The Escapist (magazine)

This article is about the 2005 online magazine covering video game culture generally. For the 1995 website and zine devoted to the educational use of RPGs, see The Escapist (website). For other uses, see Escapist (disambiguation).
The Escapist

Cover for The Escapist's first issue: "Gaming Uber Alles"
Type of site
Video game website
Available in English
Owner Defy Media
Created by Alexander Macris, Julianne Greer, Jonathan Hayter, Greg Lincoln, Jason Smith, Tom Kurz
Alexa rank Negative increase 5,298 (April 2014)[1]
Launched July 12, 2005

The Escapist (typeset as the escapist) is an online magazine covering mostly video games as well as movies, comics, TV, and more. Published by Alexander Macris since its inception,[2] it was edited by Julianne Greer up to June 30, 2009,[3] then by Russ Pitts through September 2011,[4] then by Steve Butts until September 4, 2012,[5] then by Susan Arendt until June 14, 2013,[6] then by Greg Tito until January 21, 2015[7] and is currently edited by Joshua Vanderwall.[8] The Escapist was first published on July 12, 2005.[9] The Escapist originally ran weekly with a main edition published on Tuesday but it is now updated continuously.[10] On the 15th November 2012 it was announced that the Escapist had been acquired by online media company Alloy Digital from its corporate owner, Themis Media, for an undisclosed sum.[11] In 2014, Alloy Digital merged with Break Media to form Defy Media, the website's present owner.[12]


The premier issue featured pieces from well-known gaming-community authors including Jerry Holkins (a.k.a. Tycho Brahe), Kieron Gillen, and John Scott Tynes. Following issues included work by Tom Chick, Allen Varney, Jim Rossignol and other top writers from in and outside the game industry, including a four-part piece by leading game designer Warren Spector.[13] The editor, Julianne Greer had not been involved in the gaming industry before The Escapist, and had a background in marketing and new media.[14] According to Themis, by late 2006 the website had 150,000 monthly readers.[14] The website noted that the webzine had become the "flagship brand" for Themis, which runs other websites and ventures related to the gaming industry, with the reputation of "a widely read and highly respected form of game journalism" and "paying writers top dollar".[13]

On July 9, 2007 the site relaunched with a completely new design, which also saw the end of the weekly PDF issues and a shift in layout to one more similar to other websites.[15] Although the weekly topic and publish schedule was retained, new regular content additions included more game reviews, editorial articles, conference coverage, and a relaunch of Shoot Club by Tom Chick. The only notable new feature added was Zero Punctuation, weekly animated video reviews that led to a four-fold increase in the Escapist's traffic.[16] In addition to news articles and videos, the Escapist also hosts an active forum community and usergroups, most notably the Brovengers and Injustice League, along with a paid membership introduced in 2010 known as the Publisher's Club which for $20 a year removes advertisements from the site, confers forum benefits and entry into special contests.[17]

Hosted content

The Escapist hosts a number of ongoing video series and webcomics, most of which pertain to video games, although they have expanded to other aspects of geek culture. On February 1, 2013, another Alloy Digital property, Smosh Games, was added to the site, whose videos are also posted on YouTube. Note: time postings are in EST.


8-Bit Philosophy

Explores different philosophical ideas using an 8-bit game aesthetic. Posted every Monday.

Critical Intel

A weekly article series by Robert Rath mostly focusing on video games. Posted every Thursday at 11 AM.

Critical Miss

A biweekly comic strip posted every Tuesday and Friday at 9 AM.

Erin Dies Alone

A biweekly comic strip posted every Monday and Thursday at 9 AM.

The Escapist Podcast

A weekly podcast hosted by the staff of the escapist

Zero Punctuation

Zero Punctuation is a weekly video game review series created by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw. In the show Ben plays an animated caricature of himself who doesn't stop speaking for any punctuation giving the name of the show. Posted every Wednesday at 11 AM.

For Science

A weekly article series by CJ Miozzi that takes a scientific look at certain things from geek culture. Posted every Wednesday at 2 PM.

Game Theory

A weekly re upload of past episodes from Mathew Patrick's YouTube series which takes a scientific look at video games. Posted every Thursday at 8 AM.

Guys Cry Cinema

A weekly article series discussing what films make guys cry. The series is said to show that "being "manly" and being disconnected with your emotions do not necessarily go hand-in-hand". It is posted every Wednesday at 8 AM.

No Right Answer

A weekly video debate series covering topics related to geek culture. Posted every Thursday at 11 AM.


This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

March Mayhem: Developer's Showdown

March Mayhem: Developer's Showdown (commonly referred to as March Mayhem or simply MM) is an annual event hosted by The Escapist to determine the most popular video game developer in the industry. The event was first introduced in 2008 and takes the form of a series of opinion polls, split into four divisions (North, South, East and West) each consisting of 16 developers. In each round, developers are eliminated down to two, who then compete in the grand final.

The event was criticised by many site members due to the site's policy of allowing developers to advertise on their own websites and games in order to gain votes. Further criticism ensued in 2010 when Zynga was permitted to enter the competition despite multiple controversies surrounding the business practices of the company and debates whether Facebook applications could be considered games. There was also significant controversy over the 2011 result, considering winner Mojang hadn't officially released a game as of March 2011. As a result of this criticism and a generally negative opinion of the contest by Escapist users, March Mayhem did not take place in 2013, but was then revived in 2014 in much the same format, albeit with greater community input in the initial 16 developers chosen.


Year Winner Runner-up
2015 Bioware Telltale
2014 Valve Corporation Firaxis
2012 Valve Corporation BioWare
2011 Mojang BioWare
2010 Valve Corporation BioWare
2009 Turbine BioWare
2008 Turbine Harmonix

Dispute with James Portnow and Daniel Floyd

Around the end of July 2011, there was a dispute between The Escapist and the team that provided content for the show Extra Credits. After not being paid for months, the Extra Credits team needed to pay for surgery for their artist, Allison Theus. They began a charity fund, separate from The Escapist, and received substantially more money than was necessary for Theus's surgery. They planned to use this extra money to create a game publishing label, where the revenue would go directly into funding subsequent projects.[18] The Escapist stated the money should have been used to create more episodes of Extra Credits for The Escapist and to compensate Themis Media for donation incentives, such as premium memberships and T-shirts.[19] As a result, Extra Credits broke ties with The Escapist, and the show has since aired on Penny Arcade, ScrewAttack[20] and has its own channel on YouTube.


In May 2008, The Escapist won the Webby Award and 2008 People's Choice Award for Best Video-Game Related Website. The Escapist also won this award in 2009 after a protracted voting battle between the members of The Escapist and the website GameSpot. In 2011 The Escapist again won three Webby Awards: Best Games-Related Website, People's Voice Best Games-Related Website and People's Voice Best Lifestyle Website.[21][22][23][24] The Escapist also received a Mashable Open Web Award for Best Online Magazine in 2009[25] and was named one of the 50 Best Websites by Time magazine in 2011.[26]


  1. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  2. Julianne Greer (July 12, 2005). "Issue 1 PDF" (PDF). The Escapist. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  3. Julianne Greer (June 30, 2009). "Editor's Note: Canadian Makin'". The Escapist. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
  4. Russ Pitts. "Editor's Note: Goodbye is Still Goodbye". The Escapist.
  5. Steve Butts. "Editor's Note: An Escapist Farewell". The Escapist.
  6. Susan Arendt. "Farewell, Escapist". The Escapist.
  7. Tito, Greg (21 January 2015). "Leaving The Escapist". Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  8. "About Us". The Escapist.
  9. Themis Group (July 12, 2005). "Themis Group Launches The Escapist". Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  10. "The Escapist Escapes From Pseudo-Print Chains". GameSetWatch/CMP. July 13, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  11. "Alloy Digital buys website Escapist". November 15, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
  12. "DEFY Website". DEFY Media. DEFY Media. 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  13. 1 2 Dana Massey (May 19, 2006). "Support company thrives as the MMO giant grows". Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  14. 1 2 "Gaming's Top 50 Journalists". Next Generation Magazine. October 17, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-13.
  15. Julianne Greer (July 9, 2006). "Editor's Note: Pens, Paper and Pretzels". The Escapist (magazine). Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  16. "Zero Punctuation Equals Millions of Views". NewTeeVee. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
  17. The Publisher's Club, retrieved 28-02-2014 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-11-29. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  18. "Because Games Matter By James Portnow". Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-11.
  19. "A Response on Extra Credits". Retrieved 2011-08-11.
  20. "Extra Credits on PATV".
  21. "Webby Nominees". 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  22. "Webby Nominees". Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  23. "Webby Nominees". 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  24. "Webby Nominees". 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  25. "Open Web Awards 2009". Mashable. 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  26. "The 50 Best Websites of 2011". Time Magazine. 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2013-03-14.

External links

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