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racketboy
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Revamping Together Retro for 2018

by racketboy Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:44 pm

This past year, despite good intentions, our Together Retro game club seemed to be hitting a rough patch.

- Our blog posts often felt like an obligation that did not warrant much response
- Involvement in the club has slowed down
- It has progressed away from its original intention -- read over this launch blog post to refresh your memory
http://www.racketboy.com/retro/racketbo ... etro-intro

I still think the concept is valid and noble, but we will need to take a step back in a way to find a format that works.
This may include
- Choosing a game/topic less often (every few months)
- Transitiioning to forum-only instead of a full blog post (woud reduce work, but also may reduce participation?)
- Chosing a broader topic for each installment instead of a game (It would cut down on the experience of sharing a certain game with other people, but it could help people discover other games in that sub-genre)

I don't have a solid, defined approach to go with, but I welcome discussion.

We started this discussion on the 2017 thread
viewtopic.php?f=33&t=50792&start=30#p1116199
but I figured we should start a fresh topic here

Also, with that being said, I'm almost thinking we should give Weaponlord reign on January as well (at least), so we have time to think about this and do what preparation needs to be done with choosing a game/topic and sharing it with the community.
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Exhuminator
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Re: Revamping Together Retro for 2018

by Exhuminator Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:47 pm

racketboy wrote:- Choosing a game/topic less often (every few months)

I don't think this is a good idea. I think if the topic is interesting it will garner participants relatively quickly. Whereas an unpopular topic will continue to languish no matter how long it sits around.

racketboy wrote:- Transitiioning to forum-only instead of a full blog post (woud reduce work, but also may reduce participation?)
- Chosing a broader topic for each installment instead of a game

I think this concept is the best idea, to fit the way Racketboy works these days. I think we should have monthly concepts that exist as a forum post for joining / discussing. Something like:

January = 8-bit action-RPGs (console / PC / handheld)
February = TG16/PCE & TGCD/PCECD import games
March = Game Boy / Game Boy Color / Game Boy Advance hidden gems

And so on. I believe something like the above would gather more participants. It gives the participants autonomy in deciding what they actually want to play, but still targets themed retro gaming.

racketboy wrote:I'm almost thinking we should give Weaponlord reign on January as well

Nothing against Ack, but I don't think extending the time is going to help that particular TR entry.
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Re: Revamping Together Retro for 2018

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:57 pm

What Exhuminator said.
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isiolia
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Re: Revamping Together Retro for 2018

by isiolia Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:13 pm

racketboy wrote:- Choosing a game/topic less often (every few months)
- Transitiioning to forum-only instead of a full blog post (woud reduce work, but also may reduce participation?)
- Chosing a broader topic for each installment instead of a game (It would cut down on the experience of sharing a certain game with other people, but it could help people discover other games in that sub-genre)


I think Exhuminator already summed up the way that the conversation seemed to be going in the other thread.

Keeping things to a monthly rotation, as he said, is likely for the best. Might make for a narrow window for people wanting to participate, but, if people aren't (or have had their fill), then moving on to the next thing may be welcome.

The way I was thinking is that a given theme would be accompanied by suggestions, and perhaps other site content. It might depend on how narrow the focus is. Something broad, like say, space combat, could have a list of notable examples - blurbs on X-Wing, Wing Commander, what have you, but also support something like a joystick roundup or look at DOSbox. A particular console as a theme could be accompanied by best-of lists, hardware guides, guides to emulation or clones, etc.

Not necessarily new content that makes more work for you either - reference existing articles, tie into already-planned posts or updates, or even use discussions generated to help update articles. In a way, I think the suggestion here is just to make a section where folks can take all that knowledge on the site and apply it to sitting down and playing something (and presumably talking about it on the forum).
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Re: Revamping Together Retro for 2018

by Ack Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:22 pm

Exhuminator wrote:
racketboy wrote:I'm almost thinking we should give Weaponlord reign on January as well

Nothing against Ack, but I don't think extending the time is going to help that particular TR entry.


No worries, I expected WeaponLord not to do well. I just wanted to get people way, way out of their comfort zones. Unfortunately, it's something Fast and I have tried several times in the past, with titles like M.U.L.E. or Alone in the Dark (I've even tried getting a dating sim in the list before). We know it doesn't go well, but for those who do play...well, you got a new experience and tried something you wouldn't normally have. The game may not have come off well, but I had hoped folks would get something out of it, even if it was an appreciation that something exists on the fringe or for some tiny aspect of an otherwise dated or poorly developed game.

WeaponLord is a curiosity to me that is worth checking out from a historical perspective. And that was part of what some of us wanted to do with TR: we wanted folks to see history in action, even the weird, the rough, and the forgotten. We wanted an educational aspect to it, so folks could have a greater appreciation for what came after. Unfortunately, even folks who play a lot of retro games can be very selective in what they'll seek out.

It is my hope that whatever direction TR does go in, it will still occasionally work in such a way as to showcase something most folks would not normally get into: little known first person games, obscure adventure releases that impacted the genre but are largely forgotten, ancient strategy titles, pre-Resident Evil horror games, etc. Titles that changed their genres or mediums or even just made a minor adjustment to it, not just the big names folks gravitate towards over and over again.

If we do go for a general approach to a title, I'd prefer not to see things like "16-bit fighting games" with everyone gravitating towards Street Fighter II or the MK games. I'd love to see someone play Power Instinct. If it's "SNES Platformers" I want someone to go check out Plok or Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday instead of Donkey Kong Country. "8-Bit Action RPGs" makes me worry we're going to end up in an argument about the original Legend of Zelda instead of folks going and checking out The Faery Tale Adventure.

Anyway, that's my concern. I'll let the community decide what they would like.
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Re: Revamping Together Retro for 2018

by Exhuminator Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:38 pm

Ack wrote:WeaponLord is a curiosity to me that is worth checking out from a historical perspective.

If there's one thing people need to know about WeaponLord, it's that the game supported
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Ack wrote:It is my hope that whatever direction TR does go in, it will still occasionally work in such a way as to showcase something most folks would not normally get into

I think this is totally doable as a malleable selection process with proper framing. I mean I would love a month where we all had to play retro handheld/console roguelikes for example (of which there are more than most people would guess). Or a month where people had to play 5th gen survival horror games that were not related to Resident Evil or Silent Hill. OR MAYBE KING'S FIELD MONTH a man can dream

Ack wrote:not just the big names folks gravitate towards over and over again.

Simply choose more esoteric subject matter with qualifier restrictions.

Ack wrote:I'd prefer not to see things like "16-bit fighting games" with everyone gravitating towards Street Fighter II or the MK games. I'd love to see someone play Power Instinct. If it's "SNES Platformers" I want someone to go check out Plok or Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday instead of Donkey Kong Country. "8-Bit Action RPGs" makes me worry we're going to end up in an argument about the original Legend of Zelda instead of folks going and checking out The Faery Tale Adventure.

I agree with you, and the act of playing lesser known titles should be encouraged. Then again, if you can get even half the board playing actual retro games, even just popular entries, that's a good start.

I think Isiolia made a smart point when he said people could offer suggestions. That means if someone comes into a thread like "16-bit import shmups" and wants to play something besides R-Type or Gradius, they could ask for suggestions. This gets people to participate in at least discussing retro games, and also educates others about games they didn't know existed.

Anyway, I'm obviously all for this broader-approach idea. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn't. But I am convinced the old way of doing TR has gone extinct.
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Re: Revamping Together Retro for 2018

by Ack Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:44 pm

Exhuminator wrote:
Ack wrote:It is my hope that whatever direction TR does go in, it will still occasionally work in such a way as to showcase something most folks would not normally get into

I think this is totally doable as a malleable selection process with proper framing. I mean I would love a month where we all had to play retro handheld/console roguelikes for example (of which there are more than most people would guess). Or a month where people had to play 5th gen survival horror games that were not related to Resident Evil or Silent Hill. OR MAYBE KING'S FIELD MONTH a man can dream


Ha, maybe someone here will finally play Overblood. And I'd have an excuse to get through Martian Gothic: Unification.

And yeah, a King's Field month wouldn't have been so bad.
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Re: Revamping Together Retro for 2018

by alienjesus Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:17 pm

I think having the thread start prior to the beginning of the month would help hype it up a bit too. It gives people time to think about what to play and perhaps source a copy of something new too.

One thing I know from the Summer Challenge is that having that pre-planning period is what draws a lot of people's interest in the thread. Sure, it might not last all of the 10 games they planned to play, but in Together Retro it only really needs to last to one game - that's at least enough for someone to participate.

Together Retro always seemed to get more traffic towards the start of the year from experience, and I reckon that's as much to do with it being fresher on peoples mind as anything else. Lets hype people up closer to the time!
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Re: Revamping Together Retro for 2018

by Sarge Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:45 pm

I'm down with a Duo month. I'm having one of my own of those. 8)

I absolutely think that it would be useful to have themes, but also have good suggestions. A lot of folks might not know where to start with the more obscure systems, so folks that are knowledgeable in certain gaming areas need to speak up!

Speaking of Weaponlord, I read a little bit more about how the combat is supposed to work, so I may need to give it another shot just to see if I can get the hang of the parry system.
“History isn't just the story of bad people doing bad things. It's quite as much a story of people trying to do good things. But somehow, something goes wrong.” -- C.S. Lewis
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Re: Revamping Together Retro for 2018

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:26 pm

Exhuminator wrote:January = 8-bit action-RPGs (console / PC / handheld)
February = TG16/PCE & TGCD/PCECD import games
March = Game Boy / Game Boy Color / Game Boy Advance hidden gems


I like these ideas. I also nominate a second generation themed month. 8)
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