This editorial is a celebration of RANews’ first year anniversary. So, let’s talk a bit about its origins, where it is, and where it is going.
This is also a love letter to all the contributors who made and make RANews happen.
How it started
People tend to quickly forget the positive changes that come and stay. They recognize the change when it happens but quickly forget what it was like before that change.
Since 2017 we’ve been posting on our forums “year in review” posts, and the community’s reception is always positive. Such posts help people to remember how things progressed.
I tried to bring this feeling to a monthly periodicity, posting on the forums about the nice things we’ve been doing to move RA forward. But the amount of time and effort to collect all the info was overwhelming for me. Advertising what we did was hindering me to actually do more for the project, then I gave up…
Then, in early-mid 2020 I started to notice something interesting in our forums:
- Searo (and later Hotscrock) was posting about recent revisions and rescores on a weekly basis.
- Thoreau (currently Xymjak) was posting interesting data about the top players of the website on a monthly basis.
- StingX2 was posting the most wanted games (with no achievement sets) on a monthly basis.
To be honest that wasn’t enough to bring the idea to create the RANews website. But around that time a fortunate coincidence happened: StingX2 was posting fictional covers of a magazine called “RetroAchievements Power” exactly when I was focused on improving my (poor) front-end webdev skills.
Such coincidence, added to that fact of different members periodically posting cool stuff on our forums, made me think:
“uhm… Maybe I can code a website to publish these things. With different contributors, producing content they’re already producing, no one is going to be overwhelmed. No new workload is going to be created for anyone (except for me, coding and maintaining a new website, but I was looking for it).”
Where it is (aka A Love Letter)
I once read (unfortunately I can’t remember the source) that being aware that you’re part of something bigger than yourself helps to make you feel happier.
Well, I can confirm that. Every month, when RANews contributors send their stuff to me and I start working on a new issue, it’s invigorating.
I want to share here what I feel while working on RANews. I’d like to make all RANews contributors to feel something similar. You may think you’re just doing a small contribution, but I want you to realize that you are part of something bigger. And this “something” becomes better and better with your contributions. I hope you feel happy about it as much as I do.
Every month, when I’m working on Hotcheevs Monthly and see the amount of brand new sets, a smile comes to my face. And the thought that “this community is f***ing awesome!”
I feel kinda proud because I think the documentation website (a project I started a few years ago) helped to reach that point. But without Code Reviewers showing the ropes to jr-devs, without Jamiras constantly improving the tools to create achievements, without luchaos doing his best to keep our
buggy website online… The documentation alone wouldn’t do that much. It’s just a part of something bigger.
When I work on the monthly Art Updates article, I almost cry. Currently we have a lot of talented artists in our community. And they are are raising the quality of our imagery to another level.
I’m sure that Thoreau (the guy who started this icon-gauntlet thing years ago) also feels happy seeing that something he brought continued and is constantly helping to make RA look better.
When I work on the Play This Set page, I like to see people advertising their favorite sets. I specially like when it’s written by a regular player (non-creator). You know… Achievement creators are usually exposed to a lot of negativity and complaints. And I think that the Play This Set articles is something that tries to go in the opposite direction, praising achievement creators and their work.
That was a great idea brought by StingX2 when we started RANews. It encourages involvement of community members. Therefore making them also part of something bigger.
I could continue listing more things that monthly spark joy while I work on RANews, but I think you got the idea.
I’d like, though, to still mention one thing: have you noticed the amount of work being done in this community with zero financial incentive? How cool is that?!
During my life I witnessed situations where people were being paid but not even caring to do a minimally decent work. And what we see in the RetroAchievements scene is quite the opposite. Our contributors are constantly trying to improve the quality of their work, and all this for what? My bet is that what we want is just to feel like being a small part of something bigger.
Thank you all to make this happen!
Where it’s going
I had plans to keep improving my frontend skills and, consequently, this website. But an unexpected thing happened: I started working in a field that has minimum relation with frontend stuff. The good thing is that I was looking for this new job, but it has more to do with what happens in the backstages (CI/CD pipelines, shell scripts, kubernetes yaml files, etc.), hence my interest in frontend stuff has been decreased.
But hey, calm down! I’m not going to say RANews is going to an end! It’s quite the opposite!
I’m talking about that just to say that I’m not going to be able to improve this website’s look & feel so soon. But the RANews endeavor is still strong!
We’re about to create the “RANews Team”. Grouping some of our regular contributors, and hopefully increase the quality of our content.
This means that if you have frontend skills (pure HTML/CSS, no fancy JS libs/frameworks, please), and feel like you could make the RANews website look better, please contact me. You can be part of the RANews Team if you’re interested.