Thursday, 5 March 2009

New poll added.

With the recent uproar regarding the current state of Abandonware rings, I've added a new poll. Please vote if this subject is of any interest to you. I've seriously been thinking about bringing back EchoRing or starting a completely new ring.

Your input is appreciated as always - that is, if anyone is out there.


Anonymous said...

How would your ring be different?

Let me first throw this out - with the availability and ease of RSS feeds, delivered to subscribers automatically, are webrings even needed anymore? Putting aside the possibility of the webring as a community, do we actually need central pages that alert people of updates anymore?

With that in mind, how would your ring be different than the ones that exist now?

The Saint said...

Good question and good to see you posting here after quite a while!

It wouldn't be different - running a ring would just be an alternative way to boost my self-confidence and stroke my ego, so I could push my members about and periodically update - whilst telling you about how my day has been and what I plan to eat.

I'm joking of course. How would it be different? I'd bring back the 'auto-update' mechanism, where webmasters wouldn't need to use a update form - because I'd check members everyday (just as EchoRing did before) - that would save webmasters time AND maintain the quality of the ring by weeding out dead and rule-breaking links.

Not enough?

Reviews. Reviews of members sites and ratings - thus somewhat attempting to help webmasters and give them kudos on their efforts.

Apart from that; daily updates. News updates that actually inform you of who and what has updated.

I'm not trying to make it look like I'm throwing my hat in the race for 'Abandonware Jesus' but these are basic things webrings should be providing. I think what I'm trying to attempt to do here; is try and create a community again. I mean, point me to a central Abandonware forum that is buzzing?

Everytime I come back to this scene it's like the aftermath of a zombie-attack - we need to do something about this and having a quality webring noticing and promoting quality websites (such as yours) is going to help motivate webmasters to get more active and involved once again.

Anonymous said...

I admit that your proposals sound nice. They also seem to be affecting the number of people voting for "HELLS YES, we need a new ring!" Let me think up some more hard-hitting questions before I let you off the hook.

Most of the rings now appear to struggle with the original admin being long-gone or rarely available, limiting existing updaters from cutting or adding to the site list. How would your ring address this? Bluntly, there was a six or so month period where you flaked on this very site... if that were to have happened with your ring, what measures would be in place to prevent it from being a problem?

Reviews of sites help. I think every webmaster fundamentally wants to believe their site matters or makes a difference (especially in such an inactive, distracted, maybe even bored scene). It's a stronger draw to get off your ass and produce something when you know others await it and appreciate it. Reviews of sites is a good start - do you have any other ideas for such site recognition, or something to otherwise promote a community?

Finally, do you intend for this ring to be a focal point for the scene? If so, how would you actively encourage that? How would your ring draw webmasters out of their own little silos in a way other than competing for top site marks and favorites?

The Saint said...

Good questions indeed - much appreciated aswell.

To address your first question; yes AWGaz was inactive for a while on different ocasions - but no one is reliant on the news here; it's more of a coffee-break read, if there is no news to report - then at least the visitor has the possibility of reading previous articles and comments. Running a ring is different (as you know) - that needs updating everyday. I've always gone on the motion that everyone that is involved in the updating of a site should have the exact same admin rights as myself. But quite frankly, if *I* myself could not dedicate time to a ring which was becoming blatently obvious - and my co-webmaster(s) did not have the passion, then like in my previous incarnations - it would simply not be good enough and it would be called a day. To leave a ring dormant and other sites linking to it, with the possibility of dead links, porn pop-ups and as such - would be out of the question.

Apart from reviews what I was always a fan of, and told Bobosama to do with the previous EchoRing was monthly awards. I believe this is quite a nice token of appreciation and motivation for webmasters, whilst bringing to light their efforts and hard-work.

Lastly; I believe in being socialist in a capitalist enviroment. Having a new ring in place is competition for the exsisting ones, and is 'food for thought' for would-be ring masters - by introducing a new ring, there well might be a chance that it ups the ante and sets a standard for rings in general. I'm fully against favourtism of any form and believe that all sites are equal - just because your a big website and you update, along with 8 others smaller sites - doesen't mean I'll just mention the big one.

Martin Hasan said...

For example, like AR does. If you check out the site listing, and you see the sites in bold and check who the webmaster is you can pretty much notice how unfair that system works.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this ring could be a winner. When you do start?

The Saint said...

JManJGR: I'm thinking by the end of the week now. I've got a close friend coding the php for it and then it will be all 'stations-go'.

Can I count on your membership?

poorgod said...

I think rings are now obsolete.
I'll take this a step further now, and will say that aw sites should be obsolete too.
Honestly, with HOTU gone, i don't have any hope left for the so called abandonware scene. There are some very good sites, fantastic reviews and features in them etc. But when we look at things from a different angle and see "abandonware" as a "preservation project" we all did a terrible job. Until now, i could say "well, there is hotu, and there are others, and it's working ok" but with hotu gone, the rest is, no matter how good they individually are, is crap. Seriously. The only decent project i encountered recently was the joywiki, and it did not attract the attention it should have, and now it seems dead anyway.
The scene is full with ego, selfishness and stuff like that.
As an abandonware addict, I simply don't want to visit rings, check if my favorite sites are updated, see if anom has written a new review, or say "wow, that site has damn long reviews and so many screenshots" or anything like that.
I agree that there has to be a central point for the scene, but that should not be a ring, that should be a website. Like hotu, but better, in a wiki way. Collaborative.
Impossible at this stage? Yeah, i think so. I simply can't see webmasters of leading aw sites "donating" their content to a central "abandonware project" and work on it together.
I hope someone will make this possible at some stage.

Anonymous said...

Well, of course a ring is just for people interested on the ring, like everything. Seriously, saying that the end is nigh serves, well, quite little on anywhere.

There is little people interested on it? Why, yes, of course. Does it matter? Well, I know people who makes a living of things even less people is interested on. So making webpages about abandonware won't do any harm.

Just don't just say this is all dead because a webpage died, stop saying "the scene" like a teenager who things everybody watches him.

We are here for the games. Everybody is here for the games. Reviews, images, discovering... everything goes around the games, and people still shares and even plays to these games.

Look for example at the spanish abandonware pages, they have ugly, and I mean UGLY webpages that seem to have been done on half an hour, yet there are lots of people using wathever they have to share these old games.

So is abandonware dead? Who cares? We are still interested on it, and these games still exist.

poorgod said...

I've never been misunderstood more than this before. Maybe I'm lacking communication skills or maybe it's simply my insufficient English. I don't know.

Anonymous said...

poorgod: You mean that no other site has archived abandonware like HOTU did? I would agree with that in terms of scale, but Abandonia is getting up there. I have said before that HOTU was the juggernaut that didn't inspire people to work harder - quite the opposite actually. "Why would I add ___, HOTU's got it already."

If that's not what you meant, then in the face of "now that HOTU is gone, everything else is crap," I think Wandrell's response was right on.

Saint: I'll have to see it in action, but I think you've got my support.

poorgod said...

That's -to some point- what i meant. Hotu is gone, maybe it will come back, maybe it won't. Abandonia might get there, or it might not. It might go down tomorrow, and all content in it might be lost. Those things happen. When i was actively involved in abandonware -that's almost 9 years before - things were more a lot more lively. Many rings, many many more websites. Anom from joystick was a teenager, now he's got a child. How long do you think he will keep maintaining the joystick. Not long. Do you think his child will work on an abandonware site? I don't think so. Will any of our childs will? I'd say, hardly, and that's to be optimistic. Why should they? They didn't actually live in the ages, they didn't actually play those games what we call abandonware now. Why whould they try to preserve them? I guess where i'm trying to get is, individual websites close down. This way or another. Now, since hotu is gone, can anyone guarantee me that not a single game was lost? There were some games on hotu that you couldn't find anywhere else. This is where i agree with JManJGR. People should have not said that "Why would I add ___, HOTU's got it already." Now, if there is even one single game, completely lost, not accessible by the public; we have a problem.
What we need, in my opinion, is not more websites, more rings etc. Careful, i'm not saying that there shouldn't be any, but i'm saying that we should have other priorities, like eliminating the possibility of games getting "lost". Individual efforts are what drives, has driven, and will drive abandonware forward. But i believe we also need a central, a communal, a collaborative effort too. Look at this, saint is listing Da Fast Lane as rivals. I simply cannot understand how you can be rivals. More importantly, why? Isn't the whole point of abandonware preserving those games? What rivalry can come out of that? Abandonware is a culture, and it's a part of our culture this way or the other.
Ahhhh, this post has gone too long. Briefly, what i'm trying to say is, as much as we need individual effort, we also need a community effort to preserve those games, a central server to keep the games, reviews, screenshots, actually everything, so when hotu goes down, we don't lose anything, so if abandonia goes down, we don't lose anything. So if a crappy looking spanish site goes down, we don't lose anything. I believe all those games are pieces of art and they should be kept safe like any other form of art. I see those reviews as a some form of literature, as some sort of history, and they should be kept safe. No individual effort can be as much effective as something the abandonware community would build together, if preserving the games is the important matter here. If it's getting hits, getting more members, getting more sites to join our ring etc. is the important thing, however, it's a whole different matter. Not that there is anything wrong with it... it's just a different matter.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with you, your own logic dooms a central abandonware site to die too. If nobody's kids play abandonware, then nobody will care enough to pick up the torch for anything.

Now I've heard this "abandonware will eventually die out" argument before, but think about it - you don't know. I don't know. No one has any idea what abandonware will or will not do. Why? Because WE represent pretty much the first generation of gamers. People in our age group built up the abandonware scene because there basically were no videogames before our time. I know that makes it seem like we're the only generation that cares, but we simply don't know enough yet to know if that's true.

Under your logic, no one would watch a movie more than 20 years old. While that may be true for the mainstream, and what encourages these endless remakes, saying that NO ONE has an interest in Hitchcock's work, or the Marx Brothers, or hell, even something more recent like (the original) French Connection? I'm not buying that. Those movies always have a following with interested individuals, and always have a place for self-proclaimed historians, learning, or anyone with an open mind. Same thing with gamers, game developers, and anyone interested. I think it's more likely these old games will be taught, studied, and dissected in universities in the future than completely forgotten.

As for sites going down, I really think that's up to the webmaster. I've always said anyone is free to pillage JGR's reviews after I announce I quit, or if months go by without word and it looks like I carked. I hope someone would actually do it, and I hope the reviews have enough value that someone could keep using them. I think something like that is potentially more valuable - agreeing to look out for each other's work (just like Creo did with HOTU) moreso than trying to pool it into The Big Damn Site.

I'm not opposed to the idea of pooling toward a central resource, mind you, there's just a lot to work out. First being if it even needs to be done.

poorgod said...

Now we are talking about the same thing. But there is a difference between movies and games: Preservation! That's my whole paint actually, my son or even my grand-grand-grandson will be able to go to a huge dvd store, or simply check out, and buy all the Hitchcock movies he/she wants! Or simply visit the school library and borrow them. But Loom? Alien Breed? Cannon Fodder? Elite? Or more rare titles that we can hardly find now? They will play, or maybe simply take a look at them, only if they can access them. Will they be able to read stuff about games which were written when those games were actually played? Written by people who actually played them when they first came out? I get a smile on my face when i think of a young boy, 50 years from now, checking Another World, and reading maybe a long dead man telling: "When Another World came out, the graphics were simply a revolution for us. It was maybe the first game that employed such an use of cinematography", and laugh his a** off? That's what i'm talking about here.
Here is an idea, for starters, i haven't really thought of it in depth, it just popped out to my mind: Can't abandonware site owners buy/rent themselves a central download server? Store their files in it? So if a website goes down, files are preserved. Others go on. No historical loss. Or stuff like this, i don't know...

Anonymous said...

Right, a central server hosting all the files. This has got to be the WORST idea I've ever heard. Putting aside for a moment that it would solve absolutely nothing (as obviously, someone would still have to be the one paying the bills, and what if that person disappears?), you're actually suggesting to introduce a single point of failure? Sure, that has always worked out great in the history of IT.

Seriously: Decentralized systems have been proven to be more reliable time and time again. Sure, you'll still lose something if one node goes down, but at least it'll only be a fraction of the overall thing.

Oh, and a final remark on the preservation thingy: JMan's movie analogy was actually spot-on. While your grandson might still be able to buy Hitchcock movies, the vast majority of movies is already unavailable right now. Same situation with games: Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge is publically shown (and preserved) in a museum. Most games aren't.

Anonymous said...

To clarify: If your point is that people should 'team up' in some other way, I'm all for it. That's as far as it goes, though.

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The Saint said...

Working together towards a common goal is great in theory, but in pragmatic terms - I don't think it would materialise. Sure, HOTU would not of been as nearly as good, without the plethora of contributions it got from other people and so on - but look how that turned out in the end.

My point is; competition is what makes the quality of things better. People want to 'better' themselves and it raises the bar of standard. I think it's a formula that has worked well previously and if we do lack anything at the moment it's not solidarity - but competition.

Anonymous said...

You could have competition inside the centralized site. Between submitters and such.

I'm not sure if open competition is really what people want though. Remember the Review Roundup? It went from "Everyone submits a review and the best gets an award" to "We'll drop the award" to "No one is participating so let's give up."

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