So what’s the site about?
Well like it says on the home page, the site is dedicated to anything and everything related to retro gaming. It dawned on me one day that there is a wealth of stuff that has been inspired by the gaming systems of yester year. Emulators, music, art, videos and even clothing. There are plenty of websites out there that cover an individual category, but to my knowledge there are very few that try to cover everything. The site is more than just a directory of weblinks though. I wanted to make my own contribution to the revival of retro gaming, by documenting my collection of retro related items and by sharing my gaming memories with old skool gamers and newcomers alike. The ultimate goal of the website is to inspire others to get more into retro gaming, and that is hopefully what it is doing.
How did it all begin?
Retro Revival X came about oddly enough following the loss of two thirds of my gaming collection. This was not a bad thing though. In May 2010, I donated a large amount of my collection to the National Media Museum in Bradford. Initially I had contacted the Museum with some suggestions for their Games Lounge website. The more I thought about my suggestions, the more I thought about making a website of my own. I just didn’t have enough material at the time though to build a substantial site.
I received a reply from the Curator of New Media at the Museum, at which point I mentioned that I had a load of old game consoles and games that I was willing to donate. The stuff had been abandoned at my Mum’s house after I moved out. I had originally held on to the consoles with the intention of setting them up one day to play on them again. That was in the days before the likes of emulation and virtual console came along. Now I was only hanging on to consoles for sentimental reasons. I knew it was unlikely that I would ever set them back up again, but at the same time I didn’t want to just get rid of them. I wanted them to go somewhere where they could be put to good use, like at the Museum.
As it happens the Museum were interested in almost everything that I had going. As I boxed up the collection to take it to the Museum, I took photos of the items I was donating in case I did go ahead with the website idea. The intention was to use the photos to form a section on the site. That’s when I hit on the idea of using the site to share my retro gaming memories. I was still unsure about making the site, but when I saw that Pac-Man was celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary, I took that as an omen that I should do it.
I started making the site in May 2010, with the aim to have it completed for the Summer. By July I was making good progress with the site, although I wasn’t happy with the graphical styling of the site. It was very simply coloured with pixel fonts used for page titles and sub titles. The idea was to design the site to look like something that had been made in the ’90s, thus making the site look retro itself. This look had worked well on the home page, but it quickly started to look too simplistic and even quite cluttered on pages with a lot of text. I took a short break from the site during the Summer while I had a think about what I could do about it.
That short break turned into a longer break, and for about five months there was no work done on the site. Then in late December I got some inspiration for a new graphic style from a certain film that had just come out at the cinema (it shouldn’t be too hard to work out which film I’m on about). Work on the site started up again. This time I was very pleased with the how the site was looking, and I was able to concentrate on the actual content of the site without that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that it just didn’t look right.
The site was officially launched on the 11th of February 2011 with the Revival section being completed and part of my gaming collection available to view in the My Collection gallery. The first article, Part 1 of my Video Games Alphabet and the first page for the Memories section (BBC Micro) were added later on in the month.
In February 2012, I received an e-mail from my web host Microsoft saying that they were pulling the plug on their free to use hosting service and that I would have to move across to their new service which was virtually identical to the old one except I would have to pay monthly to use it. Rather than carry on using what was a fairly out of date set of web tools, I decided to take advantage of some WordPress training I had received the same month and start building my site from scratch. This gave me the freedom to control every aspect of the site (something I couldn’t do with the Microsoft web tools) and allowed me to improve my website building skills.
Two months later, the old site was taken offline on the 13th of April 2012, ready for the new site to go live later that day. On the 1st of May, I registered the domain ‘retrorevx.com’ as a sort of celebration of my hard work and also to acknowledge the international interest the site was getting.
Why Retro Revival “X”?
I liked the name Retro Revival as it fitted exactly what the site was about. Retro Revival is not an original name though. There are tons of sites and pages out there using the name, covering subjects such as music, movies, video games (someone beat me to it!) and even clothing. In order to distinguish my site from the others, I adopted the old game industry trick of putting an “X” at the end of the name to give it some significance. I had also considered putting the word “SUPER” at the beginning of the name as was the tendency with early Mega Drive and SNES games, but I didn’t think it had quite the same ring to it.
Mega Drive? Playing games at 50Hz? What’s wrong with you?
The website is based in the UK, so I will be refering to the systems and games as they were known over here. I will also be playing and recording some of the games in 50Hz for the Memories section as that is how I remembered them from my childhood.
My retro gaming history.
I had access to a fair few gaming systems as I was growing up. I have personally owned a NES, Mega Drive II, Gameboy Pocket, Saturn, Dreamcast and a Gamecube. My brother owned an Atari ST and a Playstation 1, and as a family we have owned a BBC Micro, Master System and a Game Gear. As you can see our collection has been quite varied. The first console I got rid of was the NES which I sold at a car boot sale decades ago. In heinsight this was a HUGE mistake considering how iconic it is today. At the time though it seemed quite valid to sell it due to my somewhat appauling games collection. The next consoles to go were the Dreamcast and the Gameboy which I sold to friends for some quick cash, and again selling these was a mistake looking back now.
With the exception of the BBC Micro which died years and years ago, I inherited the rest of the gaming systems when my brothers left home. All but the Mega Drive, Game Gear and the Gamecube have now been donated to people willing to give them a better home. Currently I own a Wii and a DS because I have become a big Nintendo nut in recent years. Just a shame I didn’t hang on to the NES