I am finally convinced that “collaborative retro gaming website” is not a viable idea.
Content-driven internet destinations rely on a torrid cycle of news and reviews. While classic gaming is certainly a realm with its share of news and reviews alike, the value is greatly diminished by scarcity and a lack of newness, already working an uphill battle by existing in a niche setting to begin with.
I could go on, but suffice to say: Despite the immense popularity of video games, viable mainstream gaming sites barely exist. Expecting a more narrow hobbyist subset to thrive is just not realistic.
But, let’s be honest, that’s no excuse. Thousands of absurd little hobbyist sites exist, without Viability as any concern. You want to operate a website devoted to vintage phone-book collecting? You want to specialize in the Houston suburbs, years 1972-98? By all means, you can purchase the domain and do it.
So my reason for shutting down SkirmishFrogs.com is more personal.
I just had a second child. Well, okay, I didn’t, but my wife did.
The point is: The writing on the wall for 1MoreCastle.com came after the birth of kid number one. This just seems poetic. I don’t have time for this, and it’s definitely a spot in life to cut out what I can.
See, you have to understand: The point (no, seriously, the whole friggin’ concept) was to create a site where I could be completely hands-off. With 1MC, we tried the High Curation route, setting out to only post the most high-quality content we could (and, frankly, I think we got there at times). With the pond, I wanted to be able to leave for months at a time, without any effort whatsoever — and let the machine just chug along, all self-contained.
It just hasn’t worked out that way. I’m not saying it’s constant, I’m not saying it’s enormous, but it goes like this: Just when I think “yeah this is running smoothly,” there’s bizarre drama behind the scenes I have to deal with. Just when I think “okay totally cool now,” there’s a crazy total outage (my fault once, but not the other time). There’s awkward would-be recruitment emails. There are requests for site features (some reasonable, some insane, to be clear). The site can go a week only posting a couple new things — then one day eight things are posted and stuff happens and I get ‘called in’ for whatever reason. Someone posts something that’s not explicitly Retro-Related and I get three people telling me. Someone posts a video with weird formatting and it screws up the whole frontpage. Blah blah blah.
So anyway, yeah, I’m gonna let the URL go to October and not renew it, unless I get some weird, serious offer from someone else to take the reins, ’cause I truly do want a place like this to exist, I just don’t want to be in charge anymore.
lol it’s becoming difficult to keep a straight face, this is all just a joke, happy April Fool’s, SkirmishFrogs ain’t going anywhere, I like it, and it’s actually pretty crazy-cool how long I can step away from this place 100%… and still return to see a pleasant community.
You may be small, my pond, but you are fun and positive and talented. What else would I want in a retro gaming site?
See ya around, frogs!