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Silverspoon's Sunday Discussion Topic #4: Are we the go-to retro gaming forum?


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Aw thanks dude! Got one for ya right here haha. -CasualCart

I pretty much strictly come here for questions and discussions because the community is very diverse and knowledgeable on all things game collecting related.  No, VGS isn't perfect but what site could

If we had a database..............

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(Sorry in advance about the long rant. But I guess this is the thread to talk about what VGS is, what it could be, and what people may or may not want it to be)

Is VGS the go-to retro gaming forum?

Depends on your perspective I guess... VGS has probably the most active forum community I've seen around these years where forums in general tend to be incredibly inactive. Most active communities have nowadays been replaced mostly by other types of social media (Discord, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and so on) which honestly provide a much worse platform for online discussions if you ask me.

The high activity is one of the primary reasons I stick around to VGS these days, and it's probably close to #1 in that regard. As for being "the place" for retro game subjects in general, I don't really think VGS is even close if I have to be honest. There is generally a pretty narrow approach to video games in here, which is seen especially in how dominating the NES platform appears, with certain others barely being represented, and how the existance of many prominant games feels largely ignored.

I love the NES too, but "the #1 source for retro gaming knowledge" really can't afford to wear blinders. And I feel there are two ways in particular where the perspective of this forum as a whole feels very limited!


1. First of all, "gaming" itself.

I think for video games to ascend from being a casual passtime into a genuine hobby, you need that "extra step" outside of what people who don't normally think so much about old games experience, when they just pick up a controller to have fun and then move on.

And for this forum it seems more often than not that extra step is collecting. And I don't just mean buying a lot of games, but really collecting. Almost every thread beginning with "hey I have this game" immediately (d)evolves into details about inlays or variations on the label or whatever. I see people talking about passing over great games "because they don't collect for that console". Tons of threads discussing grading of video games, a concept that's normally reviled, if not just laughed over, everywhere else. Hell, even here there's a ton of backlash towards it, but it still manages to dominate a lot of threads.
I know I come down hard on collectors like this, and please don't take it personally. 😅 It's great that collectors have a place to come together and discuss obscure knowledge unique to video game collecting. But when I continue to see collector tendencies that actively and aggressively dismisses the video game aspect, it makes me wonder why even focus on video games? It definitely makes VGS less of a "gaming forum" opposed to a "collecting forum", and absolutely nowhere near the "go-to" for the former.

For most other communities the stuff that makes video games a hobby, is things like importing, competing, discussing the intricacies of gameplay, sharing strategies, or documenting the history of them.
Other video game communities have taught me about of a lot of great and/or interesting games I otherwise wouldn't have heard of. It has made me realise the qualities in games I had been dismissing when I see people talk about them fondly, and it has given me a glimpse into the true depths of games I already loved.

VGS to me, for better or worse, represents a much more "casual" interest in video games. Now, that's not every user on here, not by a long shot. But there's a lot of people here driven mostly by nostalgia, with a lack of interest in anything outside of the games they grew up with. To me, VGS is about the community of people here moreso than it's about the video games, and some times it's interesting to see a different perspective into video games than the aggressively nerdy one I've been used to over the past few decades.
And of course, it's not like there aren't a lot of people here trying to supplement the collecting talk with actual video game content. Reed's weekly "discussion" topics is a good approach, even if it requires pretty mainstream titles to really get going. And recurring scoring competitions have been held, in which more than a few people have demonstrated incredible skill. So it's certainly something I do see the forum working more actively towards, but it's definitely not there yet. Not at all, sorry 😄


2. Second, and this may be the real elephant in the room. But for some reason, VGS is insanely America centric.

It does have users from all around the world, but an enormous majority are from North America, and USA specifically. A lot of other video game communities even have a majority of Europeans, which feel like a tiny minority here, while others are strangely well represented in Latin America. North America is huge of course, and Americans are generally everywhere, but I have never seen any other online community that is this dominated by the US.
That's not saying you should feel bad for being American and on the forum, lol. 😄 A big issue of course is that no one else signs up. And I imagine a big part of this is of course that VGS is already kind of established as a "local" community, probably a holdover from NintendoAge which had the same issue. 🤷‍♂️

Lots and lots of threads are about subjects or perspectives that only makes sense for Americans and just leave me confused, events are designed around American time zones, and you'll often see terminology tossed around like "the country" just assumed to mean the US, and I have on several occasions come across people who very aggressively made clear that certain variations, ports, or entire games just don't matter because they didn't have an American release.

This also ties into the "collector" "issue", in that VideoGameSage has established itself mostly as a forum for collectors of American releases specifically, for some reason. And it really creates an incredibly restricted focus for the subject matter, painting a distorted picture of what retro games/video games is.
Again, nothing wrong with a "local" community. But a local community for something can never be "the go-to" community for anything, unless maybe if you're looking for a community about your local neighbourhood I guess. 😆
And it's not my impression that anyone here really *wants* VGS to be a local thing anyway, so ideally this is also something that could change over time.

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1 hour ago, Sumez said:

2. Second, and this may be the real elephant in the room. But for some reason, VGS is insanely America centric.

It does have users from all around the world, but an enormous majority are from North America, and USA specifically. A lot of other video game communities even have a majority of Europeans, which feel like a tiny minority here, while others are strangely well represented in Latin America. North America is huge of course, and Americans are generally everywhere, but I have never seen any other online community that is this dominated by the US.
That's not saying you should feel bad for being American and on the forum, lol. 😄 A big issue of course is that no one else signs up. And I imagine a big part of this is of course that VGS is already kind of established as a "local" community, probably a holdover from NintendoAge which had the same issue. 🤷‍♂️

Lots and lots of threads are about subjects or perspectives that only makes sense for Americans and just leave me confused, events are designed around American time zones, and you'll often see terminology tossed around like "the country" just assumed to mean the US, and I have on several occasions come across people who very aggressively made clear that certain variations, ports, or entire games just don't matter because they didn't have an American release.

This also ties into the "collector" "issue", in that VideoGameSage has established itself mostly as a forum for collectors of American releases specifically, for some reason. And it really creates an incredibly restricted focus for the subject matter, painting a distorted picture of what retro games/video games is.
Again, nothing wrong with a "local" community. But a local community for something can never be "the go-to" community for anything, unless maybe if you're looking for a community about your local neighbourhood I guess. 😆
And it's not my impression that anyone here really *wants* VGS to be a local thing anyway, so ideally this is also something that could change over time.

I was going to say the exact same thing actually. I must admit if I hadn’t been on NA (and I was more a lurker/buyer honestly) I would probably be a little put off joining here because it is very North American focused with collecting. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with that and I still love coming here and talking to people.

However, hopefully more Europeans, Australians, South Americans and Asian members join. It’s great having people like fcgamer and optout here because they are almost the same time zone, so we can talk in threads and get instant replies.

If we can get more nationalities in here and talk about more than just North American collecting then I think this place will become the go to retro forum. Still a way to go, but I’m sure we can try and make it happen 😃

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Forums in general are outdated and unfashionable. To say we’re the best retro gaming forum is wrong though.

A Google search for “retro game forum” doesn’t even yield results for VGS. The place is just too knew, and were such a small community that it’s hard to gauge where we even sit on the spectrum.

Clearly were more knowledge archival focused of a community rather than strictly a game discussion forum, but most topics here have been gravitating to a more “Anti New Wave Collector” rhetoric instead of a “Games are cool, let’s nitpick every detail” one.

 

 

Also, Forums not quite the way of the dodo, but they’ve got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. The only reason places like VGS work is because were attracted to things that are old and outdated to begin with.

In terms of retro gaming, we are an offshoot of an older forum that itself was a hyper focused, outdated community...and like NintendoAge before us, we have an “outsider” problem. It’s not good to bash people who are new and excited about the hobby.

Just like how the Internet moved from BBS and IRC, The Internet has now moved on from forums and instant messaging to Facebook groups, and Discord servers.

Same tech, different name.

 

EDIT: you know what, autocorrect knows better than me I guess. I’m not correcting all my typos.

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I haven't read the other responses yet, so I might be saying stuff that's already been said.  This is my go to forum, but depending on the subject material, I can see why it may not be for others.  When you look at the voting results in the video game console debates, you can tell that most of the members here are into third generation consoles and newer.  There is certainly some love for the first two generations, but not much.  If you go over to Atari Age, you will find a slight older crowd that has a lot more love and information on those older consoles.  That's not a bad thing.  It's just a different crowd of people with different interests.  I think this forum has a lot of good members who are very knowledgeable on video games.  While we are open to talk about anything here, this place is obviously pretty Nintendo centric and that should come as no surprise since most of us came from Nintendo Age.  

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18 hours ago, koifish said:

How much for a Wizard of Swag T-Shirt? Assuming it benefits the site too of course. I don't need the angry old man, just the wizard skateboarding on a black t-shirt with "SWAG" made larger/more visible would do.

Haha right now we don't have a system for low print-run site T-shirts, but maybe sometime in the future. Everyone can get tees of stupid VGS in-jokes.

-CasualCart

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Random thought inspired by earlier comments of this thread; Anybody know of a good forum for sega hardware/games? I laugh when I look up a hardware or a problem and find people complaining that their sega-centric site has more replies/info on "insert Nintendo hardware here" than on their own site's namesake.

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For me personally it's my first stop gaming wise. I'm not much of a collector anymore as prices are too ridiculous and I have too much else to spend my money on. But I still game daily and I enjoy the conversations about games and other topics. I don't engage on social media and like many here I'm a diehard forum user. I definitely agree with the points about the relevancy of forums. They're definitely not nearly as popular as they used to be and they will probably die altogether eventually but as long as VGS is here and other forums I'll continue to visit.

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1 hour ago, koifish said:

Random thought inspired by earlier comments of this thread; Anybody know of a good forum for sega hardware/games? I laugh when I look up a hardware or a problem and find people complaining that their sega-centric site has more replies/info on "insert Nintendo hardware here" than on their own site's namesake.

The Sega16 forums is a pretty solid knowledge base of people who dig into tech and hardware a lot.
As with nearly any other forum though, there's not a lot of activity these days. A few posts per day maybe?

I don't know if it's the site you were referring to in your post though, as I imagine they'd be the first result to come up with a casual google search. 🙂

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Not looking to start a war here, just feeling the need to point out that although it would certainly be cool to see some more engagement from folks around the ol' blue marble here on VGS I think its worth pointing out that the majority of folks who are here are from North America for a reason:

Gaming, especially anything that can be properly termed "vintage gaming" was marketed much more aggressively in North America than anywhere else in the world with the possible exception of Japan.  Generally speaking, people from North America/Japan have a much higher regard for Gaming and Collecting than most other places around the world; it's practically revered.  People in most other parts of the world tend more to view gaming as nothing more than the playing of games rather than a way of life.  

A few years ago I would consistently notice that a given rare/expensive/desirable NTSC NES game in perpetual short online supply, "game X", would be priced and sell around $100.  At the same time PAL's of the exact same game would be going for half that, or less.  As time passed and the NTSC copies were more and more aggressively bought up the price or course went up and eventually the rate of increase on the PAL versions went up as well, in price and consumption until, present day, at any given time there is maybe 1 NTSC copy available on Ebay at an asking price of $300 and the PAL copies are rarely or never seen.  This is overwhelmingly North American consumption.  As the NTSC price gets more and more ridiculous, more folks who value having a hard copy for their play/collection figure, why not by the PAL for half the price?  Same goes for PAL exclusives.  It's mostly North Americans buying them.  

I would get excited if someone from Europe for example, started a thread about unlicensed NES exclusives in their region, however.. 

I find nothing odd about the fact that most of the people who are talking about Hockey happen to be Canadian rather than U.S.A citizens, in spite of the fact that I like hockey and think it would be cool if it were more popular in the usa, even if it were merely at a minor league level.

As far as Forums go, I have this to say: Great Britain still has a bloody Kingdom,... technically.

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11 hours ago, PII said:

Gaming, especially anything that can be properly termed "vintage gaming" was marketed much more aggressively in North America than anywhere else in the world with the possible exception of Japan.  Generally speaking, people from North America/Japan have a much higher regard for Gaming and Collecting than most other places around the world; it's practically revered.  People in most other parts of the world tend more to view gaming as nothing more than the playing of games rather than a way of life.  

Are you for real??

Seriously, this is exactly the kind of reality warping echochamber misinformation I'm talking about when I point out the limited perspectives you tend to see on VGS.

Edited by Sumez
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Reddit has a reputation for being filled with casual fans who do not know anything. They bump up unfunny humor and low quality posts and downvote anyone intelligent because it goes against the hivemind.

Atariage is at Alexa rank 224,712

Vogons is at Alexa rank 272,474

VGS is at Alexa rank 1,903,381

The go to forum, however would be Gamefaqs. Any game out there will have several threads made on it and lots of good information. It has a good GUI still as well.

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16 hours ago, Tanooki said:

Makes you wonder where NA fell in before it was imploded by that greedy moron.

https://web.archive.org/web/20181216005804/https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/nintendoage.com 146,000 in dec 2018

https://web.archive.org/web/20181125010548/https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/atariage.com But atariage was at 70,604 back then.

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Member · Posted

Ahh good catch, seems that is kind of telling it you to the math gymnastics taking time out over the next couple of years that NA was a big front to fit the mold.  VGS will never get that big, but I can see it getting far more use as it's found and people stick with it.  NA had this nutty base people here helped create with webpage merch and art, a presence at gaming expos, etc.  VGS doesn't have this, came up in a time with expo on hold etc.

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On 4/5/2021 at 11:03 AM, RH said:

I pretty much strictly come here for questions and discussions because the community is very diverse and knowledgeable on all things game collecting related.  No, VGS isn't perfect but what site could be.

I really hate to see that online forums are slowly disappearing and that as younger generations age into frequent internet use, the idea of a forum feels dated and foreign.  I'm not just being nostalgic for an old way of using the internet, but forums still provide a valuable tool that no other social media platform has yet to provide, and that is keeping old, valuable historical discussions alive and traceable for data collection.

Al modern social media platforms operate under the assumption that for information to be relevant, it needs to be new. True, when you come to  forum, the information is sorted by post date, but forums are easy to search for old questions and content, and "necro-bumps" are as easy as a posting a new, good response to a +6 month old topic that gets peoples attention and the thread can come alive again.

In all modern social sites, this isn't the case.  You can't bump something in Facebook and continue a discussion.  Reddit could easily do this if they changed there model, but if you reply to a post older than a week, only the OP or the commenter you're responding too will see your message.  Reddit even locks old posts after a year or so, so no one can respond to it.  This is what baffles me about Reddit--they could easily replace the "forum", and it's best feature (historical, conversational interaction) but they actively block this.

Once I had half a mind to try to create my own social site similar to Reddit, but the main driving difference was to allow good, long running conversations not get buried with time, where it's valuable and relevant. Alas, I lack ambition and drive/energy to take on such a huge undertaking.

TL;DR: I love this place and I'm not going anywhere.  It's just a shame that innovation in social media has completely ignored the fact that only promoting "new and fresh" content isn't always the best approach to social interaction and data gathering.  But, maybe some day someone will invent a place with that nuanced difference that will catch wind with a younger crowd and keep this type of functionality alive.  I'm not an old curmudgeon who think the old ways are better.  I can evolve.  But having a single repository of data that can be researched and re-invigorated with new discussion just isn't a thing anymore, and that's kind of a sad.

Someone else said that you have the most insightful post about this topic and I tend to agree. You have to realize, RH, that any media needs new material by necessity to stay relevant, hence the pressure of newer social media providers to provide content. Once the content dies it's game over for that platform; that includes VGS.

The sentiment that we're older and tend to keep these older style platforms alive saddens me. I'm feeling bummed after reading some of these comments just because there clearly is a huge divide between the new and old guard of internet media platforms. I agree that forums provide a much more structured environment for online discussions. I feel that notion is lost on the younger generation of Discord and even Reddit users. There's a more personal tone to the various vintage gaming forums that the likes of Discord can't capture.

I don't know if anybody else feels this way, but I'm curious if anybody else out there has a strange sense as of late that retro gaming is dying. Is it just me? Despite the all-time highs in prices I just don't feel that there's a real wave out there. Game prices all around were on the downtick before the pandemic. It strikes me that people were down and they only turned to vintage games for temporary comfort. I mention this because there's nowhere near the level of activity in most forums that Nintendo Age ever had.

I'd hate to see VGS ever go. This is one of the few places on the internet that has interesting vintage gaming content. There is no substitute for online forums. Even /r/retrogaming doesn't fill that void.

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