Friday, February 15, 2013

Past, Present, and Future

More on this at the end.

I travel a lot for my job, and these travels bring me in contact with a lot of other people who travel a lot for their jobs, and when we're all on the road together, the day inevitably ends in a bar. I've lived in my current house for 11 years and I don't know the names of my neighbors, but in at least six cities, there are bartenders I know so well I get birthday cards from them. I'm pretty sure that my favorite drink is somehow attached to my Hilton Honors profile, because I'll show up in a city I've never visited before and go to a Doubletree I've never seen before, and the bartender will say, "Can I get you a vodka gimlet, Mr. Bolingbroke?"

If you're ever in Bellevue, Washington, go to the bar at El Gaucho, ask for Jeff, and tell him that the bald guy who orders the gimlets sent you.
 
This lifestyle naturally brings some dangers, and there are times that I wonder if perhaps I'm growing too attached to bartenders and the libations they serve. I'll spend three weeks at home without drinking a drop, and I feel I must be okay, but I still worry. I was talking about these concerns recently with a friend who does the same thing I do, and asked if he ever worried about the same thing. He held up his glass of scotch and gazed into it for a few seconds before replying, "I love drinking too much to allow myself to have a drinking problem."

His meaning was that if he ever got to a point where circumstances forced him to acknowledge that he had "a problem"--if he got to the point where he was drinking every day, or getting so drunk that he blacked out, or endangering his health, or doing all of the other things that come with having "a drinking problem," he'd have to stop drinking. And that would be devastating to him. Thus, moderation is the price he pays to be able to drink at all.

This is, of course, how I feel about CRPGs. My longtime readers will know that I've wrestled with it throughout my blogging career, repeatedly noting that the title of my blog isn't some hokey metaphor like "chocoholic" but a recognition that, throughout my life, gameplaying has often derailed me from things that I really wanted to accomplish. I hit low points just before I started this blog, when I got so angry at myself for wasting a weekend on games that I threw away my entire collection, and just over a year ago, when I opened 2012 with a posting on addiction and compulsion, then swore off my blog for good, then sheepishly returned a month later.

But after I came back, everything felt better. I didn't overdo it. I got into a better rhythm. I posted less than in either 2010 or 2012, but I personally feel that my postings are better. And never once in the past year have I experienced that disgusted self-loathing that accompanies playing "too much." Perhaps that month of abstinence showed me the consequences of failing to learn moderation.

Today is the third anniversary of The CRPG Addict, and I want to talk a little about the past, the present, and the future of my blog. For those of you not interested in such postings, never fear: I'm sandwiching it in between two postings on Chaos Strikes Back, so just check in tomorrow for the GIMLET, and things will return to normal from there.

The Past

I generally hate reading things that I've written after more than a few months have gone by. I almost inevitably think that it sounds like a less-experienced, less-skilled version of me, and I find all kinds of places in which I could improve the text. It's not really more experience or skill, of course--just a slightly different perspective and mindset--but it doesn't change how I feel. For a while, I was listing postings I felt particularly good about as "My Favorites" in the sidebar, but when I reviewed some of them recently, I was so embarrassed by them that I deleted the category.

But even considering my usual tendency, I was particularly revolted when I recently took a look at my first month's worth of postings. By any standard, they're just terrible. They're too short, they don't have enough images (I wrote about Akalabeth without a single screen shot!), they're poorly formatted, they don't explain enough about the games, and they have no sense of historical context. I forgive myself these things. I was new to both blogging and Blogger, new to the games themselves, and I didn't really know what I wanted my blog to be. But I know from my Google Analytics that many readers stumble upon one of my postings, like it, and go back to read from the beginning. My retention rate for such readers is low. In the last 30 days, 309 people have read "Why We're Here" (my first posting); 109 stuck around for my first Rogue posting, and 80 returned for the second. From there, the pageviews fall of precipitously, and only 5 made it to Wizardry. I want to insert edits at the bottom of those entries that say "Give me until Ultima IV! I promise it gets better!"

Here you go. An Akalabeth screen shot. Three years late.

Looking over my first few months of entries, there are many things that I wish I'd done better. This is a quick list:

1. Not adopted the DOS-only rule. You all told me it was stupid, and I didn't listen to you. Mea culpa. That said, if I hadn't adopted the rule, I might have needed some other way to whittle down the list. I recently took an inventory of all the CRPGs from 1978-1989 that never had a DOS release, and you know how many there were? 190. Even deleting some foreign games, if I'd played all of them, I'd still be in 1984 right now. I'll talk about potential remedies to this in "The Present."

2. Given more attention to developers and companies. For the first year, I played games without the slightest awareness of the context in which they were made, and their associations with other games. This is something that I'm just starting to fix now.

3. Given more attention to technologies. My own lack of computer literacy contributed to this, but I could have spent more time talking about the technological and programming issues associated with things like graphics, sound, interface, disk access, and saving. Such considerations provide an interesting window on the times.

This is how people had to play in the early 1980s. It's a mistake to separate an analysis of the game too much from an analysis of this experience.

4. Not relied on Wikipedia. With a better, more comprehensive source from the outset, I could have made better early decisions. This led to...

5. The whole "Backtracking" fiasco. I was zooming along pretty well through Wikipedia's chronology before Arcanum lifted the veil from my eyes and made me realize I'd missed about a dozen games already and would miss hundreds more if I didn't supplement my Wikipedia-based list with MobyGames and other sources. To remedy what I'd already missed, I did a series of "Backtracking" postings in which I spent a cursory amount of time on these "missed" games, trying to return to the present as quickly as possible. The problem was that a few of these games--Wizard's Castle and Oubliette, in particular--were relatively important and deserved more thorough approaches. Also, for whatever reason, I didn't GIMLET or number these games.

6. Too much personal stuff. Wow, I can't believe some of the stuff I put out there. I didn't tell Irene about the blog until mid-2011, and I clearly wasn't planning on her ever reading it. If she ever does read the entire thing, I'm going to have to explain carefully what parts I was joking about.


The Present

So as I said, I've been feeling good about things. I have more of a system now--part of my overall time management process--that determines when I'm allowed to play games, and when I have to focus myself on other things, and it's been working.

I've been starting to remedy some of the problems above. The "DOS issue" is largely moot at this point, since by 1990 almost all games were getting DOS releases, and DOS wasn't necessarily the worst platform anymore. The question remains what to do with some of those 190 games in between. You've seen me working on a few of them, mostly for the purposes of the book (see below), but I'd like to attack a few more, including the first Questron (it was my first CRPG, and I can't believe I let myself just skip it on the way through the chronology) and Alternate Reality: The Dungeon. However, I don't want to interrupt my momentum with something like a "reboot" that puts me back in the early 1980s for a long time. Thus, I'm probably going to do what I've been doing--include an occasional older, non-DOS RPG in between those games on my "official" list.

This is not likely to be one of them.

With these postings on older games, and in preparation for a book, I've begun seeing myself as more of a professional, more of a historian, and I think it's reflected in both my postings and my efforts to track down some of the original developers and get their comments.

In terms of readership, I essentially flatlined a long time ago. I've been getting between 1,000 and 1,200 hits per day since I returned after my January 2012 hiatus. With multiple mentions of my blog on Reddit, RPGCodex, RPGnet, and other blogs, there's really no untapped population to find anymore. But I'm not complaining; those are good numbers.

"I'm sorry, ma'am. We've lost him."

Let me tell you what's way more important than any numbers anyway: I get the best comments on this blog. Seriously. I have a group of 12 or 15 people who comment repeatedly, and I always look forward to them, but even the one-offs by "anonymous" are fantastic. I can't remember the last time that someone said something trite, idiotic, insulting, or inane. My commenters aren't just commenters; they're co-bloggers, filling in holes that I leave, explaining things I don't understand, and offering alternative perspectives. I can only think of a few blogs I've ever visited (Trickster's and Roger Ebert's are two) that didn't make me wonder why the bloggers didn't just give up in the face of the idiocy that appeared in their comments. Don't go anywhere, guys.


The Future

I'm going to cover the book in just a second, but one other thing it would be fun to do in 2013 is go to some kind of CRPG conference or convention. The problem is, I don't think there are any. Do correct me if I'm wrong, but my perception (confirmed by a cursory look at Google) is that CRPG fans are blended into general multi-genre fantasy and computer gaming conventions. That said, if I wanted to go to one of these, meet a few people, talk to some developers, and almost certainly have a few gimlets in the bar, which would be the best to attend?

Irene, I swear this isn't why I want to go.

On the blog side, don't expect any major changes. The sense I got from my "Improving the CRPG Addict" posting was to add a little functionality, which I'm working on, but otherwise leave things the way they are.

Okay, a book. Various readers have been after me to do one since the beginning, and I'm finally on board. Why? Because I can sell it and make money. I've got this one gig that I do every year that I hate doing, but it pays about $6,000. If I can get 1,000 people to buy a book at $6 profit to me on each one, I can give up the gig and re-invest the time in CRPGs. Everyone wins.

But don't worry: it's not going to be a hastily-thrown-together, cheap, cynical repackaging of the material on my blog. (Unless you'd buy that for $12. Would you? That would make this a lot easier.) It's going to have a lot of original material, and it will be done well.

At the outset, my biggest concern was finding a way to write a book that didn't duplicate 1) the material I post for free on the blog; and 2) Matt Barton's already-excellent Dungeons and Desktops. In some ways, I'm not going to completely solve #1; the book will undoubtedly contain some material repackaged from my blog. But the book will feature a much greater blend of this material, discussing games in terms of lineage and context, and not just in rote chronological order. There will be encapsulated reviews of all the games I've played, including some that I haven't blogged about (primarily the PLATO series).

I also won't completely solve #2, but what the heck: in other genres, there are plenty of books covering the same basic material, and there's room for all of them. What my book will feature that Barton's doesn't is a greater focus on technology, on more recollections of the original developers, and my own perspectives on what makes a "good" CRPG.

I'm also relying heavily on Barton for the chronological parameters of the book. He divides CRPG history into six "ages," and in this book I'll be focusing on what he terms "The Dark Age" and "The Bronze Age"--the period in which CRPGs were just getting their legs, overcoming hardware and software limitations, finding a commercial audience, and establishing many of the tropes that are still with us. If it does well, I'll cover the other ages in subsequent books.

This focus is why I've been devoting so much time lately to older games and trying to figure out which games were "first" in various ways. Postings that you see on my blog about non-DOS games between 1978 and 1983 will be, in part, byproducts of my attempt to get a more comprehensive handle on the state of computer gaming in the era for the purposes of the book.

I'm thinking an end-of-year release is plausible. But to meet that ambitious schedule, I might need some help. Thus, I want to blend my efforts with the thing I like most about this blog--your comments--and offer you all the opportunity to contribute. In the next year, you might see occasional postings beginning with "For the Book:" where I try to work out issues relating to history, technology, or other things I don't understand. I hope you don't mind.

That's about it for now. Thanks for listening to my musings, and watch for further information about the book (including the title and outline) when I have it. In the meantime, it's back to the GIMLET for Chaos Strikes Back!

Later Edit:

Just to respond to a couple of the most frequent comments:

1. I have an account with Amazon.com's CreateSpace service. I've had a generally good experience with it, and I will probably use it for this book. The books I currently sell are available worldwide and in both print and electronic format, so I don't see why this book would be any different.

2. As much as I appreciate the suggestions, Kickstarter doesn't feel like the right thing to do. I see this service as something that people use to raise the capital they need to even begin to work on a project. I don't need that. I also don't want to turn a plan into an obligation, and I don't want the additional administrative work that comes with managing Kickstarter pledges on top of writing the book. There's nothing that this book entails that I can't do with my existing resources.
 

115 comments:

  1. I think you've picked a good topic for the book, it's niche, but also there's unlikely to be a lot of competition. I've not read Dungeons & Desktops, so I'm not sure how well it covers the "dark age" games, but I'd imagine it's something that is relatively untapped. There's certainly loads of old CRPGs which I've never heard of, let alone played.

    As for the commenters, I'm fairly sure you could work out what percentage of readers comment on articles. I'd imagine it's less than 10%, maybe even below 1%. They're also more likely to be long-term readers. So while it's always worthwhile listening to those loyal readers, it's also worth remembering we're in the minority!

    I'd suggest you check out more blogs, but I guess that would just eat into more of your time. I spent more time these days reading and writing about games than I do playing them.

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  2. If you do find yourself in the greater Seattle area regularly, it seems like PAX might not be a bad idea for a convention. The focus is one computer gaming, but there's plenty of other related hobbies going on, and the past is usually treated with some reverence by a good part of the audience. It's also plenty large enough to find lots of like-minded folks. Seattle around Labor Day (when the convention usually is held) is also almost always gorgeous, so it's a good one to wrap a larger vacation around.

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    1. That sounds like an excellent option. I absolutely love visiting the Seattle area.

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    2. The big problem with PAX is that it sells out incredibly quickly, within hours last year (for the three-day passes).

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    3. I'll just wander in and say "I'm the CRPG Addict!" and probably get a free pass and a room upgrade.

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    4. They also have PAX East which is held in Boston.

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    5. So PAX is the new Fraiser?

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  3. While I have no hard numbers to back this up, I am almost as excited about your endeavor as I imagine you are.

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  4. I think there is plenty of scope for your book on CRPGS without repeating what others have covered. I bought Dungeons & Desktops and I think it's really good. It covers a lot of games though and as a result doesn't include some of the elements that interest me about the developers, design and technology. I would buy your book for one.

    Alternate Reality: The Dungeon is well worth covering on the blog in my opinion. It addresses many of the issues you mentioned in the City and is a much more complete game.

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    1. I think by producing a book about the same length as D&D but covering only a limited number of years, I can go into much greater depth.

      I understand that AR:TD actually has an ending, which makes it a bit different from AR:TC.

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    3. I don't think AR:TD has much of an ending, it was originally supposed to be "in" the first game as the city's sewer system. By the time the developers realized thier original plan of a six-game series wasn't going to work, AR:TD was nearly finished, so an ending was shoe-horned in.

      The idea of six games was far ahead of its time: You were supposed to be able to ascend to become ruler of Xebec's Demise (The City) and start a new character while interacting with your previous character as an NPC. I read somewhere that marriage and children might also have been possible, allowing you to play later installments as your offspring.

      Sadly, the technology just wasn't there yet and the series was dropped before AR:TD was really finished. An ending was tacked on and that was the end of that.

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    4. "Not much of an ending" is still an ending. I don't have to wonder when to stop.

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  5. Sounds like an interesting topic for a book - I'd buy it.

    I'm currently reading a book in sort of the same genre - "Playing at the World: A History of Simulating Wars, People and Fantastic Adventures, from Chess to Role-Playing Games" by Jon Peterson, which I find to be extremely interesting and well written. It's focused on the history of Dungeons and Dragons and the varied influences on that game, with respects to its mechanics (miniature wargames, boardgames etc), setting (fantasy literature), and more.

    It's a long work (720 pages) and focused on a pen and paper game, but I believe the last chapter or an appendix is focused on D&D's influences on the development of computer gaming in the eighties. It might possibly be an interesting source for you.

    I've read about 300 pages of it so far and highly recommend it to those of you with an interest in game history more broad than "just" crpgs :)

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    1. That does sound like an interesting source--or just an interesting book. I just bought the Kindle version. Thanks!

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  6. Chet, I'd be happy to pay $12 for your book. I'm almost relieved to hear your plan for monetizing this hobby of yours, as it seems to have been in some significant conflict with your career at times.

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  7. I would buy a repackaged version of the blog for $12, but would want a digital (kindle) version.

    Or a donate button.

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  8. I would even buy a set of coasters printed with the name of the blog for my drinks, Mr. Bolingbroke, so I will be more than happy to count myself among the future readers (and buyers) of your book.

    Reading this post and sharing your sense of purpose and the clear vision you have of the past, present and future of the blog is really exciting. I am more a gin guy than a vodka guy, but I promise tomorrow night I will be having the first vodka gimlet in my life to the sake of you, Irene and the future of crpgaddict.blogspot.com.

    Cheers!

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    1. I never thought of that: CRPG Addict merchandise. I need to come up with some famous pithy quote that exemplifies my blog and everyone loves, then churn out a line of t-shirts.

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    2. How about a T-Shirt with dungeon maps on them? Cartography porn, essentially. Or maybe something like the landmine level from Wizardry IV, centered on the front, with the words 'FUCK YOU SIRTECH' beneath it :D

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    3. I'm a T-shirt addict and would buy your whole line!

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    4. I too like the Idea of maps on shirts. I would also suggest a shirt that lists "Things I have learned from CRPGs"

      Please include larger sizes, like 4xl or 5xl so some of you biggest fans can wear them.

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  9. A quick compliment / observation / suggestion. In the last post, you wrote this: "I videoed the entire thing, trusting that I'd recount it later (and take screenshots) from the video, but I accidentally closed the video program without saving it, and I didn't feel like repeating the path."

    This is exactly what makes your blog so interesting. It isn't quite a "blog about CRPGs." It is a "blog about a guy addicted to CRPGs." In other words, it is the story of you playing the games, as much as it is about the games themselves. You tell us about the games, but in the context of a larger narrative.

    I hope you bring this style to the book (though I'm in for 12 bucks no matter what). Dungeons & Desktops, while interesting, felt a bit like a reference book. Your blog is so much more fun to read because you break down the fourth wall and let us in on what it's like to actually play these games. I hope that when you discuss technology or developers, you similarly include your stories of what its like to get these old games to run and how hard it can be to track down information on game developers.

    I have no idea if you adopted this style deliberately, or if it is what came naturally, but it works. Its the difference between reading an encyclopedia and reading a book like "The Know it All" by Al Jacobs (which you might want to check out, given your similar styles).

    Keep up the great work.

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    1. I completely agree with your post. It's like I've been trying to say exactly this, but unable to find the right words.

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    2. Thanks. I've been reading the blog forever and for some reason it just clicked for me why it is so good.

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    3. Agreed with all the above. "Dungeons & Desktops" was a helpful book, but it did feel a bit like reading a series of enthusiastic Wikipedia entries.

      Your blog, on the other hand, is compelling to me because it provides a very *vicarious* CRPG experience. I'm 42. I grew up playing many of these games. While I'd love to think I would go back and play them sometime, I can't and I won't. I simply don't have the time, and I don't have the patience to deal with DOS-era UIs. (Plus, I think it takes me about 5x your average time to get through a CRPG... I have no idea how you blitz through these so quickly but so thoroughly.) Reading "Dungeons & Desktops" may have brought back some fond memories here and there of games and times past, but through your first-person writing, I actual *relive* it a bit -- the excitement, the challenge, the slog, the feeling of achievement and yes, the feeling of addiction.

      Don't lose that in the book.

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    4. Totally agree with the the Anonymous above!

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  10. I really like the idea of a book and love the direction your blog has gone over the years. While I'm not quite a long time reader yet (I've only been reading for about two months now), I'd like to throw a few ideas out.

    First, while I do love the material you cover, I am in agreement your earlier material is weakest. I don't think this is a big surprise, as often when I'm turned on to a blog or webcomic, the earliest material seems amateurish relative to what attracted me there. There's not really a way around this as the entire process is simply part of any sort of online, personal periodical. I imagine most readers interested in the subject will sample the newest material and then jump back to the start. Perhaps for those that don't, a sort of Prelude to the Changes article may suffice. Place it either at the beginning of your blog chronologically (if that's possible, I'm not familiar with how this site operates) or right after your initial post. Make note that it is a recent posting, but go into some detail on how your philosophy and style changed, perhaps with a few samples. This might encourage readers to skip ahead a bit and become more attuned with your blog or at least encourage them that it does get better. I started reading The Adventure Gamer because of your blog, and if it weren't for some comments by Canageek about how much better it got in those initial postings, I might have given up on it. I could say something similar about your blog, but frankly I was working a 12 hour midnight shift just waiting for emergencies to pop up, so I had a lot of time to get through your initial material.

    As for covering older material, I think it might be best to cover those games as you get to that portion in your book. This may be what you are already doing and I don't want to sound pretentious about your own work, but if its not something you thought of it might be a good time management trick.

    As for the book itself, I think what would make it most appealing to some of us (ie, me), is to continue with more of a memoir style about it. Your personal views and experiences with the games are what make the blog most appealing, and I think that will be critical in making it stand out.

    As for the content of the book, I think a greater focus on the development of individual games and the history of major personalities involved in them will be interesting. I'm a big fan of horror-anything and I know most of the stories that have intrigued me most about the history of the genre have been the personalities behind them. If I just want to know what happened in the movie/game/etc., I can play it for myself. When I buy a book to read about it, I expect it to go the extra level. Perhaps a few unique interviews or correspondence, if possible, will add to this a lot. I noted you've made some contacts with the earlier developers already.

    One thing I do want to note is that the book will, at least from those who follow your blog, likely destroy any pretense of anonymity you have. While, frankly, you've already given enough information about who you are for someone here to sleuth it out, it's pretty hard to hide who a real author is if someone wants to put in the effort of figuring it out these days.

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    1. Thanks for all the comments, Tanuvein. Knowing what my readers like and don't like about my writing, and getting input about content, helps me a lot in planning a book at this early stage.

      You have some good suggestions on improving my older postings without retconning them. I might work on that over the next few weeks.

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  11. I would love to see expanded posts on some of the games you didn't do a great job on: Some of your very early ones, and some of the ones when you were burned out (Wasteland I feel is the biggest loss, as that was a pivotal game). I'd pay $10 for that (Standard cost of a paperback these days).

    Also, if you got a logo made up, I'd buy a CRPG addict t-shirt, as long as it was a decent logo.

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    1. Also; as to the problem with your early posts driving people away...that is a tough one. The only thing I could think to do would be to put a big 'New version here' post on the introduction and 'why we are here' link at the top, and then link them back to the first game.

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    2. I thought about doing exactly what you suggest. I may get to it in the coming weeks between other things. I also want to offer a full posting on Akalabeth with proper screen shots.

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  12. Can't wait for your book!

    I work in the same building that the Bellevue El Gaucho's is at... we don't go down there much anymore, though, since they cancelled their Microsoft Prime discount. (Microsoft employees get various perks for local businesses and companies on their prime card. Clearly El Gaucho decided it wasn't in their best interest to maintain it with all the traffic.)

    I think interleaving old game reviews with new ones is a good approach as well. I'm working on that vintage CRPG again, incidentally, hope you can find the time to include it in your list.

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    1. That's awesome. You should check out the bar some night between Tuesday and Saturday. This lovely woman named June plays the piano. She started playing for El Gaucho (in Seattle) in 1958. She knows everything.

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  13. I'd happily pay a monthly subscription just to read this blog, so buying a book seems a bargain to me. This post highlights all the reasons why you have such a large, dedicated audience, albeit a stagnated one.

    It's true that the commenters both here and at The Adventure Gamer offer far more intellectual insight than is the norm for website comments, without much of the trolling and abuse that so often threatens to discourage writers. I can only assume that it comes with the retro nature of the content attracting an audience that is mostly made up of very similarly aged and experienced gamers. The majority of The Adventure Gamer community seems to have insanely similar tastes (the What's Your Story posts have highlighted this), and I'm sure the same could be said for yours.

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    1. It would actually be kind of interesting to know what the general age of the readership is. I imagine it might actually be fairly diverse. I'm 25, but I believe the Addict himself is late thirties?

      I also imagine that probably the youngest readers here might be a bit older than other game blogs and websites.

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    2. You have a good point: the types of people that will happily read about old RPGs represent a certain niche demographic--one that doesn't overlap well with buffoons and trolls (though that leaves RPGCodex a bit of a mystery).

      Just turned 40. I think a lot of my readers are in their 30s and 40s, but I'm also surprised at how many are in their 20s and wouldn't have been born when the games in this era were released. I think a lot of them probably learned about these older games from parents, which just blows me away. My father was born in 1927. I can't begin to imagine his reaction if I tried to explain CRPGs to him, but I suspect it would be along the lines of "son, you need to get laid more."

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    3. Myself I am a 35 year old who grew up with various systems due to my dad working at AT&T bell labs (to give context he started as a debugger for sys V) and he would bring old retired systems home.

      I remember being in elementary school playing rogue then starflight (in monochrome) on a terminal system he had rigged up to somehow play it. I think this also explains how I remember Moria and other unix only offerings working on his dos systems, he or another code guy must have recompiled it to work. Reading that sounds actually kind of awesome but it was just how things worked out. Memory being a fragile thing, I may be a bit off on what actually happened when.

      Anyway when I got older we would put together systems starting (286, 386, 486) and get games to play on them. So I happened to have access to things when many others my age did not. It also helped to live in an affluent tech based suburb or Chicago where there were other families like mine. Only later talking to people from other areas do I see that it was unusual to have the latest PCs available at the age I started playing with them.

      Now I work as a unix/linux administrator at an ISP and spend down time reading this site for nostalgia fix it provides me.

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  14. Some opinions:
    1) Internet people are cheap bastards. Far cheaper than you would expect.
    2) Internet people love witty T-shirts related to their hobbies. Nerds in particular love them because it allows them to say something clever without actually having to speak.
    3) You can probably make more money selling witty CRPG-related t-shirts than selling books, but I still hope you'll publish the book. You can also get some free advertising by putting your website address (unobtrusively) on the t-shirts.
    4) Make sure to accept PayPal so the "Obama is collecting information on me so they can kill me and replace me with a clone" conspiracy theorists can pay without exposing their personal identities.

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    1. I agree with 2 and 3. I think there are money to be earned there.

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  15. I'm a lurker who's been reading your blog since I was introduced to it by Jay Barnson over at Rampant Coyote. I have enjoyed watching the blog evolve almost as much as I've enjoyed reading your insight.I don't comment much, if ever, as I feel that I don't have much to add to the conversation than, "I agree," or, "good post." That being said I'm pretty excited about the book and I'd happily pay $12 for it.

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    1. I feel exactly the same - very rare I have much to add to the discussion. I love to read about CRPGs I haven't played myself, but I'm also very much looking forward to when we start reaching the "age" when I'll know some of the games first hand myself :)

      Delete
    2. Well, thank you both for offering something here. I'm glad you enjoy the blog!

      Delete
  16. I will certainly buy the book, but only the digital version. I already have an experience of waiting for shipping from USA, and I don't want to repeat it. 6 months waiting for some T-shirts and a book is way too much, not to mention the store had to resend package, because f...ing post lost it the first time :(

    Another blogger I follow, Shamus Young of "DM of The Rings" fame successfully published two books. Here's his post on the process: http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=15262.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm really looking forward to getting this book! I assume you're going the self-publishing route. I just read a really interesting article/questionnaire on Huffington Post. You might find it helpful.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terri-giuliano-long/which-publishing-option-i_b_2695579.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should have mentioned this to save everyone a lot of time: I have an existing CreateSpace account and I've been enormously satisfied with the service. I can't imagine I won't keep publishing that way.

      Delete
    2. I read your comment here after reading your edit to the Blog.

      What other books do you have?

      Delete
  18. The book is a great idea... I think you should "Kickstarter" it... that would show how much interest you can garner from your readers... and give you guaranteed sales up front...

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm very glad to hear about the book. I bought Dungeons and Desktops as a present for my father and read it cover to cover before he got a hold of it :) My mom said he didn't put it down until he was finished. My brother, another commenter on your blog, also loved it. One problem, however, was that Barton REALLY seemed to skim through the first few ages... All of them, really. The information you have posted in this blog already outweighs what was in the book by far. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED the book, but there was so much that seemed could have been noted and discussed so much further. I really like the idea of sticking to just the 1st 2 ages in the 1st book, allowing you to truly delve into the creation of these early foundations and give a sense of the time that not only includes how the game played, but also the difficulties the developers had, the difficulties with fast changing and varied technologies, and SO many other facets of the birth which gave us what we have all come to love.
    Barton's book was fantastic, albeit quite a small meal, and I can see how much you can improve on his vision. Your dialogs with developers, the inside stories on what was in their heads at the time, limitations they faced... These are thing's that Dungeons and Desktops did not even step near. I have no doubt that with the fan base you have already acquired you will sell a sufficient number of books to make it worthwhile. This post shows that you are interested in delving into topics that I remember wishing Barton's book had really looked into. I am also very glad to hear that you are looking into other platforms as well (I grew up with a C64) so you can cover some gems you missed along the road. I very much enjoy seeing games that I never knew about, given my limitations at the time.
    This seems a long road to travel, especially with the new platforms, but I think you will enjoy most of it. (There is a lot of crap out there, no doubt)

    If nothing else, someone needs to document this evolution from the ground up and I can think of no one better. In this post you seem eager to fill in all the gaps left in D&Desktops, and heap on a load of fresh material that will fill a weekend or two. I personally wouldn't mind much if you used your blog's already enormous base of information and writings to add even more to it, or be the bones of the project. I can't wait to buy a couple copies. I'm sure my dad will have a few more days of eager page turning once he gets his.

    I'm keeping one for myself this time though. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and that Kickstarter idea is not a bad one.

      Delete
    2. I added a bit of an addendum about Kickstarter. It just makes me uncomfortable for a project like this.

      Thanks a lot for your other comments. Knowing that I have this kind of interest and support going in makes it much easier to contemplate producing the book.

      Delete
  20. Even though the first few posts was a bit of a drag (although I liked the postings on Rogue because I am interested in roguelikes) I enjoyed reading all of your blog. It gets you a nice perspective on the evolution of the blog.

    Also, I think it actually was a good idea for you to do DOS-only games at the beginning. It led you to be able to focus on playing games and finding your writing style for the game and not get stuck too much on emulator-related problems. It makes less sense now though.

    I would pay at least $50 for a good book by you that isn't just a repacakged addict website (although I would buy such a book too I think).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ragnar. It won't cost anything like that, though feel free to buy 4 copies and give them to friends.

      You're probably right in your second paragraph. It's easy to say NOW that I should have included other platforms, but I might never have gotten off the ground if I had.

      Delete
    2. I might do that. As for the price, hardcover books over here (Sweden) usually cost in the range $25 - $50. The higher range for technical books. Which mean I think a book costing $12 is dirt cheap. :)

      Delete
  21. It seems I'll have to buy an ebook reader or I'll have to wait months to receive your book here in Italy.
    I've been reading your blog for more than one year (a link from RPGwatch for me) and I like very much the way you write (just as DKA wrote).
    And you're right: this is the only blog where I read the comments.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'd love to help in any way I can with providing information for how these early machines displayed their graphics. Aside from my interest in Gnostic philosophy, I am a pixel artist, so whatever helps!

    Also I'd like to echo the thought of keeping the gonzo style of writing, don't turn the book into a reference matrix. The great thing about niche historical analysis is that you're not obligated to write yourself out of the script. And I still think you should suggest to Irene that she writes some counterpoints on some of these games you're playing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Gonzo style of writing." I love it. I wish I'd thought harder on my blog title before I settled on "CRPG Addict."

      I floated the idea of a "guest post" by Irene. She toyed with it a bit, but I couldn't get her really interested. She can't be bothered to even look at most of these older games, and I have enormous trouble getting her to understand what a "CRPG" is. She wanted to write something on Otogi.

      Delete
    2. It might be fun just to hear from her perspective of what is going on when you play some games. I know she is not always around when you get your game time in, but I think there would be particular humor in anecdotes of her walking in on you swearing at a difficult game (Rogue, wizardry, nethack, CSB) and trying to make sense of you.

      Delete
  23. I'll buy your book day one! I've been reading since Ultima IV or so, I don't think I would be too fussed if you recount some of that material. I also own a copy of Dungeons & Desktops and don't feel that book would make yours redundant.

    One proviso - make sure you have a non regional limited international everywhere e-book release concurrent on day 1. I'll leave pricing to you, but I strongly suggest sub $20 on the e-book, and at around $12-$15 I think you are in the zone. Hopefully that enables your $6 net profit.

    $6 (gross) on e-book is selling yourself short.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of commenters have mentioned the specific amounts that I tossed about, but I didn't meant to generate so much discussion based on them. I'll almost certainly use my existing Amazon/CreateSpace account, and the retail price will depend on production costs, which actually tend to be quite low with Amazon.

      Delete
    2. For me an actual physical book is preferential (signed copies!) and barring that a DRM free open ecosystem ebook. I would hate to miss out due to not being part of the amazon ecosystem.

      Delete
  24. An excellent, incisive missive. I'd buy the book. Been reading this blog since almost its inception, and I love the personal touch posts like this.

    For the first time, I found a typo. Not a bad streak. But it had to end. Here it is--

    I can only thing of a few blogs I've ever visited

    I believe the word is think; spellcheck missed it, obviously.

    This is a testament to a great writer. I love this blog and read every post. Chet is a natural writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm ALWAYS making that particular one. That and "policy" when I mean "police." I fixed it; thanks.

      Delete
  25. Others have requested an e-book, but physical copy / paperback for me please. I do almost all of my reading on taxi, takeoff, and landing. The remainder when my laptop battery runs out enroute.

    (I make it through books pretty quick though, I've got a trip every other week until May - including 2 overseas.)

    Kickstarter works for me too, especially if one of the pledges includes a copy of the physical book. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. It may be a bit early to ask, bout how are you planning to sell your book? I live in Russia and would love to get myself a copy, but I'm not sure I'll be able to purchase one from here.
    Anyway, it's great to hear that you are making this book. I doubt that I have enough knowledge to be of any help in the subsequent "For the book" posts, but I'm totally buying it (if it is possible for my area) once it is out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure I'll sell it both physical and electronic through Amazon, but I'll look for other distribution channels to satisfy readers who can't get books from Amazon.

      Delete
  27. I'm one of those anonymous thousand that clicks on your blog several times a day but never actually posts. I'm a sucker for hardcovers, so I'd be the first (maybe the only) to click "Buy" if you come out with a $200 glossy hardcover full of sidebars and full-page pictures. You also should have a small section where you have compare-and-contrast photos of how these games look to the colorblind.

    Others have already suggested this, but why not try a Kickstarter? You could sell (at extortionate profit) digital, paperback, and hardcover copies at different price tiers. And then on top of that you can monetize other things. Want the CRPG Addict to name a character after you? $100. Want the CRPG Addict to host a personal D&D session? $1,000. Want to be the first to learn the CRPG Addict's real name? $5,000 gets you a personal visit and a (real) gimlet. Surely someone in your readership has more money than sense and could be lured into buying these perks.

    You could start out with a very humble goal (your cited $6,000) and follow up with un-humble stretch goals if you enjoy catastrophic success. Y'never know 'til you try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I added a note about this above, but Kickstarter doesn't feel like the right approach, mostly because I don't really need to raise capital to work on the project. I also don't want to make a solid obligation out of something that's only a general plan right now.

      But if anyone would really pay $5,000 for a personal visit and a gimlet, feel free to contact me directly. I'll meet you anywhere except Atlanta.

      Delete
  28. I'd love to see a hardcover as well. I'd certainly be willing to pay a significant amount for a more robust book.

    Overall this should be interesting path: have book reviewed on Slashdot, and watch the crowds pour in, which is a good thing! Make sure you have some swag to sell on the site prior to book launch to take advantage of that.

    I *thoroughly* enjoy your blog, and have read every post. I enjoy the fact that you write about your overall experience playing the game and blogging about it, and not just do a review. I also really enjoy the interaction you have with you readers.

    Lastly, I think you are a very competent writer, and it is reflected in the quality of this Blog. You sometimes are over critical of yourself, when you have to go back to older posts, but that is what makes you such a good creator.

    Keep up the *GREAT* work!

    -Chris

    ReplyDelete
  29. To add what others have already commented, I WILL buy your book when it comes up, at any* price!

    To also reiterate what a previous commenter said, what brings me back to the blog is not just reading about the games (many of which I knew about at the time but didn't have the wherewithal as a preteen to acquire), but reading about YOU playing the games. Your approach to playing these games, your overall wit, and ability to capture in words the feelings you are going through are extremely entertaining and give me the feeling of playing through these games without having to actually do all of that pesky, boring work (like mapping or solving puzzles).

    Heck, I don't even really enjoy crossword puzzles but I enjoy reading you talking about them! I'd probably even read a blog by you dedicated just to crosswords.

    However you approach writing your book, PLEASE make it as personal as you feel comfortable doing. Please don't feel compelled to write a dry historical treatise on the subject, we don't really need more of those; entertain us by showing why this gaming protohistory matters.

    I find it fascinating to learn more about the interconnected history and background of these games, since back then that kind of information was simply not possible to come by, but I think it's critical that you keep applying your modern perspective to these games as well. Please maintain your GIMLET approach of reviewing and discussing these games in absolute terms.

    In any case I'm excited that you'll keep blogging; when I first saw the title "Past Present and Future" I had a half-second of panic that you might be giving up again :-)

    * for varying definitions of "any"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I very much agree with all these comments that speak of your personal experience in playing these games. I never realized that it's a big part of what makes this blog so enjoyable for me to read. What I've always felt was missing from your posts is your experience in getting ahold of these games, and getting them to run correctly. Then again, I understand if you don't want to cite certain sources.

      Delete
    2. I agree that the personal writing style is highly enjoyable. Though I must mention that this is the right form of personal too, i.e. Chet writes about how he experiences the game and keeps the amount of private stuff to the minimum and only tells about things that are actually relevant to the game experience.

      Delete
    3. Before I saw your footnote, Kennon, I was thinking, "Awesome! I'll price it at $1 million and I'll only have to sell one!" Thanks for your comments overall; sorry I gave you a scare.

      Amy, I usually exclude those types of technical bits because I figure they'd be boring. And there's usually not much of a story. If I can't find it for sale anywhere, I Google "Game name" + DOS + download, and I usually find it within a few clicks, and there's not much to it after that. I then pop over to ReplacementDocs.com looking for the documentation, and if I can't find it there, I'll just Google "Game Name" + Manual + filetype:PDF or something.

      Delete
    4. Hmmm, yes, I can see that. And since almost all your playthroughs have been achieved via DOSBox, your experience with the emulator must be very similar with each game, if not identical. Perhaps a few notes on the emulators of other systems, like for the Commodore PET, which you used recently. I was a bit curious about that one. Just a thought.

      Delete
  30. Long time reader here. I know you wrote you have a plan with Amazon - I just thought I'd mention https://leanpub.com/

    Give it a look.

    (not affiliated)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They offer a greater royalty return, but it doesn't sound like they have a print option.

      Delete
  31. I like how you often throw in some anecdote to start off your postings. It definitely makes it more enjoyable with that extra personal touch. This may sound absurd, but it reminds me of the science column Isaac Asimov used to have in one of the old SF magazines. His column was often more enjoyable than the stories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I've gotten grief for that in some quarters, but I enjoy postings where I can draw some sort of analogue or whatever. I actually model my approach on Ebert's movie reviews a bit. He has several approaches to the first paragraph:

      1. Jump right in with a summary evaluation: "'North Sea Texas' is a toothless coming-of-age story set in a small Belgian town sometime around 1970."

      2. Spin the review off some bit of related trivia: "According to the 'Die Hard' wiki, John McClane has killed a total of 58 people..."

      3. Say something pithy and broad about the genre: "A film is a terrible thing to waste. For Roman Coppola to waste one on 'A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III' is a sad sight to behold."

      4. Highlight an aspect of the film that encapsulates its entire approach: "There is a shot about a third of the way through 'Like Someone in Love' of a pretty, perky young lady emerging from an apartment bathroom a different woman..."

      5. Launch into something whimsical: "I would give anything to see 'The Making of "Milk Money"'--or, for that matter, to simply listen to the recordings of the executive story conferences" [joke transcript follows].

      6. Start with an anecdote or story that turns out to be related to the film: "The thrill of a fistfight in a movie was altered for me forever the day I visited a set and watched the sound men beating the hell out of a Naugahyde sofa with Ping-Pong paddles."

      I can't adopt all his conventions because unlike him, I haven't played the entire game when I write my first posting, but I do try to vary the way I start them.

      Delete
  32. I'm a bit late to comment, but had to add a few words of encouragement. You'd hinted around at a book idea a few times, and I'd really been hoping you'd go through with it. At first simply because it sounded fun. But like you also mention here, I increasingly began to see it more as an act of historical preservation. It might seem laughable to some people, but these games really are an important part of a quickly growing subculture. Gaming's gone from a niche to something that people pretty much just assume from people of a certain age. That makes a more detailed look into the history from a person who actually experienced much of it very important.

    Personally, I wasn't alive or at least of an age to appreciate a lot of the games you've covered. And I have to say, it's been a really eye opening examination for me. I've really come to appreciate a lot of the history, technological developments, and aspects of gaming development that I'd taken for granted. Each game is fascinating on it's own, but also for how you look at it, for how history has treated it's ideas, and how the developers viewed and view it.

    I think a book is pretty important as an act of historical record, really.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'll buy yer book. Yer good, it'd be worth it.

    On the other hand, it'd also good to know that even with my comments on your blog, you don't consider your blog comments to contain flat out idocy. Good, good. Yet, I can't imagine you'd even notice for a long time, if ever, if I suddenly stopped posting at all. That makes me sad. I may be a Gadfly, but I like to think I make an impact on people's lives. I may not know as much about games as 99% of your other posters... wel, I might not know anything at all about games even though I have been playing them for 30 of my 50 years of life... but I like to think I add character and 'zest' to the comments section of the blog.

    While I expect to realize I mean nothing, even less than nothing, to you and your blog, I think it would still hurt to know it for certain. But then, no one looks forward to my comments like they look forward to AmyK, or Trickster, or Canageek. Sigh. Well, at least I have my dying wife to console me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. William, I can say that I for one would miss your comments. You are one of a kind, and I mean that in a good way. I always wish and hope for the best for you and your wife. That said, I'll be the first to admit that most of the time, I don't reply to your comments because whatever I could say would never be enough. I can't even imagine being in your shoes. These are just words on a screen and you don't know me from Adam (or Eve), but I do think of you two, and when you don't post for awhile, I do find myself hoping that we'll hear from you soon. I check your blog occasionally as well.

      On a side note, since you mentioned me, I'm not sure anyone looks forward to my comments. Sometimes I go months without making a single peep. I tend to comment when it's a game I'm familiar with - which is maybe 1 out of 10 games that Chet covers.

      Delete
  34. A few months back there was an adventure-game specific conference in London which I'd never heard of before but which appears to recur. I suppose their audience is larger though?

    There are also hobbyist "conferences" like the annual roguelike developers' gathering. But that's not quite your group either; that such a niche group exists suggests to me that there might be something relevant. Ask indie CRPG developers? Several blog...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll try to check it out. Maybe I'll start one. AddictCon. Held in New Orleans every fall.

      Delete
    2. So strippers and booze? Count me in?

      Not sure how much CRPG stuff will get done. Also with a name like AddictCon you are bound to attract a different sort of crowd.

      Delete
  35. I'm glad you're doing the book; if the blog is anything to go by, it will be at the very least entertaining and insightful.

    I don't really remember what the first article I read on this blog, I can't even remember how I got here (I think it may have had something to do with an article on Joystiq), but I do know that as soon as I read a couple of posts I had to go back and read through all of them.

    To be honest, it's obvious your blog posts have evolved considerably from the initial ones, however reading them from the beginning felt like a natural progression to me. I can safely say I don't regret taking the time to read every single article you've written on this blog, and that's a first for me. I never felt like I had to read a blog in its entirety before.

    As for commenting, I don't do that much of it because... well, I just recently turned 26, so what you've written about so far was way before my time, and my comfort zone for actually playing old games only extends as far as the early 90s (mostly). Let's just say I'm probably more familiar with the technical limitations of the machines these late 70s and 80s games ran on, than the actual experience of playing games that have to make do with such limited hardware. That's one of the reasons I read the blog; I can read technical specs all day, and look at pictures and diagrams, but I can't go back in time to the 80s, I also can't go around collecting original hardware, and I don't have the patience, or the compulsion to do what you're doing even on emulators. So, in a sense, your blog is the next best thing.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Your more archeaological posts are my personal favorites. Why? History is my profession so looking back is second nature. Also the technological issue is one that does need attention. Kudos on going in that direction. As a veteran of the Atari 800XL and DOS computers, the differences between these two systems plays into your enjoyment of the game. Simply playing a game from a floppy disk versus playing one loaded on a hard drive makes a difference. So yes I would buy your book.

    Last point, I am sorry if I do not comment frequently on the blog. I always read everything, but I have not played all these games by far and thus have nothing worthwhile to say. I leave that to the experts, such as yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. According to my search, you've commented 88 times, so you have nothing to apologize for! I'd rather people just commented when they had something particularly notable to say.

      Delete
  37. All right! Sign me up as well.

    The crosspollination between western and Japanese RPGs and developers (like a developer of Wizardry moving to Japan to make games, Dragon Quest as an attempt to combine Ultima and Wizardry, later JCRPG influences on western games (Anachronox for example)) ... this would be a very interesting subject for me. It seems you're not that much into jcrpg-style games or anime visual and stuff, but I'll throw that out there any case. Also it is required to go back and play Psychic Warrior, mwahah.

    I'll want a hard copy, but the tales of waiting for months for the product to ship to Europe is a bit of a wet blanket. I'm not interested in a digital copy unless it's DRM-free.

    I second the positive comments about your personal style you've applied throughout the blog; I too would love the book to retain this. Also, you have good perspective on Kickstarter. Using it isn't a given and it sounds like you'll do a better book without.

    cheers,
    --Eino

    ReplyDelete
  38. I feel that I post a bit late on each of your articles but I am glad you still read and interact with us belated posters.

    If you decide to talk about the technical limitations of the times, you may do well to ask around for old hardware and try the real thing. You will have a much different experience than you get with emulators. You have a good following of people who seem technical enough to be able to help you through any hardware or OS issues. I will offer any help also though I may not be the most timely at it as discussed above.

    Also my first reaction to

    "there are times that I wonder if perhaps I'm growing too attached to bartenders and the libations they serve."

    was to reply

    "That's just crazy talk"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, god, no. I mean, UbAh...it's a good idea. But no. I'd rather not write the book at all.

      Delete
    2. I mean, really, thanks for the suggestion. But god, no.

      Delete
    3. Haha, I guess that's why your a CRPG addict not an old tech addict.

      Delete
  39. I'm glad you're writing the book. I'll buy a print copy for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I too will be very interested to see how your book turns out. I don't comment often (although this isn't my first time), but I do read every post and I have read your blog from the beginning post.

    I'm sure your writing and structure has improved over time, but as someone else also said, reading from the beginning gives a very natural and gradual progression which is fascinating to see. Actually, I think it all makes a lot more sense to read all the posts in order. I don't skip posts; if I get behind and don't read your blog for awhile, I always go back to where I left off and catch up.

    So I would definitely edit whatever content from the blog makes it into the book, but I wouldn't worry much about the early posts except maybe for adding a few screenshots or something where needed.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Forget a book: your unique trove of personal research qualifies you to design perfect CRPGs in the style of any given era!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Ave

    Quite Great blog and writings, but

    Why no Gamelist view / search option present, only the non interesting revisit chronology tree, with the annoying must-press expand button?
    Especially clumsy while on mobile net.

    Or delete this comment, if sg missed my attention.
    thx, bye

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you can show me the code to make that happen, I'll implement it immediately.

      Delete
  43. Regarding the "too much personal stuff". I understand how that can feel a bit embarrassing latter, but I think that it contributed a lot to the community here. I think the way you treat everyone as "co-bloggers" as you say, and how you share important things with people here is one of the main reasons you don get all the trolls and dumb comments you find elesewhere

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Captcha. That sucks massive troll balls - which turns them off from commenting.

      Delete
  44. Alright, it seems I can no longer avoid the inevitable, so I'll just go ahead and introduce myself since this posting seems like a good way to start.
    I'm not sure you'll read this, because this is a relatively old entry, but who knows, right?

    So, I've come across your blog quite a while ago (can't exactly remember when, must have been about 1.5 years ago), and being the huge gamer/game developer/crpg fan that I have been for the last 25+ years, I instantly loved it. I've started playing RPGs on the C64 (the game that got me started was actually Times of Lore, god forbid, that's why, despite all its shortcomings, it still has a special place in my heart) and to this day I love playing, analyzing and making them.

    Anyways, since I came across your blog, I've decided to go back to the first entry and read through the whole thing. So far I've been successful in reading through every single posting (not all of the comments, only a select few on the most interesting entries) and I'll continue to keep reading until I catch up with the current ones.

    So far I've only skipped "Curse of the Azure Bonds" since I still want to play that game without any spoilers. There are a few more games I'll skip temporarily until I finish them myself.

    Anyways, I basically wanted to thank you for creating and sticking to this project as it's been an invaluable source of information about the evolution and workings of several aspects in CRPGs. Combat systems, dungeon design, balance, character development, economy...so far it's been an absolutely fascinating and educational journey and I hope it won't stop anytime soon.

    So, just one more year to catch up on. I think I'll refrain from commenting on these older entries until I catch up with current events. That was the plan from the beginning, but being one of the few people that seem to have stuck with the blog after restarting from the beginning, I thought I'd say hello.

    Since I've devoured Matt Bartons book, I'll most likely buy anything CRPG related coming from you, regardless of the price.

    Alright, that's it for now, time to get back to finishing 2013...and Curse of the Azure Bonds in my dedicated (very small) crpg room which I built after getting sucked into the genre even more after discovering this blog sometime in late 2012. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to have you, Mystery. Do feel free to comment on old postings. I always read them, and sometimes it's more interesting to think about a game after some time has passed.

      Either way, I look forward to your comments in the future.

      Delete
  45. Hi Chet,

    you know i comment once in a while and that I read chronologically.
    I have just looked through Amazon in Germany but either your book has not been released yet or i'm searching for the wrong author. ;-)

    I will definatly by this book and hope that it will be released some day.
    How far are you in the progress?
    Would prefer a Kindle version but a printed version is fine as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I overpromised and under-delivered. I've made some progress on it, but it's nowhere near ready for release. Trust me: you'll see it on the blog (big post, persistent sidebar link) when it's finally out.

      Delete
  46. You can tell Google Analytics to count me as one who, after discovering the blog, went back to day one and still is working his way to the present. Hopefully I will get there one day so I can comment on recent post.

    I love your assessments of the games that I grew up playing and I get just as much from the comments as I do from your post, so I make sure I read everyone. It is due to the commenters that I discovered gog.com and abandonware sites. It was the revelation of the existence of these sites that allowed me to put aside my obsessive CIV IV game play and start working through the Ultima series and Gold box games.

    I'm wondering why my $5,000 is not worth the same as anyone else’s:
    "But if anyone would really pay $5,000 for a personal visit and a gimlet, feel free to contact me directly. I'll meet you anywhere except Atlanta."
    Also, if you’re looking for a great convention still, Atlanta host DragonCon every Labor Day weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to have you as a reader, Crunchy Frog. Atlanta is one of my least-favorite cities, but I'm still not sure why I singled it out in the comments. I had probably recently returned from my latest miserable experience there.

      Delete
  47. Hello, I have been regularly visiting this blog. Mainly for your articles on PLATO SYSTEM. Looking for information about them. I've never read the "blog." Unless the post I said before. This weekend I plan to read me everything from the beginning to the end. And I stumbled upon this! A book! I know this post is long enough, so I'd like to know that this project will present the book. Although I am not English speaker if the book is as good as the blog, certainly worth it. For now, I'll keep reading the blog.

    Greetings from Spain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bienvenido, Kaiser! Desafortunadamente, I have not made any progress on the book, and I'm not sure I'll ever finish it. I hope you enjoy the blog anyway!

      Delete
    2. Yet the blog is hard work. It's the best I've seen, I have around here often.

      Delete
  48. PD: The previous post is mine! I forgot my blogger.password x_X

    ReplyDelete
  49. Count me in as a buyer, I'm looking forward to this.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi,
    I read your blog mostly in chronology order, so now i read this entry. I looking forward to your book and i hope you correct something before you release it (to be more historical correct): the aspect ratio of your dosbox screenshots to 4:3.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I'm one of those latecomers who has been reading through the posts in chronological order. The early posts must not have been too bad, as I kept going to get here! This blog is what I read whilst standing in an interminable line, when I'm out at lunch by myself (I used to actually read books and newspapers!), etc. From this post I was really looking forward to your book, but from the comments it sounds like the idea hasn't advanced. Bummer, but c'est la vie. I still have a couple of years of posts to catch up on before I have to go back to reading about like, actual world events and novels and stuff . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to have you, Jeremy.

      This post is one I wish I could just go back and delete. My professional life got a LOT busier after 2013, and I just never found the time to dedicate to the book. It's not impossible that I'll resume working on it eventually, but unlikely in the near future.

      Delete
  52. Worked my way to this, got excited, then laughed. "A book sounds like a lot of work he'd rather spend gaming"

    Also, I was pretty sure if there was a book there would be a link.

    Three years down, three years to go!

    ReplyDelete

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