The history of Gamurgy

Gamurgy logo

Gamurgy is an idea I created in 1999.

By that time I had been playing and creating games for over 20 years. As I looked back on all the types of games I had created, one thing was pretty clear: I liked to combine games and I liked to make a game out of either A) the last thing you would expect, or B) something I was dared to use as source material.

In 1989 I made a game in which playdough creatures ran around a pit made out of a trash can lid with a hole in the middle. The players had to maneuver around the pit wielding light sabres and the attacks themselves involved squishing and cutting the playdough creatures in half.

In 1991 I made a game in which my sister’s Barbie doll accessories were used as weapons to fend off waves of (again, playdough) zombies using a copy of the board game Mall Madness.

I even made a copy of Settlers of Catan — at six-times size! — in which each player wasn’t just a different color, they were a different set of 70s childhood toys. There was a Tinker Toys player, a Lincoln Logs player, one with Legos, one with Erector Set, one using a Richard Scarry Playskool set and one using Micronauts.

By the mid 90s I was making games for one-off uses mostly. If anything survived until a second playing, it was a miracle. And generally speaking, I was much more in favor of NOT replaying games. Why do the same thing a second time when you could make something brand new again. Not that I threw anything away… I just became a game hoarder.

And not just a physical game hoarder, but a digital hoarder as well. My ideas were filling up hard drives (they were smaller back then), so I figured i would start a website to feature my game ideas.

The first website name I came up with was “Gamergy”, a combination of “game” and “synergy”. And since I was on AOL at the time (as was everyone else) I tried reserving an AOL site with the name “gamergy”. Not allowed. So I tried “game mixer”. Also restricted. Who was taking all these names? I tried “game synergy”, “game combining”, “game bartender”… none of them were allowed. Eventually it became clear that AOL was barring anyone from creating any sites with the prefix “game-“, probably so that they could use them at some future date.

But “gamurgy” worked. I reserved, and then poured all of my ideas onto “members.aol.com/gamurgy” on December 31, 1999. Somewhere out there the internet remembers my AOL member Hometown Site. But good luck finding it.

If I can find a printout or an ancient floppy with the files, I will upload them again to gamurgy.com, but in the meantime it’s all new games, baby!

So, welcome to “Gamurgy.com”!

“A game site in existence since last century!”

Barely.

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