Interview by Jonathan Imberi
Have you ever tried looking up information on your favorite video game? Whether you are looking for information on scoring, technical information or just the premise for the game, finding it all in one place is sure to be a challenge. Well not anymore! Arcade-History.com has compiled the first and only single source for all your game information needs. The database features game descriptions, technical information, trivia, update/revision information, details on scoring, tips and tricks, information on the series, the ports available, and even the staff involved. If you use MAME™, you probably take this information for granted, but have you ever wondered who put it all together? I contacted Arcade-History.com and was fortunate enough to be able to interview Alexis Bousiges.
For those of us who are not aware of Arcade-History.com, can you tell us about it?
Alexis: Arcade-History.com is an arcade videogame database that contains videogames from 1971 to the present. As of this writing, more than 4,600 unique games are indexed. Each game has his detailed page that contains a description, trivia, tips & tricks, staff and a LOT of other things. Note that everybody can contribute to the evolution of this database via the submission system, this is our main power...
How did you get started with this project?
Alexis: Originally, the project "history.dat" was created by Brian Duel in 1998. "history.dat" is an information file that is used with/by the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME™). Brian passed the project on to me at the end of 2000, as he was too busy to continue. Today, the file has become a huge online SQL database that is capable of extracting a "history.dat" file on the fly. It is maintained by two ultra-motivated videogame lovers: myself and my programmer & friend "Kukulcan".
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Alexis: I'm 25, I live in a small town called Mandelieu, beside Cannes (France), you know, where the International Film Festival is celebrated. I'm, at this moment, an unemployed graphic artist.
How much work goes into adding a history entry?
Alexis: Work on an entry is never finished; there is always an update to do on it. It's a non-stop evolution... We count much on contributors' knowledge. We add new games as they become listed in MAME™. We also offer the SBBL, which lists which games are "Mamed" and which remain “UnMamed”. (The SBBL is generated automatically.)
Where do you obtain the information for use in the database?
Alexis: From personal knowledge, old magazines, flyers, the Internet, and most importantly from contributors all over the world.
What is your favorite entry in the database?
Alexis: Some months ago, "Kukulcan" added the personalize-page system, or "how to embellish a game page"... We work hard to personalize a maximum number of game pages, here are some examples:
NBA Jam TE (my favorite)
Mortal Kombat II (Kukulcan's favorite)
and several others... all these pages can be considered favorites :-)
What games are the hardest to find information on?
Alexis: I remember one day, when I was looking for passwords for "Total Carnage" (which is one of my all-time favorite games). I found them by chance on an old archived Usenet discussion (from 1993!). We are today one of the only sources on the Internet to provide a complete list of this rare passwords (except all the websites that use our "history.dat" file).
Is this a hobby or a full time job for you?
Alexis: It's a hobby that takes the time of a full time job :-)
But my very first hobby is not videogames; I love (and collect) Horror/Fantastic/Sci-Fi movies. If you want, you can browse my DVD collection here.
Do you accept monetary donations, and how can one go about donating?
Alexis: Actually, our new private server costs about 450€/year, and since I've no job... yes; we accept and greatly need monetary donations (via PayPal).
How closely do you work with the developers of MAME™?
Alexis: Since I'm not a programmer, I've nothing to do with the developers of MAME™. I use MAME™, as everyone does, to play my favorites games ;-)
Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about Arcade-History.com?
Alexis: If you like classic videogames, keep an eye on our website, it's a non-stop evolution (information or/and features) and we have a LOT of new ideas to add soon. It's the debut of a long life...
Thank you for allowing Coin-Op TV to interview you!
Alexis: Thank you very much for your interest in the Arcade-History.com website.
You can find the Arcade-History web site at http://www.Arcade-History.com. I was surprised to find that the same information available in MAME™ is also viewable through this online database. This site contains a wealth of information that is a lot of fun to look through!