|Type||Forums, Wiki, FAQ, IRC|
|Code by||Costello, tj_cool|
GBAtemp.net is the main site of the GBAtemp Network. It was created in the year 2002, when it started as a simple ROM hosting site (see history below).
Nowdays, GBAtemp has become a real community, mostly known for it's support for NDS/GBA flashcarts and Wii Hacking. To avoid legal issues, all Illegal files have been banned from the forums and sister sites.
KiVan was a GBA scene freak, always behind the latest ROM releases. He was both for playing them (first on emulator, then came the 'real hardware', aka flash carts) and for sharing them with others.
Motivated by his passion for the GBA games and by the relative difficulty of getting the ROMs on IRC channels soon after the release, he came up with the idea to host some of the latest ROMs himself, to help out close and far friends that shared his same passion: the GBA. So he started to keep a constantly up-to-date web page, where he provided always-working links to the LATEST 10 GBA ROMs. A very simple and straightforward page: just some text & images, and links to the ROMs of course .
He started to become well-known in the scene because he was blazingly fast in updating the web page (split-seconds after the ROM was released, KiVan uploaded it on the hosting web space and updated the page with the links), and he almost never had any broken links (well he had them, but he worked VERY VERY hard to update old dead links with new links as soon as he noticed them down... and that was REAL fast since he was a real 'F5' refresh maniac).
That page was called GBAtemp, mostly because it was a GBA ROMs page, but always TEMP(orary), since KiVan had to switch hosting nearly everyday, and KiVan worked hard for it: by updating every hour or less the page with the newest ROMs & by always keeping the web page & the ROMs online, using a free dynamic DNS service in order to automatically give people the link to the latest, constantly changing, working web space.
Back at the time, people knew that if you wanted to check the last ROM released or if you needed a hand to get just released GBA ROM, GBAtemp was the place to be.
Keeping up with the ever flowing releases and the web hosting shutdowns was no easy feat, but KiVan was well prepared for the task. He had tons of different 'free' webspaces registered to always different fake names: he kept registering new spaces every day with fake names and IDs, and he kept this 'pool' of free hosting web spaces so as soon as the web page or one of the ROMs went down (mostly because the hosting company finally noticed KiVan playing bad tricks with THEIR web space), he could easily and quickly replace the link with a new one.
KiVan was at the time, a university student in computer science at the 'Università degli Studi di Milano' in Milan (Italy), and from the university computers room he administered GBAtemp and played every single GBA release as soon as they came out along with several friends: Omero, Alexander, Zel and Garet. They all had GBAs and flash cards and so non-stop multiplayer and single player 10 hours per day was pretty much the 'usual everyday stuff' for them.
Then things started to change: the GBAtemp name spread quickly, and two of KiVan's close friends (Omero and Alexander) joined him to help out with GBAtemp, and so they started to add 'features' to that tiny page: first a guest book (it sucked big time, but it was used as a sort of make-shift message/relay board), then the chance for users to give feedback to the ROMs, then some news, etc...
At some time, they came up with the idea of making it a forum, a community. Here came M4D (an Italian gaming services portal), which helped a lot by providing GBAtemp a server to be for quite a long time, giving bandwidth & server all for free. This was the chance for the guys to make GBAtemp into something big for real.
On 24 October 2002, the Invision Power Board forums and portal were officially opened, hosted by M4D server. Omero and Alexander helped KiVan installed and managed the board. The site boasted an impressive portal, it was an original design and quite different from normal IPB portals, this led to many other sites cloning the portal layout. Despite the Italian origins, English was picked as the language of choice, because KiVan, Omero and Alexander wanted GBAtemp to be the #1 GBA Scene Community on the web, and English is by far the most widespread and well-known language, so it was the only 'right' choice for that, simple enough. Also because of this, the forums quickly grew in size and the new GBAtemp attracted a lot of attention.
A few weeks after the launch of the main forums, on November 5, 2002, the staff had to come to the decision that ROMs would no longer be available to download from GBAtemp, and all warez and other illegal material would be ruled out on the forum. The reason this was done is because a lot of members and the staff themselves had really come to appreciate the forums and each other, and didn't want to risk losing the community they had built up. So to avoid legal issues and to make sure GBAtemp was never shut down, all ROMs, ROM links, warez and more were now strictly forbidden on the 'new GBAtemp'. The URL "gbatemp.net" was registered a few months later, but served only as a redirect to the existing url "gbatemp.m4d.sm".
Shortly after the rule changes, a few smaller sites were made by the owners of the main site: GBASaves.info and PSPSaves.info, which hosted save files for GBA and PSP; and RLS monkey, a site which automatically scraped various sources to create an up-to-date list of scene releases. Due to some small legal issues and general disinterest in these sites, the admins eventually stopped maintaining them, and they are no longer available.
A major site change. Officially dubbed GBAtemp V2, the site was improved in many ways. The site officially started using http://gbatemp.net as the main web domain from this date.
The most notable change was the upgrade of the forums. Thanks to donations from the various staff members, enough money was raised to buy an Invision Power Board License, which was used to install IPB2.0.2, and later 2.0.3. Along with the new forum came a brand new skin, as well as a revamped portal. Other changes include the addition of new forums, the creation of the G-Online, and some changes to the Staff.
Another improvement was the Reviews section, which would later turn out to be one of the biggest features of the site. Regular members were also allowed to post their reviews in a special section. The best reviews were regularly featured on the site's front page.
On 11 June 2006, a new skin called GBAtemp Lite was added to the site. The site also moved to a new and better host, resulting for the first time in a dedicated server. This greatly improved page loading speeds and overall stability of the site itself.
A few months later, on November 2006, the portal received another update. Thanks to newer technologies, the portal could now be customized by members in order to display only the news that was interesting to them. The page was now loaded through AJAX, so that news items could be changed without having to reload the entire page.
Over time, the site began running slower, resulting in a big part of the older posts and topics to be archived. This archiving would later be undone, making all posts available from the main site once again.
Updating yet again
The site started growing more popular, and more visitors were lured to the website. In the mean time, progress was made on the hacking of various consoles, gaining the site the interest of many users.
GBAtemp got it's second major update on 27 February 2007. This new site was now called GBAtemp V3, and brought another set of great additions and improvements. A new skin was introduced under the same name, containing a brand new layout and an improved mascot design. The older skins remained available for the members who wished to keep using them. The forums were updated to IPB version 2.3.5, the latest release at the time.
Along with the update to the forums, the site introduced its own wiki, called WikiTemp. The wiki was meant to be used for articles about GBAtemp itself, but also about its various related subjects, like Nintendo DS flashcarts and console homebrew. Various other changes were also made on the site, like an improved G-Online, which now included integration with the portal.
Only a few days after the update, the site moved to yet another webhost. At this time the site contained around 500 active members on average.. This allowed the members of the site to upload various homebrew and other useful tools directly to the site, but no ROMs or other illegal file. The feature turned out to be a big success, as it gained over 500 files in only a few days.
The site had now reached 5 years of existence, and had gained over 100,000 members and nearly 850,000 posts. But the site kept on growing faster than ever before!
Expanding the network
FileTrip was a big improvement over the old GBAtemp download center. Not only did it have a better and cleaner layout, it also gave users more control over their files. All old files from the GBAtemp download center (a little over 7000) were imported to the new website. Members who had already uploaded files to the old download center could regain access to their files by linking their GBAtemp account to FileTrip.
A few months later, the Network was further expanded through the addition of ShopTemp.com. To the surprise of most GBAtemp members, this online store was not a replacement for the GBAtemp merch, but an entirely new website. The site sold mostly homebrew related products, including NDS Flashcarts and Wii Modchips. The store quickly became known for it's incredibly low prices.
On 30 October 2010, a new feature was added to the main site called Ask GBAtemp!. The feature allowed members to ask and answer questions in a more simplified Q&A format, without distractions from all of the forums extended features. While this is technically not a separate site of the network, it was considered one of the bigger features that were available.
In December 2010, bad luck had fallen upon the GBAtemp Network. ShopTemp.com grew too popular for it's own good, and was eventually ordered to stop selling NDS Flashcarts and Modchips. Due to this being the most popular items in the shop, the site was shut down entirely.
A few months later, it was revealed that ShopTemp was far from gone. The site was relaunched on 8 February 2011 under a new name (ShopTemp.net), and with a different goal. Unlike the last version of the site, ShopTemp was no longer selling actual items by itself. Instead, the site was used as a price comparator for other webshops. The new website would be integrated with GBAtemp.net (sharing the same user database), allowing GBAtemp members to sell their items on ShopTemp.
The update that couldn't be
On 8 October 2011, the next big step forward was made on the main site. The forums were updated to the latest Invision Power Board version 3.2, making it the biggest update so far. Due to this, more features than ever before could be found on the site. All of the old modules and addons for the site were completely rewritten to support the new forum software. Some of the more basic features were instead replaced with official Invision Power Board addons, like the blogs and pictures modules. Since the main skin of the site was not a brand new skin, but rather a reworked version of the V3 skin; the update was dubbed as "V3+".
Shortly after the update was launched, a second server was added to support the new increased load of the software, as well as the ever larger growing traffic. By this time, the site had several thousands of users online at all time.
On October 22, 2012, which marked the 10th anniversary of the site, the main GBAtemp website was taken down by an unknown hacker group, which had managed to gain control of the site's backend server. As a result of this hack, the drastic decision was made to get rid of all the current code, and to rebuild the entire code base of the site from the ground up. This meant that the site remained down for a whole week, while the administrators converted the site to a new forum software: XenForo. The site was relaunched as V4 on October 29, 2012, with a lot of its previous features missing, but also some new features that were provided by various addons of XenForo.
The staff kept working on the site in the background; and after a while the old review center and blogs were ported over to the new platform. Some other new features were also added, such as thread access lists; which allow multiple members to edit the first post of a thread. The former release list (G-Online) was instead replaced by a partner site, NFOrush (which has since stopped).
Back in business
Since the launch of the new review center, which got a silent update a few months after its launch, the site has tried to evolve in a more legitimate and reputable site for gaming news and reviews. The staff has made various connections to game publishers and producers to acquire review codes for games and gaming accessories. The site was also added to the gaming review aggregating site OpenCritic.
News articles that are posted to the new home page have also received an improved, more professional layout. In 2015, this led to a GBAtemp staff member to officially attend the E3 conference of that year; which was a first for the site.
On May 30, 2015, the first big update to the XenForo-based site was launched. Now known as V5, most of the old features that the site possessed before the hack had been restored. The forums were updated to the latest XenForo version, a brand new custom built home page was added, Ask GBAtemp was restored, and the entire site got a new fresh coat of paint, with a fully responsive skin.
A few years later, on June 10, 2017, the skin got another refresh, bringing the site to V6 (although the skin itself is Tempstyle 2, due to being the second XenForo skin). No new major site features were added this time, but instead the official Patreon page was launched. The Patreon allowed members to subscribe to the site in order to support it, and to receive some special benefits in return.
- GBAtemp forum thread #1225 (archive, original thread only accessible to staff)
- 5 January 2003
- Welcome to GBAtemp V2!
- GBAtemp.net Changes
- New Portal on GBAtemp
- Misc GBAtemp News
- We Love GBAtemp V3!
- If you can read this, then...
- Introducing the GBAtemp Download Center
- 500 Files in the GBAtemp download center
- Tempcast - The GBAtemp Podcast
- GBAtemp Releases Management Center
- GBAtemp: the official shop
- GBAtemp forums 5th anniversary
- GBAtemp Network launches new website FileTrip.net
- GBAtemp presents: ShopTemp
- Ask GBAtemp!
- ShopTemp (V1) R.I.P.
- GBAtemp presents ShopTemp.net
- Welcome to GBAtemp V3+
- GBAtemp v4: powered by XenForo
- GBAtemp Review Center is back
- New Blogs
- GBAtemp Features on Opencritic
- GBAtemp.net Attending E3 2015!
- GBAtemp V5 is online!
- Introducing GBAtemp v6 - A Fresh Coat of Paint & Our Patreon - celebrating 15 years!