It’s time! That’s right, it’s time to present our top award for the entire simming and online role playing community: the Ongoing Worlds Medal for Superior Online Roleplaying… better known as the Squiddie. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the award, we present three respective citations annually for Excellence in Role Playing, Facilitating the Community Experience, and Originality & Innovation.
We received 30 outstanding nominations this year. However, we are only able to present Squiddies to three: one club, one game, and one person. And believe me when I say that picking the winners was extremely difficult as there were many absolutely fantastic nominees! Without any further ado, here are the winners of the 2015 Ongoing Worlds Medal for Superior Online Roleplaying:
Excellence in Roleplaying: Stargate Ancient Legacy (game)
Stargate Ancient Legacy has maintained role play excellence for more than a decade since its 2004 founding. Its approximately 20 member writers each bring their own unique talents and perspectives together to create an outstanding singular melody of a narrative. The posts, often joint posts, build beautifully upon one another to take the story in new and exciting directions while still staying true to the original Stargate universe. In this game you’ll never see the plot twist coming, but then after it happens it couldn’t have been any other way–a sign of true excellence. Politics, power, and position all take a backseat to writing with this role play–the focus is purely on telling a fantastic story. And it shows!
Originality & Innovation: Jouko of Before the Mast (person)
Jouko is frequently described as the most devoted member of the Before the Mast game, which is pretty amazing considering that English is not his native tongue! While his role playing is top-notch, he is also quite the innovator, though not in the traditional sense. He creates avatars and signatures for many others in the game. But instead of just building them as many artists do, he tries to get inside the head of the other players to bring out the many different elements of their respective characters. He truly breathes life into them in the visual sense! He also made it a point to learn the ins and outs of the age of sail to serve as a community expert to others in the game. And finally, he skillfully uses NPCs not just to advance a plot, but to actually integrate them into the story. In short, Jouko found uncommon opportunities to add value to his sim in non-traditional ways, and that makes him a great innovator.
Facilitating the Community Experience: Star Trek: Borderlands (club)
Star Trek: Borderlands has been running continuously since 1995, making it one of the longest-running Star Trek roleplaying clubs on the net. Its unique Duty Station organizational structure allows members to seamlessly move between different environments and role playing opportunities, leading to a robust exchange of ideas and information among its member players. Its linked, yet free storylines allow for highly creative stories across the entire club. All of this plus its volunteer leadership structure combine to create a robust community experience quite different from most other Internet-based role playing clubs. This resulting open and collaborative community is no doubt one of several elements responsible for Borderland’s extraordinary longevity and high quality.
Bad Boys Winners
What is this, you might ask? Yes, we’re adding something a little different this year. Periodically, we’re going to include themed historical awards in addition to our regular three annual winners. The idea is honor those who haven’t otherwise received their due. This year, we’re calling it the Bad Boys edition: controversial individuals who nonetheless made significant positive contributions to the simming and online roleplaying community. So here they are:
Mike Bremer of Bravo Fleet
The co-founder and long-time leader of Bravo Fleet was controversial for his leadership and use of the JAG within the club. However, people still liked simming in Bravo Fleet–a lot of people! Indeed, Mike Bremer built Bravo Fleet into the first true mega-club of the Internet era. You would be hard pressed to find anyone in the Star Trek role playing community who hasn’t heard of Bravo Fleet and Mike Bremer. In fact, a good portion of the remaining Star Trek clubs today can trace their lineage back to Bravo Fleet in some fashion. Boasting dozens of games, and hundreds of players, Bravo Fleet has had something for just about every flavor of Star Trek fan from its beginnings under Bremer to now. In addition to his superior leadership of Bravo Fleet, Mike Bremer has also hosted one of the longest continually running sims on the net, Starbase 400 (previously known as the USS Pegasus), since 1996. Starbase 400 has been in existence since 1995 and has won numerous awards for its high-quality and longevity under Bremer. His pioneering models for club and sim development live on throughout the community. Mike Bremer is unarguably one of the most influential figures in simming history.
A name synonymous with controversy, Kenny Gillis was well known for his gruff demeanor during the heyday of the Simming League. In spite of this rough exterior, or maybe because of it, Gillis eventually rose in 2002 to become the Simming League’s 11th President. Although his tenure lasted less than two months, he was able to root out corruption at the highest levels of the League and set in motion several significant reforms that would later be enacted to make the League more fair and equitable. Gillis also gained fame for infiltrating and stopping one of the period’s biggest trolls & troublemakers. Perhaps even more importantly, he was a key player behind the success of RolePlayerUSA, which provided news, information, and IT support to much of the simming community during the early 2000s. Through it all, Kenny Gillis was a superbly capable administrator who got things done–no matter what stood in the way.
James D. West of Independence Fleet
The USS Sunfire’s first Executive Officer and second Captain was controversial for his early posts. He was also criticized for his leadership during the beginning days of Independence Fleet, which he co-founded in 2001. Undeterred by his rocky start, James West went on to become one of the great role players of his generation. Indeed, he has created and developed scores of characters of different races, behaviors, and aspirations. Feeling at home in every Star Trek setting from the classic to the transformative to the comedy and in every style from the traditional to the open to everything in-between, he always finds a way to make exceptional contributions to the story while also providing unique opportunities for others to get involved. In addition, his mentorship to dozens of Captains over the years has been invaluable to Independence Fleet’s long-term success. If one were to make a list of top role players ever, James West would be on it.
Congratulations to all six of our new Squiddie Laureates! And thank you to everyone for all of the wonderful nominations! Be on the look out for 2016 Squiddie nomination requests in early 2016. And have a happy new year!