Best video game website ever

Questions and comments about living in Japan, chit-chat, or whatever else goes in here.

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Best video game website ever

Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Jun 17, 2009 4:26 am

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Postby CIT Seven Force » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:49 am

Certainly another classic of Japanese web design! ;)

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Postby Greatsaintlouis » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:03 pm

1998, why?!

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Postby Ganelon » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:48 pm

90s web pages beat Flash pages any day.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:20 pm

Ganelon wrote:90s web pages beat Flash pages any day.


Flash done wrong? Yes. Flash done right? No way.

I was digging through some old music site the other day and saw a link to Real Player to stream audio. Hadn't seen one of those in about... damn... too long.
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Postby Ganelon » Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:51 pm

Any Flash. I don't want to sit through that and watch the pretty (lame) effects. I also want to open new tabs and copy images without permission whenever I feel like without someone obfuscating the source.

There was an innocent spirit to creating web sites in the 90s that's sorely lacking today.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:45 pm

Flash does plenty of things far better than HTML or CSS, which has hit a brick wall interms of develeopment bout 7 years ago. There are also a shitload of hoops to jump throgh to get everything to play nice on different browsers.

And flash isn't just videos.
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Postby Greatsaintlouis » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:01 pm

The innocent spirit of '90's web design isn't the issue here, it's that the word 'design' is hardly even applicable. Now, I prefer plain HTML (with maybe a little CSS) that's quick to load over kludgy Flash-based sites utilizing the latest streaming DRM-protected God-knows-what (though I concur that a well-designed Flash site is second to none if you are on a connection or machine that can handle it), but if you've forgotten the horror of the Internet during the Browser Wars you need only pop over to Myspace to be reminded. Animated gifs with little relevance to the page theme, color choices like green-on-pink, rudimentary Javascript, shit that follows your pointer around, and the goddamn blink tag. The Internet in the time of Geocities may have been more playful and free-spirited, but it was ugly as sin, and I can't for the life of me understand why Japan is stuck in such a time warp.

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Postby Ganelon » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:59 pm

Myspace is a horror because it's a bloated product of the early 2000s when complications (unskippable Flash, useless JavaScript triggers, cutesy cursors, large sound files being loaded, etc.) were the rage. Back in the 90s, things were very unassuming and simple (and even until the end, you just had framed pages with galleries of pictures with some color and some MIDI sound being played). You still had plenty of nice images and decent formatting (which was of course hell to upkeep).

If Flash was so good, Google would be using it. Everyone emphasizes a streamlined, minimalist design but the cost is easy and fast presentation of information. Flash is the opposite of this since it's based around a timeframe, which necessarily takes up a viewer's time doing its own thing. For amateur (no negative connotation) sites, a web site isn't something you're trying to sell to look cool; it's a source of information so who cares as long as the format is presentable and the content is there?

It's strange that you defend Flash, GP, considering I don't believe you use it anywhere on this site.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:14 am

It's strange that you defend Flash, GP, considering I don't believe you use it anywhere on this site.


The Akihabara map, which is now useless since Google Maps is out, was written in Flash. And the reason I defend it is b/c, as stated, it does some things better than HTML/CSS. I have pretty extended experience in all three.

The pop-up menu, for instance, is a CSS exploit (it isn't intuitive in the least) and you have to do all sorts of hoop jumping based on browser (even browser version). Flash can follow directions pixel perfectly, as it's all interpreted by an external program/plugin. It's the same idea as Java, which I do hate b/c it is fucking clunky. Compared to that, Flash is lean and mean.

It really comes down to whose hands it's in. I could easily come up w/ HTML/CSS that's far more annoying than anything in Flash, but of course, don't.

For amateur (no negative connotation) sites, a web site isn't something you're trying to sell to look cool


Aesthetic appeal will ALWAYS help. There's no two ways about it. If you're not sacrificing anything else, it's a plus.
If Flash was so good, Google would be using it


They do use it -- Youtube.
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Postby zapeipaa » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:51 pm

Gaijin Punch wrote:The Akihabara map, which is now useless since Google Maps is out, was written in Flash.

During my first trip to Japan, I often used that map to find stores I wanted to visit in Akihabara. I especially liked the description of each store. :)

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:38 pm

HTML 5 & Flash

Interesting article. Good points, but I like the part where Adobe CEO makes note of the discrepencies between browsers. He's totally right. Until fuckfaces like Microsoft can learn to respect standards (not likely) a plugin such as Flash or (gulp) Java is the only way to ensure accuracy across platforms.
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Postby Ganelon » Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:33 am

I've never stopped disliking Adobe since Acrobat 2.0. It makes perfect sense because Adobe just doesn't know how to make a product that doesn't hog all of a user's memory.

And come on, what standard code is affected by differing browser(without nitpicking on minor formatting offsets)? To make something that differs, it's generally doing stuff too messy anyway.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:02 am

It makes perfect sense because Adobe just doesn't know how to make a product that doesn't hog all of a user's memory.


This is hardly unique to Adobe. In fact, there'd be very few production houses you could appreciate with this train of thought. I always thought Office was ridiculous for what it did... then I tried OpenOffice. Jesus.

And come on, what standard code is affected by differing browser


Pop-out menus, for starters. They are amazingly useful as they give functionality in very small space. However, they are a bitch to code. Check out the source from any page on the main site. You'll see some weird <--if IE7--> and shit like that. That's just the start. There plenty of other annoying things for every day use, and tons for people that are anal about aesthetics. There's a few parts within the proxy part of the site that look like utter shit in IE7, but I'm never on a Windows machine, so can't debug it.
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Postby lordnikon » Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:35 am

I am a graphic/web designer. Cross Browser compatibility has been the bane of my work existance for over 9 years now. Getting front end code to play nice with every browser quadruples the time it takes to get certain tasks done. From 2006 to 2008 I worked on a companies front end site redesign during a Java Migration. At the time IE6 was still pretty prevelant especially in 2006. So throw JSF into the mix, and you have frustrations on a daily basis. Things are getting better with Microsoft finally taking steps to be standards compliant, but they are still stubborn as hell on a variety of issues. With IE6 and prior they were intentionally going against the grain, purposefully breaking web standards. So it is going to take a while before this gets out of their system.

Back end coders tend to shrug off certain display issues as "nit-picky", where for the designer they are serious issues. I am not trying to bash all backend coders, as I work with quite a few who really know their stuff, but there is a reason why companies employ graphic designers in the first place. Artists are more visually oriented and take greater care into ensuring a website displays properly in the browser.

Designing for multiple browsers means you do not have predictable control over how a site displays. Seemingly nonchalant front end code bugs can easily balloon into terrible display issues depending on the situation. You do not want to go into a meeting having developed a website for 1 browser, only to have it show up botched in another browser as it is shown to superiors in 3 regional locations. I have seen it happen before, and the person got fired that afternoon. This was a situation where I was brought in as an outside consultant to give off the cuff gut reactions on a design they had been developing for a few months.

---

The example in the original topic is actually not a product of oldschool website design, but a product of the MySpace manic disregard for anything that is holy with the Internet. Notice the sites posts start in 2006 and it of course uses blogging software. Today people simply go to any number of blogs and social networking sites, and start randomly cramming it with crap, all the while tethered to the default capabilities of the backend software. These people don't have the faintest idea about how a website works. Back in the 90's you didn't have these services. Blogger.com didn't show up until 1999, and the blog trend didn't even start to ramp up until 2003. If anyone wanted to carve out a little home for themselves on the Internet, they had to make the site in HTML and code it from scratch. Back then you had no choice.

After a long hiatus I recently returned to University to wrap up the few classes pending for a degree (got employed at numerious companies, so it has taken some time to get back and wrap it up). This spring I was in a class for designers that is a lot like Senior Thesis course. I was shocked to find out that none of these people knew any HTML or CSS. Only 1 person in the entire class knew how to make a website, and these were people who would have to go searching for a job at the end of April this year. These kids are a product of the Modern Internet. The worst part is, they weren't even motivated or curious to learn how to make a website. I honestly have no idea what jobs they expect to find.

Modern day CSS / blog / Web 2.0 asthetics are crippling website design. Websites today are so templated and standardized. They seem to be in some sort of twisted competition to see how many widgets + coding options can be crammed in one site. Broadband Internet browsing has become more and more like dialup every day. Slashdot used to work just fine. Now it runs like garbage in a ton of browsers.

People could learn a lot from older website design. For certain things, I find it is better to display information the oldschool way. Simple text, colors, and images. It loads instantly, I can find things easier, there is less bloat.

Let's look at a few examples. Here is a tiny Jet Force Gemini fan site I found recently:

http://www.geocities.com/free_spirit_fighter/jfg.html

Pretty cool huh? Sure its not going to win any awards, but I think the simplicty and oldschool nature of it is interesting to contrast with modern sites.

A more current website: Hardcore Gaming 101

http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/

By far one of my favorite game related sites, and the entire site is all oldschool HTML. The site doesn't even use any CSS. The thematic layout used for each game series perfectly suits the content the site is trying to present. Shoving this into modern design would kill me.

Another great example is looking at anything relating to technical documentation. Here is a mod tool site for the PC game "Jurassic Park Trespasser":

http://www.geocities.com/andres_james/TresView/

...now take a look at someone trying to show something such as this in a blog:

http://sporedum.net/spore-modding/spore ... mod-spore/

Gross.

I am not saying we should all go back to hardcoding everything in HTML, not use databases, and cast aside CSS. I just feel studying the past helps prevent abusing current technologies, and helps keep design and layout options open to more possibilities.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:26 am

I don't see any problem w/ the blog view layout. At least not the guts. It's clean and easy to read... although all the shit in the side bars is a little annoying.

The problem w/ most websites today is that they aren't embracing web technology. If you want to have a content rich website that's easily maintainable and you're not using some type of CGI, you might as well stop. You'll hit burn out one day... definitely if you realize you want to make some type of change to the system. I keep finding ways to streamline my process here. For me add content, I don't even log into the site. I have a config file & scripts which upload the graphics as well as text. I can't imagine what other non professional sites have to do. Such a whore to maintain.

If your site is small, straight, simple HTML is fine and dandy. But, even this site started off small, and I'd say it's rather large now considering it's a niche of the gaming world, and run by one person.

That's not to say you have to throw a bunch of shit at the sytem. But I'd say any widget I use is useful for someone, if not everyone.
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Postby lordnikon » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:23 am

Yea don't get me wrong, like I noted in the post above I wasn't saying sites that need a dynamic back end should go the hard coded route. That would be insane. I just think its good to look at older sites, and their layouts and learn from them to better tame current technology or do some different stuff from a design perspective. Classic oldschool sites definatly have a different layout, so looking at them can give some different ideas on how to present content outside of the current norm.

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Postby Ganelon » Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:20 pm

Exactly, old-school sites have a straightforward, customized appeal without hunting for info. Yes, it's more time-consuming to maintain but that's the cost for flexibility. From my experience, web sites burn out far more due to lack of interest (without appointing a new webmaster) or lack of new developments than simply to the hassle of programming.

And yes, I'm one of the backend ASP/PHP coders who sometimes leaves the exact appearance formatting of the data to others. I'm a fan of HG101's clean, classic approach. The only thing that would be better would be to have everything in an article on 1 page rather than split up (since people have faster internet nowadays).

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:19 pm

To each their own. I'd much rather see

1: A search engine
2: A list that only goes down a page or so... not 3 or 4 (or more)
3: A table w/ a fixed width... since resolution is so high these days.

The search engine, not only for titles, but for text as well. Should be self-explanatory as to why.

Some anchors to subsequent games in a series at the top of the page wouldn't hurt anything either.

EDIT: Worth mentioning is, at least in my opinion, that cross-browser web apps being unified in the next few releases of the major browsers is pretty optimistic. Maybe even naive. Getting displays (fonts, mainly) on different systems even of the same flavor can be a whore at times. I develop Qt apps and display them on KDE 3.5.9 here, and somewhere else, and there's almost always something different. You can imagine between even Qt Linux, Mac, and Windows.
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Postby JoshF » Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:41 pm

I do kinda miss those sites like NES Enshrined.

Right now I gotta change all the links on my site for a move, but it's still worth sticking with HTML to have a layout that makes sense. I've never seen a blog with a good layout.

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Postby Recap » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:10 pm

Heyey, Farrelly. Don't tell me you're not going to change the site name now you're finally moving.

Also, preview:
Image

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Postby lordnikon » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:03 pm

JoshF wrote:Right now I gotta change all the links on my site for a move, but it's still worth sticking with HTML to have a layout that makes sense. I've never seen a blog with a good layout.

Ah, guessing from your sig, you run segafans? So your site is moving due to the huge GameSpy shutdown? Its so sad. I have been working to archive every website they are shutting down. Thousands of websites are getting the axe. I have a couple hundred already archived and preserved.

Another great example of tasteful oldschool design in my opinion:

http://ninjagaiden.classicgaming.gamespy.com

(and it uses frames!!! hehe)

This is one of the many websites GameSpy is wiping off the face of the Internet come August 31st.

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:22 pm

JoshF wrote:Right now I gotta change all the links on my site for a move, but it's still worth sticking with HTML to have a layout that makes sense. I've never seen a blog with a good layout.


You can do any type of HTML layout with PHP. As per before, maintenance and upkeep is far easier like this. Some things can even be automated. Any of the sites listed above can have the HTML stored in a database and spit out without sacrificing anything.

As for lack of layouts in blog software, why not come up w/ your own layout? That's what I did. It does exactly what I want it to do.
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Postby Ganelon » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:52 pm

JoshF: Since you're here, whatever happened to Ch4kan? How come he never finished his Chakan FAQ?

Some guy who just zipped through the game made a FAQ afterward to get the $25 or so bounty on GameFAQs that explains none of the intricacies (and is missing segments of the game). It doesn't even answer the eternal newbie question of how to proceed in the ice world (up to down-forward, attack to break the ice platform).

It's a huge shame too because the bosses in Chakan are very well designed. Tackling them head-on is a quick suicide. But they each have a trick that makes them very easy to beat (except the dragon rider to my knowledge, which isn't as easy). There are still no good resources on Chakan but I gave Ch4kan the best tidbit in the game with defeating Elkenrod.

And yes, I realize this post is a tangent upon a tangent but I like relying on GP's goodwill and laissez-faire mentality... :)

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Postby Gaijin Punch » Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:42 am

Ganelon wrote:And yes, I realize this post is a tangent upon a tangent but I like relying on GP's goodwill and laissez-faire mentality... :)


I pretend that we are in a utopian society, where threads are like conversations that evolve, and that the people can justly police themselves.
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