GameFront Is an Old Soul, Has Old-As-S–t Game Demos

I’ve only been producing awful content for FileFront/GameFront for about nine months, but that’s a long time for me; nine months represents about 8.7 percent of my entire life. This whole time I’ve been operating under the assumption that this grand website was founded on May 10 of last year, but I discovered today that I was wrong when I clicked on the “Demos” tab on the GameFront home page and found demos for Descent 2 and Duke Nukem 3D.

Those are 90s games, and so my curiosity was piqued and I decided to ask Jon Soucy about the history of GameFront. He talked for the entire business day yesterday, which is why we didn’t have much new content until late last night. Here’s the short version.

Jon Soucy and his tranny lover Derek, fresh out of college, founded FileCabinet in 1973. Their idea was novel one; they had a file cabinet in their s–t apartment that was full of mods for Magnavox Odyssey games. They got out the word about their biz by buying order-form ads in Odyssey: The Official Magazine, and folks could mail order themselves some mods.

The endeavor was wildly successful, inexplicably, though  they came close to losing it all in ’82 when they dedicated one entire file cabinet drawer to the Vectrex. They survived, though, and in 1998 they decided to make an actual website what with that internet thing being a thing.* This website was called FileLeech, and it was ridiculous. In 2001 they renamed it FileFront, which is what it remained (through Ziff Davis’ belabored attempt to destroy the site) until 2010, when Break Media ruined everything by renaming it to GameFront. At some point after the site became FileFront, a couple other old guys, Ron and Jeff, joined up.

The point to all this is that GameFront has a rich history, although we’ve only now arrived at its most important era with my arrival — with my unique geek-enthusiasm-filtered-through-drunken-hate worldview — as a regular contributor. The other new guys — Ross, Ben, Phil H and CJ — are OK, too, I guess.

Anyway, if you’re eight years old like me, you probably have never played a lot of the PC games for which we somehow still have demos. True gamers will want to check out the demos channel; Duke Nukem 3D would be particularly poignant right now as its sequel will finally see the light of day this year.

*Sorry for the gap in the history there; I started doing shots of Crown about five minutes into the story and sorta zoned out. Also, the true history of GameFront starts at that asterisk. I totally made up everything before that, because, like I said, I was kinda drunk and couldn’t read the notes I had taken when Jon told the story. Finally, it turns out that the name change to GameFront was the best thing that ever happened to this website. The thing you learned about me today is that I’m a compulsive liar.

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3 Comments on GameFront Is an Old Soul, Has Old-As-S–t Game Demos

Heru

On February 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Duke 3D is like 6 bucks at GoG.com now, and with the EDuke32 mod even looks pretty decent. With DNF finally (finally!!) on the way, its defiantly a good time to get a retro memory refresh.

Ron Whitaker

On February 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm

This is one of the first time the FileFront history has been so lovingly….condensed. I’ve only been here since late 2004, but FileFront/GameFront is an awesome place to work and hang out. I know a lot of you have been here for a while – what’s your favorite thing about the site?

UtopiaV1

On February 13, 2011 at 5:29 am

@Heru, I read DNF as Do Not Finish! Ha, fitting abbreviation for Duke Nukem Forever. No seriously, it’s gonna be good.

Nice little story there Phil Owen, the stuff you made up made me laugh. But I’ve played a bit too much of Decent and DN3D growing up, don’t feel like going back to them just yet. Still trying to complete the original Operation Flashpoint! Then I’ll move onto newer games, like Call of Duty 2!