Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

We Are Changing and Here’s What You Can Expect

with 3 comments

Gaming History 101 was purchased by Fred in October of 2011 with the dream of a comprehensive blog that looked back at the history of gaming, but also remained cognoscente of the present and future gaming could provide.  He always knew that that as time went on the discussion would change, the context of history would be affected, and the longer we created content the more surgical these topics would have to be.  He didn’t count on a teenager squatting all of the social media accounts and YouTube, lesson learned, but overall that dream has remained consistent.

Fred had been podcasting since April of 2004 and although he was a regular co-host on The B-Team, eventually the decision was made to start podcasting on retro topics.  This was mostly stemmed  by the ending of Retronauts along with the entire 1UP empire.  As is often the case, less than a year after the establishment of the Gaming History 101 podcast, Retronauts returned albeit transformed.  After several discussions with then regular guests and co-hosts, Fred decided to keep the podcast going and run in tangent despite having no true press credentials and none of the access that Retronauts and other competitors had.  The audience grew and there was a ton of interest, amassing an amazing 50,000+ subscribers and download numbers that in some months neared half a million.  Things were looking up, the podcast was stronger than ever, and in March of 2014 – after several guest appearances – Jamalais (Jam) joined the podcast as a permanent co-host to the show.  That episode also happened to be a Gaming History X where we took a good long look at modern gaming with a retro perspective.

In the short four years since our highest point, things have changed drastically.  Retro video games became a mainstream topic, the niche became the cliche, and now there are literally hundreds of podcasts doing this same thing.  Granted, some offer great content, but for a lot of them it’s all nostalgia hits to attempt to cash in on the trend.  In addition Fred’s career and family life have begun to tap into his ability to create shows and Jam has gotten married, moved around, and is now on a completely different schedule than before.  Not only that, but after 375 episodes, the topics are thinning slightly and while there’s plenty to talk about, Fred and Jam are nearing the apex of their expertise on certain topics and/or games.  The community has also thinned, but from what we can tell from feedback this is more based on people growing up or having similar life changes and less on the podcast topics themselves.  With all of this change afoot, it’s finally time to switch gears and change what Gaming History 101 means.  Don’t fret, we aren’t going anywhere.

This web site was founded on the concept of a multimedia blog where endless topics could be discussed and the media of each post would be defined by the topic.  That meant that some topics are better suited for text, photos, videos, audio, livestreams, podcasts, etc.  It all depends on the topic at hand.  With the boom of the podcast, that direction changed and this web site became more of a haven for side projects and boost to the already thriving podcast.  We became a podcast first and a blog second.  After much discussion, it’s time to return to the beginning, it’s time to become a blog again. The slogan for this site is, “Know Your Roots” and it’s high time we took that seriously.  We know some of you may not like this change and others may very well be excited by it, but this is the new form of Gaming History 101 as decided by its staff.  Hopefully all of you will stay around, join our Discord for community engagement, and enjoy the content we provide.  As always you can send requests, comments, questions, and complaints to contact@gaminghistory101.com.  Fred and Jam have prepared personal statements for everyone, which you can read below.

Jam’s Response

Hey fans I hope you are well and all is going jolly in your life at this time. This article is just a update of stuff happening behind the scenes and what you can expect from content moving forward on GH101.

The times they are a changing as often happens in life and song and that means GH101 is changing too. The podcasts and the site have now been operating for over 5 years. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be apart of GH101, doing podcasts and writing the occasional article. I am eternally grateful to Fred for allowing me to be apart of the site and podcast and I thank all of our listeners who have taken time out of there busy schedules to listen to our shenanigans. It honestly means the world to me.

Due to real life events Fred and I are looking to slow down on the regular podcasts format. Fred and I wanted to take some time out to reflect and think about what we want to do moving forward. But don’t panic! this is not the end of all things GH101. We have covered a variety of topics on GH101 all of which you can go back and listen to again and again and still enjoy. What I have always loved about retro is it always feels relevant whenever you decide to tune in and listen to a topic that peaks your interest.

What I am looking to do moving forward is continue to record podcasts. I have two ongoing ideas in mind one being the solo shows which are basically like GHX but with just me and possibly a new guest host in the near future. Additionally I will continue to record Screen Splitters which is the show about Co-Op games I record with Me10dy (the first episode already in the feed where we covered A Way Out). We have already scripted our show on Beyond 2 Souls but we decided we are going to delay that and do a show about Unravel Two and another game since E3 recently happened. I’m also looking to write more articles and stream games once a week, I’m still waiting to decide which day to do this as I would prefer it to be a regular day I can commit to each week and see how it goes. Though this is my idea on paper things don’t always go smoothly. Real life does sadly get in the way. I have a full time job as well as other real world things that come along. For some transparency I’m not a well man, although I may have the voice of an angel and you have images of a muscularly sexy British man, I’ve had to deal with some hardships behind the scenes. My mental health despite by best efforts to suppress it over many many years has taken a rather large toll on my physical health. On July the 5th (2018) I had some minor surgery on my toe. I have been in a lot of physical pain on and off for 2 years basic stuff like walking and of course exercise is very painful. After several attempts to get the problem sorted I have found a private practitioner who I feel confident will address the problem and give me the appropriate after care. I’m hoping the recovery will be quick so I can start exercising again which will enable me to work on my mental health and start making some progress towards recovery.

This is the first time I have really ever spoken openly about my health on the internet. Topics like this are taboo subjects to discuss from my personal experience. I think writing this and making it open on an article is more for me than the small number of people that will read this. But in a weird way its remind me I’m making progress, even if it does feel a little slow for me at this moment. I’m also writing this because I consider many loyal fans of the show friends and I just want to be honest with you.

Sorry, going off on a tangent there. Future content is on the way. Finding a regular schedule may take some time with things going on behind the scenes. The GH101 Discord will remain open and Fred and myself will continue to mess around on twitter. Of course the website is not going anywhere.
Thank you for your continued support on GH101 and I hope you will continue to check back with us now then for all the future content.

Fred’s Response

My first podcast, Video Game Purists, launched in late April of 2004. My co-host was a childhood friend, Heffe, and we had tossed around the idea for a while before finally pulling the trigger.  At that time we were covering the launch of GTA IV by interviewing people at the local GameStops in Chicago (me) and Arizona (Heffe), delving into a side discussion about the history of Grand Theft Auto, and talking news.  It was a standard podcast when podcasts were anything but standard.  This was just before the big podcast boom of 1UP, GameSpot (who at the time were basically the soon to be Giant Bomb staff), IGN, and many others.  While podcasts were around many people weren’t making them, especially in a hobbyist capacity.  We actually got the idea from Video Game Outsiders, which was a podcast someone in that community turned me on to.  I started blogging on their site because it had forums, blogs, and a decent community and eventually two guys – one named Trees – suggested that I start up a podcast given the solid content of my blog.  The rest is history.

Having a podcast back then was very different because you could get an audience simply by being one of few.  Even when the big dogs got in there 1UP Yours! was less than an hour, The Hot Spot was probably 45 minutes, and the shows didn’t start off always being weekly, so it was very possible for people to listen to your podcast and the big ones as well.  We did giveaways, had listener mail, my wife (then girlfriend) joined for a 5 minute segment where she reviewed instruction manuals, and we got drunk during every 2-3 hour show.  I never took it seriously and had a blast.  I think back then the big deal was the dynamic.  We wanted to entertain and people wanted to be entertained, which was made easy by all parties given that we worked for free and people didn’t want to make their own podcast.  Take note of that last statement because it will come back around.

Time passed and VGP lost Heffe when he took a specific job, I got a young guy named Jacob who had a lot of spunk and a unique perspective, and eventually the show ended.  Even back then people were reaching out to ask what the next show was going to be.  At that time I started working for a newspaper (The Lawrence Journal World) as the video game reviewer and got to go to press events, including E3.  I may be getting my facts mixed, but I’m pretty sure it was at E3 2010 that I got to finally meet The B-Team, so named because they used to be the ringers for Video Game Outsiders when they needed to take a week off.  We hung out, went to dinners, got drinks, and did some combo podcasts.  The whole thing meshed very well and eventually I was invited to join them.  That relationship exists even today, but my interest has always been more in retro than anything else.  When I was a kid I wanted to own every video game and as an adult I’ve merely shortened that goal to every video game console and then buy games I want when I can.  This is how and why Gaming History 101 was started and this site will speak for itself from that point forward.

In the last 5 years a lot has changed in video game media and I have to admit I’m not very happy with a lot of it.  Probably the biggest change is that everyone today is a narcissist.  I will fully cop to being a narcissist myself – anyone with a non-paid hobby podcast has to admit that – but back in the mid-late 2000s I had much less competition.  Society wasn’t comfortable with buying and building web sites, recording podcasts, and putting themselves out there.  Hell, some of my co-hosts still use handles instead of real names, which is a remnant of that bygone era.  The industry and coverage has migrated from web sites to streamers, podcasters, and YouTube celebrities.  I don’t want to get too deep into the debate of these individuals’ value, especially as one of them, but with these droves of new people comes new expectations.  Everyone seems to be self-satisfying today and no one really cares what anyone else thinks.  I’m constantly told that my opinion is wrong, which by itself is fine to say, but then people want me to change my content to reflect this clear attack on their world.  If I don’t, consequences could follow that are as benign as a rough e-mail or malignant as a full DDoS attack follow by endless hacking attempts.  As Jam said, these aren’t things I really worry about or get bent out of shape about, just signs that the times are changing.

Bringing it back to this site, that puts us in a unique position.  We haven’t changed, but the world around us sure has, and this pond got a whole lot bigger.  Nowadays everyone has a podcast and if they don’t, they plan to start one.  My freaking six-year-old daughter wants to start either a podcast or YouTube channel.  The nice pharmacy tech in my office has started Twitch streaming Overwatch in her free time and a guy at my sister’s wedding last week told me with a smirk that he had 15,000 YouTube subscribers compared to my paltry 1,800. I was completely unaware I was competing with this person and he was not happy that I didn’t seem to have a reaction, negative or positive, other than to congratulate him.  Facts have also become a weird point of contention for this work as well.  If someone says that Nintendo released the Genesis and you call them out, they shrug, but if you dare say that Super Mario Bros. 3 came out in 1990 they jump down your throat because Wikipedia clearly says 1988.  While the situation may be different, the reasoning is the same: they want attention and they want you to help them get social traction.  In the time I’ve been podcasting society went from secret security lockdown of the most trivial parts of a person’s life to having society constantly on display 24 hours a day in the interest of subscribers or followers.  All that said, I don’t know where we fit anymore.

What I do know is that I love talking about games, discovering games, and playing games with others.  That probably will never change about me.  At 36, I accept that I’m never going to work in a viable position in video game coverage or production, which is fine given that I enjoy the career I do have instead.  That puts myself and Jam in a unique position to just do whatever the hell we want and this is the catalyst to that direction.  No worries, no deadlines, no pressure.  I may livestream to no one, fine by me.  Even if no one watches I’ll be busy getting to know games for the first time or enjoying past titles for the hundredth time.  I won’t put the whole stream up – I feel that is a huge problem with media today, it’s too damn long – but I plan to do highlight reels of only the decent morsels in each stream.  I, like Jam, plan to do articles, videos, and podcasts as well, just not on a schedule and not necessarily adhering to a format.  Most importantly though, we can’t do this without you.  There are plenty of you out there that are a part of the GH101 community, embrace this content, and appreciate what we do.  In fact, there are those that even get involved.  We want you to know that we know you are there an appreciate you, so please don’t take any of these words or actions to mean we’ve lost sight of that fact.  With that I don’t feel there’s any better conclusion than: peace…out.

Written by Fred Rojas

July 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

Posted in Blog

3 Responses

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  1. As a long time listener, I appreciate the hard work and have loved the podcast. Just as good as retronauts but with a different flavor. Keep up the good work and i will look forward to new shows that may come out and other content.

    Mike

    July 11, 2018 at 6:41 pm

  2. Quick side note regarding my use of the word “narcissist” both in regards to myself and other peers doing independent projects. I will fully cop to using this term loosely when those that have this condition may not appreciate me doing so.

    What I meant, and should have said, was that I like attention. Good, bad, indifferent, I like it all. Additionally I don’t necessarily want to be the center, just a part of the group, albeit one that stands out. I believe this describes anyone able to put themselves out there in any form, especially via podcast or video. This is quite contrary to the definition of a narcissist.

    I know some of you roll your eyes at comments like these that feel the need to clarify, but in cases like this it is important. No one reached out to me and no one called foul, although I will admit a listener loosely mentioned my use of the term to call out how it doesn’t really apply. Here at GH101 we are a community that thrives on inclusion, not exclusion, and this includes respect. Cheers.

    Fred Rojas

    July 12, 2018 at 10:20 am

  3. Please keep doing what you do, gentlemen.
    Thank you for what you have done!

    Jam, please seeking help as no one wants to lose you.

    Fred, your presentation style clicks with me.
    My wife and I look forward to more ChronCD.

    Have a great weekend!

    Harold Clark

    July 13, 2018 at 4:12 pm


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