Wikipedia:WikiProject Video games/Newsletter/20120105/Interview
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Featured editor: Wgungfu
- What drew you to Wikipedia, and what prompted you to begin editing?
- Just hearing about it in the news back in 2005, thought I would check it out and see what the fuss was about. I was working with IGN/GamesSpy at the time, so naturally I got involved in video game and computer articles right away.
- How did you pick your username?
- It's been my username for a lot of years, going back to my unix days in the early 90's. Has to do with my teaching of Wing Chun a Chinese martial art.
- How did you become involved with the VG project?
- After contributing to articles for a bit I stumbled on the project.
- Wikipedia requires its editors to verify content with proper sourcing. As a video game historian/writer, how well do you think Wikipedia does at ensuring the content is accurate as well as verifiable?
- I think in many cases it does well, in other cases with conflicting or obviously wrong sources, not very. That's one of the most frustrating things in trying to contribute here is the lack of evaluation of sources on the parts of most editors - in most cases if it comes from a "reliable source" it's taken at face value. A source itself being considered reliable in general doesn't mean all information coming from it is. That's one of the reasons I got involved with Retro Gamer magazine as a fact checker, after seeing them being used for sources here with obviously wrong content.
- Any interesting stories from the VG industry you'd like share with us?
- Well, off the top of my head I'd say a good example of corporate vs. creative clashes that permeate the industry even through today is one about Warner management visiting Atari Inc. back in 1983. They demonstrated a high end dual 68000 based workstation as part of their Computer Division, which was going to be used in an effort to expand Atari's computers further in to the work place. A Warner executive took one look at it and said "That's not really for playing games though, is it?" And with that the project was cancelled.
- Another would probably be Joe Decuir, one of the designers of the Atari 2600. He had come from medical instrumentation engineering before moving to Atari, leaving because of realizing 10 of 11 people wound up dying which is of course depressing. He wound up working at Atari as a bridge between the main company and it's think tank Cyan in grass valley, helping to bring the prototype of the 2600 (Stella) together. His fondest memory was at the launch of the 2600 in 1977, standing at a Sears on Black Friday and watching a crowd of kids discovering the 2600 for the first time and playing Combat. It was then he realized he made the right decision.
- What is considered your best work on Wikipedia?
- Never really thought of that before, I try and make every contribution to the best of my ability.
- What is the most difficult part of editing Wikipedia?
- Conflicts with other editors, most often less knowledgeable on the subject but more experienced at "working the system" here.
- How much of a gamer are you and what type of games do you gravitate toward?
- I used to be a big gamer, but as I started programming in the industry more and more it got to the point that a) I don't have the time, and b) I can't enjoy playing because I'm looking at it from a programming perspective. It gets to the point where you loose the notion that games are fun vs. work.
- What advice would you give a new editor interested in working on video game articles?
- Research, research, research. And familiarize yourself with the rules and standards of both Wikipedia the video game project.
- Anything else you want to say?
- Just that I'm looking forward to a project many years in the making coming to fruition. The first of three books on the Atari brand that myself and Curt Vendel (atarimuseum) is planned to come out in June in time for the 40th anniversary, this being about Atari, Inc. We've had incredible support from ex-Atari Inc. people who are all very eager to have their stories told. Right now we're doing a Kickstarter campaign to get funding for the last round of interviews and research, since we have to travel out to California for this last leg. But it's the culmination of a passion for the subject that I hope others will enjoy. The next two in the trilogy will be on Atari Corporation and Atari Games respectively.
Also read about our previous Featured editor: Jinnai