Five and a half years. In today's fast-living world, an eternity. In its first year, I used TUOL as a visitor, finding lots of great exciting sites through it. Then, in September 2000, I joined the crew myself. Since then, I've been involved with it constantly. As a weekly updater first, taking over most of the responsibility and 'behind the scenes' work later. And now, all this comes to an end.
'Abandonware' as a whole had its ups and downs over these years. The big fights over the rules in late 1999 and early 2000. The huge amount of media coverage and attention in 2001 and 2002. The overwhelming number of new sites and people in these years. And then, the slow decline over the last two years. Less and less people being interested in classic games, more and more old sites dying for various reasons.
What bothered me especially over the last few years was the lack of 'new blood' which could be taken seriously. How many good new sites were founded and survived longer than two months? At the same time, the invasion of things we thought we had kicked out years ago. Lots and lots of linkstealers and content stealers - be glad you didn't get to see most of these. Sure, there still were lots of decent people around, but most of them only collected ZIP files instead of plastic and cardboard.
These days, there are so few active sites left that running a ring doesn't make much sense anymore. The same few sites are updating regularly or semi-regularly, most of the ones which are still online have been long abandoned (ironic, isn't it?). No problem for these few people to get together and cross-link their sites directly - it would even be a lot easier and less bureaucratic.
Of course, it's still very sad to let such an old site go, especially since our services have reached an all-time high with the latest changes again. TUOL and Abandonweb were the only stable rings which everybody could always count on both to exist and to be reliably updated. In all due modesty, our search engine covered a lot more stuff than any other, and its accuracy is yet to be surpassed.
The decision still to shut down wasn't made lightly. For the reasons above, we lost motivation, though. The point it eventually became completely clear to me was when the preparations for our five-year-celebrations resulted into... nothing. So, instead of letting everything turn into a 'sorry mess' (as the former webmaster of another ring called the final stage of his site) without updates and rulebreakers galore being accepted, we decided to quit while it's still good. To give our best in the last few weeks and months. I hope we succeeded.
Personally, I will not quit this 'scene', because the subject itself is still a fascinating one to me. My other site, The Good Old Days, will stay up and I'll continue to work on it. If there is anything - this is where I can be found and reached. Maybe one day, more people will get interested in the classic art of computer games again, and maybe, sites like this one will be needed again then...
I'm writing this after having done the last TUOL udpate and typing up the
last newspost there. A few days ago I did a quick calculation and came up
with a number of around 1000 updates I did at TUOL. That's a lot more than I
The site built up from a hobby taking up just a few minutes every week to
something that became quite an addiction... Starting back in the days when
Turnip and I started blogging our impressions from the european football
championships - long before blogging became hip or even widely known. The
time of forum wars... IRC wars... etc. etc. - abandonware kept me glued to
the monitor for a substantial part of my life back then.
So what is this today? It's the end of an era.
When Creo told me he wouldn't have the time to continue TUOL I knew the show
was over. Basically the old times are long gone anyway. We kept running TUOL
even though most of the visitors enter the scene over search engines
nowadays. The scene decentralized a longer time ago... so what's TUOL needed
for anymore anyway...?
But well, I'm getting away from the point now. I doubt many people really
know me anymore anyway... I gave up my own site more than a year ago - yet
still currently only Underdogs is active nonstop for a longer time. If you
also count those who took a break you can also count in Darkside from
Flashback and well... Swizzle from "that other ring". Yes, I feel old - like
a dinosaur. ;)
Unlike Creo, who will continue to run his Good Old Days I will say goodbye
to the abandonware scene now. The show is over, it has been a blast with you
guys. I met some great people through abandonware... I'm sure I'll forget
more than just one, but I still want to try to mention those that did make
an impression (in no particular order)... As there would be Darkside, Tox,
Fieron (or Arsten... or whatever name you want to choose ;) ), Vohaul,
Underdogs, Turnip (although he's probably better known as Noxin now... to
those who met him in UO on the Europa shard), Skree, Learhsa, Hawk, TTG, the
guys at #pcoldies - and last but not least of course the fabulous Mr
Creosote who became a real life friend by now. And well... some last
greetings to those I didn't really get to like but had to spend some
substantial amounts of time dealing with - Swizzle of the AR and PsOmA of
I guess this is it then. Those years with TUOL have been long, and not
always gentle. But they've taught me a great deal of life even. Thanks go
to the rest of the crew - It's been a pleasure to work with you. Huge
thanks goes to both Elwood and Mr. Creosote. I hope you too feel that the
time and effort you've sacrificed for TUOL has been well spent. I feel the
best way to describe how I feel about the end is the following quote.
"--And yet it was not Buckkeep that came to my mind, but a meadow
overlooking the sea, and a girl in bright red skirts that beckoned me. A
time, rather than a place. No road led there any more."
I'll continue to work on my site, so those few interested should check in
once in a while. But as for other things... From this day forward, for me,
Abandonware is dead. Maybe one day new winds will blow in a fresh scent.
But I fear then my bones will be all bleached and dry. Haba out, this one
When it was decided that TUOL should close it's doors today a while back, it
didn't seem like it was going to happen. So many times TUOL was really
close to closing, even though very few people knew about it. There were a
few reasons, but this time it was different. This time it was decided for
the best. A glum moment for me for sure, even more so for those who put
even more work in it than me. I had a bit of fun doing it, seeing really
neat sites first was fun, as was talking to some of the webmasters. Of
course the crew of TUOL was awesome, everyone could debate about the rules
without turning it into some war. Plus, the jokes were always good.
The Pub was a good time as well, but I think we overran our rolleyes
emoticon allotment there.
What started for me as an email entitled "You have been choosen for slave
labour!", ends today. With Google becoming a juggernaut, as somebody said,
the need for rings seems diminished. For me, TUOL has been a great time.
Ye shall rest in peace, ol' TUOL