10 Years... Floating In the Abandoned Space
The sun shimmers brightly in the blue sky and the green leaves are dancing in the summer heat (Okay, I bet it's snowing now in New Zealand, but that's not the point). On this very day, 10 years ago, some guy from Croatia decided to share his passion for old games with the rest of civilization, and at the same time to give his mother, Ines, a unique birthday gift. Thus, Kosta laid the groundwork for what would later become the land of joy and sorrow, Abandonia.
Back in 1999, the concept of "abandonware" was in its infant stage, because until then the gaming industry itself was still too young to witness titles being forgotten and lost in the deep bowels of the past. Even though the term was and still is a bit vague, people formed large communities with the sole objective of preserving old games, without discrimination.
At the beginning, Abandonia was nothing special. A simple site hosted on a subdomain with a couple of games, which by today's standards couldn't even be considered abandoned. Among those were popular titles, such as LucasArts' classics, Doom 2 and Wolfenstein 3D. By the way, if you want to witness the original layout check this site, created by Kosta especially for these kinds of celebrations/events.
The thing is, the site didn't even survive a year before becoming inactive. Only after its revival did it get the corporate feel you're seeing now. And maybe you don't know this, but the biggest boulder for Abandonia's progress was carried on your shoulders, in other words the community. Only with your help we succeded to model the site into its current shape. Just recently you probably noticed we've reached the grand milestone of 100.000 registered users. It's a great achievement and it stands close to our game-related successes: we have 1000 games available for download and another 900 extras files. Not to mention the reviews and the screenshots.
The actual rise of Abandonia started on August 3rd, 2002, its second official birthday, when a new site was presented to the masses. Due to high activity going through Abandonia's official Guestbook, Kosta, following Titan's suggestion, opened a forum on October 8, 2003. The forum innauguration was a turning point in the site's history. The forum ensures a greater cohesion between all the members of the community and presents itself as a easy way to offer, request and discuss games. Forums were also the host of various contests. 5 Official Abandonia Giveaway Contests were organised during its 10 years of existence, the winner having received expensive prizes, such as one IPod Shuflle, two NDS Lite and several original game copies.
A large multinational team was formed later, reaching the point when the providing of multiple languages was discussed and implemented, but as you can see - not perfected. As volunteers, various members, often lead by the spirit of competition, translated a great number of reviews and newsposts. Sometimes full-fledged wars were started between the countries, fighting to reach the first a specific number of translations. Abandonia is currently partially translated into over 20 languages, including German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian, Romanian, Italian and others.
By 2005, all the people who dedicated their valuable time to Abandonia and who are fondly remembered up until now, were already registered and actively working. The administration was periodically renewed with fresh hard-working volunteers: Titan, The Niles, Tom Henrik, Maikel, Braindead, Data, The Fifth Horseman, Reup, taikara, Luchsen, swiss, Dave and red_avatar. Currently we have only 5 active administrators: The Fifth Horseman, Luchsen, Dave, red_avatar and Titan, the last one being also the veteran, the last remnant from the original team.
2005 was a Golden Year for our site. Besides the creation of the Oldwarez list, managed by Tom Henrik, we were subject to different articles in media from all around the world. But the biggest achievement is the unveiling of Abandonia Reloaded, our sister site, on May 7. This fresh project focused exclusively on games categorised as freeware. Before its creation such games were hosted here and we didn't remove them because they're part of our beloved history.
The Kingdom of Abandonia had its inevitable share of pain and problems. In 2005 when the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) laid siege to our castle, we were forced to adopt a new set of rules regarding which games would be available for download. Games released by ESA members were put on hold till the end of the 15-year cycle after their release. A lot of patience was required also to manage the hosting of Abandonia. Due to our continuous growth in visitor numbers we changed servers multiple times during this period. We switched at least 10 servers.
To avoid wasting time on this neverending process, in 2006 a deal was concluded with Studentis in Sweden. This company acquired AB and therefore is responsible for the site's hosting expenditures and fixing the bugs. This allows us to concentrate on what is really important on the abandonware scene: updating and adding games, maintaining the information up-to-date and offering a community-based support for all game titles, in general.
You probably noticed how I mentioned that our team is new and we're just starting to get the hang of things. Indeed, the greatest enemy that could block Abandonia's progress is indifference from the community. In 2007, after changing the site's layout a lot of bugs made the work and the updates difficult to accomplish. After Kosta and Tom Henrik left the site in order to realise their real-life dreams, some people started left Abandonia. Losing the upper pyramid affected considerably the land of Abandonia: the "daily updates" tradition was temporarily down.
But those days are gone! After some major reorganisation we've gathered a new team of updaters and moderators. We're actively seeking to fix the biggest problems which stand in our way. We revived the "one update per day" policy and sparked the interest in people's eyes.
In July 2010 Abandonia was acquired by Abovo Media Group in Sweden and the Abovo team is supporting the crew with regular support and updates around the site. In June 2012 Abandonia turned 13 years.
Happy Birthday Abandonia!