If this was a YT video this would be the part where I’d sit down in a chair, sigh for half a minute and then say “We need to talk”.
Because thats honestly how I feel, just really done and beyond hollow – devastated kinda.
(This is a big rant full of me trying to focus my thoughts in a meaningful way but I already know its going to be a lot of rambling. Sorry in advance.)
Big rambling rant
So Kongregate is cutting a bunch of their social features later this month. July 22. to be more precice and the announcement just came out of nowhere and felt like a slap in the face of everybody. There was no heads-up for mods, devs or anyone it seems.
Jfc, even the staff working at Kong got laid off just like that. No heads-up or proper message.
It sucks so hard. Flash was dying and have been for a while so Kong most likely wouldnt be able to stay around “forever” but getting slapped like this is just awful. Under a month to chat with all of your favorite friends in the non-game rooms.
Some of the sites most unique and amazing features are being thrown away – At this point they might as well just kill the site. It will not be the same without those features at all. Its about to become a shell of what everybody sees as Kongregate. Its soul is being sucked out.
So yeah, I should link the announcement, so here you go. First off, notice the lack of clarification. The staff has been fired so what about Kongpanions, Quests, Challenges or what about… you know what, lets get right to this point too. A brief history lesson;
So back in December 2019 Kong announced a partnership with Forte and the details werent exactly clear, just that it had something to do with the mysterious blockchain-tech. Hooray.
Most people probably forgot about it because nothing happened, except for two weeks ago on June 18. when Kong announced Stickers and Blocks. These new features might have been cool but they arrived buggy and broke a number of other features. Badge of the day wouldnt be awarded, the first Blocks-challenge didnt work etc. It was a complete mess. The feature to report missing badges also didnt work so everybody just kept asking “is it working now!?” in the game chats, which was pretty entertaining tbh. I saw some new faces and noticed the same names in the chat from day to day.
The new features were mostly fixed but the sticker store was broken/buggy and was therefore shut down temporarily(?). So right now a lot of users are sitting on a pile of blocks but dont have any sticker packs to buy with them.
Fast forward to yesterday, July 1. and the mindblowing announcement… just wow. So after all the work on stickers and blocks we have no idea if they’re staying around. Considering the amount of chat rooms being shut down whats the use for stuff meant to be used in… chat rooms.
And yes, some game rooms will stay, yay, but not having non-game room goes straight against the spirit of Kong, connecting with different people across different games.
Another problem right now is who will answer all of the questions because the people who should be facilitating the news are gone or will be soon.
I’m a moderator atm but when the chat rooms goes away, instead of switching all the room moderators to global moderators who could mod the remaining game rooms, we’re just being demodded. The entire mod-team is therefore just gone…
So Kong is left with a few chat rooms and apparently noone to moderate them. Good fucking luck with that.
And what about Kartridge, kongregates game/store client where a bunch of popular Kong-titles were released along with other indie games. A bunch of these had badges carry over from Kongregate.com so no new badges there must mean that this part of Kartridge is also just going to disappear?
Again, an announcement like this really needs to have more clarification because right now there are so many unanswered questions. If this decicion has been anything other than rushed Ill be shocked because thats the only excuse I think can explain how poorly its been handled.
Btw, with non-game rooms going away, that also means that the newly created room meant for showing off stickers is going away. My hope for the stickers is dwindling fast.
They want Kongregate to be an ad-money-generating archive but doing it this way will kill so much of the activity. Its mindboggling that they’re doing something like this.
The chat rooms have attracted so many people and kept them coming back. People have formed friendships so fast and kept coming back to write with those same people. If you cant do that, a large incentive to come back is being removed. Why play games on Kong when other sites also have the games?
Same with not doing more badges. I remember when I first started on Kong people had this tradition where a lot of players would post when they got medium/hard/impossible badges and everybody would congratulate each other and talk about the games. It was so fucking wholesome. Thats never making a comeback now.
No matter how frustrated I am by the announcement I should be fair and also talk about the activity dropping. I spent most of my time in the Danish chatroom and the activity has been dropping a lot. Theres like 10 regulars who keeps coming back talking to eachother with a bunch of lurkers/non-chatters. Just a handful of years ago the chat would almost feel flooded because of the amount of active people.
But in response to activity dropping they could go and do what they did when the Norwegian room was shut down. They were allowed in the Danish chat room so it was a combined Danish/Norwegian chat room in the end. I only saw few Norwegians active in the chat but we could have just had a combined Scandinavian chat room.
But really, it feels like a recreation of this, someone is standing ready to pull the plugs. Kong was headed towards its final years yep, but seriously… “Not like this”.
In case people dont know what Kongpanions are, each day a badge on the site is chosen as “Badge of the day”, if you get one of these in a week, you get that weeks Kongpanion. When you get five BOTDs your Kongpanion becomes shiny.
I have all the Kongpanions in shiny edition, all 339 of them. (A couple are from events) but thats still around 339 weeks of checking in at least 5 days a week. Thats over 6 years of me coming back to grab or earn a badge and write with people in chat + moderate it. Im not trying to act or sound entitled here but its more to show that Kongregate has and will always mean a lot to me.
I know Im an outlier but Kong has always been about getting people to come back and Im certain that wont happen as much with the coming changes. Which sucks because that means that its less likely that people will get to experience all the great stuff I have because of Kongregate.
So I think thats my rant on the recent announcement. It stinks and will likely cause activity to drop a lot which will probably be used to justify shutting down the site completely. Removing core features of a site is a serious move and in this case clearly the wrong one. Most of all I feel bad for the staff that was laid off like that. Not only do they lose their jobs but they have to see their work being ruined like this.
My story with Kong
And I’d like to add a more personal story which is the kind of stuff I feel sad knowing probably wont happen again on Kong.
So when I first arrived on Kongregate I played without an account because I didnt get why I should make one. I didnt create one on the other sites with flash games. I then made my account on 15. of december 2007 because I got something called a badge, like what was that. So I got something for clearing objectives in games, thats cool.
I spent a lot of time in an English chat room along with a school friend and we met this particular user who turned out to be a 40+ years old female British school teacher and we had a blast writing with each other about the games, badges etc.
Some time passes and one time when I logged in I was placed in a Danish chat room so naturally I stayed there. Here I lurked for quite some time but I saw so many friendly Danes doing roleplay and just being awesome. There was this user who had “dragon” in their username and people would roleplay riding them around. It sounds silly and it was but everybody loved it.
Then I started writing and got sucked in so hard. I couldnt stop, I really felt like I had found my place with all these lovely folks.
My memory is not the best so it feels like a giant blurry mess and I know Im mixing a lot of different users together because so many new users arrived while others left. I just stayed and watched them come and go. I had fun meeting new folks, introducing them to kong, telling them which games were fun, which badges were easy etc.
There were also a fair number of trolls, one even became a moderator which was really awkward. It did fit with the times though because later that mod was buddy buddy with one user that switched over and became one of the giant nuisances in history of the Danish chat room. Were talking constant harassment, multiple users, constant banning, teaming up with other users etc. He was a menace.
Anyways this was also around the time I first met up with another Kong user in rl. We met at an McDonalds and we had joked about her needing a sign so I could recognise her. When I arrived I saw this girl slamming a cardboard sign on the window and we instantly became close friends outside of Kong.
Around this time I was also starting to fall for this other girl in the Danish chat room and I was certain she felt the same way. We wrote a lot every day but when I finally told her how I felt she said she saw me more as a close friend. I had made the friendship quite awkward with my confession so the friendship slowly dissolved.
And while this was going on, like holy shit – So much was happening at the same time! But while this was going on I was writing a lot with this guy who also just spent all day on Kong. We became good friends and one day he made his GF sign up because she was just playing on Kong anyways, so why not. I said hi right away and ended up friending her on Kong even before he did. (Foreshadowing here)
So we start writing a lot more the three of us along with a couple of other Kong users and its clear that their relationship isnt going that well. I start writing more with her privately about everything, like everything. Our lives, her relationship etc. We became very close friends and she even encouraged me to confess how I felt to the other girl who turned me down.
When they broke up both me and her realised that maybe we were a little more than just friends so we arranged to meet and its just… You ever had that feeling of something being just right in every way imagineable. Thats how it felt meeting her. Luckily she felt the same.
Fast forward a year and she spends less time on Kong (She played more games on King, boo her!) but our relationship is still going strong. I move into her parents basement where we decorate it as our own space.
One year later I move out to study in another city so its back to long distance relationship. Its just for a year until she also moves but its one of the toughest times in our lives. We struggled so hard with it because after spending a year together, being apart again, just nope! I use Kong even more in this period to stay connected with all of my friends. When you’re alone in a new city nothing beats having some familiar voices around you like I had through Kong.
Now we skip a lot more and we plan to have a kid. Next thing we know, we have one and after both of us graduate we move again, into this weird apartment with an odd landlord but at least we’re closer to family.
Both of us get work, we’ve started planning another kid and are looking for a house. We find the perfect place and after getting it we’re now just doing great. Everything we could ask for and we’re happy.
So whats the point of having part of my life story out in public here. Kongregate was with me all the way. No matter what was going on I managed to pop in and say hello almost every day. If you think its a sad fact, you dont get that Kongregate.com is/was more than just the games. The people, the conversations, the random chat rooms – It was those unique features that kept me coming back. I love chatting with people about everything from our favorite fruit to what the meaning of life is. Jfc, we’ve given each other relationship advices and seen each other grow up on Kong.
Ive met so many amazing people and also a lot of awful ones – it has shaped me as a person and taught me much about how to deal with others. Both in person and online. So much of my life has been shaped through my time spent on Kongregate and it saddens me that others wont be able to have that same kind of experience in the future.
Nothing lasts forever but it certainly didnt have to end like this.
Kongs been a stable part of my life for years and Im really going to miss it.
trigger-happy lawless cowboy moderator!
Another part I wanna touch on is being a moderator on Kongregate, which I’ll miss. Nothing beats being a tyrannic dictator with unlimited power! Or thats most likely how a number of users will probably describe me and my fellow Danish mods.
Im usually pretty humble but I think its time to be so humble. Im an amazing moderator when you throw me into a chat room. I say that with full confidence after years of experience and a real knack for it. I became a moderator in may 2013 so yeah, 7 years of experience now.
And I say “in a chat room” because I havent been as active in the moderator forums as I should have. I checked them from time to time and asked questions too but I didnt frequent them as much. I could use excuses like rl stuff but tbh I had time, just didnt do it.
But yeah, back to patting myself on the back or actually its patting a lot of moderators on the back because we have all learned so many useful skills.
First off you become Bullshit man with the ability to spot bullshit from miles away. People coming into your chat room to write stupid shit, you get this sixth sense almost. I’ve shut down so many trolls and racists right away because they doing the same dog whistles and using the same tactics.
But even better Ive managed to turn over some trolls to become regular users by reaching out to them after shutting their trolling down. Again you get the ability to spot which trolls can be reached out to and which should just be removed.
There are also so many small tricks I’ve used over the years. Every time I say “CYA” I stick around for a couple of minutes to keep an eye on the chat because Ive seen several trolls wait for mods to leave before going at it. Nothing beats their reaction of “I thought you left!” before they’re silenced.
The rules of Kongregate are pretty straight forward but still leave enough room for moderators to shape their moderation and be flexible in certain situations.
I wrote that a number of users would call us tyrannic dictators and I’ll admit there is a bit of truth to it, a small bit. Ive certainly had my trigger-happy lawless cowboy moments. I wanna play with open hands here so Ill let you know about those moments too. Im not a moderator after July 22. anyways so honestly who cares.
Youre supposed to give every user a warning before silencing them but I’ve had several users that have been warned so many times I just went straight to silencing after some time. With a couple of these users Ive given them a choice right now before our room is gone. If they stick to the rules I’ll leave them alone but if they misbehave its straight to a weekban which means they’ll miss out on precious time.
I dont want to see the rooms last moments be full of crap, so yeah, gloves off now. Ive also called users dumb and other things like that which might not seem like a huge thing but as a moderator you kinda need to be professionel even when having fun with folks. I’ve lost my cool with certain trolls and just banned their new alt accounts right away, whoops.
One of the most important things Ive learned as a moderator though is to be able to apologise when I’ve been in the wrong. The few times Ive made a bad call Ive apologised to the user. One time I even accidently silenced the wrong user because chat moved right as I clicked the username but realised after half a minute. I unsilenced him, apologised, wrote to admins to let them know he didnt do anything wrong in case people looked at his silence/ban history.
Another really important thing about being a moderator is keeping the balance between acting like friendly community manager and a authoritative police officer. Your role changes with every situation and thats also one of the skills you have to learn as a moderator. Figuring out how to approach different people.
In general being a moderator on Kongregate has had its ups and downs. Some of the trolls we’ve had to deal with were pretty toxic, creating hundreds of new accounts to harass us and stuff like that. Other times its been lots of fun meeting new faces, showing them around the site and seeing their excitement when they earn their first badge.
I havent always agreed with the administrators but I kinda get them most of the time. For example when it comes to banning users they’re not happy about banning long-time users and will spent a fair amount of time trying to deal with the problems in other ways first. It was a tough fight to get that one menace removed back in the day but when admins saw his behavior following the ban, they understood it completely. You couldnt reach him in any way.
I think thats all I have to say on this announcement right now. My heads still spinning from trying to process the news but yeah. This super stinks, removing core features like that with such short notice… jfc.
I really want to thank all of my fellow Kongregate users, even the ones I dislike. Youve all been part of what made this site unique. I hope the staff that was laid off gets hired quickly because they really deserve better than this.