Interview with Hubz of Gaming Alexandria

Interview with Hubz of Gaming Alexandria

Hello, here’s another interview, this time with our head overlord Hubz of Gaming Alexandria.

glmdgrielson: So, first question, what is Gaming Alexandria?
Hubz: At it’s core it’s both a Discord community and a separate website dedicated to preserving various aspects of video games, such as scans, interviews, unreleased games, youtube videos etc. It mainly started as a site where I could share high quality scans but has grown thanks to many people joining up with various skills to help expand the website. The Discord community itself is really an entity unto itself at this point where lots of gaming historians/preservationists have come together to share their works and also help each other out when needed with various projects. I love getting to see all the passion in everybody’s projects that they put forth and the willingness of the community to offer help when asked.

g: Tell me more about this community. I’m active in the server, but what does it look like from your end?
H: From an admin standpoint I have access to all the channels which include the private #staff and #mods channels where we discuss upcoming articles or projects for the site as well as handling the occasional argument or bad apple in the chat. Dylan Mansfeld (DillyDylan) handles a lot of great articles on undumped/prototype games that were previously unreleased. Ethan Johnson writes for his own blog (https://thehistoryofhowweplay.wordpress.com/) and Gaming Alexandria at times and is our editor so he glances through and cleans up all the articles that get posted. Jonas Rosland who is the Executive Director of the NPO, I’m a board member of, called Hit Save (https://hitsave.org/) does a lot of thankless technical work behind the scenes that includes a NAS he has setup for not only the staff of the website to store project files but the community at large which is a huge help. Wietse van Bruggen (Densy) handles a lot of the moderation of the chat and has been a huge help keeping the Discord community friendly and clean with his balanced moderation style. Last but not least there is Stefan Gancer (Gazimaluke) who did the original site redesign and has been a great idea man for ways to improve the site and community as time has gone on. For me personally I try to keep up with all the chat in the channels (though it can be tough at times!) just to have an idea of what’s going on and seeing what I can help with or connect people to further projects as well as post my scans and projects as they’re completed. Thanks to the rest of the staff I rarely have to step in and moderate which is very nice!

g: I’m going to skip over the omission of Norm and ask about the history of how the site has evolved.
H: LOL yes Norm is a menace to society and must be stopped.

Editor’s note: Hubz has a mock rivalry with Norm, a.k.a. the Gaming Historian and is a frequent running gag on the server. I do not believe there is actual malice.

The website itself started officially on October 23rd, 2015 and was just a basic text website that I could easily upload to in order to share my scans, it was very barebones. The reason I wanted to get high quality scans out was due to using an emulator frontend called Hyperspin. For popular systems it had a lot of decent quality artwork for boxes. But for lesser known systems it was sorely lacking and that triggered my OCD and made be realize that scanning stuff in high resolution was something that needed to be done. Slowly, but surely, I met others that wanted to scan in high quality and have their stuff hosted and they would submit stuff such as Densy. At some point I got involved with the VGPC discord and met Kirkland who had been quietly doing something similar with his collection and collaborated with him and others on establishing scanning standards to use going forward to have some level of consistent quality with those that were willing to do it which eventually led to what is the https://scanning.guide/. In late 2018 the site was graciously redone by Gazimaluke and relaunched in the design you see now. We started branching out into actual articles written by our staff and releasing prototypes and unreleased games that we came across. The site continues doing this to this day, though we are branching out into more guest authors from the community posting interviews and articles as well in the near future.

g: As well as hosting my site, for which I am grateful for. So, what is the day to day like for you?
H: Day to day on the scanning I try to get at least one magazine done daily. Doesn’t always happen but, in general, I debind a magazine the night before, then in the morning scan it in before leaving for work. If work gets slow I work on processing the scans, or else I’ll do it later that night and get them uploaded to the site and the Internet Archive.

g: Interesting. So how big do you think your archive is by this point?
H: Archive upload-wise I’m probably right around 2900 items if you count stuff that was removed lol. Then there’s a bunch on the site that wasn’t done to the higher scanning standards I go by now that’s not on the archive. So I’d guess in the 3000-4000 item range currently.

g: Do you know how big it is in terms of filesize?
H: Let me see real quick…
Looks like 2.5TB which is another reason I’m so thankful to have the Internet Archive to host my scans on due to the space and bandwidth that would be required otherwise.
The site alone usually has about half a TB of traffic per month so I can only imagine what it would be like if the magazine scans were also hosted directly on it.

g: Neat. Is there anything interesting that you got to be a part of due to GA that you would like to share?
H: Biggest thing is probably working with The Video Game History Foundation on scanning their extensive magazine collection so digital copies can be provided along with physical copies at their library. Being able to leverage the Internet Archive so people all over the world can easily access the magazines I’ve scanned that they might not have been able to easily otherwise is a great feeling personally for me. So many of these things are quite difficult to acquire and expensive as time goes on so having them as an ally in the preservation world is a godsend. There’s been lots of other connections and other projects I’ve worked on as well but I won’t ramble forever on that. Not only is Gaming Alexandria a tight community that likes to help each other out but there’s plenty of other preservation groups like VGHF, TCRF, and Hidden Palace just to name a few and we all get along great and try to push preservation forward together.
There’s so much work that needs to be done that we need all the help we can get and we need to support each other any way we can I think.

g: True that. Last question for now: anything that you would recommend to a would-be archivist?
H: I think it’s a good idea to preserve what interests you, which seems to go without saying, but I mean it more from a sense of not only going after what is popular. While you might not get much fanfare initially for the more obscure stuff it’s likely you’ll be the only one doing it and it’s important it’s being done. If you do good work for long enough it will get noticed, and to make good work easier it’s best to go with what you’re passionate about. The other thing I would suggest is not beating yourself up or comparing your output to others. Do what you can when you want to, this is a hobby after all. If you make yourself miserable trying to do something your output will naturally suffer or you might even burn out and stop altogether. Like I said before, we need all the help we can get, so try to avoid that if at all possible.

g: Thank you for being here, overlord Hubz. It’s been good talking to you.
H: No problem! Thaks for the interview. 🙂

– glmdgrielson, being a very good minion interviewer

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