We celebrate the Metroid Database and its 15th anniversary online with an interview, featuring members of the team. Not only is the website one of the longest running and most complete Metroid websites, it is probably one of the oldest websites on the internet. There aren’t a lot of fan websites with a storied history like Metroid Database. We have put together an interview (probably the largest interview we have ever done!) with staff new and old to get their feelings on the website’s history.
SS: First of all, why don’t you guys introduce yourselves and the roles you play or have played at Metroid Database over the past 15 years!
CapCom: I’m CapCom, and I am the site director. My job is to monitor what content gets put on the site, oversee new additions, and track down new material to add. I currently translate a lot of Japanese texts. I started coming to the site in 1999 after playing the first three Metroids. I was a very active member of the community, and in 2002, TJ needed some people to help maintain the site, so I was hired on to help run the place. I started work on the MDb managing submissions to the fanart, fanfic, and fanapps sections of the site. I later expanded into music. In 2006, TJ stopped work on the site to pursue other ventures, and he left me in charge.
Infinity’s End: My name is Ryan Barrett, aka Infinity’s End, and my main job for the MDb is graphic design. I am also an editor, content generator, and forum administrator. I joined the team in 2007 and have been a very active member since then.
Jesse D: I am the primary programmer for the MDb. I’ve actually been a visitor to the site since 1996, even before my first time playing Super Metroid. I regularly visited the MDb and forum for hope of any potential news of a new sequel, and when I began to get tied up with Metroid II Secret Worlds, I spent a lot of time sharing my findings with the MDb community. It wasn’t until TJ had been retired from the site for a full year that Inf and I came aboard as staff in 2007, and so began my efforts to help make the site dynamic and more maintainable. I have contributed a number of reviews and other material to the site along the way, and these days I am almost entirely in the background, silently shepherding the site and keeping it safely backed up.
Aurora: I officially go by Aurora Unit, though most people know me by my longer name on the forums. I’m a new contributing editor and moderator, and provide a support role to help manage some of our written content, update features, and report on various news material. I started casually visiting the Metroid Database about 7 years ago, and eventually registered on the forums back when some of our members were working to get a full translation of the Zero Mission manga.
Rondus: My name is Tim (aka rondus18) I’m the newest member of the team and a web designer. I was brought on in September to help produce the Bestiary.
Naner: I’m Renan Greca, better known as Naner in the Metroid community. I consider myself a representative of the new generation of Metroid fans. Being fairly young, I started playing Metroid with the GBA games. However, I am an eclectic gamer, and that allowed me to play and enjoy nearly all Metroid games, both old and new. In the Metroid Database, I’m the oldest user still frequently active out of the ones who joined after the forums’ overhaul in 2007.
TJ: I’m TJ Rappel, and I started the Metroid Database in 1996 when I was 22 and in college. I ran it single-handed for several years before adding a few staff members to help out, and left the site entirely in 2007.
SS: It’s amazing to think a website, let alone a Metroid website, has managed to last 15 years. There certainly can’t be many other fan websites that can compare to such a legacy. Where did the idea come from to create a Metroid fan website?
TJ: First, you have to remember that back in 1996, e-mail and websites were just starting to become a way of life for mainstream users. I didn’t get a home PC until early that year, and I was really fascinated by websites and CD-ROMs as formats to compile and display information. I loved the interactive nature and the mixed media, as well as the opportunity for experimentation with design, art, and layout. So naturally, being a creative person, I wanted to try my hand at creating a website. I’ve told this story before, but it was literally me in a math class, not paying attention, and trying to decide what topic I knew enough about that I could build a website around. I settled on Metroid, as it was my favorite videogame series.
SS: The Metroid Database and its staff have long provided fans with a complete Metroid experience. Its content has grown over time and included many interviews and features to keep fans coming back for more. What was it like putting these features together?
CapCom: What’s it like? A LOT of work. Web publishing is one of the hardest things you can do online. I don’t have a WYSWIG interface, but at least now we have one for news posts, but even then, it’s nothing like running a blog. You need to learn new skills with HTML and PHP because you can’t just have a block of text – there should be something interesting to look at as well! Thankfully, we have Jesse D and Tim to help with the code, and Ryan works with the visuals. As an example, when I translated the Nintendo Dream article, it took about a month of work. Getting everything edited took another week or two, and then it was another two weeks to get the page designed. Meanwhile, there are other things going on, which is why it took something like six months to put the whole article up! If it was just a matter of slapping text up on the page, it’s no problem, but the information has to have a shiny package. In other cases, we’ve had to reverse-engineer code, like from the Japanese website translations.
Infinity’s End: I hate to sound like I’m taking all the credit here, and that’s far from my intentions, but since I joined the team, I’ve probably been the biggest contributor to the site. After I wrote the “Behind the Visor” article, it seemed that our new content just started to blast off. Devin’s definitely got tons of additions under his belt with all the translation projects he’s done, but as far as original content goes (every interview but the Seraphim one, putting together WaveBeam, the LiveStreams, re-organizing the game sections, tending to our DeviantArt and YouTube pages, and countless others), that’s mostly all been me. I also was the originator of our annual contest. My latest feature, the MDb Bestiary, is bar none, the greatest online fan-made video game project that’s ever been made, and I’m extremely proud of the work everyone has put into it.
Without Devin’s leadership, Jesse’s and Rondus’s “hidden” programming work, AU accepting the new editor position, our forum moderators that have come and gone, and all the other fans’ contributions, our site wouldn’t be nearly as big as it is and I’m extremely glad that I could help it get to the state it’s in. Making these features has also given me a great appreciation for website coding, and has also provided me with HTML and CSS knowledge that I’ll have with me the rest of my life.
Jesse D: Probably the best thing I could chime in for this would be my experiences with the Manga Reader and the Wave Beam Podcast. As an aspiring web programmer at the time, I had the desire to learn databases, but I lacked a useful purpose to practice these. The Manga Reader was a chance for me to develop something useful that relied fully on a database to tie all of the significant data together. Likewise, with the podcast, it was so unlike anything I had ever done before. As much as I dislike the sound of my own voice, I’m proud to hear myself joining in conversation with fellow fans.
TJ: At first, it was just fun for me, because I’m a collector by nature. So to me, it just felt like collecting information and sharing my collection with other Metroid fans. The Dan Owsen interview, at the time, felt like a big deal to me and I was pretty proud and somewhat surprised that he took the time to participate. I also remember reporting the news that Gunpei Yokoi had died in an accident, and realizing that it would be my duty to report information that might not be so pleasant, too. But overall, I was doing it for fun, and the MDb was a hobby for me.
Let me derail for a minute, and talk about a couple things I had always intended for the site but never got to do. For one, remember the secret passages in the original site? Where you would click on some tiny pixel graphic that looked out of place, and it would lead you to a mini-page where you could download a little goodie, like a metroid that followed your cursor. When I did the major MDb overhaul in 2002, it was my intention to expand on that idea and create a trail of clues throughout the site that would lead to more secret stuff, like downloads and art and whatever, with a whole story to go with it. At the time, the big viral AR game surrounding the movie “A.I.” was a big deal, and I was fascinated by it (but too dumb to figure it out myself), and I wanted to come up with something similar, but on a smaller scale, for the MDb. It never got past the idea stage.
Another project I’d had in mind since the early days was something called “Sam’s Zebes Adventure,” which was to be a graphic adventure-type game with cartoon graphics where Samus would have to answer metroid trivia questions to advance. That got into some planning stages, but never actually started. I still think those would have been fun features. I wanted to do merchandise too — t-shirts and mouse pads and such. I dunno, do you think the guys would let me design a t-shirt for the MDb after all this time?
SS: The website is in a unique position, offering fan’s translations of Metroid content from Japan such as manga and magazine interviews. Tell us a little bit more about those projects and give us an understanding of what it is you’ve been doing.
CapCom: There are dozens of articles about Metroid and the lead developers that have never been translated. I took Japanese classes a few years back and gradually picked up some skills. After the Metroid two-volume manga was translated, I saw there was a lot more material out there and started on various projects. A lot of the material we get is either provided for by collectors or purchased using ad revenue, so a lot of this just wouldn’t be possible without help from our readers.
Of course, we’re in a really bad gray zone because while I’d like to contact the authors so we can make the translations official, I have a feeling some of them – or rather, their publishers – probably wouldn’t appreciate what we’re doing. And then they would force us to take it down. I really respect their work, and it’s really the original authors or interviewers who should get credit, but if something like that ever happened, we would of course follow their request, though I think the publishers are doing a disservice by ignoring their English-speaking fans. So, we try and provide that service instead. There’s a lot of great information out there, and Metroid fans love to hear it.
Right now, we’re in the process of getting the rest of the Samus & Joey manga from Japan, and I’ve got two other big projects I’m working on editing and publishing. There’s also another guy who contacted me, and he is helping translate more Japanese articles. I also hope we can get enough ad revenue slapped together over the next few months so we can purchase Samus & Joey EX, which was in Comic Bom Bom so is really hard to get ahold of, and that will probably cost about $250 for 12 issues. They’re really expensive, even though they originally sold for about $5! And then we have to agree that this purchase is worth it! It’s really hard to get collectors to scan these because you have to damage the spine in order to get images, so it looks like we have to buy our own.
SS: I’m sure during the past 15 years there have been some difficulties within the community and its staff through creative difference or not getting content out on time. Tell us about some of the difficult times during the site’s long history.
CapCom: I think the hardest part was in 2005 and 2006 when TJ wasn’t able to work on the site full-time. You look at 2006, and there’s like three news updates – it’s really embarrassing! The MDb might have died then if TJ hadn’t had the foresight to hire on other people as volunteers. Of course, it’s also difficult when there’s nothing to report on, and you can’t exactly make news up! I suppose translating old articles helps fill that void, but maybe Nintendo should just make more Metroids! These days, it’s harder for me to commit a lot of time to the site because like TJ, I am starting to have many more commitments.
Infinity’s End: Time is usually the least of our concerns, since none of us really follow strict schedules for the MDb. What I’ve been the most troubled with, overall, is mainly the apparent lack of acknowledgement or respect our site gets throughout the rest of the internet. When people come on the internet researching Metroid, it’s usually our site that they find all the real good stuff – and then they seem to go out of their way to discredit us. It’s usually fixed after we have to email them and say “hey how about some credit?” but it’s that we actually had to do it that hurts me the most. This is just conjecture, but I’d say over half of all the images on Wikitroid were taken from the MDb. So it’s been more or less frustrating for the way other sites completely ignore us when it comes down to us putting out original content. The internet is growing larger every day; it’s about time the “little” sites were given just as much respect as the big ones.
The reception of the Bestiary is the latest example of this, with a majority of game news websites (non Metroid-specific) pretty much completely ignoring it, despite my best efforts. It could have been a timing thing, since we weren’t able to get it out during Metroid’s 25th, but I don’t think that should have mattered; the content speaks for itself. I’m always open for hearing new ideas on how to get our name out there.
Jesse D: To say I’ve put the team through frustration would certainly be no stretch of the truth. Any person who creates things will, at some point, reach a phase where they are hindered by a sort of writer’s block, or an absolute lack of passion for their craft. There was no reason the MDb Bestiary couldn’t have been up and running a full two months before the day we unveiled it, but sometimes life gets in the way of these things. I eventually found my drive and have been hacking away at it ever since. Having Rondus18 aboard has been truly helpful and his skills in web development have brought a refreshing new twist.
TJ: I want you all to know that I always felt bad when I couldn’t update more often due to time. I also felt very conflicted when I hated Metroid Prime 2, because I felt like it was my duty to play it and try to be positive about it, but in my heart I knew it was insufferable.
SS: With a vast amount of content on the website, what are the features the staff are most proud of?
CapCom: Definitely the Bestiary. I think that’s the best project that’s come out of the MDb in all its 15 years. Some of those artists do a really professional job – you look at development art by Blizzard, and some of this would blend right in. As for the things I did… I’m really proud of some of the translation work. The Metroid strategy guide manga was a HUGE project, and then there was the Super Metroid developer interview (which nobody reported on, surprisingly, despite the fact its subtitle is “When Samus was Naked”) and Nintendo Dream (which everybody picked up because it said Samus was named after Pele, but hardly anyone linked back to us and completely ignored all the cool stuff about Kid Icarus). It’s really kind of funny what gets picked up – the translated Hunters manga by Mars Spider got front page on Destructoid because Samus was naked in the shower, and that’s what a lot of folks like to click on, but I didn’t think anyone actually read these, so then we had to go back and polish the translation a little!
Infinity’s End: Obviously, I’m most proud of the Bestiary. I’m also very proud to see how much our site’s design has improved (no offense to TJ’s designs!) since the old days, and we’ve definitely made our site more appealing and easy to use. There’s still a few features we have yet to add, so look forward to those! I’m also proud of all the extremely rare and unseen Metroid media we’ve been able to uncover over the years and keep it exclusive to our site.
Jesse D: I absolutely love the MDb Bestiary. We recruited a number of talented artists and to see such incredibly detailed artwork and know that it was made just for us – by fans, for fans – is truly something to find pride in. It was by far our largest team-based endeavor to date, and what an amazing result it has given us. I only hope that other fans will appreciate it as much as we do.
Aurora: While I think our collection of translated content is invaluable, if I had to pick one feature, I’d definitely go with the Bestiary. It’s the largest collaborative project we’ve undertaken, and even though there are still a number of games to go, I’m very excited about the amount of work that has been accomplished so far. We wanted it to be a comprehensive tribute that anyone could easily enjoy, and I think Infinity’s End and the rest of the team have been able to craft a unique experience for visitors. We continue to post some great new illustrations from our dedicated team of artists, and the amount of content will only continue to grow over time, so I think this feature will prove its longevity for years to come.
Rondus: The Bestiary, of course. I’m blown away by the all the artwork and I’m proud I had a hand in making that possible.
SS: The forum community at Metroid Database is certainly one that has thrived over the years. Over the years I’ve been attending the site, it’s held many debates and quality posts from many of its users. What are your thoughts on the forum and the community that has built over the years?
CapCom: I started attending the forums back in 1999, when the site was on Dragonfire. This was the OLD BBS system where posts would scroll off in about 30 days. TJ had a really lax approach to the site and would only swoop down and slap people around if there was really nasty flame wars. The community was also fairly closed, so it was easier to handle.
These days, the board has gotten huge, there are a lot of new members, and as a result, some of the old members feel out of place and have left. Of course, there are also those with aggressive personalities, and that can drive people away too, so it’s a tough balance. Other M didn’t help, either!
But whenever you stay with a community for years, you develop strong friendships. There are some guys who were on the board in 1999 who I still talk to, even though they no longer visit the site. That’s a truly unique experience.
Infinity’s End: Even though many people have come and gone through the MDb Message Board, I still feel our community is the premiere source for any Metroid-related information. You’ll find no better group of people that are as passionate, well-spoken, well-thought, and well-established than those right here on the MDb. In my mind, we are the best Metroid fan-community on the internet. It’s no doubt that employees at both Nintendo and Retro Studios have lurked our forums, even since the old BoardHost days, and it’s just further proof for how great it is. I am proud to say I visit our forum almost every day. Not just because I admin there, but I truly enjoy reading and responding to others’ posts.
Jesse D: I was there since the late 90’s, when the internet was a much simpler place. The forum itself was outline-style, and did not require registration. I came to know and befriend a lot of individuals during that time, and while the forum was not without its flame wars and occasional spats, it was an enjoyable place to be. Eventually things got out of hand, so TJ required user accounts. Not long after that, he disabled public registration, and the forum became its own private island.
Activity dwindled but there remained a core group of regulars who kept it alive all the way until it was opened back up as a phpBB board in 2007. A select few of this core group remains, and I will be quite honest in saying that I miss those days. I visit the forum a few times per week, and while I am proud of how largely used and self-sufficient it has become, I find myself less vocal than I once was. Maybe I’ve gotten too old, or maybe the general personality is just different. Who knows, but it will never again be like it was in the 90’s.
TJ: It was the forum and the community therein that gave us the current MDb staff. Without them, the site would have remained stagnant after I told Metroid Prime 2 to stick it. I’m sure that when these guys decide to move on, the next generation of MDb staffers will also be talented and enthusiastic Metroid fans from the MDb community.
Aurora: The MDb was the first internet forum that I ever registered on, so the place is quite special to me and I’ve accumulated many fond memories over the past years. It’s become more and more dynamic with the larger flux of people, and while there have been the inevitable clashes between members here and there, there’s been a wealth of great discussion on our site and I’m always learning new things from our longtime, regular, and even newer members. We all had to start somewhere.
Naner: The Metroid community is amazing, and the Metroid Database is the symbol of that. Other fan communities, such as the one for The Legend of Zelda, also have an incredible amount of fan work, but it’s just too huge. The Metroid series, despite being successful for 25 years, doesn’t boast an enormous amount of active fans. Judging by the games’ sales, you could safely estimate the amount of fans at about one million, worldwide. That makes this community much more personal and comfortable to be in.
It doesn’t take long to notice this at the Metroid Database. After talking with some of the same users for so many years, we start behaving like old friends rather than complete internet strangers. This allows for great debates and conversations at the site. This also makes the fans become closer and talk about other interests of theirs other than Metroid, making the community even more durable than the games themselves.
SS: During the early days before Metroid Prime, there couldn’t have been a great deal of content regarding Metroid. With just three games released when the website launched, and several years until the next Metroid game release, how did staff find the motivation to run the website and what are your thoughts on how the website has grown and developed since you handed over power to the rest of the staff?
TJ: In the beginning years, I was busy enough just compiling information on the existing Metroid games. The MDb didn’t launch with everything in place, obviously. So, I was adding content about Metroid, M2, and Super, and seeking out new stuff constantly, and that all took up plenty of time. Couple that with rumors and speculation regarding new Metroid games (this was the N64 era), and fan-generated content like art, fiction, and apps, and that’s about all the MDb had to offer between 1996 and 2001, when Prime and Fusion were officially announced.
I’m really impressed. I really always wanted the MDb to be as deep as it is now, and they took it further than I ever could have on my own. There was so much stuff I didn’t have the know-how to do at the time, like videos, comic readers, podcasts (well, there weren’t even podcasts back then), translated interviews…and I’m glad that the site has all that now. The MDb seems to be a lot more recognized by the public now than it was when I was running it, too, so I’m really happy to see it mentioned, say, when I’m reading a news bite on Kotaku or something.
SS: Metroid Database recently appointed two new staff members to the team. What has it been like taking on a role on a website with a lot of history like Metroid Database and how are you finding the experience so far?
Aurora: I’m very grateful to be given the opportunity to help the site out. Even though I’ve been hanging around the MDb for quite some time, I’ll admit that I was kind of nervous at first when I was recruited. My initial worries soon dissipated after I got a chance to see how things work and consult with the Admin. Now it’s just a matter of focusing on the work to be done, and having fun trying to help support our community. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been too much to write about on the Metroid news front, but I’ve been keeping myself busy by writing a few Bestiary entries here and there, and working on adding other various content around the site. It’s been a great experience so far.
Rondus: When I applied for the opening, no one said anything about becoming a staff member. The conversation was always about helping out with the Bestiary. So it was a slow realization for me that my appointment was more long term than I initially thought. By the time I fully appreciated the role I was taking on, I had already settled into it. As for the experience it has been great. My fellow staff members are friendly and the forum community is not a festering bog of flaming trolls. What more could you ask for?
SS: If you could choose just one Metroid game as your favorite, what would it be and why?
CapCom: This one is actually really hard. I love the GBA ones and Super, which I think is pretty much perfect, but I think I’ll have to go back to Metroid II. Metroid II has some really rough edges, but it was the first game I played, so it’s special. It’s got a great story (albeit told through an instruction manual), and the whole concept of Samus taking on an entire planet of Metroids is really cool. The ruins evoke all kinds of history that’s never been fully explained, and then you have the Metroid Queen at the end. As a game designer, I think you can actually learn a lot more from Metroid II than you can from Super simply because it isn’t perfect.
You can see what worked really well in the later games and where Metroid II has flaws. I think Metroid II gets a lot of crap, that people think it’s a crap game because it was on the Game Boy, or that the developers didn’t succeed because they had to work with such limited hardware, but it’s really lots of fun and I think still holds up, especially when you look at how many other original GB games people still play. It really doesn’t deserve to be ignored. And since they haven’t remade Metroid II, doesn’t that prove there’s nothing wrong with it?
Infinity’s End: I’ve mentioned this many times before, but easily Super Metroid. Super Metroid set the bar (and is still setting that bar) for too many games to count, is still good to this day, and is considered to be one of the greatest video game masterpieces of all time, so it’s an obvious choice. The limits of the technology at the time, coupled with the raw passion and determination of its development staff, and the pioneering and establishment of the genre forces me to respect this game more than any other title.
Jesse D: This might come as a surprise to some people (actually, it probably won’t) but Metroid II remains my favorite title. I know it 100% has to do with the nostalgia factor. I have always held a notable affection for the game, be it my teenage fascination with Secret Worlds or the general personality of it all. It is certainly not traditional to the series, but there’s such an organic grittiness to it that makes me feel truly isolated and alone when I play. No other Metroid has been able to create that sensation in quite the same way for me. There is no other Metroid game I have beaten as many times as Metroid II, and the series itself owes a great deal to Metroid II for many different elements of game play it pioneered.
Rondus: Metroid Prime. There are a lot of things to love about the Metroid games, but for me the exploration and immersion are key. A 3D first-person game is just better for immersion than a 2D sidescroller. Include the scan visor and you no longer need enemies and objectives to keep my interest (though, they do help). Exploring for exploring’s sake is fun enough.
Aurora: Currently, I’d have to go with Metroid Prime as my overall favorite. I suppose it’s partially because it was the first Metroid game that I ever played, but after I experienced it again in the form of the Trilogy edition, it reaffirmed my position. For me, there’s still nothing quite like the experience of stepping into the world of Tallon IV and viewing it from Samus’s perspective. The memorable soundtrack, the pacing, the imposing bosses, the level design and artistry …it was just a fantastic combination of ingredients that made for a really standout package.
Of course, that’s not to say it had every ingredient that I enjoy in a Metroid experience though. I still love the sense of vertical navigation and speed that the classic games offer, and especially after Other M, I’m even more interested in the renewed prospect of 3rd-person gameplay and Samus’s character more than ever before, but no other game since the original Prime has had quite the same impact on me. I shudder to think, but maybe the Phazon got to me.
TJ: I still like the original Metroid the best. Super is a close second.
SS: In addition to Metroid Database, there have been many Metroid websites that have come and gone over the years. Are there any websites that have stood out to you over the years and do you think they can eventually become as popular and stable as the Metroid Database?
CapCom: To all the other Metroid sites, it’s difficult to keep a site going for so many years. You need to have determination, and you need to plan on passing the torch. If you create material that is unique and provide a service that is different from any other site, then you have a community who will keep coming. For instance, we can’t provide the speedrunning and glitch information that Metroid 2002 does, as that’s not our focus, and I don’t think there’s any other site out there that can.
If you look at other gaming sites that are worth looking at, I’m not going to mention any Metroid sites specifically, but check out Hardcore Gaming 101. This site is run by Kurt Kulata, who used to run the Castlevania Dungeon (which is dead, but its contents were picked up by Castlevania Wiki) and Contra Headquarters (which is dead and underwent rigor mortis). HG101 provides plenty of new content by Kurt, and it also has plenty of contributors. The editors know what they’re doing, so the material that gets added is good. It’s not something that grew up overnight, but has been snowballing for about four years and didn’t really pick up until 2010. They just hit critical mass. I’m not saying there isn’t room for more Metroid sites out there, but if you look at the successful models, and that’s what you’re aiming for, you need the perseverance and the quality material.
Infinity’s End: Metroid Recon is the only other Metroid Fan Site that almost stands at equal footing with us. And that’s completely run by one man. So mad props to Falcon Zero!
Jesse D: There are times where I have sought out Metroid-related imagery and without realizing what I was doing, was typing the URL for Metroid Recon into my web browser. Falcon Zero has single handedly designed, developed and deployed a fully realized and actively maintained website which would be more than any one of us could have done by ourselves. And this was all in between his time spent contributing various works to the MDb!
I will say, even if I come off sounding like a schmuck for plugging the site that’s interviewing me, that I have found an immense appreciation for Shinesparkers. And my reason for this is that it is not trying to be another MDb, and it is not trying to rehash information we have already seen on numerous fan sites. Rather, it is trying to be original and in doing so has contributed a great deal of very unique information to Metroid fandom. And that’s what I think being a good fan site should be all about.
TJ: What was that one Metroid site that was done by a guy in Europe — I can’t even remember what country he was in or what his name was, and I’m sorry — that was entirely focused on Metroid 1? It had a complete bestiary with his own hand-drawn artwork for each creature, and a “Ripper Autopsy” where he had illustrated the dissection of a Ripper. Devin, Ryan, do you guys remember that one? That was my favorite Metroid site besides mine. He was a fantastic artist. My favorite non-Metroid, game-specific site was the Castlevania Dungeon. I referred to that site plenty of times.
CapCom: I remember that place! It was Planet Zebes by Niklas Jansson. I don’t remember the original URL for the Wayback Machine, but I remember I saved a bunch of the pictures (too bad I don’t recall saving the full site…).
SS: As the Metroid series continues to expand, what do you think the future hold for the website? Do you still see yourselves doing this in five years time for example?
CapCom: I think if you look at our track record, people can only work on this site for about 10 years before they quit! But seriously, I think our job right now should be to finish the projects we have, polish up sections of the site that have been lacking, and that way when the next game comes out, we’ll be ready to tackle it completely! There’s a capable staff, and always people eager to keep it going, so I think we’ll be around for another 15. Unless the Metroidpocalypse happens first and we all get eaten.
Jesse D: There’s no telling where I will be in five years. The adult life has finally caught up with me and now I find myself doing less and less for the MDb and moving more and more in the same direction as TJ. The site itself has grown exponentially thanks in no small part to my combined efforts with Cap and Inf, and so I have no reason to believe that it has any other direction to go than up, so long as we have youthful energy to drive it. I will eventually turn in my SSH keys for good (geek humor!), but that is still a ways off.
Infinity’s End: Like I said, we do still have a few new things to add on the horizon, and of course the Bestiary will continue to be steadily updated, but until Nintendo announces a new title, content may slow to a trickle. In 5 years, I probably will call it quits by then, but may still be able to offer help on the side to any new staff members that may take up the reins.
Rondus: I can’t see any reason why I would need to stop working with the site in the foreseeable future. My profession is web design and when I get stuck or bored on one project it helps to have another on the side to work on just to shift my focus for a while, so I can’t see work ever getting in the way.
As for the future of the site, our imaginations are our most significant limitations. I’m ready to help the team build any ideas they’ve got. I know Infinity’s End wants a mobile version of the site. So, to support mobile devices and tablets you may well see the site get a ground up redesign in the not-too-distant future. We’ll see what happens when we get there.
Naner: I’m certain that, as new Metroid games are announced and released, the Metroid Database will be a major source for news, interviews, artwork and other information. And I’m pretty sure that, as long as the site is online, I will be posting there, even if not quite as often.
SS: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us guys. Is there anything further you would like to add?
CapCom: Thanks, Darren! “Until next time…”
Jesse D: You just keep on doing what you’re doing! The Metroid fan community and its own local celebrities would not exist without devoted fans, and Metroid fandom would have no place without virtual hubs to call home!
Infinity’s End: The most important thing, in my eyes, is that you need to respect the fans that visit and give their time to you by going to your URL. I know we have plenty of die-hard fans of our site that have been coming here since its inception. I have a very deep and profound respect and admiration for their dedication. I can only hope my contributions to the site have been worthy of theirs. Thanks for the interview and I hope the Metroid Database continues to last for another 15 years! And a BIG thanks to everyone who has contributed to the site in that time!
Aurora: It was a pleasure. Thanks for inviting us. I look forward to seeing whatever the next year has in store for Shinesparkers.
Naner: I’d like to thank Shinesparkers for inviting me to be a part of this great feature about my favorite website. It’s great to see that kind of collaboration between the websites.
TJ: Thanks for remembering me. I can’t believe it’s been 15 years either, but I’m very happy that the MDb is still around and I hope it keeps going for a long time, and that people continue to refer to it when they need information, tips, or just a good fix of Metroid fandom.
A huge thanks to the Metroid Database for this insight into fifteen years of fandom. Will it last for another fifteen? Who can say? I think that as long as there are fans of Metroid, there will always be websites to represent the franchise. Good luck to us all!