Something about October always brings me back to this blog. And today I'd like to talk about something near and dear to my heart. I know I'm not well known here these days, but those who remember me probably remember how dedicated I am to the video game walkthrough wiki site StrategyWiki.org.
StrategyWiki is one of the longest running independent video game wikis around. I've poured a tremendous amount of my personal time into it, adding a plethora of retrogaming guides. It's safe to say that StrategyWiki is almost like a second home to me. I would certain consider it my life's work.
The truth is, however, that there is a growing amount of competition coming from more commercial entities with much bigger pockets than StrategyWiki's. I don't begrudge that fact, it's the way the world works. But I've decided to try to spread the word about the site and drum up some interest in it.
There's no doubt that there are lots of places to get video game walkthroughs and guides from. The oldest of them is probably GameFaqs. The problem with GF is that it's based on such an old Web 1.0 model. Say you find a mistake in guide. What can you do to fix it? You can email the author, wait for the author to get around to reading it, and then bother to update his guide, resubmit it to GF, and wait for the resubmission to be posted. What if you find a mistake in a StrategyWiki guide? Click Edit, fix the mistake, and save. That's it.
There are a number of other wiki sites as well. I'm sure everyone here is familiar with Wikia. I'm not sure people are as familiar with the droves of people who try to leave Wikia when they get tired of them, and the problems they encounter taking their content with them. Wikia is rather draconian about enforcing their style on member wikis, and if you ever want to do anything differently, good luck. StrategyWiki has none of that. Other than some standards that are applied to every guide so that navigation is easy for users, anything you want to put in your guide is fair game.
There are other commercial wiki sites, but the problem with them is that they own all of your work. Whatever you create, it belongs to them, and they will make money off of your efforts. StrategyWiki's philosophy is, and has always been, that the information belongs to the public. Yes there are ads on the site, but what money they generate is put right back into the maintanence and development of the site, in order to keep it free.
I realize there are a lot of games for which StrategyWiki doesn't have a complete guide or any coverage of, but that where people like you come in. If you're passionate about a game, any game at all, you can create a guide for it. There is no paid staff of guide writers, no one is directed to write a guide for a game they don't care about. Guides are only created for games that contributors wish to write about.
It has always been my hope that more passionate gamers would join the site and contribute guides for games that need them. I have always hoped to see the kind of collaboration and appreciation of each other's work that Wikipedia enjoys. StrategyWiki will continue to be a home for information about games that can't be found anywhere else on the internet, and gamers like you can help build that collection of information, no matter how popular or unpopular a game is, and no matter how old or new a game is. And there are always people around to help, myself included.
StrategyWiki is pretty basic compared to its competition. It contains no more features than the site which inspired it, Wikipedia. But I like to think that's what makes it so good at what it was intended to do: sharing knowledge. But it's only as good as its best contributors. I'm hoping that I might be able to intrigue some of you to become its newest members. Please give it some thought. Thanks very much for reading.