Late into the week critical week, i was idly flipping with Twitter, as one does, when I saw this tweet:

Bonus_Stage_UK followed me, yet I hear you men used come be referred to as Brash Games. Ns think most video game journalists remember your shitty plot of removed bylines and also editing posts. Needless to say, i don't need the extra follower the bad.

You are watching: Brash games paul ryan

— Stephen Wilds (

Now I’ve only been doing a loosened approximation of games writing for a tiny while, comparatively, but I’ve to be consuming it because that a many longer. Folks who have done the same might remember a debacle a couple of years earlier concerning the outlet Wilds is referencing, Brash Games.

Here’s a quick rundown: earlier in the nether age of 2017, Brash gamings was a review site the hired a bunch of freelancers and paid castle in review code, and also then to be caught transforming those freelancers’ scores ~ above games, completely erasing your bylines top top the site, and also pretending those freelancers never ever existed as soon as they left.

The totality purpose of Brash gamings seemed come be, at the very least on paper: we’ll rental anyone looking come review gamings no matter exactly how inexperienced, and we will certainly pay castle in experience — yet fuck lock if they leave, we’ll do it choose they to be never even here.

An independent review score aggregator, open up Critic, quit accepting scores from Brash gamings while they go an investigation right into these practices, and also ultimately concluded the they weren’t walk to use the site as part of your aggregator formula anymore.

Immediately after being exposed in these shady practices, the site went up because that sale.

You can think that’s the finish of it, except what was really going on was the site’s owner, a male named Paul Ryan, to be actually starting a whole brand-new project top top the exact same premise. Girlfriend guessed it, that’s Bonus Stage.

Shortly ~ Brash gamings shut down, Bonus stage popped up.

“But Bonus Stage has actually a fully different Editor-in-Chief!” you could be wondering. Yeah, the does. It’s a dude named Lewis Baglow who obtained this project literally ideal out that college. I don’t know if he’s being payment to run the site; he certainly is doing content over there, so that’s something.

But come here, I want to display you something. It’s a couple screenshots, one indigenous Thursday evening and one indigenous Sunday afternoon, together I compose this, in fact.

This is a screenshot i made on Thursday. Note the surname of the editor: Callum James (CJ). This is no a genuine person, by any kind of reasonable assumption.And here’s a screenshot indigenous literally just now. Notice: Callum James is gone. Weird, right?

On Twitter, Bonus Stage has put a call-out because that writers. They desire you to email Callum at editor (at) BonusStage dot co period uk. So ns went ahead and I sent an inquiry their method on Thursday. Here’s what it said:


I to be a freelance video game reporter from the united States. I experienced your profile on Twitter, and I experienced your advertisement for new writers to join your site. I do have actually a question, as I did part digging and also I’d prefer to make sure I’m no submitting mine resume come the not correct place.

I experienced that your existing Editor-In-Chief has remained in the position because 2018, and also entered that position presumably ideal after finishing college. Yet ns couldn’t uncover much top top Callum James, the stated Editor that Bonus Stage. The just hits that came up were from a singer and also a financial data firm. Likewise, when I searched for senior Reporter Liam Pritchard, I found a Footballer. Yet his posts go ago to 2011.

Probably most concerning to me is the
bonus_stage_uk, your site’s twitter feed, was started in 2010 but doesn’t have actually a tweet native it until 2014. The tweet is a retweet of who repping your story native a site dubbed Brash Games.

Brash Games’ reputation among freelancers precedes it. Is Bonus phase an offshoot of that former site? Is it a renewal of that site? does Bonus phase take writers’ names turn off of clips when they leave?

Thank you for your time,

Trevor Hultner

Thursday, July 25, 2019 in ~ 6:16 afternoon CDT

Was it subtle? not particularly. Was ns expecting something back? likewise no! Listen, periodically you gotta shoot your shot also when the expectations of reward room slim come none. Thankfully, in this instance I was aided by none other than the mail delivery bot that exists inside every SMTP and IMAP server. Behold:


And there it is.

Bonus stage is for sure the previous Brash Games. Paul Ryan is still there, behind the scenes, despite hiding his name. Perhaps he’s learned native his mistakes; but if Liam Pritchard is what i think that is (a repository for every the stories written by freelancers that leave Bonus Stage, and also not a person) then probably not.

Oh, and also as y’all observed above, we reached out for comment however did no hear ago from anyone in ~ Bonus phase by publishing time.

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P.S. Right here are some videos from movie critic Jim Sterling on the totality debacle because that some an ext context.