Equestria Gaming at 13 - Looking Back and Moving Forward!

On January 12th, 2011, at the dawn of the pony fandom and juuuuust before it would paint the internet pastel pink, a fan named Strawberry Spice registered the blog that would eventually become Equestria Gaming. After a quiet first few months, the site officially opened on April 3rd — thirteen years ago today! Over the next decade-and-then-some, we've seen a whole heck of a lot: the first steps of the fandom, Pon-E3, the rollercoaster ride that was the life of Fighting is Magic and Them's Fightin' Herds, alllllll the way on down to the end of Friendship is Magic and the beginning of the next generation of My Little Pony. So many periods of high energy power posting sandwiched between lengthy radio silences, the coming and going of more than a dozen staff members, and no less than three changes of ownership in five years. It's been a wild ride!

2023 was a record-shattering year for Equestria Gaming... and not for any reasons worth celebrating. Except for the five month window in 2016 when the site was actually dead, it has become the low-water mark of the site's history, with a whopping three whole posts and an almost half-year-long outage of our inbox and the arcade. You could very well make the argument that, as of last year, there was barely any difference between uptime and outage to begin with — we rather infamously stopped checking the inbox, and over 90% of the games in the arcade hadn't worked in years. For all intents and purposes, it seemed like Equestria Gaming had finally, at least in spirit, joined most of the other G4 sites from the early days in the digital afterlife.

Well, we say that it doesn't have to be that way, and it won't! Over the past few months, the winds of change have been blowing behind the scenes here at Equestria Gaming, and today we're proud to announce we're re-launching the site! Read on below the break to find out what we've been up to, where Equestria Gaming is headed, and how you (yes, you!) can be a part of it.

So, what's been going on lately?

In mid December, Lex and I got back in touch, and pretty much immediately began working to get the site back in shape. He had actually noticed the outages and had brought the arcade back up just a few days before I messaged him! Not long after, he set up a brand new inbox that we Pinkie Promise we've been checking on the regular. In fact, this post on SingularMJ's Ergosphere is the result of someone submitting it to us!

Sorting out the email problem was simple enough, but the arcade was a much more complicated issue. It'd been in awful shape for years at that point - when Adobe killed off Flash in 2021, we made a token effort to use the Flash emulator Ruffle to keep the games playable. Unfortunately, at that point in time not a whole lot of our library was actually compatible and, like pretty much everything else in recent years, we failed to keep up with it. Over the next two months, we figured out how Ruffle actually works, re-hosted the entire library on our file server, and then tested every single game to figure out which ones are compatible with Ruffle and which aren't. I even made a funny little compatibility tracker spreadsheet and everything!

As of today, we're thrilled to say that the effort has paid off, and we currently offer 100 pony games to play in the comfort of your browser. And as long as Ruffle continues to improve, that number will keep growing!

With all of that desperately needed site maintenance finally done, we've been able to work on some new (well, new-and-improved) site features. Just about two weeks ago, we put the finishing touches on Lyra's List 3.0 with the hope that, in time, it'll become a fantastic resource to get prospective pony game devs and on-going projects in touch with whoever they need to get the job done. The groundwork has also been laid for brand new Mod and Server list pages, the latter of which we'll be rolling out within the month. I've become a little skeptical of the need for a new Mods page though, I kinda feel like finding pony stuff on your modding site of choice is pretty easy as it is. So if that's something you'd like to see, I'd appreciate it if you left a comment and let me know!

We've also dusted off our formerly very dead Twitter account and I've been (poorly!) tweeting about new posts as they're made. I'm also intending to create a Mastodon account for the site on Equestria Social, so keep an eye out for that very soon!

There's been a whole lot more going on lately than just some new/old features and terrible tweets, though! We've also been Posting Regularly (wow!!), and soon you'll see a fair bit more on the front page than just news and random arcade games!

I think now would be a good time to talk about The Future of Equestria Gaming™.

Where are we going from here?

Equestria Gaming has always been highly focused on pony game news. As it should be, of course, considering that's the site's purpose. Over the years, though, I've noticed that there sure is a lot of game-related pony content out there. Tons of songs, animations, fanfics, artwork... and save for a small handful of exceptions, we've never done much with any of it.

Moving forward, I'd very much like for Equestria Gaming to cover all things pixels and ponies, new and old! So if you come across a fun new piece of pixel art, or a neat animation, or anything to do with games and colorful cartoon horsies, please send it our way! You'll be seeing the first new post of this kind, a monthly art compilation post, within the next week. We'll also from this point forward begin posting about pretty much everything else either when it comes out, or if we come across a particularly shiny, old, hidden gem.

We'll also be expanding our horizons just a little bit when it comes to pony games. Historically, our coverage of tabletop and card games has been... well, poor to nonexistent. I don't think it really needs to be said just how ridiculous and glaringly huge of a blind spot this has been for us. We'd love to fix that, but nobody on staff at the moment knows much about that particular scene. So we'll just have to find someone, won't we?

How many of y'all out there know about pony game speedruns? Until recently, I genuinely had no clue! Starting now, we'll be posting about world record runs whenever they're achieved, and opening the floor to more in-depth posts about pony speedgaming if there's anyone out there who'd like to write about it.

Quite frankly, we could be doing better with the kinds of posts we were already making! Our game write-ups, for example, tend to be pretty short and sparsely detailed, and we'd like for these to be more in-depth moving forward. One thing we'd really like to do is spotlight pony game developers and mod authors, perhaps even giving them the floor to talk about their game or mod in guest posts or interviews.

Honestly, this one I'm kinda just throwing out there, but a long time ago we had a staff member doing a Let's Play of Fallout Equestria: Remains. I think it'd be great to have more fun stuff like that going forward, so I'd be open to someone pitching an LP of a pony game so long as they have decent writing skills and/or have a particularly fun idea. A quality Equestria at War AAR, for example, would absolutely rule.

All of that brings us to you, dear reader! There's a lot of pony gaming stuff out there to post about, and it's just too dang much for so few people. So if any of what we've discussed has you interested in contributing, then you're in luck, because we're officially looking for new staff members!

Right now, we're aiming to bring on about three volunteers. Specifically, we're looking for people who are knowledgeable and plugged into the pony game dev scene to help out with news posting, passionate about fan-made and official pony tabletop and card games so we can begin to cover them properly, and someone who does the tweets good because I hate doing it and am bad at it.

We'd prefer for potential volunteers to have some kind of prior experience with whatever they're applying for! That means those volunteering to write should have something they've previously written to show us, and prospective Equestria Gaming Tweet Artisans should, y'know, have a good social media presence. For writers, previous experience with Blogger isn't mandatory (I sure didn't have any when I first started doing pony blog stuff, so I'm happy to teach!), but I will say that a little... foreknowledge of how formatting stuff on this ancient hellplatform works is a definite plus. Oh, and you'll also need a Discord account so we can keep in touch, of course!

So if you'd like to join us, fire off an application to submit@equestriagaming.net, please and thank you! We hope to hear from you soon!

That about does it for now, I think! As usual when I break the previous record for Most Ridiculously Long Post in Site History, thank you kindly if you actually managed to get through all of that!

And on a more sincere note, I'd like to thank all of y'all out there who have stuck around over the past 13 years, through all of the site's highs and lows. I also want to give so much gratitude and appreciation to those who have been a part of Equestria Gaming before and after me! Simply put, there would be no Equestria Gaming today without the folks who read it, and the passionate patchwork of pony people who worked, are continuing to work, and will someday work, to keep it going for so long. Thank all of you so very much!

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