Hello, friends. It's New Year's time once again, and by this point, you've probably been bombarded by year-end reviews and retrospectives on dozens of other websites and blogs. While typically not one to follow the trend, I just couldn't resist throwing another log on the fire of your journalistic discontent.
Ok, so I'm exaggerating as always! I've actually assembled this list because I thought you might enjoy looking over some of our past "hits," especially in case you missed any. Also, I wanted to prove to myself that I actually did something with my life this year besides meticulously pick up an enormous scattered pile of foam packing peanuts from my back yard. The following is a list of the top ten most viewed articles that were published on VC&G in the year 2006. I hope you enjoy it.
Have a happy New Year — I'll see you in 2007!
Retro Scan of the Week: Tiger's R-Zone — the Ultimate Eye Strain Device
February 7th, 2006
Since January 30th, 2006, I've been posting a "Retro Scan of the Week" (RSW) on VC&G every Monday. Since then, the column has become so popular and widely read that (along with the additional help of my former Game Ads A-Go-Go column over on GameSetWatch) almost every major blog related to games or computers now has a regular or semi-regular "scan" feature.
This particular RSW on the R-Zone was one of our deluxe entries, with multiple scans and lots of commentary on a really weird device. That is probably what made it so popular as far as RSW columns go.
Yes, some have called us "scan happy." But hey — at least it's not "Retro Scan of the Day."
An Interview with DahrkDaiz, Creator of Mario Adventure
February 7th, 2006
Our features on the seminal NES game hack Mario Adventure and DahrkDaiz's other hacking exploits have been quite popular this year. This interview with DahrkDaiz piggybacked on the popularity of another of our Top Ten articles that you'll encounter ahead. Unfortunately, DahrkDaiz recently made it clear to me that not only does he not appreciate the plentiful support and coverage I've given his masterful work on VC&G, but he also claimed to be growing tired of ROM hacking as a hobby, so the outlook on any new DD-related articles in the future is bleak. Regardless of that, I still consider DahrkDaiz the greatest retro game hacker around, and this interview is definitely worth a read for those interested in the subject.
VC&G’s Last Minute Halloween Costume Ideas: Video Game Edition
October 28th, 2006
This feature on humorous video game character costumes was one of the most fun I've ever written. If I had completed and published it a week or so earlier, it would probably be much farther up the list. Still, I suppose that its popularity even after Halloween passed proved its value.
This piece had an earlier companion based on computer-related costumes that didn't get nearly as much attention. But it's always that way with the great computer / video game split: vintage video games are much more accessible to the average person than vintage computers as a hobby, so the topic is vastly more popular.
The Dial-Up BBS Revisited
August 30th, 2006
This particular article on derelict BBSes has the singular distinction of being the only non-video game article in the Top Ten and VC&G's only non-video game article (to date) that has been a hit on Digg.
This piece's peculiar combination of rediscovering ancient dial-up BBSes over modern VoIP phone lines and the emotional portrayal of those BBSes as abandoned ghost towns, frozen in time, proved irresistible to many. As one of my favorite articles so far, I'm especially glad that it made ripples through the online world — and earned itself a spot on the Top Ten.
Retro Scan of the Week: The Most Complicated Video Game Controller Ever Devised
September 4th, 2006
There's a whole new generation of gamers out there who hasn't heard of things like the Intellivision or the Atari 5200, and they wouldn't know their ColecoVision Expansion Module #2 from their ColecoVision Expansion Module #3. That's why dredging up the classics can be so much fun, as it provides a unique opportunity for the "new school" to discover that the history of video games is not merely composed of classics, but of a rich tapestry of failures, oddities, and albatrosses. For every good idea, there are a thousand bad ones. And some of them — like the Super Action Controller here — actually made it to market.
The Ultimate NES DVD Player Hack
March 3rd, 2006
After reading about the dozens of nifty-but-usually-useless console hacks of others, I decided that it was my turn to take a stab at it. So I put a DVD player into a NES case, wrote up and photographed an exhaustive account of the process, and the rest is history. I later sold the device on eBay for $282.73 to pay off my cat-sterilization bill, so it's now floating out there somewhere in the wild.
I'm still getting emails every few months from people inspired by this article who have made their own NES DVD players, and it always brings a smile to my face. Keep 'em coming!
The Most Disturbing Halloween Costume Ever: Atari’s Asteroids
October 11th, 2006
Those of you regular readers out there know that I try very hard to only post unique content on VC&G. This practice goes against the credo of most blogs, which just seem to parrot the work of someone else. Sometimes, however, I run across something that's just too good not to show you, and that's exactly what happened in this case. I ran across the most disturbing Halloween costume ever on RetroCrush, wrote about it, and here is the result. I'm glad I did, too, because this post also inspired me to write item #8 in this Top Ten list.
The Land of 10,000 Plastic Marios
July 12th, 2006
After the popularity of the article on a massive video game collection that you'll see in the #2 spot in this countdown, Brett Martin emailed me about his huge video game memorabilia collection. As you can see by the pictures, his collection is impressive, which made the article very popular indeed. So popular, in fact, that it got Nintendo of America's attention, and Brett was chosen to host a Wii party later in the year (a few months before the Wii's release in November 2006). As a certified Nintendo maniac, it was his dream come true. I'm glad that something good comes of this site after all!
The Saga of "The (Possible) World's Largest Video Game Collection" started on March 9th, 2006, when I posted this entry on VC&G as kind of an afterthought. Shortly after that, pictures of the collection exploded around the Internet as a Japanese site picked up on the story, then Kotaku and others, driving the Videogamecollectors.com site that hosted the original pictures deep underground under and avalanche of traffic that it didn't recover from for months. When the dust settled, people were confused as to exactly what happened, and VC&G was left out in the cold, clearly forgotten as the site who broke the story in the first place.
Seeing not only the collection's popularity, but the terrible negative reactions, attacks, and insults hurled upon the collector in question, I thought I would interview him and give him a chance to give his side of the story. The collector himself was very hard to track down — I had to go through one of his best friends just to email him. But I did get through, and what followed was hilariously perhaps the worst interview ever published. Oh, to have that wonderful distinction. Without the new pictures of the collection, the article would have been nearly worthless. I somewhat redeemed myself (and the collector) shortly thereafter by interviewing his more verbose friend as a follow up.
This collection still pops up from time to time to the amazement of others on other blogs that rehash all the old news, most recently on a somewhat shady, yet somehow popular content-regurgitating blog that will have to remain unnamed. But hey, that's the Internet for ya.
Mario Adventure: The Best NES Game Hack of All Time
February 7th, 2006
Thanks to this overview of what I called "The Best NES Game Hack of All Time," Mario Adventure is not only the "best," but likely the most popular game hack ever, with over 36,000 downloads from VC&G alone since February 7th, 2006. That's over 110 downloads a day on average, my friends, which is none too shabby for an underground game hack release. I'm no authority on this, but I suspect that those numbers far surpass the distribution of any other game hack out there.
The key to Mario Adventure's popularity, however, is not the article that re-discovered it, but the quality of the hack itself. After playing dozens of half-baked game mods and hacks, Mario Adventure's stunningly impressive display of new content and features made itself stand out far above the pack. But that's enough superlatives for now; you'll encounter many more when it comes to DahrkDaiz's masterpiece if you read this article.