Maribel Hearn, self-proclaimed nerd and shoot ’em up game enthusiast, has mirrored an archive of the Touhou Project Scoreboard Royalflare (ロイヤルフレア), expected to shut down at the end of this month. Though a cause for celebration, there has been little fanfare. So here we are to tell you all about it!
For the uninitiated, Touhou Project is a series of shoot ’em up games, known for its dense bullet patterns, characters, music, and developer. There’s just one developer, by the way, Jun’ya Ota, better known as ZUN. It is also notable for having a wide variety of fanworks.
As for why we’re here, the games are also notable for their scoring system. Top runs are tracked and ranked by score, rather than time. The place you would find top scores is, fittingly, called a scoreboard. A popular Touhou Project scoreboard was Royalflare (ロイヤルフレア), which has been online for 15 years, since 2007. You can find scores for runs for 16 different games, in various categories.
Now earlier this January, Royalflare suspended replay uploads and announced that it would be closing its doors at the end of the month. The site-owner was distraught, stating that there had been run submissions with faked names, faked replays and even some doxxing. This led them to conclude, that the site no longer serves its role as a reliable scoreboard. Royalflare was left read-only, for the duration of January, to shutdown thereafter.
We would like to thank the many players who have contributed to the site over the years since its founded in 2007.
Despite the routine, albeit shortlived, outrage on Twitter and Reddit, it didn’t take long for the internet to quickly forget about the shutdown. Yet, as is often the case in communities with large fandoms, Touhou players were not going to forget so soon. In particular, Maribel Hearn, who already had a personal website dedicated to shoot ’em up games, announced that he had began mass-downloading every replay available on Royalflare to his own site.
Interestingly, this wasn’t his first hustle either, apparently, as he had also made an archive of the former Gensokyo.org scoreboard, before it shut down in 2019. Voile! Mari’s Royalflare Archive is now fully-operational and even upgraded with some search improvements. Now go out and shoot the bullet to spread the word!
Mari’s story is a story, that goes to show that the web doesn’t just need dedicated archiving communities, but also dedicated communities, archiving. The people best suited for archiving Touhou scoreboards, in terms of understanding what they are and how they are categorized, are probably going to be Touhou players. If anything, they are the most likely to be paying attention to shutdown deadlines.
As web archivists, we should not just
fish for people but we should try to teach them
how to fish. Perhaps, this tutorial on how to use the Wayback Machine and wget might someday help another Touhou fan, or the fan of some other community 😉