A brief history of ugv*

Why uk.games.video.misc?  Why not simply uk.games.video?

For once, randomness came from order.  The first UK-focussed videogame group was in fact uk.games.video.playstation, proposed by Angus Manwaring on 27 July 1996.  He stated:

At this time, there are no Sony Playstation groups in the UK hierarchy. The existing Playstation groups are both very high-volume, and US biased, but do have some UK content, which is increasingly difficult to find. They also contain frequent binary postings, and adverts, many of which involve pirated software. This amounts to a very discouraging environment for the UK participants who wish to enter into serious discussion about Playstation games. Because Playstation games are released months apart in the various different countries, the group would focus on UK releases.

The group was created on 6 September.  People in the UK saw no need to talk about anything else, it seems – the Saturn and the N64 were suffering in the market, and their eventual failures can be traced directly to the lack of a dedicated UK newsgroup.

The charter for ugvp was, and remains, brief.

This unmoderated group would be for general discussion on Playstation games and associated hardware. Examples of on-topic posts are reviews and general discussion of games released, or to be released in the UK. Hints and tips would also be welcome, but should be indicated either in the subject line, or by adding a warning and sufficient “spoiler space” within the post.

In addition,

  • NO ADVERTS.
  • NO BINARIES.
  • NO POSTS GENERATING PIRACY.
  • NO CHILDISH ADVOCACY, LIKE “PSX RULES!! SATURN SUCKS!!”

Later groups have ever more detailed and comprehensive charters, but the origins of the ugv* groups can be seen clearly here.  No piracy, civilised conversation, don’t be an idiot.  ugvp was re-chartered in 2001 to bring it in line with the other existent groups.

So, did ugvm come next?  No!  uk.games.video.playstation.forsale was created in April 1997, to allow for people who couldn’t read the first bullet in the charter.  That remains the only adverts group in the hierarchy, although uk.adverts.computer and uk.adverts.computer.mac obviously include some games stuff from time to time.

After ugvp and ugvpf, it was indeed time for a misc group.  That misc group was first proposed as uk.games.pc.misc in June 1997, but there wasn’t enough support.  Stuart Campbell posited on Digitiser that there should be a forum in which people could discuss the UK videogames scene, and proposals were submitted for uk.games.digitiser and uk.games.video.digitiser.  These were rejected on the basis that Digitiser was not a game.  Instead, On 21 February 1998, the RFD for uk.games.video.misc was published.

PROPONENT:
=-=-=-=-=-
Rod Begbie <r…@begbie.com>

RATIONALE:
=-=-=-=-=-

Stuart Campbell (Amiga-loving journo) proposed through the “Panel 4”
column on Teletext (UK) Ltd.’s “Digitiser” magazine, that there should be
some place where the video-game loving public should be able to post their
thoughts, and the video-game manufacturers would see their opinions.

This lead to the RFDing of “uk.games.digitiser”.  Many felt that this was
an inappropriate name for such a newsgroup and that the proposed charter
was flawed.  This RFD aims to create a suitable newsgroup, which follows
the naming guidelines of the UK Usenet Commitee.

The group was fast-tracked on 23 March 1998 and created on 30 March, even with the misspelling of “committee” on the last line of the rationale.  Standards were less stringent in the past, evidently.  The charter is amusing to our modern eyes.

Group for the UK-centric discussion of all aspects of the video-game
industry, except those for which existing newsgroups exist in the
uk.games.video.* hierarchy.

Although the focus will primarily be the discussion of current gaming
technology (including – but obviously not limited to – PCs, N64s, Saturns,
Amigas), discussion of older systems are more than welcome.

Discussion of the publications available for the video-games user (whether
printed or electronically published) is allowed.

Announcements of websites containing information relevant to the newsgroup
(eg. tip sites, review sites, etc) are welcome.

Hints and tips would also be welcome, but should be indicated either in
the subject line, or by adding a warning and sufficient “spoiler space”
within the post.

“MCIBTYC” (My Computer/Console Is Better Than Your Computer/Console)
flamewars are dull, pointless and therefore to be avoided at all costs.

The advertising of items for sale (whether as a commercial company, or as
an individual) is banned.  There is a uk.adverts.* hierarchy for that kind
of thing.

Posting of information relating to piracy or the illegal use of video
games technology (mod-chips, etc) is banned.

Basic netiquette should be adhered to at all times.  In short: Binary
posting is banned, and attachments in other formats (eg. HTML, VCF, etc)
are frowned-upon heavily, as are excessively long signature files.

Oh for the days when an Amiga was a “current gaming technology”.  Despite this, the charter for ugvm hasn’t been altered since, despite a few attempts.

After this, many ugv* groups (and other related groups) have come (and in some cases gone).

  • uk.games.video.dreamcast: created 1 September 1999
  • uk.games.video.dreamcast.online: proposed 18 December 2000, never created
  • uk.games.video.gameboy: created 9 July 2001
  • uk.games.video.gamecube: created 30 October 2001, deleted 5 August 2006
  • uk.games.video.xbox: created 14 February 2002
  • uk.games.computer.misc: created 17 December 2002
  • uk.games.video.xbox.live: proposed 29 December 2002, never created
  • uk.games.video.handheld: created 9 December 2004
  • uk.games.video.nintendo: created 8 February 2006

Many of these groups are now little-used, but ugvm thrives.  It’s unlikely that it would have been such a success without its sister groups, though, and we must be thankful to everyone who proposed a group and sat through the bureaucracy of the UK Usenet processes.  You are all heroes.