The Longform — Winner of $25k in 2018 UP/Start Competition

Browse the racks at any major book store and you’ll find specialty publications dedicated to everything from music and fashion to food, art and video games. But a publication dedicated entirely to the gaming culture and lifestyle? It doesn’t exist, says J.S. Gleason ’18 (Interactive Arts B.F.A.).

“Most outlets treat games solely as a product when each individual game is in truth the result of hours upon hours of artistry, design and production,” he said.

That’s why Gleason and Nick Clinkscales ’17 (Interactive Arts B.F.A.) founded The Longform — an online, Baltimore-based media platform that seeks to empower the diverse and ever-growing community of those who play, create, and love games. Their efforts garnered a $25k in funding during the 2018 UP/Start Venture Competition finals on April 4.

“Our main goal is to provide entertainment and media coverage that revolves around games and gaming as a lifestyle,” Gleason said.

The duo also wants to help foster the connection between game fans and creators.

Gleason and Clinkscales came up with the idea after developing virtual reality games together at MICA.

“The more we saw of the wider community of gamers we realized that being a fan and a gamer had its own culture and lifestyle, but there was no publication — online or physical — that appealed to this side of the industry in any meaningful way.”

Most of the Longform’s content, including feature stories about the competitive e-sports scene, creators of popular games and even new technologies impacting the field, will be free. Annual memberships will also be available for a small fee, giving members extra content, fewer ads, access to a special online forum section, the ability to vote on a monthly documentary subject and discounts off merchandise provided through potential partners and affiliates.

“Our intention is to take a look at the trends, the reverence, the creators, the design, the artistry and everything in between to empower the fan community and appeal to what they care about most,” Gleason said. “We want to be a platform for them.”

Gleason and Clinkscales will use their prize money to continue developing the business and produce more content.