I started playing games about 20 years ago when my friend got an Atari 2600.
We would play games all the time even though most of them were very simplistic but at the time it was state of the art home entertainment.
I was not able to get a computer myself until one or two years later when I got a Commodore 64 for my birthday. Finally I was able to enjoy gaming all the time at home. Because this was not a console but a “personal computer” as stated on the label I was also able to learn about other computer-related issues. I learned how to type with 10 fingers and learned how to program in basic to create my own games and utils. Games of all genres were available on this platform and so I was able to enjoy a wide variety of different games.
Many of the games that I still play today date back to this time and to this day this computer still remains one of my favorites!
After a couple of years support for the C64 was declining and I upgraded to an Commodore Amiga 500. I used it mainly for gaming and occasionally some other stuff like programming and graphics. At this time most of the games made for the Amiga were action games but I sorely missed adventures and rpg’s. My friend owned an old XT PC and was not able to play action games but he did have lots of adventure games so my attention shifted to that platform.
I got a 386 computer and was now able to play all those great adventure games from Sierra and others. With the development of PC’s going at an enormous pace I upgraded lots of time to keep pace with the system requirements of the ever increasing demands of games.
In the meantime I also played games from pretty much all the available consoles and systems that were out there. At one time or another I owned a NES, SNES, Master system, Sega Megadrive, Neo Geo, Dreamcast, Playstation etc.etc and I even had my own arcade for a while !
Aaaaa those were the days…
These days I work in de IT industry (obviously) and still play games however I am rather displeased with the games-industry as it is right now.
Even though there are games that I like wether on PC or console but most games produced today cater for a massmarket audience. Games have very little depth, are way to easy and often offer very limited replayability. I’ve been keeping a record of the games I have completed and I can tell you that most of them were over within a 10 hour timespan which to me is usually 1-2 days, not too much value for money is you have to pay 50-60 bucks or more for a single game!
Gone are the days where you could spent days/weeks/months even on a single game (there are a few of these games around but not a lot in my opinion).
Also it seems most of the (pc) games out there are first person shooters which is fine if you like that sort of game but were are the adventures and rpg’s? I guess the masses simply don’t want those type of games.
That why I went back to the old days and started playing those old adventures and C64 games again, who says you need 3D graphics and surround sound to enjoy a game! I have plenty of games stored which I have never even played yet not to mention all the ones that I don’t have yet.
A good idea
One day I was searching in my old games collection trying to find that one game I wanted to play. Going through tons of cd’s and disks stored in my closet I finally found what I was looking for. There had to be an easier way.
I thought about a way of storing my games so that I would be able to get them as easily as typing in their name like you would on the internet. And so the idea for a database-driven searchable website was born.
However that’s easier said than done. Putting the games on a hosted server would be rather problematic because of the limited space and the extra costs of installing a database. So I decided it would be best to set up a server myself so that I would have the entire machine’s resources to myself.
Then I can put the server somewhere connected to the internet and finally I would have a place where I can store and recollect my games from anywhere as long as I have an internet connection.
Enter The House of Games
Ofcourse just thinking about setting up your own internet server is one thing but actually doing it is another. I got myself an unused pc that would be used as a server and put in enough hardware to support plenty of games.
As the serversoftware I decided on php/mysql mainly because they are free to use and there are plenty of help/faqs on the internet to get out of most problems.
I started learning the basics of php which luckily if you have some programming experience is not too difficult. Not too long after I was able to make my own site and use the database behind it to search for the games which is what I wanted.
I decided that I would add lots of information from the game itself like reviews and screenshots so that other people would also be able to learn about the games and play them as well. (also this info makes sure I don’t forget about these games too :-p )
Also many games I played were often released on many different systems and it would be nice to compare them so I decided that if they were available I would put them here also.
Finally I had to come up with a nice name to give my website and given my history I thought it would be appropriate to name it The House of Games…
The first priority would be to create the entire site itself meaning the technical issues and programming.
Then develop a way games could be put on the site without having to upload every single bit of info to an ftp server, the best way to do this is some sort of CMS (content management system).
Having created all that from scratch and rewriting some of the portions of the site several times because my head was still full of ideas was hard work but worth it.
When adding the first game I had to figure out the format of all the little things like the screenshots, reviews and how to support the multiple systems some games are on.
Finally the last step was to add the games which at the time of writing this I have started work on.
Currently my main objective is to fill the site with plenty of games. Most games added at this time won’t have any manuals or extra docs because I currently don’t have the hardware to scan them.
They will be added at a later date when I get all the hard and software to do it.
Also as I go along there might games added for systems not currently available on the site.