Recommended Posts

I am interested to know if it's possible to link together the Magazine Database and videogame database in some way. This stems from discovering the site just a few days ago as a new user. 

My purpose for exploring this website/service is to locate mentions of Legend of Dragoon in old gaming magazines. I began with the search function available, netting me several results and multiple magazine issues cited. Sometimes a single sentence, other times a two-page review. Good stuff. I wanted to expand my search and learn more. My next step was to explore the RetroMags VG database. I browsed and did indeed find an entry for Legend of Dragoon. Hardly any game data was provided, and no magazines listed. This puzzled me at first, but now I think it's just a lack of volunteers or that the VG database is a low priority. Almost every single game has virtually no data entered - even highly-rated games like FFVII.

As stated above, my request is for there to be some kind of cross-tag system that links these two databases together. In practice, every magazine on file that mentions Dragoon would have the "Legend of Dragoon" video game tag, as well as tags for whatever other games are included. Then, when browsing the VG database, we can look at a game and see what magazines it is a part of. On Legend of Dragoon's page, there may be a "EGM Issue ___" tag. In the longer term, perhaps these tags could be descriptive and indicate whether each mention is a review, preview, or other subcategory. Tags can be color-coded by magazine, type of mention, or both. I am attaching an example image to this post for early proof-of-concept.

I believe this feature would be of use to archivists like myself that are looking to collect and aggregate information about legacy fandoms. While the search feature did provide decent results on the fly, a lot of manual sifting can tend to cause an information breakdown and demotivate the research process. It would also give new purpose to a service currently on display but not in great use (VG database). 

I do get that archiving these magazines is an oft-thankless endeavor, so I mean no expectation of a perfect grade-A feature set. Perhaps there is also a technical limitation. Please let me know if this is possible and if there's anything I can do to help. 

- Drew

RetroMags_feature_proof-of-concept.png

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I seen the Gallery only has a tag feature, which is hardly used. As you said It would take forever to do something like this and there are not many people to help around here. Any volunteers?

The best you can do is just look for mags around the time the game was released. A few months before and after should always provide something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know I have been absent for a while. Right now dealing with finding a new place to move and moving hundreds of pounds of magazines. But I like this idea, lets flesh it out and then I can get a quote to see what it would cost to put into action....if anything.

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there, Mr. grumpy pants here with your daily dose of dour discouragement!!💩

As always I am the voice of pessimism, but even IF the software could be altered to support this, it wouldn't amount to anything.  To be useful, it would require someone to systematically enter in all contents information for every mag in the database (at the very least, every mag we have available to download.)  A volunteer here and there doing an issue or two is essentially pointless.  It would need to be complete to be truly useful.  And that would require who knows how many man-hours of labor, to be done by NO ONE EXISTING IN THE REAL WORLD.  To the OP, you're new to the site, so you may not have noticed, but there are less than a handful of people who volunteer any of their time to improving this site. 99.9% of the visitors to this site come for leeching purposes only.  So unless you are That Guy Who Will Do It, finding someone to undertake such a monumental task will be as likely as finding the remains of Atlantis.

Your point is sound, though.  Our video game section is currently 100% pointless.  It's essentially just a giant list of games, and there are dozens of sites out there that not only have such lists, but also a wealth of information about each game.  The idea that we could ever or should even try to compete with that is preposterous.  The ONLY reason we should even bother having a video game section is if, as you suggest, its focus is on showing which mags cover each game.  We're a magazine site, not a video game site.  Posting game pics, videos, and Wikipedia-like information about each game is something we should not spend one second of our time doing, since as I said, there are already plenty of other sites that do it better.  The only void that needs filling is the one indicating which mags cover which games and in what way.

Unfortunately, I just don't see it ever being a project that would amount to much, since the community at large has proven quite soundly that it has no interest in helping such things to fruition.

/end rant.  You may now resume clinging to hope and believing in the goodness of your fellow man.🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the quick responses, each of you. I appreciate the time taken out for consideration. Looking at both the lack of demand as well as the possibility that other magazine archival sites may have better infrastructure for this proposal, maybe it's best not to do it here at RetroMags. 

In regard to what kitsunebi77 and MigJmz have said about the grim reality of things, I agree that this reduces the importance of tagging/filters. It's unfortunate. One could argue that since the magazine-on-paper generation has mostly come and gone (and likely never to return), we may lose some comprehensive indexing but at least it'll never happen again in the future. I think there is some historic importance to be had on this era of gaming - and magazines in general - but it just didn't survive once newer-age activities replaced magazines so swiftly. The total nuance involved makes it hard to justify doing more when there are so few volunteers, people are stealing without credit, and advanced services usually cost money. End short version!

-----------------------------------

7 hours ago, kitsunebi77 said:

Hi there, Mr. grumpy pants here with your daily dose of dour discouragement!!💩

 

I don't fear pragmatism. So long as it isn't being used as negative propaganda, there's a place for it and it's just a matter of balancing out the costs and the benefits.Come at me!

7 hours ago, kitsunebi77 said:

As always I am the voice of pessimism, but even IF the software could be altered to support this, it wouldn't amount to anything

Unfortunately, I just don't see it ever being a project that would amount to much, since the community at large has proven quite soundly that it has no interest in helping such things to fruition.

 

Well, not only is there the issue of a volunteer shortage, but also the niche benefit. I could argue that even a single archivist benefitting from such an endeavor is "worth it," but that doesn't mean low-efficiency is something to be okay with. Not that everything is about mass majorities, but typically one wouldn't build a bridge that is almost never used. So the historical value is the last big question, I think.

7 hours ago, kitsunebi77 said:

We're a magazine site, not a video game site.  Posting game pics, videos, and Wikipedia-like information about each game is something we should not spend one second of our time doing, since as I said, there are already plenty of other sites that do it better.  The only void that needs filling is the one indicating which mags cover which games and in what way.

I think this is a bit too absolutionist. Yes, you have a specific focus area (magazines). However, as with many things, these magazines are intersectional. The medium is magazines but the content, in this case, largely revolves around video game content. I do agree that redundancy is in many cases annoying and wasteful of our development time, but supplemental data isn't a bad thing in this case. Unless another website/platform/service is better-equipped to create these tags and filters I'm proposing, which is another issue in and of itself. In any case, if these tags and filters aren't feasible in your observation - and to an extent, mine - then I would suggest wiping the VG database to clean up the apparent focus of the group's efforts. Like clearing an empty forum board or chat channel in a server.

From initial research, I've found magazine archival efforts from several entities. Sometimes a single individual with a ton of mags, often a group. The first thought here is scan redundancy, reducing double-work as much as possible. However, my leading concern is actually that some entities are not networking with other groups who have the same/similar goals. This increases the scan redundancy potential, and creates a situation akin to the traditional Pokémon video game version splits. Group A has magazines C, D, E, F, G, and H, while Group B has magazines C, D, E, H, I, J, and K. Group Z has random copies from each, so in the end you have three differently-incomplete collections instead of a unified comprehensive set.

I guess what I'm trying to say is.. Unless all these groups including RetroMags are all pooling their resources into a massive compilation site serving a united cause, there's going to have to be some redundancy on each group's part. People are, usually, inefficient by nature about such things and slow to collaborate on a global scale. There's also the default perspective of being an end-user. I am sad that you aren't getting more support, believe me, but I find that the alternative to doing niche stuff is to do non-niche stuff that doesn't need my support anyway. In that sense it's more important to do weird, costly work at the risk of not being in the mainstream. God I sound weird to myself saying that, but, I hope it comes across well. 

7 hours ago, kitsunebi77 said:

A volunteer here and there doing an issue or two is essentially pointless.  It would need to be complete to be truly useful. 

I... sort-of agree. One thing I work with is wikis, including one that is currently quite incomplete. It is not useful overall, for sure, but I think it is reductive to call it pointless. Every volunteer project can take some time. RetroMags surely has taken years to accrue its current collection. Was it pointless when it only had a few issues archived? Sure. However, each and every little bit of progress is credit to why you have the current collection today. In my case, there are things the Legend of Dragoon community knows about solely because myself and a select few others bothered researching and tinkering for many years. So, I think this is just a thing where your realistic response was a bit emotionally charged. Baby steps are often the most valuable steps, I find, and caring only about the end-result can reduce the value of the "journey" portion of the work involved. I guess from my perspective, when futile increments are all we have, it makes all the difference. Even if inefficiently. 

I'm not saying that justifies the tags entirely, but, I found this to be an intriguing though experiment. I hope that's okay by you. Overall it seems like researching magazine archival itself has to come first, and then see if any additional unity can be gained beyond what exists already (I have read that some RetroMags material is used for documentation purposes at MobyGames website). Budgeting for it now would be both daunting to justify as well as premature. Thanks again for all of your input!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of the reasons my main focus over the last several years has been towards the 'cataloging' aspect, instead of the scanning aspect. You'll find my contributions here have been almost entirely focused on indexing the various magazines we've managed to get into our database. It's essentially a "thankless task", because there's no real credit for it the way there is for scanning the magazines and adding in cover pics, but at the bare minimum, I like the idea that someone can search the site for a game title, and get some hits back about where it appeared, in which magazine, and in what capacity.

It's something that, working alone, I'll never be able to even think about completing. But every magazine that I do index for the site is just one more drop in the bucket of information that likely exists nowhere else online. Will the world come to an end if no one can find out that an ad for "Deathtrap Dungeon" is featured in issue 39 of PC Gamer, or that there's a four-page strategy guide for "Time Crisis" in the first issue of Official US PlayStation Magazine? No...but that doesn't mean that somebody, somewhere, isn't out there thinking, "What magazine did I read that editorial about Tomb Raider fanfiction in back in 1999?" and if I can provide that answer (hint: PC Games, April 1999, the only game magazine I'm aware of where I'm actually featured as a topic of conversation!) then the work was worth it. :)

*huggles*
Areala

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, DrewUniverse said:

Looking at both the lack of demand as well as the possibility that other magazine archival sites may have better infrastructure for this proposal, maybe it's best not to do it here at RetroMags.

First of all, there are only 3 English-language archival sites focused on providing video game magazine scans - OldGameMags, the Out of Print Archive, and Retromags.  New scans pop up in other places, but not as part of a concerted effort of a group (and be careful of "archival" groups whose main function is mirroring the efforts of the sites they swipe their scans from). Of those three sites, Retromags by far has the most comprehensive database of magazines (even if OldGameMags has more actual scans), and a more robust software, and thus would absolutely be the best choice for implementing such a feature.

Second of all, you may have misinterpreted me a bit.  I DO believe that your idea has merit.  I simply don't believe that there is anyone willing to put in the work to accomplish it.

I've been a member of this site since 2014, and in that time, less than a handful of people have added any new issues to our database.  That's excusable of course, since due to administrative permissions, only a handful of people actually have the ability to do so.  However, ANYONE has the ability to edit a database entry and add contents information (similar to the tagging system you've proposed), yet again, less than a handful of people have ever elected to do so during my tenure here.  Similarly, anyone is capable of uploading images to our Gallery, yet since 2014, I've personally uploaded almost 70% of the 32,000 images in our Gallery, and until MigJmz started helping in the past couple of years, I was pretty much alone in that endeavor during that time. 

So again, your idea is sound, and would absolutely be a welcome addition.  My only (realistic) criticism is that I have seen no evidence to suggest that there will be anyone willing to do the necessary work it would involve to make it very useful (though as you point out, even one magazine tagged is perhaps more useful than none.)

4 hours ago, DrewUniverse said:

I would suggest wiping the VG database to clean up the apparent focus of the group's efforts.

I HAVE suggested exactly that already.  If we can't get anyone to help complete our magazine databases, I'd hate to see our efforts divided into providing game information unrelated to magazines (information already available elsewhere).  But I believe a robust video game section full of information, screengrabs, videos, and yes, magazine cross-referencing information is a (pipe)dream of Phillyman's, so it will likely remain in place.  Of course, since no one has ever contributed to it since its creation (that I'm aware of), there really isn't any harm.  It can't divide our efforts when no efforts are being made.🙂

Also, bear in mind that when referring to Retromags as a "group," you are referring to a group of over 15,000 people, including yourself.  Every single registered member of this site is capable of contributing to it, and every single contribution of any kind ever made here was done on a volunteer basis - no one is "in charge" of doing anything (except for Phillyman, who is "in charge" of paying the site's bills.😋)  But volunteers are rare indeed.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@kitsunebi77, you weren't kidding about the grump! Heh, but really, I think I understand better now. Honestly if I wasn't already committed to certain passion projects, I'd jump in and help with this exact kind of thing. Building and managing systems is one of my natural thingies. I was about to research other mag collections, but you just saved me the time by indicating RetroMags is basically the leading group in this field. Thanks!

Well, if this is the place, then A. these tags and filters gotta become a thing when possible, and B. we need to encourage the other major outlets that collaborating with RM is essential. Having a universal catalog in one place instead of several helps with accessibility and usage retention. Still, that may take forever and a half because, well, people. (I also recognize i may be preaching to the choir). Technically, if a person has no inclination to help with scanning/donating, cataloging wouldn't take away from existing scan power and such division isn't a bad thing (sound designer and artist in game development, as a weird analogy). Anyway, I appreciate you recognizing the value while weighing the lack of person-power to realize such features. 

2 hours ago, Areala said:

This is one of the reasons my main focus over the last several years has been towards the 'cataloging' aspect, instead of the scanning aspect. You'll find my contributions here have been almost entirely focused on indexing the various magazines we've managed to get into our database. It's essentially a "thankless task", because there's no real credit for it the way there is for scanning the magazines and adding in cover pics, but at the bare minimum, I like the idea that someone can search the site for a game title, and get some hits back about where it appeared, in which magazine, and in what capacity.

It's something that, working alone, I'll never be able to even think about completing. But every magazine that I do index for the site is just one more drop in the bucket of information that likely exists nowhere else online. Will the world come to an end if no one can find out that an ad for "Deathtrap Dungeon" is featured in issue 39 of PC Gamer, or that there's a four-page strategy guide for "Time Crisis" in the first issue of Official US PlayStation Magazine? No...but that doesn't mean that somebody, somewhere, isn't out there thinking, "What magazine did I read that editorial about Tomb Raider fanfiction in back in 1999?" and if I can provide that answer (hint: PC Games, April 1999, the only game magazine I'm aware of where I'm actually featured as a topic of conversation!) then the work was worth it. :)

*huggles*
Areala

Pretty much this. Comprehensive, accessible documentation means a lot to me. Even if it's a less-popular thing, it informs about cultural growth from one decade to the next. And despite how small some fandoms are, seeing stray questions crop up on ___ forum or ___ Discord server is pretty telling. Your post made my day! From one archivist to another, thanks for the work you do.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, DrewUniverse said:

you weren't kidding about the grump!

I prefer realist, but I accept that most people don't see it that way.😊

8 hours ago, DrewUniverse said:

Building and managing systems is one of my natural thingies. I was about to research other mag collections, but you just saved me the time by indicating RetroMags is basically the leading group in this field. Thanks!

We're the only site dedicated to English-language mags that even HAS a database.  Oldgamemags is mostly concerned with churning out massive numbers of new scans on a regular basis (nothing wrong with that🙂), and the Out of Print Archive is mainly concerned with scanning and rescanning and RESCANNING the same few mags over and over in an ongoing quest to reach god-like perfection with their release quality😋

8 hours ago, DrewUniverse said:

Well, if this is the place, then A. these tags and filters gotta become a thing when possible,

Phillyman is the one that handles the finances around here, but any modifications to the site like this involve hiring a programmer, and that costs $$$.  I'm currently hoping for a site mod that will allow people who donate mags and people who scan mags to be able to receive credit for doing so (believe it or not, the only person currently capable of receiving any credit is the person who edits the scan).  But these things cost money, and there are server fees and everything else that have to be paid for to keep the site running before additional mods can be worked into the budget, especially since any such mods often become broken whenever a new version of the site's software is released, and programmers have to be hired to rework any previous mods so they're compatible with new software versions.

8 hours ago, DrewUniverse said:

Technically, if a person has no inclination to help with scanning/donating, cataloging wouldn't take away from existing scan power and such division isn't a bad thing (sound designer and artist in game development, as a weird analogy).

True, everyone has their niche.  Phillyman will knock out some scans every once in a while, but he hates editing them.  E-Day edits like a beast, but hates working on the database.  Areala writes the most wonderfully robust contents indexes, but doesn't scan/edit magazines or add new entries to the DB.  I do a little of everything on the magazine side of things (Gallery, database, scans&edits), and all of the Japanese sections on this site are essentially my baby, but I have no interest in working on most of the other foreign-language sections (thanks to MigJmz for his recent efforts in adding Brazilian releases), or in helping to flesh out the video game section, even if the proposed tags become a thing.

So the labor is already somewhat divided.  The problem is simply how few people there are doing any labor at all.  But who knows?  Maybe there are a boatload of members out there who have no interest in scanning, editing, contributing to the Gallery, or indexing magazine contents via text, but they're chomping at the bit to index magazine contest via tags, if only there was such a system in place.  We may never know if Schrödinger's cat is alive or dead until we open that box, but in the meantime let's at least be optimists and assume that the flask of poison in there with it is half-FULL, not half empty. 😋

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Retromags has 15,000 members of which the number editing the database is about the same as those currently scanning mags for Oldgamemags. I will take my scanning members any day as without them magazine preservation is dead in the water no matter how good databases are populated 😝

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, KiwiArcader said:

Retromags has 15,000 members of which the number editing the database is about the same as those currently scanning mags for Oldgamemags. I will take my scanning members any day as without them magazine preservation is dead in the water no matter how good databases are populated 😝

I thought you had more than 2 scanners?  Cause that's it for our database contributors, and one of those just started last week.😅

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, kitsunebi77 said:

I thought you had more than 2 scanners?  Cause that's it for our database contributors, and one of those just started last week.😅

Oh wow!! I DO have more scanners than that!! I'm feeling blessed about now 🤣

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, KiwiArcader said:

Oh wow!! I DO have more scanners than that!! I'm feeling blessed about now 🤣

Yep.  It's been lonely going for the past few years.  It's no secret that 70% of the Gallery is my doing, but something people may not realize is that 30% of all the magazines in our databases were added by me as well...one by one, line by line...ugh.  Which is pretty amazing when you consider that pretty much every magazine that most people have heard of or care about was already in the DB before I joined.  That will be my legacy, I suppose - the guy who added all the stuff that no one cares about.😅  Thankfully, Migjmz has recently joined me in the task of adding stuff that no one cares about, so we can both be nobody's heroes together.🦸‍♂️

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.