Apparently it's true that you can't keep a good dog down, because Home of the Underdogs is back!
After growing into the premiere abandonware site on the internet, Home of the Underdogs began a long, slow slide into oblivion when founder Sarinee Achavanuntakul stopped updating in 2006. Die-hard users kept it afloat through a hosting crisis in September 2008 but on February 9 of this year the site's host went bankrupt and four days later it went offline. At the time, given the apparent lack of interest in maintaining it, another revival seemed highly unlikely.
But that assumption was incorrect, as only days after the site disappeared an effort to bring it back got underway. Dan Rubenfield, the man behind the resurrected Underdogs, says there were a few competing revival efforts underway, driven by "fundamental disagreements about software and direction." But with the help of the raw XLS spreadsheet of the source data provided by original HotU founder Achavanuntakul, Rubenfield was able to get HotU relaunched on March 8.
The site has expanded considerably since then and earlier this week was moved from a shared host to a "full bore server" in order to handle the increasing traffic. The new Underdogs is a new type of archive, Rubenfield said, noting that while the original site was static, this incarnation is built to be extensible.
"Users can add new listings, submit reviews, rate games, and grow the archive far more than the original," he explained. "The idea is to grow the amazing original repository into something that the community builds and expands, a place to share the under appreciated and forgotten games with fellow fans."
Rubenfield said that as well as maintaining a policy of respecting removal requests from copyright holders, the new Home of the Underdogs is also "working closely" with GOG.com to push traffic their way. "The idea is to maintain listings for all of their games and feed them the traffic," he continued. "Hotud is dedicated to protecting and encouraging Good Old Games, Steam, and any other old-game provider out there by pointing fans to the proper avenue to get a copy of a game instead of offering a download. If it's for sale, we're not going to list it."
There are currently fewer files available than on the original HotU site but the process of rebuilding the archive is continuing. Along with everything else, the URL has changed slightly too: The new Home of the Underdogs can now be found at www.hotud.org. Drop by and say hello!