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Author Topic: VGMaps is now 15 years old!  (Read 1124 times)
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JonLeung
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« on: May 06, 2017, 06:44:55 PM »

Happy birthday, VGMaps!  This site is now 15 years old!

I didn't have a chance to prepare something in time for today.  Maybe I'll make a YouTube video about it in a little bit (as in, a few weeks), as I now have a YouTube channel.  Look me up!

For the 10th anniversary half a decade ago, I wrote a piece, which was mostly about the origins of VGMaps.  As, obviously, the origins would not have changed other than being longer ago, it might still be worth a read here.

I did notice that for the 10th anniversary article, I mentioned that we were just shy of 20,000 maps.  I'd have to do a count again but I believe we are currently just shy of, or at least in the vicinity of, 40,000 maps.  That's another 20 thousand in half the time as it took for the first 20 thousand!  And that's even with the slowed-down numbers of submissions in the past year...  Will we get 20,000 in the next five years?  Or maybe another 30,000 or even more, considering the exponential growth?  Time will tell...

I honestly don't know how long I will keep running this.  I see no reason to stop, though.  But just running VGMaps.com isn't the impressive part, it's the maps that all you guys have put together!  So thank you all!  Whether you've only just found this place or have been around since Spring 2002, whether you submitted half a map or a few hundred, I am grateful for your contributions to this site.

Maybe I'll try to come up with something more to say soon, but regardless of what sentiments I come up with, I think we can all be proud of what we've got here.  Cheesy
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Revned
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 08:07:15 PM »

We sure have come a long way in those 15 years! Both in quantity and quality, I'd say. Before this site, maps were mostly functional and less polished (character sprites everywhere, resized, etc.). Having a dedicated gallery for maps emphasized the maps-as-art aspect, and the forums helped develop the techniques and theory.

I'm not expecting exponential growth, especially when I look at my own work. I think we've started to reach a bit of a saturation point where all of the most popular games are either already mapped, or too technically difficult to map. Of course there are still outliers (like the Sonic series), but I'm personally a lot less motivated than I was when 90% of my favorite games weren't mapped yet. That said, I'm certainly not "retired" from mapping, and here's to the next 15 years!
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mechaskrom
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2017, 04:41:59 PM »

Happy birthday to this wonderful site.

I had to take a break from mapping, but hopefully I can continue mapping soon. There are many more games that I want maps of so there's that at least, but I agree with Revned that the whole mapping community has probably reached a saturation point. Let's see after 15 more years. Smiley
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Current project: Mission: Impossible (NES)
Last finished project: Lagoon (SNES)
dark_lord_zagato@yahoo.co
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2017, 11:30:57 PM »

I remember what things were like before vgmaps. Always looking for maps and never finding anything, except maybe hand drawn maps or compressed jpg maps with sprites and seam lines. If it wasn't featured in Nintendo Power and didn't have it's own player's guide a game would basically have no maps anywhere. Tough luck if you're a fan of some obscure game...

As far as saturation goes there's still a lot of work to be done for systems other than NES and SNES. There's a ton of PS1 games i'd like to see mapped someday, and maybe some Saturn games. Problems with 3D aside there's still enough 2D games for these systems.
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JonLeung
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2017, 12:39:11 PM »

In doing promotional stuff for Nintendo Quest, I ended up making posters of all the box art for the NES (and eventually did SNES and N64 as well).  I also did a thing where I tweeted six NES games a day counting down to the Edmonton screenings of it.  Plus, I've read the Ultimate Nintendo Guide To The NES Library and am currently reading The Unofficial NES/Famicom: A Visual Compendium.  So even through those, despite my involvement in retrogaming already, I still definitely learned of, or got reintroduced to, many official games that are lesser known.

And I can tell you that the NES and SNES listings here are still far from equal to the full listings of those game libraries.  Definitely a huge number of the most popular and representative games are mapped; after all, it's been 15 years, plus that there would have been ample time, interest and opportunity for someone to map these even if someone wasn't doing it specifically or originally for VGMaps.  But some games have somehow eluded us, and I don't think it's entirely for technical reasons.  And they aren't all uninteresting (in my opinion), or even that obscure, either.

For the NES, some games have not been mapped at all, or have very few maps, including Déjà Vu, The Flintstones: The Rescue Of Dino & Hoppy, The Jetsons: Cogswell's Caper, Kiwi Kraze, Legacy Of The Wizard, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Nightshade, Panic Restaurant, Rockin' Kats, Shadowgate, Skate Or Die 2: The Search For Double Trouble, Snow Brothers, Totally Rad, and Uninvited.

For the SNES, the same could be said for The Addams Family, The Addams Family: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt, Aero The Acro-Bat, Aero The Acro-Bat 2, Animaniacs, Ardy Lightfoot, Battletoads & Double Dragon, B.O.B., Brandish, Bubsy In Claws Encounters Of The Furred Kind, Bubsy II, DinoCity, Donkey Kong Country, The Flintstones: The Treasure Of Sierra Madrock, Harley's Humongous Adventure, Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures, The Jetsons: Invasion Of The Planet Pirates, Joe & Mac 2: Lost In The Tropics, Kirby's Dream Land 3, The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja, Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures, Plok, Robotrek, Shadowrun, Skyblazer, SmartBall, Soldiers Of Fortune, Super Bomberman, Super Bomberman 2, Super Star Wars, Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Super Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi, Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose! and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.

And that was just from a quick(ish) glance at the official North American library - certainly with a more thorough perusal, and with other regions, you could find some more.  I just chose some of the ones that I thought were interesting; your considerations may vary, but I'm pretty sure we're still a ways from being done with mapping those popular consoles.

And then of course, sticking to the "main" gaming platforms of the primarily-2D era, there are still also the Master System, Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance...
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Revned
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2017, 05:20:01 PM »

Yeah, there are still a lot of games I'd like to see mapped, and I wasn't trying to claim that we're "done". But as time goes on, that list will get shorter and shorter, and I think the rate of new maps will slow accordingly. That is, unless more mappers develop my same obsession with redoing existing maps Tongue
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JonLeung
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2017, 08:15:38 AM »

What really surprises me most in terms of what we're lacking is that we don't have ANY maps for games from my first video game console, the ColecoVision.

I'm not sure how popular it was at the time (nearly all of my friends had Ataris at the time) but I do know that it had some of the most arcade-accurate games at the time, like the best home versions of Donkey Kong (my first game) and Donkey Kong Jr.  I recently perused the full list of 150+ games and found that I "only" had 17 games, but gosh, those had some of my greatest gaming memories (even if it's only because I was very young and rarely got very far in any of them).  But nope, zero maps so far on VGMaps.  Then again maybe I could do a few one day; it's often mostly single-screen stuff anyway...all the more reason it's surprising that we haven't gotten any by now though...

Also still have only one Xbox map, which was contributed very early in VGMaps' life, for Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (which is grainy and could just as easily be a PC map).  I guess that means it was even within the time of the original Xbox.  Back then it was all about showy graphics, probably Microsoft wanting to get into the market with guns blazing, so there probably aren't many 2D games, also there wasn't much to speak of on the indie scene.  Personally, I've never been a fan of the Xbox(/360/One), as everything I want to play ends up on the PC, but I'd like to think one day we'll get a map of some Xbox-exclusive game.
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2017, 09:00:56 PM »

Looks like I'm a few weeks late to this thread, but happy birthday to VGMaps all the same!

Wow, 15 years! It's almost difficult to appreciate how long that is in terms of Internet time, and especially for a noncommercial site! I think I can count on one hand the number of fan sites I used to frequent back then that are still around, so it's one hell of an accomplishment. I don't remember when I joined the forums exactly, but I do remember submitting my very first maps back in 2004 (they were for The Goonies II (NES)) so it was probably a bit before that. Growing up with Nintendo Power and their numerous maps helped feed a growing interest in game maps that really started with my first PC and one of my first games, Wolfenstein 3-D.

I think I inherited that PC back in 1993 or 1994 from a cool uncle we didn't get to visit often but who loved gaming. Along with a few dozen pirated games (from a BBS) like Space Quest I and IV, Wing Commander II, F-117A Stealth Fighter and of course Wolfenstein 3-D which he'd already shown us while he was alive, he had a bunch of binders. They were filled with photocopies of instruction manuals (those flight sims manuals were *thick*) and a few primitive maps for Wolf 3D. I was intrigued so I looked through all the 5¼-inch floppies and found more of those maps. He made them in AutoCAD and I remember having to use a small converter to turn them into something I could print. The maps were barely adequate to get a vague overall view of those levels, but it mostly served to make me feel a connection with my uncle. I wish he had been alive so we could have talked about maps together...

I started making my own maps shortly afterward. First, I reproduced all the maps for the first Lands of Lore (PC) in WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS using ASCII characters and using a walkthrough from a french gaming magazine. Shortly afterwards, I started doing my own maps for Wolf 3D using graph paper and reproducing them in good old Paint for Win 95. Those are also lost to the mists of time, but it would have been nice to still have them for comparison with my later work.

Finding VGMaps eventually allowed me to fully explore what quickly grew to become not just a hobby, but a passion. I wish I'd been more active the last few years. I'm certainly not lacking in ideas for projects, but time and energy make it difficult to get anywhere significant with any of them. But I'm still working most days, never saying anything to avoid creating expectations I know I can't fulfill. I used to be angry at fans making content and projects they'd never finish, but boy do I get it now. A hobby like this one you do because it's fun and challenging, but when it stops being fun, when it becomes an obligation, that's when it's time to either take a break or move on.

Well, I have no intention of moving on, but I honestly wish I didn't need as many breaks as I've been taking lately. I wish the forums were still active like in the "good old days", but I guess things change, people and technology move on and it's a bit foolish to pine for some mythical era when things were so much better. Maybe the VGMaps forums will experience a renaissance someday, that would be nice. Maps will still be submitted even if it doesn't, but I guess I just miss all the energy going around when so many classic games were being mapped and we'd all be asking each other for help and discussing techniques and such.

Before ending this, I'd really like to thank Jonathan Leung for creating and maintaining VGMaps all this time. You helped make this community a place where geeks like me could indulge in a weird passion and feel at home. I'm glad you're still not looking forward to quitting, so here's hoping for many more years of quality videogame maps!
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Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
JonLeung
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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2017, 09:23:40 PM »


Ha ha, in the original post I said there would be a video about this "in a few weeks".  More like, nearly five months.  Tongue

I've been YouTubing for a year now, and yet this is my first video dedicated to VGMaps.com?  Here we go, my picks for the best 15 map sets on VGMaps!

EDIT: And apologies for those whose maps didn't make the cut, as it were, since I kept it to 15.  Hard decisions were made.  You probably never expected a video recognition in the first place though, but in any case I'm sure I will have other opportunities to talk about other maps in future videos, to further tie the VGMaps and JonLeung1@YouTube brands together.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 10:10:03 AM by JonLeung » Logged
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