Changes in the Middle Earth Online lawsuit seem to be hitting Sierra’s upper management. On 5/24/01, the case was promoted from Los Angeles county circuit court to the Federal level. Only weeks later, the following internal memo was dispatched to all Sierra associates, including our little chatty blue-bird:



Sent: 6/*/2001 *:** PM

Subject: An announcement from Mike Ryder


In an effort to keep you informed, I want to announce to you today that Mark Hood is no longer with Sierra. As most of you know, Tolkien was a key focus for Mark and it continues to be a very important business for us. In the weeks to come, you will hear more about our plans to move forward on the development of this exciting project. While we continue to develop our strategies, I will be managing the Tolkien business.

Thanks for your support and I look forward to working with you all on building great games!

Mike Ryder

In an effort to keep you informed OF THE TRUTH, be aware that this departure comes with absolutely no prior notice or warning – which can mean only one thing. All compasses are pointing to magnetic FIRED. Sierra’s compasses are all spinning too fast to get a reliable reading. Trust me on this one.

The next move might indicate certain reluctances by Sierra VPs to so much as poke the Middle Earth Online documents with a ten foot pole, as displayed in Sierra Internal Memo #2:



Sent: 6/*/2001 *:** PM



It was with great enthusiasm that we announced a few weeks ago the arrival of two new Sierra executives -Tom Hernquist and Mike Ryder. I am disappointed to announce today that for personal reasons, Tom will not be making the move to Sierra and he and his family will remain on the East Coast. We wish Tom all the best. Effective immediately and until further notice, Mike will oversee the Sierra team.

Ken Cron


Vivendi Universal Games

“what me take responsibility for THAT?! Are you nuts?!” “fine, we’ll stick Mike with it.” The afforementioned conversation actually took place….inside my head. Something similar was taking place inside at least two other heads inside Sierra-On-Line (and can we drop the On-Line now, given that you haven’t had an online product since you fired The Realm team, and even your own website is online roughly 65% of the month?).

Whose job was he afraid to take, why none other than the scourge of computer gaming, the demon of dysfunctional software, the ORIGINAL “T-Shirt” scam-artist, David “Shotgun” Grenewetski has STEPPED DOWN.

Those of you who remember Dave’s claim to fame know full well the saga that was Front Page Sports: Football 99. A product so horribly bad, that David issued THREE PUBLIC APOLOGIES, and dispatched a COMPLETE AND TOTAL RECALL OF THE PRODUCT. Of course, the fact that every retailer was sending the copies back prior to this recall has been lost to history. Dave had a plan, tho. He spoke directly to his most staunch supporters and promised that for the next year, until the 2000 release, the FPS: football ’99 dev team would work with those who kept the product, allowing free access to patched builds, and beta testing boards – to ensure that football 2000 would not be the horrible FRAUD that the 1999 version was. He created “The Home Team” and offered, brace yourself T-SHIRTS TO ANYONE WHO SIGNED UP.

Yes, that’s right – keep the game instead of getting a refund, and you too can wear a white hanes undershirt with a $2.99 iron-on logo that tells the world, “I AND MY MONEY ARE SOON PARTED.” or “I GAVE FIFTY BUCKS TO DAVE GRENEWETSKI AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT.”

Notice to Mr. Grenewetski I STILL DONT HAVE MY FUCKING T-SHIRT!”

Oh – I simply *MUST* give you the end of this story: one month after initiation this “Home Team” system, Dave Grenewetski cancelled it, and fired the ENTIRE SIERRA SPORTS DIVISION. He issued yet another apology (FOURTH). If you’re wondering, this cancellation came exactly ONE DAY after the final valid day in which you could exchange your football ’99 for a full refund. He waited until the most devoted (read: gullible) fans of his products were stuck with it, and then cashed their checks. Thanks, Dave!

So good riddance to one of the pioneers in the “sell them a box of wet rocks” method of software publication. I promised then that I would dance a happy jig of victory when he was finally gone. Too bad that there is nothing left of Sierra, now. He’s leaving scorched earth in his wake. I don’t fault Tom Hernquist one bit for staying very far away from Shotgun’s office.

God bless you, Josh Mandell, wherever you are.

—–Original Message—–

From: Dave Grenewetzki


Sent: 6/*/2001 *:** PM

Subject: A note from Dave Grenewetzki…


On today, my last day in Bellevue, I want to thank each of you for giving me the privilege of working with you over the past three years. It’s been a great ride with both ups and downs – but always fun and challenging. I will miss all of you and the Vivendi Universal Games organization and I’ll have fond memories of my time with Sierra.

My immediate plan is to spend lots more time with my family and a lot less with United Airlines! I’ve also been told by my wife that this will be an excellent opportunity to jump into a number of projects around the house that haven’t gotten much attention in the last few years!

Anyhow, thanks for being great partners and I wish you all well going forward.




This is a banner day for THOUSANDS of old timers

Just go already. now. leave.

and stay gone.

What does all of this mean?
Why, that SHADOWBANE suxs, of course.