Thursday, September 8, 2016
Jaded Gamer - What I miss.
Since the advent of the publicly accessible internet there have been gamers using it. Hell there were gamers using it before most of the world had even heard of such a thing. One period of that time is something that I really miss... a lot. I often refer to it as the 'wild west' of the world wide web. Let me talk about that a bit.
Do you remember Geocities, WBS, xoom, etc. You know all those sites where you could host a little webpage on for free. Maybe a couple of ads would pop up (or none if you did the html right) but the cost was absolutely nothing. Yeah, those were the days. There were so many webpages for gaming there was absolutely no way of going through even a small percentage of them. Just type into a search engine and see what comes up for your favorite game. Or, better yet, was when you found a webring for pages dedicated to your favorite game. Early rough edged forum services were all over the place, again for free, just begging for people to use them. Everybody who had a page had a section of weblinks to other pages, sometimes sprawling long lists. Your measure of success was how many hits your little counter racked up and how many people linked back to your work.
Yeah... those were the days. I loved digging through all that, sifting out the diamonds from the dirt. Copy pasting the awesome shit to print out for use at your table. All while trying to promote my own pages. People were using scanned in artwork from wherever they could find it. Not to mention all the little moving gifs as well (I had a chains hanging in fire gif that was so cool back in the day....). Or finding a listserv to share what were working on with others of the same interest.
The online gaming community felt so much more alive back then. You could see other people trying to hand their ideas out to whoever would listen. Working together to create a fanbase for their favorite game (fist bump to all the veterans of the Kult listserv out there).
Some game companies loved this era. The amount of fans they could reach out to AND the number of fans that would freely promote their games. Some companies even put out promotional kits for people running webpages. They had logo's, some art and such for you to use for free. Hell it was free promotion so why not? I really wish more companies would do that today.
I miss this era of online gaming community. Though I understand what happened and why it started to die. Companies discovered there really was no money in hosting webpages for people so they folded or closed up shop. Dedicated forums began to spring up more and more pulling people to just be interactive there. Finally the dawn of blogging and social media put the nails in the coffin. While there are still some of us who do still host our own pages (or sites now as we pay for them), do our own html and still hope people find their way to our little hole on the web. It's not the same.
I want that wild west back.