We don’t take kindly to foreign checkers ’round these parts.
A lot of people ask us how Gamervescent got started, and as the official Gamervescent historian, it’s my duty to tell you the story. The whole story.
Gamervescent has been around for longer than you think. It was started by Jennifer Culp’s great-great-grandmother Bernice Culp. A game enthusiast from an early age, Bernice started Gamervescent when she wasn’t tending to the family bee hive (the Culps were bee ranchers who dabbled in gaming).
Of course, video games didn’t exist back then, so she wrote about games like backgammon, cribbage, checkers, and competitive marbles. Every week, readers raced to their mailboxes to read up on the latest gaming news. Here’s an example:
Pals, have you seen the latest new thing? It’s called Lincoln Logs, and it’s the cat’s pajamas.
And then she ran out of room because Bernice wrote kind of big and post cards are little bitty and required room for a stamp and a proper address.
Bernice loved what she did. Once a week, she handed her stack of handwritten post cards to the mailman who carried them off for delivery as near as next door and as far away as the edge of town. Back then , Gamervescent had a healthy readership of 27 people, including the schoolteacher and the town’s mayor. Each fall, Bernice held a “Game Con” at the general store, and the townspeople gathered around the cracker barrel for a few friendly rounds of Cat’s Cradle and tiddlywinks before heading home to supper. Some creative game fans even dabbled in early cosplay, showing up as Henry O. Pinocle and the cop from Stop Thief.
Everything was going great for Bernice.
And then…Eula May moved to town.
Eula May Bryan, Bethany Bryan’s great-great-grandmother, was also a game enthusiast. But rather than sending out postcards to her fans, she wrote long, angry letters to her nephew in Branson about how games could be improved. Some of her suggestions included the loser being electrocuted at the end of a game of checkers and Cat’s Cradle played using live garter snakes as string. Back then, people referred to her type as a “firecracker.” Nowadays, she’d be called “mentally unstable.”
It wasn’t too long after Eula May moved to a house down the block from Bernice before she caught wind of all of the Gamervescent goings on about town. And Eula May wanted in. She was new in town, she was lonesome, and worst of all, letters to her nephew in Branson had begun to be returned to her unopened (because her nephew had been killed in the war back in 1916, and nobody told poor Eula May).
One morning Eula May showed up at Bernice’s door with a freshly baked huckleberry pie. She laid out her intention to help Bernice by submitting her ideas in a weekly column. Bernice, polite as ever, told her thank you but no thank you and sent her on home. But Eula May would not be dissuaded.
From that day onward, every week Bernice would drop her post cards into the hands of the postman. He would head down the block to Eula May’s to pick up her mail. She would invite him in for pie, and when he wasn’t looking, she would take the post cards from the mail bag. Eula May would spend the afternoon adding her own game ideas in the margins. Things like “RUSSIAN ROULETTE MEETS HOPSCOTCH” and “WINNER TAKES CUSTODY OF LOSER’S CHILDREN.” The next morning, she’d hand him the post cards “he’d dropped by accident” with another slice of pie and an innocent smile. The postman would then deliver the cards, none the wiser.
By the time Bernice realized what was going on, her readership had gone up to 50, and she had readers as far away as the county seat. Eventually, she just gave up and invited Eula May over every week to discuss games and the week’s content. Gamervescent has been going ever since, now run by Jenn and Bethany, having forgotten the “feud that almost was” almost 100 years ago.
Now you know the whole story.