A Dead Board is a board on which the topicality rule has been removed. There is a long list of obsolete game systems where all the boards have had their topicality removed. This means that any user can post freely and not be moderated for Off-topic as they would be on a normal game board.
This loophole has given rise to an extensive network of unofficial social boards where anything (within the confines of the TOS) may be discussed. Some of these boards, such as Bushido and Captain Goodnight have grown to sizes rivalling that of GameFAQs-created boards like LUE.
The existence of dead boards has also given rise to the board hunter community, GameFAQs users who strive to visit every dead board on the site. With board-hunters as the bridge between them, many dead boards are closely related to each other. A dead board, Zamzara (sometimes known as the "Capital of Secret Boards"), has served as a social board for board hunters since 2003 and since that time, a "Top 50 Secret Boards List" has been maintained there.
Althought the rules of the TOS still apply to dead boards, due to the inclusive nature of dead boards fewer messages tend to be marked for moderation, allowing minor TOS violations to be overlooked in most cases.
The topicality rule was removed for the boards for some game systems, most notably the Commodore 64, that were no longer commonly used by video gamers. Virtually all of these boards were no longer used to discuss that particular video game. However, new boards added after a certain date have always had enforced topicality even if they were for a system where most of the boards do not.
There are hundreds of of game boards on GameFAQs that are empty of posts, but that topicality is still enforced on. A board's topicality can usually be checked two ways:
- If there are no posts on the board, try making a new topic. If topicality is still enforced on the board, this message should be displayed above the Create Topic Title box:
BOARD GROUND RULES: Read Before Posting
PLEASE REMEMBER: This game board is exclusively for the discussion of this particular game. Topics that do not directly address how to play the game or its storyline will be deleted or moved to another board.
As always, please don't forget to mark SPOILERS (major plot events in a game) so you don't ruin the surprise for people who haven't played the game yet.
Reminder: Discussions of current news stories, social topics, and random posts do NOT belong on gaming boards.
There is no risk of checking for topicality this way, as this type of warning does not take away any karma.
- If there are posts on the board, click one of the topics and then click the Message Detail button for the first post in the topic. If the option to mark for Off-Topic Posting is present, then the board still has topicality.
List of systems for which topicality has been removed
At least one board for each of these systems has had the topicality rule revoked.
- Apple II
- Arcadia 2001
- Atari 2600
- Atari 5200
- Atari 7800
- Atari 8-bit
- BBS Door
- Channel F
- Commodore 64
- DVD Player
- Famicom Disc System
- Jaguar CD
- Neo-Geo CD
- NeoGeo Pocket Color
- Nintendo 64DD
- Palm OS
- Pocket PC
- Sega 32X
- Sega CD
- Sega Master System
- Turbo CD
- WonderSwan Color
The Commodore 64 in particular has a vast number of dead boards. Many of the most well-known secret boards have been on boards for the Commodore 64 system.