Blaseball is over, says The Game Band

Born during covid, Bladder was a bizarre text-only fantasy baseball simulator that essentially envisioned baseball as played in a world of alien horrors.

I’m sorry I never got to play Bladderand now it looks like I’m not getting around to it because developer The Game Band quits. The company is suspending its service Bladder development team and will provide them with severance pay, health care extensions and a dedicated staff member for job search assistance.

It was a remarkable example of procedural storytelling. Bladder players could bet on the games to win points during a given week, where chance encounters, Dungeons and Dragonsstyle can tear apart games and reality itself. At the end of the week, BladderThe game’s community could spend their points to vote on new rules for the game, and in true D&D fashion, anything can happen. Or at least that’s what I gather from this delicious summary of what came to be known as The Discipline Era:

As a quick recap of some of the highlights: The Discipline Era saw a hell mouth open and devour the Moab desert, three eldritch gods in the form of a giant peanut, a huge floating microphone that may have been a player’s ghost or something, and , of course a huge squid that seemed to hang around most of the time, but once tried to eat someone. A powerful grand slam destroyed the spacetime continuum, splitting Los Angeles into infinite parallel versions of itself, resulting in the name being changed from The Los Angeles Tacos to The Infinite Tacos.

After angering The Great Shelled One by disrespecting its idols, it buried the three most idolized players in giant peanut shells. The community somehow brought them back to life, and there was some kind of supernatural financial squabble?

There was also crow weather.

Samuel Fung has made a wonderful article for The edge that covers the season from a player’s perspective, and it’s definitely worth a read.

Anyway, from its discontinuation, Bladder‘s developers said this:

That’s short Bladder is not sustainable to run. Since Bladder‘s establishment, we have fought against the amount of work it takes to maintain Bladder true to itself while supporting the team financially and keeping our staff healthy. We’ve tried countless solutions to make it work, and we’ve come to the conclusion that we can’t win this fight in the long run. The costs are literally and figuratively too high.

Bladder developed an incredibly devoted online fandom, one that even launched a merch store full of fan-made clothing, Bladder cards (ahem… TLOPPS cards), mugs and more, with all profits donated to charity. The store will remain open until June 30, 2023 and will then also be closed.

It sounds like it was a wonderful three-year run, and I’m sorry I kept forgetting to be a part of it.