Friday, November 12, 2010

A Quick Vote

So I did something different this last week by playing more than one game at once. I don't know why it hasn't occurred to me before. Obviously, one-game-at-a-time is my preferred modus operandi, but if it had occurred to me to take a break and go on to a different game temporarily, I might have stuck with Wizardry IV, Swords of Glass, and a few other games in the past.

Is toggling between a couple games a good idea when I get bored, stuck, or frustrated, or does it ruin the immersion? Use the "reactions" boxes below to give me your vote:

  • "Good" means: "Yes, by all means, play a couple games at once if it means you're more likely to finish them."
  • "Bad" means: "No, I prefer you stick to one game at a time and either finish it or move on before starting another."
  • "Meh" means: "I'm the kind of person that hangs out in /r/apathy. I don't even know why I'm voting."

Don't be a jackass and vote more than once even though the blog will let you.

Any substantive comments welcome, too.

There will be another Dungeon Master post when I get done with Level 3, probably tomorrow.


  1. I for one have no problem keeping things straight. I often jump between a number of different games and books so this is not a problem for me at all.

  2. I only recently started reading your blog but I didn't have any difficulty in following the multiple game paths.

    Whatever makes the game more enjoyable/finishable

  3. I prefer one game at a time HOWEVER I warmly encourage you to do whatever you find most enjoyable!

  4. If it makes you happier and more likely to keep up this project, by all means play as many games at a time as you wish. I just appreciate the free entertainment!

  5. Multiple games at a time is cool.. I'd try and limit it to two, though. If you find yourself bored with both, it's a sign that one or both of them should probably be dropped and replaced.

    I think your judgment point should be this... would you rather be writing your thesis than playing this game? If so, chuck it!

  6. I would have to say it depends on your personality, personally I have the bad habit of not being able to keep track of the plot when I play two games at once.
    (I am halfway trough Oblivion at the moment, but I am now playing BG1, I doubt I will ever get back to Oblivion)

    So if that is no problem for you, by all means go ahead and play two games at once, I would keep it down to two however, more than that and I think it will be hard to follow for the readers.

  7. Well, actually I don't know if you played two games at the same time - you seem to have posted about only one recently... ;-)

    While I personally try to avoid interruptions I often switch between games and regularly abort them because of boredom and/or lack of energy. This is one of the reasons I find your posts very entertaining and, yes, even educational.

    Ultimately, you should do what suits you best.

  8. I liked the multiple-game approach... Your enjoyment level shows in your writing (more humor when you're having fun, for one thing) and it also gives me/others a break from a game if it's taking a while and we're not into it.

    It might work better if you have the two games you tackle be very different from one another, like you did with BZ & DM. That secondary slot would probably also be the best place for tackling games that aren't on the list, but that you feel are appropriate & enjoyable, as you alluded do possibly (hopefully) doing with Zork Zero at some point in the future.

  9. Have you thought about any long-term plans for what kind of pace you'd like to keep. You seem to have established a pace of roughly one game per week. Based on the master list from your sidebar, it looks like it'll take the rest of this year to get through 1987, and the whole of next year will take you only to mid-1989 due to the explosion in number of titles up ahead.

    It's also possible that the pace may slow down if you keep up to your rules, since the games are also becoming bigger and more ambitious and will take a longer time to play through (though they also mostly lose the player-hostility of the early Wizardries and the general early-80s obtuse design, so this may balance things).

    So it looks like a long haul, but I hope you keep it up, I really like this project. I especially like it that you take the trouble of going through the obscure and flawed games as well as the classics.

    Doing several games side by side, commenting on the general design of games early on, and dropping poor games early sounds like it would help in working through the list.

  10. I agree with Xyzzy about the concurrent games being preferably different. Either by sub-genre or in terms of notoriety.
    The upcoming Faery Tales Adventures, for example, might take quite a while to complete (should you deign it worthy, that is), due to nonlinearity and sheer size of the game world, so it might be well complemented by at the same time trying the two following, rather obscure titles.

  11. I think that you should go with what you are comfortable doing. I know I tend to get burned out playing just one game for too long on end (depending on the game, a few have kept me enthralled for months on end).

    As long as you are enjoying yourself - that is the point right? We, your readers, just get the added benefit of tagging along with your narrative journeys.

  12. Id rather read one game continuously that have to pick apart entries just to read the same game.

  13. I'd prefer a single game at a time, but understand your reasons for doing two recently.

    I would suggest that it might not be a good idea to do this regularly, but it may certainly be an interesting thing to do from time to time.

  14. My feeling is...

    Whatever helps you post more frequently... ;)

  15. If votes from lurkers count, then I vote "good."

    I'm actually shocked you haven't burnt out already, so I'd prefer that you do whatever keeps you interested in and enjoying the process.

  16. I'd say go with two or more. Might help with getting too frustrated or bored with one game.

  17. If you choose to do multiple games, is there a way we can sort your postings based on game? It might be much easier for irregular readers to follow the progress of a game that way.

    Also have you thought about my suggestion from early on to have an index of the games, and some stats from them, like beaten(y/n), time played, GIMLET score, etc?

  18. Well, the votes seem pretty compelling on this. I might take advantage of it as early as the current game, Dungeon Master. The levels in this game are enormous and it takes a long time to get through them. I think I'll run out of things to say long before I finish them.

    Andrew, I did what you suggested AGES ago. If you click on the first link under "Recent and Upcoming" in the right navigation bar, you'll get the spreadsheet. As for sorting the postings based on game, you can use the labels. In fact, if you click on any of the game links under "Recent & Upcoming," it uses the label for that game to filter only the matching postings.

  19. rsaarelm, I gave up on the idea that I'd get through the entire list a long time ago. But, honestly, you don't really need me to tell you about "Dragon Age" or "Mass Effect" or "Oblivion," right? Even if I fall further behind year by year, my primary goals will be served: to have fun playing CRPGs and talking about them, and to introduce readers to some great treasures of the past.

  20. If you make it to 1993, you'll end up with what I think were pretty much the last pinnacles of the DOS CRPG, Betrayal at Krondor, Lands of Lore and Serpent Isle. After that, it's the mid-90s dark age, and then the early modern Windows CRPGs from Diablo and Fallout onwards, which a lot more people are probably familiar with. I'll be happy if this blog makes it to the end of the DOS era, but it's a lot of games to get through even to get there.

  21. @CRPG Addict Say it ain't so. I'm really enjoying these blog posts your making. So no talky talky about abandoning the list :D Even though I know you only meant to abandon it when you get to the newer games out there.

    Your blog is showing me some good games that I dismissed or was too young to play. Like Zork. I never played that one. I was too young to really appreciate those types of games. I didn't mind horrible graphics, but it needed some kind of graphics for me to play.

    Now I see what I missed out and probably give Zork and a few others a try one day. I'be been eyballing The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy for a long long time, but could never bring myself to play it.

  22. Hey, Skavenhorde, if you want to try Hitchhikers Guide with SOME graphics, check out . It's a web based version with some graphics for the locations, it also keeps track of you inventory with a graphical side bar. And I think you can move using arrows on the interface. Outside of that it is the same game. Same text, same puzzles, etc. At least as far as I know, I haven't played it to completion.

  23. No, no, Skavenhorde. You misunderstood. I'm not abandoning the list at all; I just don't think I'll ever reach the end of it. Let's say I play 50 games a year--about one a week. At that rate, a year from now, I'll still be in 1989. Five years from now, I'll be in 1993, and in 10 I'll have just crossed the millenium--and have 20 more years of CRPGs ahead of me before I get "caught up." At some point, blogging will cease to exist as a form of communication, or I'll die, or the world will end in fire, or I just won't be able to find most of my titles.

    So let's just enjoy it while it lasts, but don't eagerly anticipate my review of "Neverwinter Nights II."

  24. I voted "meh", not because I hang out at /r/apathy (I don't even know what that is, but it sounds kind of boring), but because you should just do what you feel more comfortable with. Try multiple games for a few months, see how well it works, then stay with that or go back to one game at a time if you feel that worked better. Or go for a mix of the two approaches, depending on which games you happen to play and what works best for them.

    Just do whatever you need to make sure you have as much fun with this project as we have reading about it. :-)


  25. I say do as many games as you think you can handle.

  26. I vote: Good
    Totals thus far (Monday morning, 11/15/10)
    Good got 9 votes
    Meh got 5 votes
    Bad got 2 votes.

    Most people kind of combined their votes into text, so this may not be totally accurate, but I stand by the general feeling of Good getting the most, Meh sneaking up behind it, and only a few votes for Bad.

  27. Of course, if you DO manage to make it to the "modern" games, they won't be modern by then. To legitimately reach the games of 2010, following your self-imposed rules would take, I would guess, somewhere between 20 and 40 years. Assuming "blogging" still exists then, and computers still function as they do now, your readers will either only have hazy memories of these early games of 2010, or will be too young to have played/been alive when they were released.


  28. @CRPGAddict Ok then. As long as it's some sort of event outside your control like a zompocolypse, but I'll hear no more of ever ending this. ;-)

    Hey, you may even be able to turn this into a book/movie deal one day. Did you see that movie about the Two Julias? I bet she never thought that cooking all of Julia Childe's recipes in a year would end up in the movie theaters. She was lucky with having the same first name as Julia. It made for a catchy title :D

    Seriously though, thanks. Not only are you bringing back a lot of memories, but your showing me a few cool new (for me) games that I dismissed. I do feel sorry for you when you gotta tackle the really bad ones.

    @Anoymous thanks for the link. I'll give it a shot one day, but as of right now something out of this world popped onto my radar. Anyone ever hear of Enhanced Newcomer? Lol, I hadn't either, but it's an old Commodore 64 RPG that has been worked on and redone over the past 20 years. They're going to release Ultima Newcomer pretty soon and I HAVE TO PLAY THAT!!!!

    I would recommend that CRPGAddict try it out, but it would break the PC only rule. However, if there was any RPG worthy of breaking that rule it would be Ultima Newcomer. The thing is massive. I did a newsbit about it over at rpgwatch.

    180 characters
    10+ people can join you
    100 cutscenes
    180,000 words of ingame text
    thousands of puzzles
    COMPLEX non-linear gameplay with multiple endings
    Game controls changed for more comfort for emulator users on PC/MAC

    and that's just the tip of the iceberg. 180,000 words??? Do you know how many disks that would have been back in the old C64 days?

    Alrighty then sorry about the long post and the Ultimate Newcomer plug, but I can't get over the fact that I'm excited about this RPG that's going to be released on a platform that's almost as old as I am. :D

    If you ever break your rule and play on a different platform then do it with this one.

  29. I should have a soft spot for the C64. It was my first gaming computer, and typing...

    LOAD "*",8,1

    ...still brings back good memories.

    I just don't understand the appeal of writing games for platforms that no longer exist. I mean, I'm using DOSBox because I HAVE to, not because I like it. Why not channel that effort into a nice shareware application for a modern system? Is the programming language that much easier?

  30. I'm one of the few who voted "Bad" - I think the blog is easier to read "linearly", and I also don't mind the unfinished games at all. OTOH, I believe the blog will be more fun to read the more fun you have playing, so just go with what feels the best as far as I'm concerned.



I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) THIS ALSO INCLUDES USER NAMES THAT LINK TO ADVERTISING.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters.

3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

NOTE: Spam has gotten so bad lately that I've had to turn on comment moderation for posts older than 10 days. I apologize if it takes a little while for your comment to appear.