The History of RPGClassics
Rough Draft Version: August 22, 2000
The following is a history of RPGClassics, from its humble beginnings to its current glories, as related by long-time observer and current staffer Merlin. Please note that just like real history, the further back you go the harder it is to remember things. Thus much of the earlier parts of this history may not be in exact order, since most of my sources came from the hazy memories of people like me :P I've synthesized this from the memories of those who experienced the events, my own recollection of events since I was around for almost all of it, documents we may have that help explain matters, and how events traditionally unfold. In all cases I have aimed for as much objectivity as possible, because history isn't meant to be subjective. The sections concerning the removal of the previous webmaster ShaheenJim are also fleshed out the most because they are the most poignant to the author at the time of this writing and it is the most interesting part to read :P Also, sometimes when certain new staffers are mentioned all the shrines they made may be listed, whereas in truth it didn't happen all at the same time.
Six Young Warriors Arrive, Each Holding An Orb:
RPGC started out as a shared idea between six people. These founding six all shared one pleasure, role-playing-games. They decided to share this knowledge and love with the rest of the Internet community. So Rast, Bahamut, MannyD, Blizzard, Macc Maverick, and Cigam all pooled their resources together to create http://www.rpgclassics.com. The site that would become RPGClassics didn't actually start out as RPGC at all. Originally this site was called "Rast's Games and Music," and was located first on the server of the ApexCorp organization and then later moved to rpglover.simplenet.com. But that was either in or even before 1997, the site was renamed RPGClassics by Bahamut after about 6. Its focus was to provide help and detailed information about RPGs.
Rast was the webmaster, and also largely created the shrine on Final Fantasy 5, one of RPGC's biggest attactions. Cigam also contributed to the FF5 shrine and eventually Macc took over its maintenance. MannyD was in charge of the webboards, Blizzard was the site artist, and Bahamut helped out with administrative stuff, soon becoming Rast's second-in-command. Shortly after the site started, Cigam disappeared and was never heard from again.
Meantime ShaheenJim stumbled across the site while searching for information on FF5, he then sent Macc some extra information he had discovered. Rast then created an Earthbound Zero shrine, but it was soon deleted for lack of public interest. Bahamut then began a FF6 shrine but not much progress was made, and then Jim joined the staff as the first non-founder with his FF2 shrine.
Next Zeppelin, Flare101, Nezzer and later Hiryuu (common posters on the RPGC webboards) created their own site even before Jim joined RPGC, which soon partnered with RPGClassics. They called it Atma Games, at their zenith these four had varying levels of detailed information on Chrono Trigger (Hiryuu), Tales of Phantasia (Flare101), Pokémon (Flare101), Phantasy Star (Zeppelin), FF1 (Nezzer), FF3 (Zeppelin), and FF4 (Nezzer). Since RPGC already had shrines on FF2 and FF5, the two sites joined an alliance, now covering the majority of the Final Fantasy series.
At one point Zeppelin decided that he didn't feel like finishing the FF3 Shrine, so Jim volunteered to complete it. Both Atma Games and RPG Classics had FF6 Shrines (RPGC's by Bahamut and Atma's by Zepp) so when Zeppelin gave Bahamut permission to use his information for his FF6 Shrine, RPGC's FF6 shrine essentially became a dublicate of Atma's. Things never turned out quite so successfully for Atma so they disbanded, with Zeppelin and Hiryuu eventually moving over to join RPGC's staff. Nezzer decided to keep his FF1 and 4 shrines separate on a new site, but Atma Games gradually was eroded by the flowing traffic of the Internet, losing its server eventually.
After the integration of Atma Games, RPGC began to grow exponentially. First Rast made a Lufia 2 Shrine, and then in the early spring of 1999 RoguePaladinTrian joined the staff to work on the already created the database, RPGC's library of RPG information. Drakee then joined with the intention to make a FF4 Shrine, but it was never finished and eventually Drakee was fired, Excalibur then joined and successfully created the FF4 ET Shrine.
RPGClassics then began adding periphery material too, signified by the database's creation. First Rufus joined as another site artist. Next OnionKid joined the staff as the official savestate hacker for RPGClassics. OnionKid created a Breath of Fire 1 Shrine as well. The close of this chapter is truly important for another event. Around this time Rast made ShaheenJim an administrator too, the same level as Bahamut. The two lieutenants soon got into many heated arguments and fought and argued often, culminating with Bahamut quitting the site. Blizzard, Bahamut's friend, resigned because of these arguments too.
The First Growth Spurt:
At this time Rast began an idea to create an online RPG, which he christened Arpagee. He brought in a few new staffers to assist him in this endeavor, including Hibbs and Oracle. Around this time Zero joined the site as the site's advertiser, he later would work with Jim on creating a Seiken Densetu 3 Shrine.
The next events further demonstrate RPGC's growth as a major source for RPG information. Macc made a Might and Magic 3 Shrine and Dark Paladin joined with a Chrono Trigger Shrine. Crusader also became part of the site with his Suikoden Shrine, and he also took over the Chrono Trigger shrine when Dark Paladin left. At this point Mr. Saturn joined with a Dragon Warrior 3 Shrine and ArcticKnight joined with a Dragon Warrior 2 Shrine. Lastly KillaK9 joined and began work on a Pokemon Shrine, but he never completed it.
The final days of Rast's stewardship over the site began when SpoonyBard joined the staff to maintain a SPC (music extracted from ROMs) collection RPGClassics was starting. The staff then bought themselves a dedicated server and began to host sites of their own, which demonstrates the growth of the site from its rpglover days. The major subsites first hosted were Realm of the Dragons (created and maintained by Dragon Ninja), Realm Draconum (a site by Sinistral, since then it has been disbanded with the shrines assimilating into RPGC), and the Realms of Hyrule (created by Luna, which also contained the Zelda 1-5 shrines). Much later on in the site's history The Floating Island by Dragon God and Da Comic Book by Kentar were added to the site (Kentar's has since been taken down). Lastly, Sinistral officially joined the staff with shrines on Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Final Fantasy 1, Dragon Warrior 1, and Crystalis; first voicing (what would later be staff-wide) concerns that his material wouldn't be used without his permission in the process.
The Great Deletion and The Age of Jim:
All of a sudden disaster struck, shaking RPGC to its core. Their server seemed to randomly delete the site one-day, wiping out all their posted information. Fortunately most of the staff had kept their information backed up, but not everything was salvaged. Not only was the SPC archive destroyed, The Dragon Warrior 3 Shrine, the Lufia 2 Shrine and the Breath of Fire 1 Shrines were all lost. The Final Fantasy 1 shrine was also deleted, but fortunately Sinistral's shrine supplanted Rast's following its deletion. Even worse than the loss of shrines, Rast, the site founder, took this opportunity to depart RPGC. He not only left the site but also brought his Arpagee staff with him to continue his other projects (which led to the ill-fated program RPGEngine). While Rast obviously had other projects he was more interested in than RPGC, it was a little sad to see him leave the site he founded when it needed such significant help. ShaheenJim was left in charge and thence became the webmaster of RPGClassics sometime in the summer or fall of 1999.
Once Jim took over and he and the staff restored the site (Sinistral especially helped this by reacquiring miva webboards and locating an advertiser), he initiated some major staff cuts. First MannyD left the site for lack of time, leaving only Macc as an original founding member of RPGC. With the BoF1 Shrine's deletion OnionKid didn't have any other contributions for the site, but Jim left him on the staff in spirit. KillaK9 then left the site because he had no intention of completing the Pokemon Shrine, and Jim also fired ArcticKnight and Crusader, the latter for copying/stealing information from Icy Brian's website. Jim then took over Crusader's CT Shrine. As for SpoonyBard, he hung around on the staff for a while after his archive was destroyed, but eventually quit the staff when there was nothing for him to do. This became known as The Purge.
After The Purge RPGC once again began to grow as a site, with rapid shrine expansion. Kentar joined with a Final Fantasy Adventure Shrine, and Hiei also joined with an Ys 3 Shrine (he would later build a Grandia Shrine). Wertigon then joined the staff with a Terranigma Shrine, and Shaggy and Mog joined with a Breath of Fire 2 and a FF7 Shrine respectively. Also Tec and ACSRalphie created a FF8 Shrine together and added it to RPGC's library. In September of 1999 Macc Maverick started hosting a mailbag for RPGC. His managing of this section lasted 24 'bags, but he eventually began to run out of time to run it as mailbag updates grew less and less frequent. So, Cidolfas took over the section around late 2000/early 2001.
Around this time Mr. Saturn had a flurry of activity on RPGC. He unveiled the Dragon Warrior 2 shrine (although he and Sinistral would put on the finishing touches much later), rebuilt the Dragon Warrior 3 Shrine and also made a Dragon Warrior 4 Shrine. RoguePaladinTrian then quit the staff, citing a lack of free time as a reason. Sky then joined the staff as their new ROM hacker and made several enemy lists. Sometime in 1999 Zeppelin also ran a ROMs service that RPGC used at their direct ROMs affiliate, called Bob's RPG Roms. But after about six months this service had to be taken down due to bandwidth reasons; and also because ShaheenJim wasn't very willing to rearrange the rom-links every month to save bandwidth.
In April-May of 2000 RPGC's staff grew and grew as a myriad amount of people began creating shrines. Shadow made a Secret of Evermore Shrine and also took over maintenance of the abandoned Suikoden Shrine. JasoX the Vile joined with the 7th Saga Shrine, DaRkEpYoN created a shrine on Alachest and Jerhova joined with the Avalon Shrine. Shinryuu_21 (who has since changed his name to Dragon God) joined with the Final Fantasy Tactics Shrine, he also made his own subsite (The Floating Island), which was hosted by RPGC. Teran also joined with his Ultima 3: Exodus Shrine.
At this point Cidolfas was persuaded to join RPGC with the FFCompendium subsite at the end of April, 2000; an extremely detailed website containing virtually all that is worth knowing regarding the Final Fantasy game series. He would soon become one of RPGC's major shrine contributors, creating Shrines on Tales of Phantasia, Illusion of Gaia, Wild Arms, and Chrono Cross. Another large shrine contributor, Hiryuu, officially entered the staff with shrines on Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Rygar, Spike McFang and Sweet Home. He also built a new Earthbound Zero shrine, replacing the one Rast deleted long ago. Maquiladora then joined the staff with Final Fantasy Legend 1, 2 and 3 shrines and Hiryuu persuaded Jim to let him take over the Chrono Trigger Shrine, which he completed.
Jim's next large plan, to increase the Database (up to now it existed more as an afterthought) began around this time. Since following RoguePaladinTrian's departure only Sephiroth Katana and Jim were contributing to it. These two began enlarging it, and also GoldMoogle, Mazrim Taim, Nine Inch Nails and Kalia-sel all were hired to expand this section as Database Maintainers. It was learned that Kalia-sel died shortly after joining and the staff was informed via e-mail and/or ICQ, ShaheenJim later decided to incorporate the Database directly into the site, merging it with the shrine listing. This diminished the importance of the shrines, which were far more detailed than the text-walkthroughs of the Database, and caused a few staffers to feel like their site had turned into GameFaqs Lite.
Shortly after this time Shaggy elected to leave RPGClassics to work for RPGNet, returned later. Next, more shrines were continuously added and the Database was expanded even further. Sephiroth Katana added an Ogre Battle shrine to RPGC's litany of game information, Death Lock added a shrine on Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, and Mr. Saturn churned out yet another shrine on Earthbound. Black Ninja recreated the Breath of Fire 1 shrine, which had been lost during the Great Deletion in November of 2000.
RPGC then gained even more staff members and the shrine library expanded, even as RPGC was coming apart at the seams internally. Ice joined by volunteering to maintain the Pokemon Shrine, and Magus as well joined to co-maintain it, he used to be known as Dark Crimson until changing his name. Megaman984 then joined with his shrine on Harvest Moon 64, PKT_Paladin joined with a trio of shrines on the Dragon Ball Z series for the NES, and the last shrine to be accepted at the end of ShaheenJim's reign was the Pokemon Yellow shrine by Spop6.