An insight into how Everygamegoing was built, its size and why it will soon be your favourite destination on the Internet
Everygamegoing is a new site to most people. It went "live" in November 2015 and, every week since, it has been updated with additional libraries of games for more and more machines. Take it from us, it is a remarkable size, with many fully completed libraries. It contains thousands and thousands of games - including hundreds that you won't find anywhere else on the Internet.
Everygamegoing is not just a games database - there are a lot of these already! It is a game information database; it is an archive of instructions, critical appraisal, compatibility details and, most importantly, the control keys you need to actually play each game. And, best of all, to get this information, you don't need to do anything but search for it!
You may be surprised to learn that, when "we" launched Everygamegoing, it was the work of a single man. Nevertheless, it launched with the details of over 65,000 items in its database. From your point of view, one day - Shazam! - our incredible resource simply appeared. But it did, in fact, take many, many years to put it together. It represents the merging of other sites we have created over the past fifteen years.
The first site we produced was Acorn Electron World, which set out to provide an on-line archive of disc-based software for the Acorn Electron, a computer manufactured by Acorn Computers Ltd in 1982. Our first site launched in 2001, with no ambitious aims. However, it soon grew to incredible proportions and, when its archives reached 99% completion, it was time to start site number two: Personal Computer News, which was an on-line archive of the magazines of the same name. (This site is no longer maintained - you'll see why below!)
More recently - if you count September 2013 as "recent" - we did for the Dragon 32 what we did earlier for the Acorn Electron, creating Dragon 32 Universe, another large archive of games. Significantly, we identified common elements between these three sites and began generating them from a common database. The first steps to Everygamegoing were being taken.
By 2015, most other computers also had their own web sites. The Spectrum had always been very well supported by the World Of Spectrum, but even more obscure machines like the Colour Genie had also become someone else's pet project. In fact, one of the sub-projects of our Personal Computer News (PCN) site had been to create screenshots for every game reviewed in each PCN magazine.
In doing this, we soon figured out that the "best" archived versions of any game might be in one of many places, and in one of any number of formats. What constantly frustrated us, however, was that most game sites only archived the game itself - few went as far as we had with our own sites. It was hard to find out how to actually play the games - even if someone had scanned the instructions leaflet, they had rarely put the text on a web page.
There was only one thing for it - simply extend the database of games for the Acorn Electron, the Dragon 32 and the games reviewed in Personal Computer News so that it contained every game...! Yes, there may be millions of them out there, but, undaunted, we set to work grabbing as much information from as many trusted sites out there as we could.
The database started growing, and so too did the amount of "curation" that was required; checking the quality of the data, filtering out duplicated items, slighly modifying how data was stored to suit different types of format, etc, etc. We were constantly swapping "hats" - on Monday we would be developing the site itself, on Tuesday scanning missing items bought from eBay, on Wednesday adding new reviews, on Thursday adding new instructions, on Friday reviewing the new games that came our way...
And don't forget, this is the royal "we". In fact, all this work was done by only one person, and without Kickstarter backing or an in-house Tech team. For a long time, working alone and for free, all of the development was taking place "locally". Indeed, there were times when the search for games seemed never-ending - there was always one more site to scrape, always one more version of each game that we hadn't heard of... (Indeed, we are still finding new games and adding them to Everygamegoing. We're probably doing it right now as you read this.)
When we hit 65,000 items however, we figured the resource was substantial enough that a fair number of gamers would find it invaluable. With a bit of rewriting, we also managed to import over 40,000 magazine articles from our eariler sites to link directly to the games contained on Everygamegoing. (There is, of course, a large bias to these articles - they are all from magazines published between 1982 and 1990, and the vast majority are for the Acorn Electron and Dragon 32.) As part of this import, we effectively merged all three of our previous sites with the data from all of the "best" other sites out there.
The above is how the site "came to be", but it's not all of the story. We've also been buying up collections of games; on top of the obvious Acorn Electron and Dragon 32 collections, we have collections for the Video Genie, Philips Videopac, BBC Model B/Master 128/Compact, Archimedes, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and many others. All of these items - some of which had incredibly small production runs - have also found their way into Everygamegoing. In fact, Everygamegoing is the only place to find them.
At Everygamegoing, we don't do things by halves. You won't just find a cover scan here, for example, nor, for the majority of games, will you just find a single screenshot to illustrate a game. Instead you'll find everything we could find - and you'll find it in a single place. This makes Everygamegoing not just a living historical document but also a great place to visit if you are doing any sort of journalistic research on any particular game. All our images are of high quality, and we don't watermark any of them, so you can easily acquire them to illustrate any article you may be preparing. That is, in fact, precisely what we do ourselves when we write professionally both on FlickeringMyth and in the Retro Round Up column of Micromart (published each week in the UK).
Everygamegoing will shortly open up to everyone who has a serious interest in helping us build the best game information archive ever. That will be the subject of our next article when all of the functionality needed to achieve this is available via the main site. For now, please enjoy our site...