Retro Gaming Australia

RGA in 2014: State of the Website Address

by on Jan.04, 2014, under Site

2013 was a challenging yet productive year in all aspects of my life except Retro Gaming Australia. I am disappointed that the website has had to suffer from lack of meaningful updates over the course of the year, but the gains in my life and career have been more significant as a result. There were some positives, but I really feel like I failed to maintain the website to the standard I desire over the course of the year.

Arguably the highlight was PAX, where we assisted with the operation of the Classic Console Area with our friends at Retrospekt, Retro Domination and Australian Retro Gamer. The lowlight, however, was the lack of updates and progress with our features and projects and the obvious effect it has had on our traffic.

To some extent, the website was deprioritised to focus on work and other personal life events, but I have also frankly suffered from a combination of writer’s block and apprehension for a good 18 months when it comes to the site. At several points I considered suspending updates on the site indefinitely, which I should probably have done instead of letting it linger.

As RGA goes into its fifth year, I am struggling with what I want the website to be. There is an internal battle that rages on in my head about what this site needs to be – whether I should write for myself, or run this as an online magazine similar to the websites I have worked on in the past. It has come clear that, as much as we’d like to and have tried, the latter is no longer an option. The time sink is too great. The original intent for it to be a bit of a community hub has not come to pass, but I’ve always been terrible at fostering that kind of thing.

I am leaning towards making the site a bit more personal – certainly I want to discuss old video games in-depth. I think the retro gaming community has become much more focused on the collection aspect – showing off what you bought, rather than why you bought it and what it’s like. Certainly it is becoming a bit exclusionary, with constantly rising prices forcing many out of the hobby. Heck, I don’t think I’ve bought more than a dozen old games (at least in physical form) since 2010. I still like writing the featured content and will attempt to continue to do so – although I struggle with the fact that I think nobody is going to read it, I should really just write this stuff for myself first and foremost, and consider it a nice bonus if someone else digs it.

So, plans for this year:

  • Video Game Ad of the Day will resume, albeit at the proper frequency
  • The amount of news we publish will not be what it once was. We’ll only post news pieces that we’re interested in. That’s all we have time for. There are people who do wide scope news coverage better than us.
  • Feature articles are where I intend to focus the time I work on the website. There are numerous features we’ve got half written. Perhaps I’ve been too ambitious with my plans for some features and need to dial back a little.
  • We’ll look at doing some impressions articles for games we’ve been playing and new retro-themed/inspired releases.
  • Video. I’ll be honest and say that a lot of people do video better than us, but we are going to try to improve. We are going to get the equipment required to do better video. I’ve had major issues with syncing that will be rectified. We are looking into doing livestreaming.
  • Big projects. Work on the Wiki and VGADA will continue slowly. I am not planning on undertaking anything bigger than that. We are exploring our options with regards to scanning old Australian video game magazines – there are about 200+ sitting next to me in boxes waiting for something to happen.
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