I packed my bags and moved from my Pleroma instance
chat.brainbaking.com/@wouter to the Mastodon instance dosgame.club/@jefklak. If you’re on the Fediverse and haven’t followed me there, please do, as the move protocol that automatically transfers your followers is not properly implemented in Pleroma. I’ll be shutting down my instance within a week.
Why did I ditch my own instance-of-one server? The primary reason is the lack of a true community feeling. The Fediverse is intended as a distributed and connected set of small communities where you can feel at home, not as a server-per-person system, even though it’s still perfectly possible to follow and engage with anyone on other servers. Only then the local timeline will be quite empty. Another reason is the dreadful server maintenance problem and Pleroma’s opinionated take on some features that, compared to the mainstream software Mastodon, sometimes caused little irritations.
Plenty of alternative communities sounded appealing:
mastodon.vlaanderen. But I’m a scholar now, perhaps not anymore next year, and I don’t want to associate myself with only my job. The IndieWeb community is too large for my taste (1K+), and
.vlaanderen apparently means mostly complaining about our government in Dutch. The most satisfying interactions I’ve had over the past year with people were related to my other passion: (retro) games. Since I grew up with DOS and it’s a small instance, the decision was easy.
There’s another reason why
dosgame.club is appealing: it’s more than just a Mastodon instance! The DOS Game Club, dosgameclub.com, is a monthly game club where we play a DOS game each month and talk about it in a podcast and on the forums. It’s a very nice way to play older single-player games together, get to know new (old) games, and share the passion. A game club functions more or less like a monthly book reading club. Michael Klamerus over at virtualmoose.org describes a game club as follows:
A monthly game club is a group that selects a game to play every month and discusses the game as they play it. Usually these groups have some sort of theme like a console platform or game genre but not always. The clubs can take any form but I’ve mostly seen them on Discord since it’s so easy to start one up there. They also sometimes have a podcast to discuss that month’s game but many do not.
Why should you join one? I agree with Michael: it’s a great way to play older games, meet new people around the world, and have a community where you can discuss your progress, gripes, struggles, gameplay mechanics, … My 486 and Win98 PCs don’t get much use lately and I hope this will help change that.
This month, we’re playing through Albion (1995), a unique RPG from Blue Byte, the makers of The Settlers. The game is currently
$1.25 at GOG.com, and thanks to DOSBox and the like, you don’t need to own vintage hardware to run it: in fact, most club members just play it on their modern laptop. This time, as it’s a CD-ROM game, I don’t even need to bring out the VGA capture card: In Windows 98, print screen & pasting in
mspaint.exe works wonders:
Expect a proper report of my thoughts to be posted soon at Jefklak’s Codex!
If DOS games aren’t your thing, there are lots of alternatives: the monthly playthroughs at the Adventures Gamers forums, a Cartridge Club, or simply start your own with a group of friends. Don’t forget to spin up a Mastodon instance where your club members can hang out and share their story!