Is there a heartbeat?

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Bill Loguidice
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Well said, Rob, as always.

Well said, Rob, as always. We wanted to keep the issue format, but as you could imagine, it's just too difficult to keep that up, particularly without pay. At AA's peak we had several writers and a professional artist working to put out an issue, maybe eight or nine people in total. We all did that merely for the satisfaction of it all, but it's impossible to keep something like that up at that level without some type of compensation or incentive for most people. Eventually the fun project turned into lots of pressure and too much work and AA began to implode. After exploding, it eventually reformed into the manageable form it's in today, with only three principals surviving and remaining forever dedicated to the cause, albeit with a lessened scope for long term health.

I do understand the intimidation factor of AA, but if we tried to be anything we weren't, we wouldn't be true to ourselves or what can be so nice about AA, and then what would be the point? It needs to remain fun for us and we'd rather have one of someone like you than 100 other types. At the same time, I'd love for the participation levels to be much, much higher, but obviously there's something about AA that doesn't inspire that, with intimidation and competition for eyeballs certainly being main factors. Even on the old site when new issues would be events, we wouldn't get necessarily high levels of participation, though we did get impressive numbers of readers and coverage.

I am proud of Armchair Arcade, though, even though there was a point here and there where I didn't think we were going to make it, and that's coming from someone who has been there nonstop from the beginning to the present day, so I've seen it all around here. Luckily, through sheer force of will I, we and it survived. What's important to remember is that we are and always will be regular guys too who do this in our spare time. We get no money from this - just barely enough to pay hosting fees - and everything that we've accomplished, be it mainstream coverage, awards, book deals, etc., have been because we've worked hard to get them, starting with just a modest idea for a Website that launched in January 2004. Having AA gave us the credibility to be able to achieve all that we have, and then the additional hard work to actually see these extracurricular projects through to completion (having been through years of work on one uncompleted book - what I considered my masterwork - taught me that hard reality). In the end though, we're just regular guys with a passion for gaming, some drive and maybe a bit of talent who happened to keep making it work. I hope we can continue to produce impressive things in the name of AA on occasion, but I have come to the realization that there probably simply isn't the time anymore to do anything consistently great within AA, at least until the unlikely event that the additional side projects (like the books) dry up completely. And I'm not sure we're going to let that happen without a fight...

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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As usual, lots of good

As usual, lots of good points, Rob. I think you're a great example of the kind of person we want here at AA--smart, talkative, and always writing stuff that's good and fun to read. Heck, I bet you'll write your own book someday!

I could be wrong, but the only time I can remember really getting a ton of comments was that gay characters article (now that's going way back). But, if you noticed, almost all of those people posted once and never came back. That's a trend I've seen too many times; somebody pops in, drops a few thought-provoking posts; disappears forever. As good as some of those posts are, one of our current regulars is worth 100 of these types.

I like to compare it to people who read comic books. I have read thousands and thousands of comic books in my lifetime, yet have *never* written a letter to any of them. Not once! Sometimes I read the letters column, but usually I skip it. I think the same is true for most visitors to sites like this. Sure, you see lots of comments on some of them, but I'd be shocked if more than 1% of the people who regularly read the articles bother to post anything. Most, like me, just feel that they have nothing really valuable to say. Who cares if you really like the comic, etc.? Or hate the new art direction or latest plot line? Will writing a letter (even if it's published, which is probably unlikely) make one damn bit of difference? No way. And, deep down, I wouldn't want it to! If they were so bad off that they'd take my advice, that comic wouldn't be worth reading in the first place.

Not really sure where I was going with that...!

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Rowdy Rob
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Opposite view: Too much to keep up with here!

I was quite active on the old AA site, then I spent a year or so lurking here; now I post more often. Life happens... I had more pressing things going on, and largely still do.

One thing I noticed was that many of the old regulars are no longer here, and for the most part I don't know why (and really, perhaps it's none of my business why, but I enjoyed their participation). On the other hand, I missed Matt, and am glad to see him back, better than ever.

I think part of the appeal of AA is also its weakness: the high level discourse that goes on here. Many people might feel intimidated posting on a site run by published authors.... how do you say anything comparable on this site?

Obviously, I don't concern myself with this; I post semi-regularly, even though I say some stupid things occasionally. I enjoy every message I read on this site, even though I don't have the time or the background knowledge to reply to them all. All the more reason for some new members to post: to add to my (and others') enjoyment!

Some thoughts:

-- The "blog" format may not be as "notable" as the old "magazine" format. A new "blog" may not generate as much publicity as the old "new issue of Armchair Arcade magazine" style, and therefore not as much interest or participation. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think it was a "hook" in the same sense as a monthly "radio show," as Matt put it. I know that I looked forward to each new issue of "Armchair Arcade" magazine. Not that I don't like blogs (I do!), but "events" generate publicity and participation.

-- There are "retro-gaming" sites, and there are the "latest games" sites, but the discussions on "Armchair Arcade" encompass ALL games. I think this is a great strength; it allows open-minded modern gamers to consider and appreciate the old games, while at the same time allows "curmudgeon" gamers to consider giving the new games a chance. Looking at the latest posts, we have "Vectrex," "Fallout 3," "Super Nintendo," "XBox Live," "text adventure," and "Colecovision" articles. I can't think of another site that does this, especially in the entertaining, involving, and intelligent manner that this one does.

-- "Armchair Arcade" always considered games on a "deep" level, which occasionally allowed it to tread into controversial waters where other gaming sites dared not go. I don't know if that's good or bad.... some might feel "excluded" because of the leanings of the contributors here, but others might feel validated. Either way, it may also add to the "intimidation" level.

-- As I said in the beginning, "life happens." This site tends to cater towards "mature" gamers, and it's hard enough for an older gamer to find time to devote to videogaming itself, much less post about the hobby, especially considering all the time constraints -- something has to give! How I wish I was younger with no responsibilities; I could spend all night playing a video game! It's probably easier to read this site and get on with other things, still keeping in touch with the latest videogaming thoughts. I know it is for me.... even though I started posting more often in the last few months... probably at the expense of my gaming hobby.

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Not a bad idea, just don't have the time at the moment
retroc64 wrote:

What about a vodcast? I loved Bill's tour of his collection and video would be a refreshing medium for older technology.

It's all a matter of time, though certainly the plan is for us to keep doing more stuff like that. The three principles here at AA tend to be extremely busy. We'll happily promote others' works though.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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retroc64
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Joined: 05/11/2008
What about a vodcast? I

What about a vodcast? I loved Bill's tour of his collection and video would be a refreshing medium for older technology.

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Yup, there are definitely

Yup, there are definitely more lurkers than posters, but we still get new members every few weeks. Sometimes they post just once or twice, but others stick around.

One "problem" may be simply that there isn't anything here to focus attention like, say, a monthly podcast or radio show. These books take years rather than months; it's a long-term investment. It's also hard to keep up a regular flow of news and such, since (again) those are available everywhere and there's not much time. On top of that, there's what is known as the tipping point. If only a few people post, that's it. However, if the volume of posts ever gets to a certain threshold, suddenly you get a LOT more participation. I think we saw that recently when Bill and I were posting about so many different chapters. Ideally, we'd have dragged that process on for many more months, spending a lot more time discussing each game rather than rushing. People really loved those blogs and we got tons of participation.

I wouldn't be opposed to doing a regular "game of the month" type deal, perhaps splitting up among the three of us. So, Mark would do a game one month, then me, then Bill, etc., in a sort of rotation. It'd preferably be games that we personally enjoy rather than worrying about "the best" or whatever; just having fun writing and discussing our favorite games that you may or may not have heard of (or agree with). What do you think?

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retroc64
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Joined: 05/11/2008
Oops

oops, and Matt of course.

retroc64
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Joined: 05/11/2008
Well

Well, with giants like Mark and Bill, I still find this forum very valuable. I also like the cool blog feature.

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
We have a huge number of

We have a huge number of lurkers, unfortunately. There's no real way around it. We have a dedicated core group who post and that's that. You can't force people to post, but they clearly like to read.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Hearthbeat - remember than (rather awful) Don Johnson song?

There is a slow heartbeat, but the boards are actually a little more alive than they were a couple of weeks/months ago.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc. | www.markvergeer.nl

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