Future of HotU (2015), lack of updates, backers, scam, etc.

Skip to first unread message


Dec 11, 2015, 10:26:26 AM12/11/15
to Home of the Underdogs
As you probably noticed there have beed not many updates recently on HotU and many of you might think it's dead or just a scam of mine to grab money from you via patreon, etc. It's a valid concern. Here is an example topic about it https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!topic/home-of-the-underdogs/jYkvctYGsuw (but I beg you to not think I'm pointing fingers at anyone here, I'm just using it as a generic example, again, saying I'm doing a scam is a valid concern and I have no bad feelings if anyone think that way :D)

First a bit of history:
Sarinee Achavanuntakul (Fringer) created HotU eons ago, I was just a regular visitor back then without any insights about ther HotU community or anything. Then one day (2009) when I tried to access the site I found out it's down and that Fringer has lost all the code and decided to quit the HotU thing altogether. She released the data as Creative Commons and gave everyone the right to recreate HotU. So, quite soon several HotU websites emerged. Me, being a programmer and not liking any other of these sites (these strayed too far from the original mood & feel of the HotU to my taste) made one too ( http://homeoftheunderdogs.net/ ). Then there was a period of mayhem, chaos, inner fighting, accussations and quite a lot of bad blood. I left the website running & dormant for a few years since I didn't want engage into all that fighting. After that time I came and checked around and noticed that my version of HotU is the last one what is online & active (all other persihed or had an announcement abount upcoming shutdown). So, I realized once my webiste is down the HotU is no more... I made the reactivation project (it was around year 2012 I think). But then, the old ugly head of "you are imposter", "it's not the real HotU", "it's just a clone of the real HotU", "real HotU is dead", "you are a thief", "you have stolen the reviews", "you should be ashamed of yourself" raised again. I made updates since 2012 and 2015, tried to raise funds, created TW & FB accounts, etc. But eventually I got tired by all this situation. One one hand everyone says how they love the HotU yet I'm continuosly hearing I'm the thief and usurper, in addition the financial situation is so shabby ($130 on Patreon was the best record, come on people). I'm unable to pay the bills, I'm unable to contact press "get out, you are imposter", I'm unable to fix outdated links on the internet "you are not real HotU we won't change the link". I tried to contact Fringer to get an official blessing but got no response, which is not that surprising, she was running HotU for so long she probably got fed up with it and is not even reading HotU related emails anymore.

Anyway, it can't continue in that form any longer. Let's make up our minds, do we want HotU or not. Do you want me to continue the HotU thing? Or maybe it's the time shut it down and move on? Either way I think the current situation is unacceptable (and many of you think the same way it seems). We either go for it, with regular updates, reasonable funding, proper staff and everything or quit and live with the fond memories.

My conditions for continuing HotU:
1) You agree, and back it up in public, that this ( http://homeoftheunderdogs.net/ ) is the original HotU/rightful HotU successor, not some clone (as wikipedia states) and that I (Archibald) am the one who is the rightful current owner and maintainer of it with the full authority to represent HotU (to the press, other websites, etc). I don't need everyone to acknowledge it, it's not about my ego or anything, but I need a substantial number of people to back it up so I don't need to fight all alone and have the means to promote the website without being accused of theft/cloning/imposing/stealing (ar at least so I know that someone will come to the rescue and say that I have the right to represent HotU). I need at least some people to back up my claim that this is the real HotU not an illegal clone.
2) The community raises $300/month via Patreon (not necessaily immediatelly, and maybe a bit less will be enough, but that's the realistic income that I need to have in order to not having to add from my pocket).
3) There are 2-3 people from the community that are willing to become full time staff (so I don't need to do it all alone; note it's not a lot of work at all, but it's long term and require some dedication). Also around 10-12 people as occassional helpers.

Your conditions?
What are your conditions as the community? What do you want from me as the HotU maintainer? Under what conditions are you willing to provide the moral & financial & helpers support I described above?

I hope we can forge some sort of deal :)


Dec 11, 2015, 11:13:48 AM12/11/15
to Home of the Underdogs
As far as I'm concerned, at the very least you are the de facto successor. But this is more than that- you've tried to keep the spirit, the flavor, the community, everything and everyone involved active and in good shape. Not only are you the rightful successor, but you've fought for it and earned it.

I can provide moral support, but I don't really have a programming background, and I've only just started my first job out of grad school which is...well, let's just say the pay isn't even close to the average starting salary. I used to back things on patreon but I had to stop because it was untenable. I might be able to start donating come February, but it would only be like $5-10/month.

What would occasional/full-time duties consist of?

vic- k

Dec 12, 2015, 1:44:58 AM12/12/15
to Home of the Underdogs
My vote goes in the 'Archibald' basket as the current patriarch of Home of the Underdogs. I believe that the splintered history and the infighting that has occurred has hurt the site, and we need someone to take the reins and regain the stability that is needed. And yes, I agree that the need to unite behind a leader is needed, not from an ego perspective, but to allow you to forge the change that is needed (press, community and inter-site collaboration, managing advertising, etc.). 

I am of the opinion that it is appropriate to consider the current site (homeoftheunderdogs.net) as being the only official home of Home of the Underdogs. Yes, Archibald is not the original creator, though at the end of the day, who else has put in the sustained effort that he has (sorry, I'm assuming you're male), and kept the idea of HOTU alive? And let's face it - if we do not endorse this opportunity to revitalise HOTU, then it's a no sum situation - Home of the Underdogs will be dead. It is basically a certainty that no one else will revitalise HOTU. 

At this point in time, HOTU is like a campfire, burning on its last embers. If we continue to fight and neglect the site, those embers will burn out, and we will be left with nothing. But with some work, we can get tinder on those embers. To begin with, it will be with bated breath that we wait to see whether we can hold onto the life held within those embers. With time, and work, the flames will take hold, we will add further wood to the fire, and it will be burning as bright as it ever has. This is what I want to see for HOTU, and I believe we do have it within ourselves to make this happen. 

I will renew my pledge through Patreon. What I want to see from the patriarch of HOTU is strong leadership of the team, and open communication with the community. At this point, the community of HOTU is small, and I think we need to seek out opportunities to collaborate with other sites, and get the word out about HOTU through better interaction through the public relations realm. Reviews and uploads of underdogs is not enough, we need to expand our horizons, with my seeing written articles and features as a feature we would seize - through the likes of the rebirth of Sierra, and the ongoing efforts of Doublefine, we have the opportunity to generate features around remakes or rebirths of franchises, such as the rebirth of King's Quest, and the remastering of Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle. This would help generate discussion and debate, while also providing the opportunity to increase traffic (and revenue through advertising). 

If we do go forward with this endeavour, we need to be clear about the future direction of HOTU. Archibald, I will nominate myself as a staff member for the site. Ideally, it would be full-time, though this would be dependent on the time obligations required (I work full-time, including on-call). In terms of the skill sets I can provide, I do not have a programming background, though am tech savvy (my qualifications are in the fields of psychology, criminology, justice and law). In that regard, I would be seeking your recommendations and suggestions around how best I can assist you, and HOTU as a whole. 

My moral support - that is a given.


Dec 12, 2015, 4:16:47 AM12/12/15
to Home of the Underdogs
I think we have primarily these two concerns:
- I am worried about a scenario where I put a lot of time & effort into the site and then in the end I had to shut it down because there was insufficient funding or that I had to do everything myself or that I'm permanently framed as the thief of the HotU brand (note I don't mind internet trolls or traditional grief, I'm immune to it, I'm taking about major sites refusing to talk to me because "it's an illegal clone").
- You are worried that I will spend all the money you provided on booze & girls doing nothing while the HotU is neglected and goes down the drain.
I think we should clear up these worries on both sides before we decide to proceed.

Maybe I should write briefly about me. I'm an indie game dev since 2005, it's my full time job ( http://www.silverlemur.com ). I took over HotU by chance, I just was at the right time and the right moment and the version I recreated stood the test of time it seems. But, since I'm into games full time anyway and I have the infrastructure to keep these things online and I was managing internet communities for like 10 years by now (drama queens, trolls, whinners, etc, etc) I feel quite comfortable in the leader of HotU role. My style of management is of a benevolent dictator with a lot participation and delegation of power. I don't believe in "design by committee" (all HotU revival projects that were recreated this way are here no more or didn't even started), I think the only way to make things done is to have one person in charge (instead of endless talk). But I also tend to give out a lot of power & independence to staff and then let them do their job as they find appropriate. The leader is the one who is supposed to keep a consistent vision of the project/site not one to micromanage people (it's inefficient, stressful, boring also I'm far too lazy to micromanage :D). In the long run, if everything works as intended, the leader does not need to alter things much but just keep an eye on things and let the trusted & reliable staff do their job (in my online games it works that way, nowadays the game staff does everyting on their own and they call me only in the most important cases or to make the most important decisions).

Reply to "what you expect of me":
* "strong leadership of the team, and open communication with the community" you won't have a problem with me on that front :)  I too believe in a strong leadership (as long as it does not mean I decided on every single detail and have to control everything) also I do like to have an open communication with the community.
* "public relations" if you mean a public relations team then I love the idea :)
* "uploads of underdogs" that's the most controversial one, due to techical and legal reasons. Besides, I don't think it's really needed, with so many places on the net to get these. I would rather go for a cooperation with these site (we put link to their archives) and maybe host on our end the most rare gems you absolutelly can't find anywhere else.
* "with my seeing written articles and features as a feature we would seize - through the likes of the rebirth of Sierra, and the ongoing efforts of Doublefine" that's an interesting idea... to include the modern recreations of old hits/underdogs. I guess it's consistent with the HotU premise, it's worth considering.

"What would occasional/full-time duties consist of?" - Mostly I'm looking for people who write things and like to communicate (editors/public relations/Facebook page maintainers/etc), it's not about technical skills. Basically anyone who loves HotU, is dedicated to see it succeed, have a bit of time (not that much really), is not a dramaqueen and uses internet qualifies.

"but it would only be like $5-10/month." Typically $2-$4 range of pledge is enough. Don't overexert yourself. I would rather spreat it over more people, since basicly all HotU fans are quite old gezers by now and basicly all of them have some income, if like 100 of them decided to give around $4 each month it should cover all the costs and even maybe leave some spare change for me to spend on booze and girls :D
BTW, I did the calculations again (I forgot to take into account the recent currency shifts), so actually $250/month should be sufficient long term to keep HotU alive (I think).


Dec 12, 2015, 6:39:22 AM12/12/15
to Home of the Underdogs
Another example, the Wikipedia vandalism. Check it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_of_the_Underdogs again someone removed the link... Now, let's say I made an update and I wanted to inform some major site, they check wikipedia and answer "that can't be true, we checked wikipedia, HotU is dead, it's stated clearly there, it does not even list the link you provided, you just made some clone and try to scam people", what can I do under such circumstances? What's the point in me doing updates if I'm not allowed to tell anyone (who does not visit the site already) that we made these updates?
Don't get me wrong, the financial part and everything is very important & critical, but without the moral support and making a stong public statement that HotU is alive and kicking all this will not make sense.


Dec 12, 2015, 10:29:46 AM12/12/15
to Home of the Underdogs
OK, so I have listed all my worries & dilemmas, what about you? How do you want to proceed from here? How do you see HotU in the future?

My quick concept is:
1) Give technical access to the website to 2-3 people, they would be able to add new games/edit existing ones, post news, etc. It does not mean they have to be the ones writing these, it's more like technical staff, they could make changes on other people request.
2) Form some sort of Advisory Council, selected from the community, they would be debating what games to include and things like that (it does not make sense, nor is needed, for me to make these decisions alone, I'm not a guru of retro gaming).
3) Maybe add Articles section to HotU? On various retro games related news/projects/etc. Editors would write these and send to the tech staff to publish it.

In short, to make a system where I'm not the bootleneck and news & updates can be done even when I'm not online (with more people it's much easier to make it regular and more of these). To get more people involved in adding the content and assign more people who can do the technical things.


Dec 12, 2015, 11:16:22 AM12/12/15
to Home of the Underdogs
Personally I can't back anyone on Patreon having no credit card. If you recall I wrote the synopsis of "MyAdom" recently and am willing to do more write-ups. I have a tendency to say "yes" to a few too many things but it can't be that bad, right? :) I write little things about video games on the regular for Speed Demos Archive so at least I've got a bit of a routine for it. I'm not exactly a video game scholar but I do have a wide exposure especially within the realm of games people speedrun. Personal experiences come from mostly from DOS/Windows games of the 90's.

Have you seen Matt Barton's YT channel? He does interviews with (and initially they were just videos talking about the games) game devs of particular interest, often including "legends" like Paul Neurath or John Romero or who-have-you. If the site needed more ideas for games to induct, his channel is a treasure trove for that, however a lot of the games he talks about are for archaic platforms and you'd have to run them by emulator. I get HotU is PC only isn't it?

Chiphe Holas

Dec 12, 2015, 8:58:44 PM12/12/15
to Archibald, Home of the Underdogs
I'll back you in any way possible. I was please when your site launched after the original collapse. Most likely to contribute with content. I work in the IT field but not a programmer but I'm sure I can learn to do simple tasks. 

I can commit to a monthly contribution to keep the site alive as well.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Home of the Underdogs" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to home-of-the-unde...@googlegroups.com.
To post to this group, send email to home-of-th...@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/home-of-the-underdogs/104b14ad-ffab-4a0e-822c-087971adf481%40googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

vic- k

Dec 12, 2015, 11:31:11 PM12/12/15
to Home of the Underdogs
Remember all, if you do want to contribute financially, but do not have a credit card, Patreon allows for you to use Paypal as a payment source, which allows you to link to a debit/savings account.

HOTU has over 240 supporters on Facebook - just two dollars a month from each of you will allow HOTU to survive! 
Message has been deleted


Dec 13, 2015, 3:58:39 PM12/13/15
to Home of the Underdogs


Dec 14, 2015, 2:40:28 AM12/14/15
to Home of the Underdogs, krzyszt...@gmail.com
Hmmm, it seems there might be enough of dedicated people to make it work...

One more thing I wanted to mention, before we proceed, is how the finances are used.To avoid future accussations of fraud or anything.
I'm an indie developer, all the income from various internet ventures come to one basket. And then from this basket all the fixed costs, taxes & other legal obligations, servers, domains, etc are paid. It's not possible to calculate precisely which website uses how much funds nor it would make sense accounting wise. As you remember at the beginning I was running the site without asking for any funding for several years, it was because the income from other sources was great and I just let the HotU sit on a corner of one server without giving it much thought. At the moment of writing the income from other sources is poor and, well, HotU has to paid its fair share of the costs.

I would like you to understand what kind of risk I'm taking. If we are to proceed I would need to revert some of my time from other projects (so some income bringing projects would proceed slower/be halted/cancelled) to HotU, as an indie developer my time is the resource and I don't have "spare time" per se. So, if I go for it and it turns out HotU brings loses I'm out of the game, I would be forced to shut down every single venture I manage now. So, I would prefer if we decide YES/NO and then go all the way or abandon it altogether...

As for other questions, like if the site is "PC only" I would prefer to wait with these until we form some sort of HotU Council. I don't think I should make these decisions alone, more people should be involved with these "doctrinal" decisions.

vic- k

Dec 14, 2015, 4:39:29 AM12/14/15
to Home of the Underdogs
Hmm, that's odd, as Paypal is the way I've been funding my donations. Only thing I can guess is that there may be different restrictions for different countries (I'm in Australia)?


Dec 14, 2015, 11:42:27 AM12/14/15
to Home of the Underdogs
Maybe there are? I'm Finnish... Or maybe you already have a credit card linked so it doesn't stop you? Well maybe I can do a chunk donation at some point as a regular PayPal transfer or something. Not that I have lodes of money.


Dec 14, 2015, 12:12:03 PM12/14/15
to Home of the Underdogs


I'm sorry to be the guy that always shows up late and only talks and does not provide any specific action. I cannot do more since the OS/2 community, my real life work and my "real life" life got all my time.

I like Home of the Underdogs and I support Archibald as the one that had pulling all the efforts to have this site up.  I back Archibald ideas, we need more people involved with the site, and let Archibald delegate some functions too.

Let me try to focus on some of the problems and suggest some solutions, this are only suggestions and possibilities, nothing is wrote on stone.... these are just some brainstorming.


These are suggestions for the site (http://homeoftheunderdogs.net/).

- More News: We need to post news, what are news? Everything is news.

We need to show that the site is alive and the one of the ways is posting news on the main page. We need to have at least one daily news posted there like:

a.       Updates to the games pages

b.      New games page added

c.       New functionality of the site

d.      Little 5-10 lines articles with screenshots remembering cool things about the games (like a little quick blog)

e.       ….everything that happens.

2)     -  The news should be connect to Social Networks.

All The news should be replicate to the social network on Twitter and Facebook. The idea is that from the Social Network we attract people to the main site, and not make the social networks a second channel of communication.

3)     -  Little site redesign. I will suggest two things

a.       Find a better way to post the ads banner instead of having the forth column at the top right

b.      Try to modify the site so the middle column can be resizable according to the resolution of the user. The idea is that the page adapts to the screen resolution of the user, maybe similar to http://slashdot.org/

1)      Moral Claims on Hotud.

“Sarinee Achavanuntakul (Fringer) released the content as Creative Commons and gave right to recreate HotU.”  We need the reference of that. It will be good to post the link of it.

I reading a interview to Sarine here: https://web.archive.org/web/20120227033645/http://www.reviewwithextremeprejudice.com/?page_id=49

But it is a long interview....

I don’t think that it can be possible to claim the “rights” of hotud, maybe the hotud.org domain is important, but I don’t think anybody has the moral right.


·       - Trying to recover the “hotud.org” domain, maybe the owner will like to give it away, that site looks very dead.

·       - Maybe it can be interesting for Archibald to contact Sarinee Achavanuntakul and ask her formal approval of all her original contents to be “Public Domain” or “Creative Commons”.

This may be a worry, but if actually Sarinee gave free permission to use her content (text, logo, name), it means that there are no illegal clones of hotud, …and that all clones are legal.

2)      Create “Hotuh” Organization

It can be interesting to create a “non-profit” organization with the mission to preserve old games information? I really do know on which country are you, but this can be a long-term goal for the community.

Maybe, for the moment, (I think that the idea is already posted)  an option can be to create a board and/or staff of the “Home of the Underdogs” community. Select the people that want to collaborate on the site and give them some tittles:

a.       WebMaster

b.      Newsmasters

c.       Collaborator/Editors

d.      …etc

Put the names of the people that helps and collaborate on the site on a page. (maybe on “About”).

Change this list every year according to the people that comes and goes.

I suggest real name for the “staff”. I prefer to do not have people hiding on nicknames (expect if they are minors), and it is good that the staff connects privately on facebook, skype, etc, to share some quick ideas by chat.

3)      Money

Money should not be a goal for a community. Money is a resource required to be able to do some things. So I think that it is great to have donations for the site.

But it is necessary that some kind of yearly transparency report about how the donations are being used for the site and what benefit is the site producing for the community.

4)      If you want a Collaborative Community, the contents needs to belong to the community.

It will be desirable by me that instead of “© 1998 - 2015 Home of the Underdogs Portions are copyrighted by their respective owners. All rights reserved.” …the site will say “© 1998 - 2015 Home of the Underdogs . The Content of this site is available under the Creative Commons Share Alike license unless otherwise noted. The same license as Wikipedia. (but this is not a public wiki, so do not worry)

I don’t think that is fair that people collaborates with reviews for free and the copyrights belong to the owner of the hosting. With that in mind, the content should belong to all the community and the world.

5)      We have no competition, we are the Archivist !!

Instead of looking our self of a site competing with other, I think we should see ourselves as the people in charge of preserving the video game history for the world. We should see our self as “Internet Archivists” that wants to preserve this kind of knowledge (vintage videogames) for the world.

I think it is important to be inspire by the efforts of the “Internet Archive” library and try to do the same things for this subject in particular.





Dec 14, 2015, 12:18:41 PM12/14/15
to Home of the Underdogs

I just noticed that on the  left side it says that homeoftheunderdogs.net uses the "Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)".  I think we should allow derivative works instead of exclusivity of the contents.



Dec 14, 2015, 5:58:40 PM12/14/15
to Home of the Underdogs

I'm sorry to be the guy that always shows up late and only talks and does not provide any specific action.

Oh, maybe I should rephrase/clear my statement. I didn't mean everyone has to be a contributor or involved in some way. I meant that people who do some work on the site should have more say in case of decision making process. I guess my background of project management made it sound too harsh (since in projects everyone is supposed to be involved and anyone who does not do any real work is considered a burden, which obviously is not the case in a site like HotU where majority are regular fans/visitors without any tasks). Absolutelly, each community member is encouraged to speak up (I merely meant that the words of people who contribute will carry more weight).


Dec 14, 2015, 6:01:38 PM12/14/15
to Home of the Underdogs
The licence was decided by the original HotU founder and it's tied to the database which I imported when I coded the website. I have no authority to change it.


Dec 15, 2015, 3:52:43 AM12/15/15
to Home of the Underdogs
OK, let's do it. There seem to be enough interest and people to make it work.

I will delegate some power (it's not very comfortable for me to make all decisions regarding HotU only because I happen to recreate the site that survived the longest), we will create the HotU Council, Staff and overall bring more people onboard (Editors, Reviewers, etc). The goal is to shift from a one man job to a team effort and to provide regular updates (monthly would be best). Probably also we would expand to more news & articles & nostalgia blogs written by the community members, so not only finding new underdogs.

Financially wise I estimate $250-$350 a month is the realistic amount that would make the site survive regardless of various bumps on the way.

I will make a separate topic about it in a moment.


Dec 22, 2015, 2:36:53 PM12/22/15
to Home of the Underdogs
 I found this thread where a couple people signed up a while ago. I wonder if you've forgotten about it Archibald?

Martini is there, the others I sent PMs to telling them to check out the new forums.


Dec 22, 2015, 2:42:34 PM12/22/15
to Home of the Underdogs
I have tried to contact them. Most did not reply.


Apr 30, 2018, 6:09:28 AM4/30/18
to Home of the Underdogs

I'm always late for this kind of big news, but my real life is highly time consuming.
I join the forum in October 2009 but I've been visiting (and using) the site from very long time ago -> not sure when.

I was wondering what was the history behind the HotU and I stumbled on this post.
It's very nice to know that someone took charge and keep things moving forward.

My personal and public thanks.
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages