Retro Gaming Australia


RGA in 2019: State of the Website Address

by on Jan.05, 2019, under Site

It has been five years since I wrote a State of the Website address, and roughly about the same since we have done regular updates on the site. The site as it is really just exists as an archive for previously written content and the Australian Gaming Database, which never really officially launched, but is there for all to see. This site doesn’t cost much to host and takes very little time to maintain without active content production.

The lack of updates and content boils down to work, personal life and no desire to write. Back when this site was regularly updated, I was either unemployed or in a junior role in my current job. I am now in management. Life decisions like purchasing a house limited my available funds for purchasing retro games, and we found that we were just as happy to play them on mini classic consoles or via emulation. All the while, prices shot through the roof through increased demand and the drop in the Australian dollar. Plus I hate waiting for stuff to come in the mail, and getting it out in the wild is not really an option.

That third point is an interesting one. I have written about video games in some capacity since 2001, starting with amateur reviews and game guides, and eventually through to paid reviews. When you get paid well for something, it becomes difficult to do it for less and/or no money. RGA at its peak made a little bit of beer money after covering its costs, which is more than most hobbyist sites. Writing content takes a lot of time, and writing good content takes more. I’m pretty terrible at writing now, as you’d be able to easily tell comparing any earlier work on this site (coming hot off the heels of 3 years of full time writing) compared to this piece.

The Internet has moved on from writing now. There has never really been a lot of interest in reading good long form content, and there is less now. Basically anything I would write now is just for me, and posted here or on Frothing Demand. Having not done a lot of writing for some time, I find it difficult and that’s demotivating.

Video content and streaming have taken over. Certainly I have the means to get all of the equipment required to shoot video, and I can edit a video together. We tried our hand at it before to limited success. That just all takes a lot of time that I could spend actually playing the games that this site is about – and believe me, although I don’t write about retro games much, I still play them every single day. That would make streaming appealing, and I haven’t quite ruled it out yet, but I would only do it for my own amusement.

So, plans for the year:

  • Make sure site doesn’t turn into dumpster fire
  • Do a little bit here and there on AGDB
  • Maybe futz around with streaming
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Updates to resume

by on Jul.11, 2014, under News, Site

The site’s hiatus will end effective immediately. Things may change a little, but we’ll aim to deliver content worth reading and watching again – even if it takes an age to produce.

Thank you for your patience.

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In hibernation

by on May.03, 2014, under News, Site

I have been struggling to produce meaningful content on Retro Gaming Australia for about two years. The demands on my time, professionally and personally, have increased over the years, and time spent working on the site takes away from things that have a higher priority.

Over the last month, I undertook an experiment to see if I could cope with not updating the site, and walking away for a while. The experiment was a success.

The site and its projects will effectively go into hibernation for a while. We will also not be appearing at PAX this year.

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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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Retro Gaming Australia is now on Instagram

by on Aug.04, 2013, under News, Site

Retro Gaming Australia has jumped on the latest social media bandwagon – Instagram!

We’ll be publishing photos of items from our collection on a regular basis, and whatever other doofy crap we uncover along the way.

You can find our Instagram page here

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RGA in 2013: The State of the Website Address

by on Jan.02, 2013, under Site

Retro Gaming Australia had a bumper year in 2012. Traffic is way up and we’ve developed a solid following on social media, be it Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. We launched the Australian Gaming Database beta in March to a good response, but that project will continue to develop over time.

In spite of the success we’ve had, I always feel like we can be doing more. The forums, for instance, were suffering from the blight of spammers – which we’ve now fixed, but participation isn’t quite what we’d like, particularly when compared to the social media platforms. We missed several Video Game Ad of the Day postings – something I tried to rectify, but fell short of. Our editorial content, particularly our features, has not been quite as diverse or plentiful as I had planned. Community participation in the AGDB is non-existent, and my enthusiasm for that project has declined.

I feel that we are still headed in the right direction, but some enhancements are required.

Our focus in 2013 will be on improving our editorial content. Our Introduction features have done well, and we will continue to do them, however, we will be refining how we cover the actual games. Rather than just an Essentials or hidden gems article with a couple of paragraphs on a game here or there, we want to cover individual games in a greater depth, then bring them all together. We want the right balance of classic, popular games and obscure games you might not have heard of, and we want you to come out of these articles knowing a lot more about the game than when you came in. People have complained about my editorials in the past, telling me that they could read everything on Wikipedia – well, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that Wikipedia should never be a primary resource for anything, and their video game coverage outside of anything popular is utterly abysmal.

We also want to leverage the multimedia options being a website enables us to use – in other words, more video. The capture set up we have now is not ideal – it produces the bare minimum result we need. I am planning on implementing a video capture set up that will properly capture gameplay footage at its native 240p and 288p resolutions. We will be assessing the feasibility of posting the video on RGA itself as well as YouTube, so videos can be enjoyed in their full 50fps/60fps glory. Of course this requires new and expensive equipment which will take us some time to acquire – specialist capture equipment, extra console hardware, RGB modifications and so on. This is not a cash grab however – RGA will be funding the new equipment purchases itself. We will continue posting Retro Gaming Theatre videos, but hope to add some more video series to our cache later in the year.

We want to continue to expand throughout the year. While RGA’s content is currently created just by myself and Charly, we want to invite all of you to contribute to the site, be it through editorial content, art, or some other creative outlet. If you’re a budding PHP developer and want to expand your portfolio a bit, we’d be happy to allow you to experiment with designs on our site. I am a little concerned that the Australia in the site’s name is limiting our audience – the Australian community has been very supportive of us, but I continue to wonder if we’d have more success targeting the global retro gaming audience.

It wouldn’t be an RGA update without the announcement of some ridiculously ambitious project.

Over the past 18 months, the Video Game Ad of the Day feature has been one of the most popular things on RGA. However, Video Game Ad of the Day was only part of a grander vision that has been in the works for over two years. See, there were two mythical projects that began in the early days of RGA – Project A and B. A was the AGDB, released into beta in March 2012. B is what I’ve dubbed the Video Game Advertising Archive, or VGADA.

Video Game Ad of the Day was basically phase 1 on the project – gauging interest from the audience to see if they liked looking at old gaming ads. We’ve got too many ads to feature on Ad of the Day; 13,000 in fact, which at the current pace would take 34 years to post, not-withstanding the fact that current and future generations of consoles would be considered “retro” by then, and that not all games are worthy of being posted. VGADA is going to be an archive of all of the video game ads I’ve ever found. Video Game Ad of the Day will continue, featuring ads that you can see on the archive.

So when will VGADA launch? There are some logistics to figure out with regard to multiplatform games, but I anticipate the site launch in its first form…now.

What, you don’t like the N-Gage? Look for the rest of the systems to join VGADA throughout January.

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Australian Video Game Magazine Cover Archive

by on Apr.01, 2012, under News, Site

My personal favourite part of the Australian Gaming Database (which we launched yesterday) is the magazine section, where we focus on detailing the history of video game magazines in Australia.

Over the last couple of months, you may recall that we put out a call for anyone with collections of Australian magazines to provide cover scans for us to help us get as many covers together as we could. We’re over halfway towards having a full set (with a hundred or so sitting on my hard drive waiting to be uploaded), so I thought it’d be a good time to show off what we have so far, and publicly thank those who have contributed.

A special thanks goes out to Anthony Tran, Jason New, KiwiArcader and John K, who all took time out to provide scans.

Atomic MPC
Australian 360
Australian Commodore and Amiga Review
Australian GamePro
Australian Station
Cube Australia
Cut Throat Cheatz
Edge (Australian edition)
Games TM (Australian edition)
N64 Gamer
Nintendo Gamer
Nintendo Magazine System
Nintendo: The Official Magazine
Official Australian PlayStation Magazine
Official Australian Xbox Magazine
Official PlayStation 2 Magazine Australia (ACP Edition)
Official PlayStation 2 Magazine Australia (Derwent Howard Edition)
Official PlayStation Magazine – Australia
Official Xbox 360 Magazine Australia
PC Games
PC Games Addict
PC Powerplay
PlayStation World
Ultimate Nintendo Magazine

There are still many covers out there which we do not have. If you wish to contribute to the cause, please do not hesistate to contact me.

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Retro Gaming Australia launches the Australian Gaming Database

by on Mar.31, 2012, under Site

One of the most exciting features we’ve been working on at Retro Gaming Australia launches today. After two years of work, we are proud to announce that our wiki, the Australian Gaming Database, is now accessible to the public.

The Australian Gaming Database is our attempt to catalogue the history of video gaming in Australia. You will find pages for
– Every console, computer and handheld released in Australia
– Every video and computer game magazine produced in Australia, with cover galleries
– Every video and computer game television programme produced in Australia
– Every video game developer based in Australia
– Every video game developed in Australia, including ones that were never released
– Publishers, distributors and other major companies involved in gaming in Australia
– Key people responsible for the development of the industry in Australia
– Major issues such as censorship
– Court cases involving video game companies

Here are a few pages we recommend looking at to start
Beam Software
The Zone
Star Wars
Nintendo Entertainment System

Please be aware that the AGDB is still in a beta state. We’ve been working on this project behind the scenes for a long time, and were itching to show it off and get some feedback. Originally we wanted to launch 18 months ago, but the release date kept slipping as our plans got more grandiose. Much of the categorisation needs to be formalised, and a good chunk of the pages are not yet complete.

Many pages are still incomplete, but if you feel like you have something to contribute, you can request an account. Open account registration is not available at this stage since we don’t want to deal with wiki spammers and vandals.

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State of the Website Address 2012

by on Dec.31, 2011, under Site

My fellow retro gamers,

2011 was the start of a great push forward for Retro Gaming Australia. We started publishing regular content updates and articles. Our traffic grew by 500%. We launched into social media. And we even posted a modest profit.

It’s not good enough. We have proven that we can do better. Before I started working full time, our numbers for the year at that point were twice as good as the numbers at the end of the year.

It has become clear to us that our strengths lie in the production of content. While we’ll always hope that the site’s forums will play host to active discussions about retro games from an Australian audience, the interest is just not as great as we’d hoped. In fact, with the terrible economy, it seems interest in retro gaming collection is drying up. We’ve decided that trying to build a big happy community of Australian retro gaming fans is not really for us.

We’re going to shift our focus onto producing great editorial content. We want to celebrate our favourite video games, dig up stuff people have forgotten about and explore the history of the industry. We want to be entertaining without being overly cynical or resorting to cheap dick and poo jokes. There are plenty of places where you can get that sort of thing.

We will still help to promote the retro gaming community in Australia. Our friends over at Retrospekt do a fantastic job of organising events, so you should give them your support. If you are organising a retro oriented event in Australia and want a bit of a plug, contact us and we’ll be happy to accommodate you.

In terms of editorial content, you can look forward to the following over the next year:

  • More feature content. We’ve planned history articles like our Duke Nukem one for a number of series. These will be joined by articles celebrating some of our favourite games, articles examining some of the worst games ever released, and explorations of video games in other media – both adaptations and portrayals.
  • Video content. My capture equipment is ready. I’ll probably just end up sitting around with a beer in hand ranting on a Friday night like a sad old man
  • Audio content. We have a decent idea for a podcast, but need at least one more person.
  • The return of the Video Game Ad of the Day. Starting tomorrow, we’ll be bringing back advertisements from the biggest games released over the last 35 years. We’ll only be focusing games people actually care about, though
  • The launch of our major project. In production for almost two years, this section of the site should provide everything you ever wanted to know (and a whole lot more you don’t care about) about video gaming in Australia and New Zealand.
  • An increase in the frequency of Auction Watch.
  • The return of the news (maybe).

We will now also be accepting solicitations and pitches for articles about video games. If you fancy yourself to be a decent writer and have a good idea for an article, let us know. If we like what you’ve sent us, we’ll strike a deal and pay genuine Australian currency for your work. It probably won’t be much, but we tried offering people the opportunity to write for us for free and the response was a collective “piss off”.

We’d also like to look at giving the site an actual cohesive design. If you are/know a decent designer who’d be willing to do such a thing for cheap, please contact us.

It should be a great year, so I hope you will come along for the ride.

Matt Keller
Owner & Managing Editor
Retro Gaming Australia

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Radio Silence

by on Dec.04, 2011, under Site

You might have noticed that RGA hasn’t been updating very often lately. Very astute.

There are a few reasons for this:
– It’s Q4. Nothing is happening in the world of retro because everybody is playing new games. Myself included.
– We’re working on a project behind the scenes that’s rolling out Q2 2012 come hell or high water.
– I resumed working a 9-5 day job in August after a couple of years as a freelancer. I run the site alone and I suck at managing my time.
– I had the nastiest malware attack ever last weekend. Technology and I are not getting along well at the moment.

Expect things to return to some degree of normality after Christmas.

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