Our latest interview is with Steve Dixon, the man behind www.JammaJup.co.uk a site not only dedicated (as it’s name might suggest) to coin-ops, but classic consoles and computers of all marques. The site also features one of the most comprehensive retro gaming polling systems on the web, collating some very interesting statistics about our hobby including favourite games (selectable by console/computer) and favourite games characters.
RGC: What was the site intended to be and what were it’s original aims?
Steve: I first decided to start a web page to list my small arcade game collection and tell any arcade collecting enthusiasts about my video gaming experiences in the 80’s and early 90’s – traveling with my cousin and friends to various locations such as arcades, cafe’s, fish & chip shops etc. just to play the video games.
Since we were children when me and my cousin played games we used to write our scores down on paper and when we got home we would record the scores in exercise books and we did this until the very late 90’s and we were in our late 20’s. I thought maybe this would be interesting to document in some way. The problem is even in 2003 being a gamer I was new to PC’s and had no knowledge of web page design so by reading online tutorials and looking at examples of HTML code on the net I changed values around in the code and worked out basic HTML myself.
I wanted to use an odd name for the site so if you typed in the name of my site into Google you would just find my site content nothing else like gambling, viagra or any material that is irrelevant so I decided I would combine two words one would be arcade related as not to be too obscure and the other would be from my past. From 1997-99 the Playstation golden era I was a video games trader in Wednesbury in the West Midlands and traded as ‘Jupiter Consoles’ so combining the words Jamma and Jup I created ‘Jammajup’ as the site name and by the end of 2003 I finally uploaded my first pages to my free Telewest webspace Jan 1st 2004 and ‘Jammajup-Arcade Colllector’ was born.
RGC: How has it evolved and what has it become?
Steve: Things have come along way despite the website still being written in HTML as JammaJup is not just a name it is a ‘domain’ switching webspace provider to larger business webspace to accommodate its increasing size.
I slowly added various other sub pages discussing MAME and my opinion and experiences regarding arcade collecting but while looking at other arcade collectors pages of which there are many I always envied the quality of most of the sites but found the content was very similar… ie my collection, a for sale page, repair logs, links etc. and I wanted my page to be different so maybe visitors could interact with the content even if only in a little way. I added a couple of basic quizes, arcade game polls, some manuals and schematics and the usual links pages then I had a brain wave.
My cousin (KAJ as i will call him after his on screen game initials) has an awsome memory this guy can tell you every horse thats won the Grand National, what year and who was riding it and one day in 2005 during an arcade discussion he was talking about various arcade game locations and recalling the games we used to play 10-15 years previous and was even recalling in which order the games were being changed and from this which arcades and chip shops had the same supplier! I thought wow, this guy has a wasted talent maybe I can use it. I thought it would be a good idea if I could have a census of every known game to appear in every known location we used to visit – that would be amazing so I gave KAJ a sheet of A4 paper for each individual location whether it be taxi rank, arcade, chippy, pool room etc. and he simply recalled every game. Using my knowledge I created the website archive including every location we used to haunt in each town between Wolverhampton and Birmingham (almost 100 in total). I decided the archive would be called ‘Video Game Locations (Black Country – UK)’ and it would also not be simple boring text I would use game clips. You would be shown screenshots of each game know to be at each location and if you click on a screenshot a game clip would play. By the time the archive was done 6 months later I had made nearly 500 arcade game clips some of which have found themselves in other places online like forums. I always use an arcade game clip on my main page which changes to something new the start of each new month.
I have even uploaded a few of these game clips to KLOV (The Killer List Of Video Games), to my knowledge clips such as Pengo, Tazzmania, Ladybug, Mayday!! and Battle Atlantis are still there and as a bonus some years back the actual programmer of the submarine game ‘Battle Atlantis’ actualy noticed my clip on KLOV and contacted me to tell me how it brought back memories of him being given 2-months just to write the code and getting the game running. This is the crowning glory for me and my website being contacted by an actual arcade game designer, although I have since lost the email…
As time has gone by the original MAME and opinion pages have gone but the website does not just feature arcade game related material. Because I have always played games at home too the website now has classic gaming material, now we have the new Retro Video Game Polls pages and again there is some interaction with visitors to get them involved. Retro gaming enthusiasts can now use the contact forms to vote for their favourite games on classic consoles and computers from the Acorn BBC to the Atari Jaguar, I update the polls usually the same day.
RGC: What can the Retro Gaming community gain from JammaJup.co.uk?
Steve: Apart from the usual manuals and dip settings you can find an many sites, there are image scans of my collection (each individual Spectrum tape, Atari cartridge, book etc. scanned) which is sure to bring back some memories because you can mention the name of a retro game to someone in conversation or as text on site and it will be familiar but they cannot always remember or visualise the game itself. Also I have been to a few retro events in the past and always try to take pictures or take video footage, even sound samples in some cases and this can be played so people can actually hear the sound of all the chatter and games from the event.
So the site is quite visual not just coloured text and backgrounds but I use the ability to make game clips, avatars which makes the site just a little more fun, I like a little interaction too to get peoples memories going.
RGC: What are your future plans for upgrading/enhancing the site?
Steve: Possible changes with site code and content – I am a webmaster of a friends motorcycle club page and used a CSS template and code so my knowledge is better than when my own Jammajup webpage had its humble beginnings seven years ago. Despite this Jammajup is still written in HTML and this may change as I have had a few display issues with various browsers and as new The Retro Video Game Polls pages are in HTML tables there are problems with them being displayed on these new fangled widescreen monitors people seem to like using nowdays so I may change the coding soon.
Possible new content may include image guides and features for certain games I liked playing back in the day, preferably on my first systems where my heart lies such as the ZX Spectrum and Atari 2600. There may also be some basic tidying up of existing pages too so you do not have to scroll down the screen so much.