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On StrategyWiki


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time guide

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.

Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen guide

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.

Street Fighter IV moves anyone?

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.

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About Procyonone of us since 10:16 AM on 12.08.2006

My name is Scott. I've been playing video games since my hands were big enough to hold a joystick. I started with the Atari 2600, and graduated to the Atari 800 computer where I taught myself how to program in BASIC. I eventually got a NES, and later a Game Boy. The first summer I ever worked, I was a CIT at the day camp I attended. I worked all summer long to save up enough money to buy the SNES the very day it came out.

I attended college at the University of Pennsylvania. I was introduced to the internet my freshman year in 1993, and I fast became a console pirate, purchasing a copier and downloading ROMs off of IRC channels. Good times. In my senior year, I purchased the N64 as soon as the street date was broken, and skipped classes for the next three days to play Mario 64. I also bought a used PSX the same year.

After I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and a degree in Psychology, I was accepted to Digipen. I was part of the very last class that attended the school in Vancouver, before they moved the campus to Nintendo of America's HQ in Redmond Washington (across the street from Microsoft). After completing the program, I got my very first job as a programmer at Ubisoft.

I lucked out with Ubisoft because they were actually opening a studio near my hometown in NYC, so I actually landed my dream job and got to live on the east coast near my family. I worked on Batman: Vengence. I met a number of cool people, but the only one I still keep in touch with happens to be a buddy of mine who was the lead designer on "Army of Two." He is without a doubt, the greatest game designer I have ever had the privilege of working with.

The studio in NYC didn't pan out for Ubisoft, and they decided to fold the team up to Montreal. After living in Vancouver for a year and a half, I decided I had enough of Canada, so I stayed in the NYC office, which transformed into GameLoft. I stayed there until me and the buddy I mentioned landed a job at 3DO. We both moved out to Redwood City and started working there.

3DO wasn't a great company, but it wasn't terrible, and I met a crew of people who became some of the greatest friends that I have ever had. I worked on Dragon Rage, which was being led by Kudo Tsunoda. He told the execs that it was going to be an Army Men game with an art asset swap, and it would take 6 months to complete. The truth was we were building a new engine from scratch, and it would really take a year to get it done right. When the six months were up, the execs asked for the game, and we weren't even close to finished, so we had to do 12 hours days, 6 days a week until the game was finished. 3 months later, nobody cared about it anymore, and it went straight to the budget bin.

3DO closed down very shortly after. While I was at 3DO, I got to know two people who amazed me: Howard Scott Warshaw and Tod Frye, two of the original Atari 2600 programmers. Getting to meet them and talk with them about "the good old days" at Atari was an amazing thing to me. (I totally recommend visiting Howard's site, Once Upon Atari and ordering his DVD about what those days were like.) I still run in to Howard infrequently at retrogaming conventions and it's always a delight.

After 3DO, I worked for a THQ studio that used to be called (oddly enough) Pacific Coast Power & Light. It's known as Locomotive games today. I was put on the WWE Crush Hour game, the game that was designed to mix the WWE up with Twisted Metal. I created the game's shell and character selection screen. It was actually a pretty cool game, but THQ's love for WWE had cooled down when the game was close to finishing (right after WWF became WWE, the ratings started to tank), so they rushed it and laid off the whole team.

Wishing to return to the east coast, I applied for jobs that I could find there, and actually lucked out with a job opening at Firaxis Games in Hunt Valley, Maryland, home to Sid Meier. When I got there, they were toying with the idea of remaking Pirates, and were prototyping a lot. The results were mixed, and Sid decided to get involved with the development personally. They knew they wanted to make a console version, and they put me on the small team responsible for porting the game to the Xbox. I had doubts about the game, and I wasn't enjoying the tasks I was being given (such as working on the in-game glossary), and things didn't work out. I made a lot of good friends there who I miss working with.

By this time, I had been with four companies in six years, and my girlfriend at the time was in the middle of going to school to get her degree, so I did something drastic: I grew up. I ended up looking for any available programming job, and accepted a position with a UPS owned software company as an algorithm designer. I've been there since 2005, I get paid more money, and work fewer hours than I ever did as a game programmer. But I really miss the creative environment and working with people that I have a lot in common with, i.e. a love and passion for video games.

I am currently own and operate StrategyWiki, which strives to become the best online source of video game guides and walkthroughs anywhere in the world. I am now living in northern Maryland. Welcome to my blog.
Xbox LIVE:ProcyonSJJ


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