Today, most people probably aren’t familiar with Old Man Murray, a gaming and humor website that ran from 1997 to 2002. Its writers and founders may ring a bell, though, as the creative minds behind some of the industry's most critically acclaimed games. Erik Wolpaw was a writer for Psychonauts, Portal 1, and Portal 2. Chet Faliszek was a writer on Left 4 Dead and Portal 1-2. Together, they “invented the internet,” as Scott Pilgrim author Bryan Lee O’Malley put it.
Old Man Murray popularized the anything-goes nihilism of internet culture, search the site's archives, which are still live, and you’ll find a sea of “ironic” Nazi humor (“this way to the gas chamber, retardeds!”), porn, wild-eyed anarchism, disability jokes (like creating a flashing webpage for “the little epileptic Japanese boy or girl inside us all”), racial slurs “I’m Chet and this is my partner and 4-life nigga erik”) and cracks about child abuse. None of this even scratches the surface. Look for yourself, if you're curious
And yet, in all my research for this article and all my years online, I have never come across anyone who hated Old Man Murray. In gaming, it is the most sacred of sacred cows, the still-beating heart of the industry's culture. Many of its fans are today clean-cut and respectable, but OMM remains present as background noise in their work.
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