RolePlayerUSA.com (also known as RoleplayerUSA and RPUSA) was a website and organization that worked closely with the Simming League, and later became a bureau of the League. It was responsible for running League websites, serving as a public face of the Simming League on the internet, and developing content for the simming community.
Throughout its history, RoleplayerUSA published information about the simming community. Initially, this consisted of a directory of clubs. Later, a separate directory for individual sims was established. In both cases information was supplied by the club or game in question and placed online by RoleplayerUSA staff. In a twist on traditional recruiting ads, which tended to feature games looking for players, RoleplayerUSA provided a section for players seeking a game to post an ad.
RoleplayerUSA also worked to establish a community among simmers. In 1999, RolePlayerUSA assisted the Simming League in organizing the first Tournament of Simulations. Other ventures were not as successful. After Secouria Academy closed in December 2000, RolePlayerUSA attempted to organize its own simming academy, but this failed to attract interest and was abandoned. The RolePlayerUSA site also provided message board and an irc room, but these were sparsely utilized.
RolePlayerUSA enjoyed success publishing a newsletter - the RoleplayerReview - throughout 1999 and into 2000. In addition to RolePlayerUSA news, the Review featured news from simming organizations and essays written by prominent simmers. RolePlayerUSA made several attempts at producing an audio segment (what today would be called a podcast), but no audio shows were ever recorded.
In addition, RolePlayerUSA provided free web hosting to simming organizations, and hosted the Simming League website and message boards from 2001 through 2003. Prior to the creation of the League website, the League was confined to America Online, making RolePlayerUSA the public face of the League on the internet.
RolePlayerUSA was launched on August 27, 1998, by Michael Lupino, head of the Sliders sim group. Over the years several people assisted Mike in running RPUSA, most notably Ken Gillis, Jon Shuni, and Chas Hammer.
Although started as an independent venture, RolePlayerUSA worked closely with the Simming League, and in July 1999 merged into the League, becoming a Simming League bureau. Under the League political system, only independent organizations that ran sims could hold a voting membership in the League's governing body, the Sim Senate. Simming League bureau's and entities that provided services to the simming community were ineligible for membership in the Senate. However, in 2001, in recognition of RolePlayerUSA's service to the League and the community, the Simming League constitution was amended to give RolePlayerUSA a voting seat in the Senate. In 2002, RolePlayerUSA shared a Simming Prize with the Web Development Bureau of the Simming League "For providing news, information, and services to the simming community."
Despite the partnership, relations between RolePlayerUSA and the League grew strained. The League wanted RolePlayerUSA to develop content geared towards the simming community. Michael desired to expand into covering video games, and Michael's deputy, Ken Gillis, intended for RolePlayerUSA to become a regulatory body for simming. RolePlayerUSA also suffered from a lack of staff that made it unable to develop and implement more ambitious proposals, such as conducting a census of simming, developing standards for simming syntax, and running a simming academy.
In 2002, Jon Shuni launched a competing site, Diaspora Games. Michael took the creation of Diaspora Games very personally, which led a short but heated public outcry against Diaspora Games.
In July 2002, Michael began an upgrade to RolePlayerUSA that took the site offline until the autumn. When RolePlayerUSA returned, it boasted a new interface that allowed individuals to create an account and post information. Unfortunately, the refurbished site saw little use. The upgrade to RolePlayerUSA also took the League website offline for an extended period - and between this and continued friction over the direction of RolePlayerUSA - members of the League did not return to RolePlayerUSA once its upgrade had been completed.
Throughout this period, Diaspora Games grew steadily. On August 6, 2003, Michael - looking ahead to attending college in the fall - stepped aside and transferred RolePlayerUSA to his long time deputy, Ken Gillis. Weeks later, the League ended its relationship with RolePlayerUSA and transferred its website and forums to the servers of Diaspora Games. Soon after, Ken shut down RolePlayerUSA and allowed the domain registry to lapse.
In 2009, the RolePlayerUSA.com domain name was purchased, but no site has yet been created. The current owners have no relationship to the RolePlayerUSA of 1998 to 2003.
- 2002 Simming Prize