox. And we’ve all remained fast friends through thick and thin, through everything life’s thrown at each one of us.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what the Internet is all about. And you can be part of it, too — our latest episode was released today, with a discussion of game worlds. You can check it out by paying the Squawkbox a visit, and there are links to subscribe there if you so desire, too. If you have a WordPress account, too, you can join the discussions on the ‘box, too — don’t be shy. We like new people, and we also don’t mind “walls of text”. So long as you use paragraphs. So far as conditions for entry go, that’s not an unreasonable one, I don’t think.
Anyway. There you have it. They’re my favourite group of people on the Internet, and I haven’t given them a plug for a while, so there you are. Join us. Or at least listen to our new episode.