If you play video games and have a connection, odds are that you know GameFAQs. What you may not know is that the site is now creeping up on its 12th birthday. The site is something of an anomaly. It’s a collection of mostly text documents, all gathered in one place to help you get through a game. The authors of the FAQs don’t get paid for their efforts, yet there are mind-numbingly exhaustive guides to virtually all of the most popular games, and a respectable number of the more obscure titles.
All this is possible because of the community that has erupted around the site. The message boards, the user reviews, and the sheer volume of information on the site have made it a virtual one-stop-shop for your game-playing needs. All this time, the site has been helmed by one person, though he’s been slowly delegating his responsibilities. I remember a message board post some time ago (the post seems to have been purged, so I can’t quote it exactly) where he admitted that he just doesn’t play games as much as he used to, that he’s getting older.
Now, a couple of years later, he’s made a very similar post with some additional information indicating that yes, some of his duties have been delegated to others and yes, he will be stepping down… eventually.
One quote in particular stood out for me:
“Last year, at E3 2006, I got the first big feeling that the world was starting to move on without me. I didn’t just feel like I was one of the oldest people there; I was reminded of it constantly. Flashes of “No way that kid’s 18″ and “This music’s too loud” and “Get off of my lawn” flew through my head. In the GameSpot booth, as I still knew and talked with some of the usual crowd, I couldn’t help but notice that I was feeling even older. Many of them were years younger than me, and I found I had just had less in common with them than I had in years past.
When I got back to the hotel, I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “Are you really going to still be doing this when you’re 60? Or, much less, when you’re 40?””
It made me think a bit. While I don’t consider myself to be a fogey just yet, I am acutely aware that I’m the oldest person that I know that bought the recent DS Pokémon, and I write a silly blog about it, and I’m 28. Will I be doing this when I’m 30? 40? Or older?
I’ve given it a fair bit of thought, but I can safely say that at the very least I’ll be playing games until my arthritic hands can no longer hold a game pad (hopefully the brain-interface will be perfected by then), but running a low-traffic web-site? When I’m 30? Likely. When I’m 40? I’d like to say yes, but at that point this site will be 17 years old. Will folks want to read what some 40 year old geezer has to say about games? Will I bother to write it? Again, I’d like to say, “yes”, but we’ll have to see what 2019 holds.
I suppose, then, that it’s quite a feat that GameFAQs has gone this long, even though the creator has been slowly losing interest in the medium and becoming distanced from the culture. I know that this site won’t come close to the levels of popularity or utility that GameFAQs has enjoyed, so I commend Mr. Veasy on a job well done.