(blogs let others gawk)

February 16, 2017

Former Wikipedia Game Zero Magazine talk page

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — Bryan @ 5:30 am

(Posting so I don’t loose track of the text)

{{WikiProject Video games|class=Draft|importance=low}}
{{WikiProject Magazines|class=Draft|importance=low}}

I will do my best to qualify and locate back-up references to notables lists. The key problem here is that most of the web from 1994/1995 is no longer available. Some of the promotion we did within the newsgroups is still locateable, but none of the IRC based promotion we did is archived. Also, most if any of the early links to the magazine are no longer on the web anymore. Archive.org only has 1996 and on for the most part. I can personally vouch for all of these statements as can the entire staff of the magazine as we were pretty proud to be setting these milestones. Some noteable examples of sites referencing Game Zero were the NCSA What’s New page which is now gone, as is Iway Magazine (which was an early Internet spotlight magazine) which ranked Game Zero as one of the top 25 gaming sites/top 500 on the web in 1996 (although, as soon as I find the hardcopy though I will try to scan it in and post for reference). In alot of cases, for dates, I should be able to locate material with time/date stamps which I could make available, it will just take some time to track it all down. [[User:bcRIPster|bcRIPster]] 04:33, 19 December 2006 (MST)

Another comment… The way the web version came about was this… In early 1994 we decided that we needed to do something to contain costs with the magazine, and the web looked like it might be just what we needed. Over that summer we looked into various ways to get online including a brief stint on Prodigy. Eventually I figured out that I could get dial-up access through a company called Primenet, and I signed us up for service in September ([http://groups.google.com/group/misc.test/browse_frm/thread/922ccb6f3d670f6a/47c5601aca17f6b4?lnk=st&q=gmezero%40gz.bomb.com&rnum=380&hl=en#47c5601aca17f6b4 my first newsgroup post through Primenet seen via Google] [http://www.alexa.com/data/details/main?q=bomb.com&url=bomb.com Alexa page showing date domain was first active], although we sold the bomb.com domain in 2002 ). Initially I signed up our account reserving the domain name “bomb.com” because previously my MicroVax II based UUCP node had been named BOMB… so I figured this was my new node on the Internet and I should keep the same name. Needless to say the rest of the staff weren’t amused.

We then started converting and uploading content to the new site we were building, we first previewed the link that November in the (at the time) high traffic IRC channel #vidgames, in conjunction with our last printed issue of the magazine. We next previewed the site on some [http://groups.google.com/group/alt.atari.2600/browse_frm/thread/26c62ae5b7861f84/07afb837bd679a0e?lnk=st&q=&rnum=5&hl=en#07afb837bd679a0e select newsgroups in January]. We formally began promoting the website on the newsgroups on February 1st of 1995, eventhough we had already been online “officially” two months earlier.

We received alot of good feedback and with the upcoming launch of the new E3 show, we invited some of the other prolific #vidgames members to include their E3 commentaries on our site. One of these was Jer Horwitz who shortly after the E3 show announced he was starting his own web magazine. In response to that I pulled his article from the E3 spread as I didn’t feel like giving him free advertising (yes, it was petty, and the worst thing is, the article is now lost as we suffered a major data failure in 1996 were we lost alot of our archived e-mails as well as a good number of unpublished content).

With the realisation that nobody could remember the damn URL “www.primenet.com/~gmezero”, we finally then purchased a new Primnet account under the name “team-0″. We registered the domain gamezero.com, and had the account configured so that the www domain name resolved the account’s web site. And lastly, that April (1995) we went crazy doing new promotion of the new URL everywhere I could find to, to counter IGO’s launch.

The only real screw up that came out of this URL restructuring is when Wired magazine gave out [http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.04/streetcred.html?pg=3 a link to our WipeOut FAQ and misprinted the link]. Not only was the link type-o’d, but it was constructed using a primenet.com URL structure that made it hard to actually figure out what the correct link was.
[[User:bcRIPster|bcRIPster]] 05:53, 19 December 2006 (MST)

The notable thing about the magazine’s coverage of the N64 launch in Japan was that we beat Nintendo to press on publishing photos from the event by two weeks. It was funny because the day after we had the content up, our Nintendo rep within the company called me to ask where we got the photos from. I told her, from our journalist that we sent to the show using the press passes they gave us (duh)! We had our correspondent overnight the video footage they took of the show as well as the entire press package via priority FedEx to us from the show before the close of business that day. This is how we had it up so fast. The P.R. firm was distressed that we had been able to pull this off as we were told that the Nintendo.com team had been planning a big fanfare of premiering the material themselves. From then on Nintendo would have material on their site the same day of any future announcements. [[User:BcRIPster|BcRIPster]] 02:10, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

==citation source found?==

Stumbled across a cite-able reference to Game Zero. ”Internet Magazine” of Japan has hosted PDF copies of their print magazine dating back to the 1995. In issue #6 from 1995 their first Yellow Pages index featuring video game sites lists Game Zero at the front of the article with Sega, Sony and Nintendo and is called out for the Links library among other features. http://archives.impressrd.jp/im/previewer.php?vol=199507 for the full magazine index and http://i.impressrd.jp/files/images/bn/pdf/im199507-161-yellow.pdf for the specific chapter. The funny thing about this Yellow Pages collection in the second half of the section is that I can almost guess that alot of these links were parsed from our site at the time =D [[User:BcRIPster|BcRIPster]] ([[User talk:BcRIPster|talk]]) 23:26, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

==new citations found==
I had completely forgotten that Tucson Weekly news defaulted us as a standard link in their footer for gaming news for a period. Examples:


We actually had quite a few linking agreements with a number of sites that wanted to provide their visitors with video game news but didn’t want to deal with the hassle of keeping up with the news themselves.

Also I found a link using Game Zero as citation on the Guardian, Technology Blog. See “IBM exposes Xbox processor” highlight on “3DO M2”.


[[User:BcRIPster|BcRIPster]] ([[User talk:BcRIPster|talk]]) 02:52, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

===More sample citations===

[http://books.google.com/books?id=OyuB3ECckp4C&lpg=PT180&ots=70qRU-V87Q&dq=%22gamezero.com%22%20-site%3Agamezero.com&pg=PT180#v=onepage&q=%22gamezero.com%22%20-site%3Agamezero.com&f=false The Rough Guide to Videogaming] By Kate Berens, Geoff Howard. 2002. Page 167.

[http://www.sgutranscripts.org/wiki/SGU_Episode_69 SGU: Episode 69]. 2006. (podcast) refers to a java game on the Game Zero site.

[[User:BcRIPster|BcRIPster]] ([[User talk:BcRIPster|talk]]) 21:16, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

===More sample citations===

To: “Processor Design” articles

To: “Violence and video games” article
http://imamp.colum.edu/mediawiki/index.php?title=MTD1Notes_WEEK_4 (Citation #14 for “Violence and videogames”)

To: “Violence and video games” article but lacking URL in citation

To: “The Future of Console Gaming” article

[[User:BcRIPster|BcRIPster]] ([[User talk:BcRIPster|talk]]) 23:43, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

BTW… discussion happening about about GZ as a “Reliable Source” [[WT:VG/S|here]]. Maybe archived by the time you’re reading this though… [[User:BcRIPster|BcRIPster]] ([[User talk:BcRIPster|talk]]) 22:23, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

== Reliable source conversation ==

I made a request for consideration of Game Zero as a reliable source seen [[Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Video_games/Sources/Archive_8#Game_Zero_magazine|here]]. The limited response was indecisive and the topic auto archived. [[User:BcRIPster|BcRIPster]] ([[User talk:BcRIPster|talk]]) 00:13, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Former Wikipedia Game Zero Magazine article page

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — Bryan @ 5:29 am

(Posting so I don’t loose track of the text)

{{userspace draft|date=July 2005}}
””’Game Zero Magazine””’ was a U.S. based video game magazine published from 1992 to 1998 (although primary publication stopped in 1996). Initially starting out as a photo-copy based zine with a print circulation of 500. By the start of 1994 the publication had become a two-color magazine with a print circulation of 1,500, published bi-monthly. In an effort to expand the publication and reduce associated costs, the magazine migrated to the World Wide Web in November 1994. Initially launching with a mixture of content reprinted from the print magazine and announcing updates via the #Vidgames, IRC channel. Updated bi-weekly, the primary features of the web site were, a (pre-search engine) list of links to web sites covering anything video game related around the world, current news, and reviews.

In 1995, the magazine expanded format and began publishing as a CD-ROM based magazine (which featured all of the content from the web site) that had a circulation of 150,000. The magazine is now maintained as an archive of published contents.

== Timeline ==

* November, 1994, Game Zero becomes the first video game magazine on the World Wide Web followed next by Intelligent Gamer On-Line in April 1995, and then followed by several other mainstream publications. (The initial content at launch consisted of reprinting new and existing print content with added graphics{{cite web |url=http://www.gamezero.com/team-0/articles/features/polygon.html |title=The Great Polygon Mystery |accessdate=2006-12-19 }})
* January 8, 1995, Game Zero features the first daily coverage of a gaming trade show on the web. With commentaries by the Game Zero staff and other prominent guest writers known from [[Internet Relay Chat|IRC]] and Newsgroup postings.
* March 13, 1995 the first video gaming web comic premiers on the internet. “The Plastic Valley Report” (later renamed to “[[Polymer City Chronicles|The Polymer City Chronicles]]”) featured political type commentary on the video game industry.
* May 13, 1995, first “Women of E3” photo spread on the web.
* June, 1995, first site to regularly publish video footage of new and up-coming games. Videos featured distinct gameplay demonstrations (examples being video featuring a 10-second drift in Ridge Racer, or a high value combo in Killer Instinct).
* August 2, 1995, featured in the “NCSA: What’s New” list of sites on the web.
* August 19, 1995, first gaming website to feature promotional contests for site visitors. Notable contests were for a copy of Killer Instinct on the SNES (runner-ups got baseball caps), Street Fighter Alpha, Mortal Kombat 3 and others. Contests initially consisted of trivia/drawings, and were later changed to clue-based skill puzzles in order to allow Canadian readers to participate, as by this time over 25% of visitors e-mailing the magazine with questions were from Canada.
* August, 1995, first site to publish a leaked photo of the then Nintendo “Ultra 64” motherboard.
* August, 1995, a deal is reached with Catapult Entertainment, Inc. for Game Zero to become the primary source for news content on the [[XBAND|X-Band]] service. Summarized news items are updated weekly on the service. X-Band communications on up-coming events, and competition rankings are featured on the Game Zero web site. Game Zero staff formally handled gaming news related e-mails from X-Band subscribers.
* November, 1995, is the first to present photos from the 1995 Space World debut of the Nintendo 64 days after the event, preceding the Nintendo.com web site to press by several weeks.
* February, 1996, web guide “I-Way” magazine (a print and on-line publication) ranks Game Zero as #9 out of the 25 best “Game Sites” on the internet, beating out other notable entries “New Type Gaming” (#14), “Games Domain” (#19), and Nintendo (#25).
* March, 1996, becomes the first gaming magazine to establish a mirror site in Europe to both ease load on the primary site based in the U.S., and provide higher speed page loads for visitors from overseas. At the time this was a real issue as general network speeds between the US and Europe were terribly slow, and the only major European based news sources were Happy Puppy and Games Domain (which itself eventually launched a U.S. mirror site to reduce its cross Atlantic traffic).
* April 8, 1996, becomes the first video game magazine to feature free web based video games.


==External links==
* [http://www.gamezero.com/ Game Zero magazine]

{{DEFAULTSORT:Game Zero Magazine}}
[[:Category:Publications established in 1992]]
[[:Category:Video game magazines]]
[[:Category:Defunct magazines of the United States]]
[[:Category:American video game magazines]]


November 1, 2015

Saving old VHS gaming videos from tape-rot

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , , , — Bryan @ 8:22 pm

I’ve been digging through all the old archive materials I have in storage from Game Zero and realized I have quite a few VHS tapes from publishers with all kinds of content on them from the mid 1990’s. I did a cursory check and found that quite a few of these videos are not actually on-line. So if you’re interested, stop on by the Game Zero channel I’ve setup on YouTube and browse through the growing library.

I’ve already posted a couple of things that turned out to be of interest to people. One of them was an video recording I made back in 1995 of an hour-and-a-half of gameplay of a beta release of Biohazard (Resident Evil).

I also discovered in one of the media b-rolls from Sega is a snippet of footage from SegaCD release Virtual VCR: Prince and the N.P.G. – Diamonds and Pearls… which to the best of my knowledge has no known footage on-line for it. I have even read speculation that it didn’t actually exist. Well, I can assure you it existed enough to be in this preview reel recorded for distribution at the 1993 Winter CES. I can only imagine the title was scrapped due to the feud with Warner Bros which led to him changing his name that very year.

February 9, 2014

Single point of failure (or how important is your data?)

So, this is a story I don’t tell too often but in light of some recent conversations about performing backups following the news about the Iron Mountain fire, I felt it would be insightful to share.

Back in 1997/1998 I learned a very hard lesson about data loss and the publication I Co-Edited named Game Zero magazine.

First the back story to explain how this situation ended up the way it did.

We started our web presence near the end of 1994 with a user account with a local Arizona company named Primenet who offered users the traditional array of features (WWW, POP mail, etc…). This worked out great except for a couple of problems. The first was that even though we had registered the domain gamezero.com for our site, Primenet’s server name resolution would sometimes flip a visitor’s browser to the primenet.com/team-0 URL while the person was traversing the site. This caused lots of people to create bookmarks and links to the site by the wrong URL (this comes into play later).

The second and later problem, although not a technical issue, was the cost associated with bandwidth for WWW visitors to the site. Towards the end of our time with Primenet we were hitting fees of a few hundred dollars a month for bandwidth from our 700,000+ page views a month. Fortunately we had designed our site incredibly light, so that helped keep costs low, but traffic and fees were climbing. Ultimately I set my sights to moving us to new “discount” hosting services which were becoming a thing in 1997. It was obvious we could save a significant amount of money by moving the site.

For backups, we had our production computer which housed all the original and developing web content, including the active mirror of the website and remote publishing tools as well as our POP e-mail client for all business e-mail. Additionally, we kept backups of web content and e-mails on a collection of Zip disks along with some limited content on a random assortment of floppies.

In 1997 hard drives where expensive! We’re talking a few hundred dollars for a 1GB drive. Our production PC had something like a 120MB drive, as I recall, so we had lots of data off loaded on the Zip disks.

Also around this time we also received word that the provider which had been handling our FTP based video repository was getting out of the hosting business. I decided it best to roll the video content into the new web hosting arrangement as the price would still be reasonable. We quickly migrated everything over, changed DNS entries, started sending out e-mails to people who had the old primenet.com addresses to please update their links, etc… Following the migration we only published a few major updates on the new server consisting of a couple of new videos and some articles which only existed on the website, our production system and our Zip drive backups.

Then problems started…

  1. Traffic tanked on the new server.
  2. My crawling the web looking for bad links suddenly made me aware of just how bad the extent of the linking issue was and a significant amount of traffic was still going to the old Primenet URL. Fortunately right before we closed our Primenet account we setup a root page that linked to the proper URL along with a notice about the move which Primenet was kind enough to leave up at no cost, but it wasn’t a full site wide redirect though. Just the root pages.
  3. A few months into running on the new provider their servers went dark. When I contacted them to find out what happened, I reached a voicemail that informed me that they had filed bankruptcy and closed business. Done, gone… No contact and no way to recover any of the data from the web server.
  4. We now had a domain name that didn’t respond, our old provider’s server was pointing traffic to that very same dead URL and since we had long since closed the Primenet account we had no ability to log in and change the redirect notice or make other modifications to redirect traffic someplace else.
  5. While scrambling to find new hosting, the hard drive on our production computer completely and utterly failed. 100% data loss.
  6. After getting a new hard drive I went to start rebuilding from our Zip disks and to my horror none of them would read. We had now become a victim of what became to be known as the “click of death”. We lost some 20-30 Zip disks in total. Almost everything was gone except for a mirror of the website from before the migration to the new hosting and other random items scattered around. We also had a limited number of hard copies of e-mails and other documents.
  7. Lastly, while the Internet Archive now is a great way to recover website content. At this point in time it was still just getting started and their “Wayback Machine” had only just taken a partial snapshot of our sites (in both the US and Italy). Par for this story, the lost content was pages that had not been crawled yet except for the index pages for the missing videos. I could view the archive of the video pages… but the linked videos were too large at that time and were not mirrored.

Coming into this, I felt we had a pretty good data backup arrangement. But I learned the hard way that it wasn’t good enough. We lost all of the magazine’s e-mail archives including thousands of XBand correspondences as well as innumerable e-mails with publishers and developers. We lost two videos that had been produced and published. We lost a few articles and reviews. We also lost nearly all of the “in progress” content as well as a number of interviews.

At this point the staff agreed to stop spending money on the publication and formally end the magazine, especially since some of them were already making natural transitions into their careers and school. While we had stopped actively publishing at then end of 1996/start of 1997, if you were to ask me if there was a hard line for the the true end of the magazine, this was it.

Ultimately I did get the site back up as an archive which you can still read today. But, that’s another story.

The lesson of this story is to remember that there is no fool-proof backup situation. Only you can be responsible for you (or your company’s) data and you must always be aware that no matter what your best efforts are, data loss is always a possibility.

99.9% guarantees are great except for  that 0.1% chance, which is still a chance! and if someone is selling you a 100% guarantee let me know because I’ve got the title for this bridge in Brooklyn I might consider selling you for a deal.

What could I have done differently?

  1. Spread out our backups across more than one media type and one location. Simply having a duplicate set of Zip disks and a second drive off site where there was no cross-mixing would have made a huge difference here.
  2. More frequent backups of critical business data such as e-mail.
  3. Retained the master account with the old service provider until we were sure traffic migration had been completed.
  4. Upon the first sign of Click of Death observed. I should have isolated both the problematic media and drive from use and looked for a second drive as the damage propagated once manifest but nobody had enough information about the problem at the time and the manufacture kept denying the problem existed.

Granted some of these would have likely added overhead cost, but the the question is would that cost balance against the value of the data lost? I don’t know. But since this happened I have been far more diligent in my data storage strategies where I now factor in the value and importance of the data with the breadth and depth of the backup plan and go with the best possible solution I can devise.

I have had only one significant data loss in the years since this happened. It was just last fall and I was doing some data re-organization as part of a desktop upgrade. A USB drive I was using for temporary storage fell over and become damaged in such a way that it would no longer read the disk. I then discovered that the data on the drive hadn’t been synchronized with the backup repository for a couple of months for some reason. Fortunately it was non-critical, personal data (downloaded drivers and install packages that I was able to re-download from the Internet). So all in all the only loss here was in my time. But it was a reminder to me that even though I am way more careful than before, accidents can still happen.

June 24, 2013

What’s been going on (2013 edition)

Filed under: Historical Rant,Unloading — Tags: , , — Bryan @ 11:05 am


Ok, so to begin with, back on November 30, 2012, a Wikipedia editor made the final decision that the Game Zero magazine entry was not only irrelevant, but lacking citations enough to warrant reference in the wiki.

At the least I was able to talk him into restoring the deleted page/talk page to a personal page on my profile which you can find here.

I knew this was going to happen eventually. If you’ve been by my blog at all or seen my posts around the web, I have complained for years about the black hole of history that is 1994-1996 that relates to the Internet.

I’m really proud of the work we did at Game Zero and how we laid the ground work for so much of what ended up being staples of web based video game review sites. Sure a lot of it was just common sense outcomes for the medium, but we did it first and people appreciated it at the time.

Oh well… such is life eh? Maybe at some point I’ll get the decision reversed.

Older Posts »