What does Oregami mean?

Oregami is an abbreviation of "Open Registry of Game Information".
Behind the name is a new and open computer and video game database.

The world doesn't need another video game database?

Oh yes, it does.
In our humble opinion, the existing projects are not able to document the history of computer and video games in a sustainable way.
On the one hand there is commercial projects which are bound to commercial success, and, thus, only reliable until the next crisis at the most. On the other hand there is private projects which are racked with a chronic lack of resources, and are subject to all highs and lows of private life.
We aim for a new approach.

A new approach? What's that supposed to mean?

The roots of all of our thinking are a strong future proofness of our data, and a comprehensive documentation of all computer and video games, and the respective media.
In order to achieve these goals, Oregami will be, in many ways, substantially different from existing projects. Let's take a look at the most important issues:
  1. Funding / Legal status
    To share the burden of funding a cultural hobby in Germany, there is exactly one suitable legal form: a non-profit association. Not without reason so many of these associations exist here.
    Thus, Oregami won't be commercial or private, but non-profit.
  2. Data Licensing
    Data which cannot be properly used and evaluated are useless, and the Oregami data shall be used extensively. Be it private or commercial Internet sites, emulator frontends or academic publications: in order to unite the community under one banner and, therefore, share the task of collecting the data amongst as many people as possible, it is very important to give back.
    In order to achieve this goal, Oregami will use a data licensing which will render the data as freely usable as possible, but will adhere to the given frame of copyright law at the same time. Furthermore, we will publish a simple-to-use application programming interface (API) for comfortable access to the data.
  3. Multilingualism / Internationality
    Those who want to comprehensively document the medium video game can only think within a global frame. Lacking the experts from the USA, the UK, from Japan, South Korea, from France, Russia, and so forth, such a project would be doomed to failure.
    Within Oregami multilingualism is part of the concept and the code to begin with.
  4. Programming
    When programmers quit an Internet project, a dangerous coding jam can occur. In order to avoid this bottleneck our Java code is developed open source, and with the clear requirements of easy maintenance, easy extensibility, and good documentation. These requirements shall ensure that newly arriving hackers will find an easy access to the existing code, and will become productive very fast.
    Furthermore, our open source code license "GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL)" allows people to reuse their code within other projects as they see fit.

There's already free and open out there - so why not just join Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is a project that changed the world and continues to do so, no doubt about that. We stand in esteem looking at this accomplishment.
Unfortunately, Wikipedia is also a world database created with the goal of swallowing all kinds of data there is. For this reason, Wikipedia will never be as comprehensive and complex as a specialized project can be.
When it comes to computer and video games, Wikipedia contains many good information and data, but they're not really analyzable. We dispute whether the day will ever come when Wikipedia will answer the question of how many RPGs were released on the PC in the time frame of 1995-1999 that featured a turn-based battle system. And that's even an easy question.

And which data will be in the Oregami database?

At least all those relating to computer and video games.
Exemplary, besides the "typical" data found in every good gaming database there will be comprehensive information about print magazines / books, all the gaming hardware out there, or about the people behind our beloved hobby.
Furthermore, we can't see anything wrong in energizing our database with user reviews, an online collection tracker for games and magazines, or similar features.

And who owns the data I contribute to your database?

Our current thinking is that we want to handle this important aspect similar to Wikipedia.
The users will contribute their data under a permissive license, say the GFDL / ODBL, or one of the completely free CC-Licenses. We will publish these data after approval under the chosen license, too, and will give them back to the community using an API.
However, the final legal review of this issue is a work in progress. Especially when it comes to cover scans and screen shots, there is complex copyright laws to evaluate.

Sounds very ambitious, a little too much actually?

Failure is a possibility.
Not trying it is not.

What does the roadmap look like?

We decided to use an agile approach to develop this project. Agile means that we'll take rather smallish steps of development, and will regularly publish these.
As soon as possible we want to publish a base version of our database so that everybody can use it. The more people help us with that, the earlier we can reach this goal!

Where can I check out the current stage of development?

At the moment we don't have a live version of our current stage of development. We recommend that you watch our news regularly, because there will be a live version as soon as we think it is reasonable to have it. Feel free to have a look at the source code at github any time.

Okay, you have me convinced. How can I help out?

The easiest entrance into the project may well be reading through the forums. There, you can drop us a quick note in the public board, too. If you want to help out then, we will grant you write access for the developer boards, reading those boards is, however, possible without registration.
You could also drop by our IRC channel and say hello. Just log in to Freenode's web chat using the channel #oregami or connect to chat.freenode.net with your IRC client.