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[PlayByMail.Net Interview] Rich Van Ollefen of Flying Dutchman Games
PDF version of the PlayByMail.Net interview with Rich Van Ollefen.
That was a REAL interesting articel.
Thanks for that Grimm!
Sure would be a good thing if Rich Ollefens game could be resurrected...
Yea, interesting read. Thanks for recording those memories Grim.
I asked if he would be interested in doing a follow-up interview, but I never got a response.
sure, I'll do a follow up. Just got busy for a while
Welcome Rich van Ollefen!
(03-17-2011, 07:22 PM)vanollefen Wrote: sure, I'll do a follow up. Just got busy for a while

Rich Van Ollefen - man, welcome aboard! This is truly, truly a great day. I figured that maybe you just didn't want to bother with being pestered with too many questions, because the good LORD knows that me and at least several others on this site could ask you question after question.

None of us want to run you off, of course, nor scare you away, nor hog too much of your time (except for Walter, maybe). It's just that you're more of a jewel to us than the Great Jewels in the Quest for the Great Jewels of old. You have memories and recollections that are the PBM equivalent of pure platinum. Granted, there may be a lot that you have forgotten or can't recall, right now. But, there's also likely stuff that you could tell us, share with us, even if it is just bits and pieces, that we would be on edge for. It's not that we've gone raving mad. Rather, it's just a topic that we find to be very interesting, even after all these years.

Back in the day, you were a colorful persona in PBM. Well, from my vantage point as a nobody in the industry, a single face in the throngs of PBM's thousands. You had a great name. Your company had a great name. There was just a certain mystique about you, back then. Going to a convention, particularly a PBM convention, and meeting you and other PBM moderators was simply not in the realm of possibility for many of us, way back then. In PBM circles, you were important. Whether you felt like one of the big guys in PBM or not, to people like me, you were one of the big guys. You were right in the top circle, the upper tier.

Finding you to ask if you would do an interview was great. You doing the interview was great, too - even better, in fact, because you gave us in PBM circles something tangible, and after all these years, too.

Now, you even make time to drop by the site, here, and you then take time to register. Plus, you then go the extra mile, again, and actually bother to post, to join in a discussion or two. Right here! The Flying Dutchman in our very presence. By God, that qualifies as PBM news, wouldn't you say?

I know that people go on with their lives. Hell, I went on with my life, too. Some of you former PBM big shots, if I can call you that without it being a derogatory term, some of you have done pretty well for yourselves. Man, that's a great thing, I think. Sure, real life is more important than PBM, but PBM is entertainment. There was some real quality entertainment in play by mail circles, back in the day, back in the era of PBM.

Perhaps the very best part of play by mail plummeting off a cliff some time back, is that a site like this isn't overrun with people. Instead, it's possible to have some meaningful dialogue on PBM with someone like Terry (site user Victory), and on the same day, end up getting hit with a surprise visit by a former PBM celebrity like yourself, Rich.

Play by mail might sure as Hell have had better days, but I certainly think that, whatever else might be said about the hobby, PBM sure isn't dead, today. Not today! Today is a good day for play by mail. For me, it's the best day in PBM in a long, long while.

For that, I thank you, sir!

I'm gonna get an ego if you keep it up. I was a one man operation that just really enjoyed the whole genre, very much like many others back then.
(03-18-2011, 03:06 PM)vanollefen Wrote: I'm gonna get an ego if you keep it up. I was a one man operation that just really enjoyed the whole genre, very much like many others back then.

Oh, I know and understand that many, many PBM companies were one man operations back then. I was, too, except that I didn't advertise and I didn't go the commercial route. I didn't even form or declare myself to be a PBM company. I finally had to start charging my players for the postage to send their turn results to them, due to player growth, but I can certainly relate to the enjoyment part of it. I didn't attend any conventions, though. I wanted to, but I just couldn't see driving so far, and asking for time off of work, in order to attend.

The thing about you, Rich, for myself (and probably for people like me) is that what distinguishes you from the bulk of PBM moderators is that you are memorable. Heck, I never even played any of your company's games, but recall wondering about this Rich Van Ollefen fellow. He's the Flying Dutchman. Even Rick Loomis isn't the Flying Buffalo.

You were, or became in my mind, your company's moniker, it's fabled character, it's namesake. Granted, to others involved in PBM's moderator herd back then, your stature may not have been what it was with me. But, while I can name some PBM moderators from the old days, most of them I wouldn't probably know, now, even if you named them for me.

You may view your role in the overall PBM scheme of things to be rather modest, Rich, and that's understandable. The facts would probably even bear that out. But, nonetheless, yours is one of the most recognizable names in all of PBM, even all these many years later.

A one man operation, indeed! You were - and are - the Flying Dutchman.

The only down side to it is that we who gather here want to dissect your brain. Relax, though - it's only your PBM memories that we're after.

At least, for now...
Great set of interviews and memories...

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