Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The List Never Ends (a New New Plan)

For the last few months, I've been talking about finally reaching the "end" of the 1980s and thus finally atoning for this blog's original sin. If you'll been with me since the beginning, or have read back to the beginning, you'll know that the sin to which I refer is establishing an original rule that I would only play RPGs with DOS or Windows releases. It was a lazy, short-sighted, ignorant rule (although one I've been wishing I could implement lately), and I finally abandoned it nearly four years later.

At the time that I abandoned it, to avoid losing all forward momentum, I started alternating my "upcoming" list between non-DOS games in years I had passed with all games for years going forward (at the time, 1990). That's what we've been seeing for the last five years. I never though it would take that long, but the non-DOS list from the 1970s through 1989 included more than 100 games. It wasn't an easy list. About 10 were in a foreign language. Only 7 of 100 rated higher than 35 on the GIMLET (the best was 1987's Alternate Reality: The Dungeon); the average was 22. You can imagine how excited I was to finish the "backtracking" list when I finally scheduled the final 1989 game last month.

But of course, I won't be done with the 1980s even when I finish The Seventh Link. (Since no one has been able to offer any hints, I'm moving Theldrow back to 1988.) We've unearthed 18 new games after I passed their years for the second time. (That count is just for the 80s; there are 15 more in 1990 and 1991.) I have no doubt that after I clean those up, we'll continue to find more. I just did a quick search of MobyGames, and for the period of 1975-1980 alone, eight new titles have appeared that I've never heard of. I'm sure that years hence, when I'm enjoying the great crop of RPGs in the 1998-2000 period, commenters will still be digging up obscure titles from 25 years prior.

In addition to newly-discovered games, we also have 23 titles from the 1980-1991 period originally listed as "not playable." It's worth checking on these occasionally to see if new images or information have appeared.

The problem is that with each successive pass, as games become less and less well-known, they also become more and more unplayable. Lining up a lot of them in a row, continuing to thread them equally with newer, better games as I go through 1992 and beyond, is a sure way to kill my progress and enthusiasm. For the last few years, I've settled into the role of a historian, thoroughly documenting every title, major or minor, for every platform. But that isn't why I started the blog in the first place. I started it to find and enjoy fun games. I started it to satisfy my RPG addiction. In nearly nine years and over 300 games, there have been maybe 4 per year that have done so. Now what I want most is to find the first game that breaks 70 on my GIMLET, and that's not going to be a 1985 title released solely for the Amstrad CPC.

Thus, for games in years that I've already passed, I will no longer be adding them to the "upcoming" list. I'll still get to them eventually, but it will be dependent on my mood.

My rough plan going forward is to continue to alternate entries on two titles, occasionally three, on my highest-achieved year. But every fifth posting (on average) will be an unannounced special entry. These special entries may:

  • Discuss a special topic
  • Cover a previously-missed older game
  • Return to a previously abandoned game
  • (Rarely) investigate one of the more important console games from the period. Do not get excited about this. Do not send me suggestions about this. Do not even comment on this.

I think this plan will allow me to simultaneously make progress on my core list while introducing some variety and unpredictability.

I don't feel any compulsion to update my 1989/1990 summary posting. Die Dunkle Dimension was the only 1989 game covered on the re-run to even get into "recommended" territory, and nothing is in danger of taking "Game of the Year" away from Hero's Quest. I will work on a full 1980s summary, though.

Thanks for your patience in getting this far, and I hope like me you look forward to some of the great games we'll see going forward.

154 comments:

  1. Hear hear! I was the one who recently pointed out that Ultima V still has your highest GIMLET, and you finished that game in September 2011, only a year into this blog. Even though Ultima V is one of my favorite CRPGs of all time, I find it hard to believe that you've taken 7+ years since then and not one game has surpassed it. Here's looking forward to uncovering the first 70+ GIMLET game!

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    1. The soonest decent candidate for beating Ultima V is probably Ultima VII.

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    2. It's ironic that most of the games we've been backtracking to have been either Ultima IV or Ultima V "clones", none of which seemed to have improved on anything.

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    3. It says a lot about the legacy of ultima. I started reading this blog b/c it had the most comprehensive writing about U5 I could find, when I was starting to take a good look at the series. Since then I've learned to appreciate other series as well, but it still seems to have the greatest influence over games we're still playing today.

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    5. I think only one pre-Baldur's Gate title can defeat the current champion, or break through the 70+ barrier. Amberstar, Darklands, Ultima VII, Underworld 2, MM4+5, Albion, Diablo, Jagged Alliance, Shadows over Riva, Daggerfall, various X-COMs, Final Fantasy VII... all of these have a shot at a great GIMLET, but before Baldur's Gate, only Fallout is the one standout to me.

      Combing the master games list, I get the feeling that 1992 might be the best year for CRPGs ever, after all is said and done. Even though I don't think a 1992 title will take the top spot, 1992 will probably have a whole bunch of contenders for top 20 rankings.

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    6. I would add Betrayal at Krondor to your list of potential 70+ GIMLETs. Great story, skill-based character training, interesting combat/magic, good economy, decent GUI.

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  2. Excellent! Very good new plan for the new year!

    I have to admit that even though I earlier read all your posts, lately I have skipped reading about some obscure 1989 titles which I can judge crud by looking at the name only...

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  3. I like this plan a lot. If a game is part of no definable lineage, isn't doing anything new, and has few fans, it isn't really adding much to the blog, and most unearthed games from now will fall into that category.

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  4. Fully agree on the plan.
    As for games that you don't want to cover because they are incredibly minor / unknown / whatever, you could propose to leave to "guest reviewer" so they are covered ("historian part") but their don't break your feeling of engagement. I realize you proposed me to do the same with Sapiens, and I never delivered (I never could get the old version of Sapiens to not crash in the first 5 minutes) - but some people may have better discipline and tech handling than I have :)

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  5. I like this plan too. You shouldn't feel like its required to play and complete an obscure game that isn't fun.

    I like the idea of guest reviewers as well. If someone feels so strongly about a game being played and detailed in a post, let them do it for you!

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  6. As ever, I look forward to seeing the next chapter in this blog. You are being thoughtful in your approach and have two thumbs up from me. I'm looking forward to maybe someday getting to Baldurs's Gate!

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  7. Obscure food writer
    commends your well-thought-out plan
    with awful haiku.

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  8. If anyone's confused about the timing on this one, I had intended it to post on Thursday, January 3, at noon, which would have given me enough time to edit it if someone had come forward with information about Theldrow. Instead, I clicked on the wrong Thursday on the calendar, and it ended up retroactively posting (initially) on December 27.

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  9. Great plan, looking forward to the addict playing the game that drove me into RPG addiction: Final Fantasy VII (it has a PC release, that doesn‘t comment on your strange console bullet point)

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  10. In nearly nine years and over 300 games, there have been maybe 4 per year that have done so.

    At least, since 36 is ~11.5% of 314, you're actually running ahead of Sturgeon's Law.

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  11. I'm completely down with this plan. I'm looking forward to seeing newer games again. Star Control II will be fun and I admit to a curiosity surrounding "GayBlade"

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    1. I doubt someone will find a working copy of GayBlade. Several people have tried and even the creator doesn't have the source code anymore. There's a manual and several articles, that's all.

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  12. I think this is a good plan. It was a slog even for me as a reader going through all those pesky forgotten titles from eighties. ... Even historians must select their sources at some point, and if history of RPGs is considered, I think we need a bit broader account in this nascent sub-field. :-)

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  13. I support all your decision regarding your own blog (duh). I must admit that even though I liked all entries about all these old, obscure and ridiculous games I am surprised you managed to play them for such a long time. I certainly wouldn't be able to, I don't think I'd play to finish even one of them.

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    1. Those entries about old, obscure games are going to happen. I'm just not committing to them happening on a particular schedule.

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    2. Right, I got that, I'm just saying that I am surprised you haven't changed your modus operandi a long, long, long, looooong time ago. Your dedication is admirable and very much appreciated. Thank you!

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  14. An excellent plan! It seems like that spark had been fading with a lot of the obscure titles you have been cleaning up.

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  15. Well, what ever new comes up on the third, fourth, fifth round can't be that good. And the rejection rate will be terribly high I bet. It's good you go ahead, so you get to the years 1994-1997, maybe a bit of a dark age with hidden gems yet to be discovered.

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  16. Sounds perfect. The backtracking is providing less and less value as far as covering important or novel games or adding much to the historical narrative, so it warrants less of an emphasis. I'm glad it will happen occasionally, but I'm excited to mostly be moving forward.

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  17. Good plan! Not only these obscure games are not fun to play, they're not very fun to read about. Games, in general, seem to follow "the reverse Tolstoy principle": good games are pretty different, while bad games are bad in fairly similar ways (which is, mainly, lack of anything that would make them good and memorable). BTW, looking at the list of upcoming games, Star Control 2 is a nice example. It's barely even an RPG... I mean, let's be honest, it's not an RPG... but it's a remarkable game, all right.

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    1. I don't get how everyone is repeatedly saying how StarCon 2 isn't an RPG. When I played it originally, I immediately considered it an RPG. Personally, I think Chet's definition is too narrow, and more specifically geared towards the medieval genre.

      In Computer Science, there's a concept of proving that one problem can be completely translated into another problem. So, if you had a solution to one problem, you would have a solution to any problem that can translate into that problem as well.

      I think that idea applies to RPGs as well.

      Non-puzzle inventory: SC2 has ship modules that provide combat and non-combat benefits. It also has resources used for trading.

      Statistics-based combat: SC2 combat with the main ship is heavily dependent on your loadout, even though it is action-based.

      So, Chet says only two are needed to be an RPG according to his rules, so there. But, the one I think is too specific is the Player-Driven Development criterion.

      For me, it doesn't matter if the development is equipment based or skill based. In any hi-tech scenario, your individual physical attributes don't matter as much as your tech, so it's not fair. My replacement is "Will it Grind?" And SC2 will, for sure, with either mining or combat.

      So, I claim that, by Chet's rules or my own, Star Control II is an RPG.

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    2. I disagree. IMO, Star Control 2 has 1 of the 3 core criteria of Chet in his FAQ :
      - There is no character development (in terms of stats)
      - Combat effectivement does not depend on the character attribute, but only on "inventory" (what you equipped the ship with). Chet specifically excluded combat effectivement based on inventory from being an RPG core element, and since you can equip or desequip modules in SC2, it is equipment.
      - Even the "inventory" criteria is barely met, since you can only equip / desequip modules for the main ship (which you may not use) in the base (and the rest of the inventory is puzzle based).

      Based on those 3 criterias, Heroes of Might and Magic or Total War are RPG than Star Control 2.


      And YET I believe that Star Control 2 is an RPG in an unique way, because "playing it" feels much closer to what playing a pen & paper would be then, let's say, Ultimate. There are dialogs, you take decisions, including morale decisions, that make the story evolve dynamically in one direction or another, and you will take actions / decisions / dialog options that will make the following combats easier or harder - or even avoid them altogether the combats. It feels like an RPG the first minute you play it, just not according to Chet otherwise super strong criterias.
      Also, if Starflight qualified, SC2 qualifies :)

      Thinking about it, I believe that SC2 should be put in a very small category of game : the Strategic RPG, with the only other SRPG I can see being "Mount & Blade". After all, there are "Adventure RPG" like Quest for Glory, there are Action RPG, there are Tactical RPG (Jagged Alliance, Fallout Tactics) so why not Strategic RPG !

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    3. I agree, by Addict's definition Star Control 2 absolutely is not an RPG. I do like the game a lot, although I probably would find it somewhat frustrating were I to encounter it only now.

      The concept of Strategic RPG has always appealed to me as well. Although my ideal is probably closer to King of Dragon Pass. I often emphasize these aspects games. For example playing Pirates I used to focus a lot on conquering cities for a particular nation.

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    4. OK, I hadn't realized Chet had applied the inventory restriction to statistics based combat. As I said above, I don't think that makes much sense outside of low-tech scenarios.

      Money & Equipment is the same as XP & Stats. Does an RPG need two development systems to be an RPG? Seems arbitrary.

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    5. I find it funny that you're arguing for a game Chet already has on his list, which means he's going to try it out and comment about it already. Also, he's played and blogged about Starflight (1 and 2), I don't think he'll pass on more of that.

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    6. Probably because everyone is looking forward Chet reaching it.
      I played probably around 500 games in 25 years of gaming, and SC2 is in my top 10 in terms of "great memories".

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    7. No, it's an academic argument, I admit. Even if Chet is going to play it, regardless, I would prefer he does so righteously.

      You could argue that the Starflights do have crew statistics, however unimportant, and Star Control 2 doesn't...

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    8. He doesn't treat the RPG criteria as a hard and fast rule. He's played things that dont satisfy all three, and while he hasnt rejected any that do, don't expect him to necessarily play Master of Magic (though he might, who knows).

      Really, it's an RPG if it feels like an RPG enough that people tend to call it one.

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    9. @Iffy I think there's definitely a genre split/overlap happening with this style of game, and not so much a thematic one. Buck Rogers is a good example of a sci-fi RPG that's more obviously an RPG. While a game like Uncharted Waters has a more medieval setting that's more like the Strategy RPG genre you described.

      Stats are the intangible representation of the character(s) you're controlling or guiding. While you can easily compare them to equipment stats, I find them more compelling as a growth mechanic as (in most cases) the implication is that you won't ever lose that part of your character even if you're stripped of all possessions. Stats also make distinctions for how your character might be different from other characters, while everyone with the same equipment is the same, going through the same game with the same experience.

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    10. Several best-of-breed 'Arguable RPGs' ended up on Chet's game of the year and must play lists (Starflight, Hero's Quest), so I think he will enjoy it. Do *I* think Star Control 2 is a RPG, no, but it's not an arcade/shooter/RTS/4X/adventure game either, so labeling it a RPG is as good as any other label..

      A few technical tips regarding Star Control 2 (spoiler free):
      * If you don't like the arcade combat element, you can turn on 'Cyborg mode' and the computer will dogfight for you after you select which ship in your fleet should engage.
      * Colorblindness... yes this game uses color, but I don't recall any color specific puzzles (someone who has played it more recently, please comment if I am wrong). On your first 'go fetch' mission, just pickup everything on the planet if you can't tell what it is by color (all of it is useful).
      * In the MS-DOS version, it can be hard to tell which end of your ship is the front before you start moving. The green dot is the front, the yellow is the rear. In the Ur-Quan masters version (open source) they changed the graphics slightly to make it more clear.
      * I am not colorblind, however I sometimes have problems seeing objects on a planet surface. The Ur-Quan masters version makes objects more clear on the map.
      * The Ur-Quan masters version also has a better user interface when landing on a planet (the view is larger), and it has better sound. The MS-DOS version had a "revolutionary" 8-bit sampled .MOD player for music. However being 8-bit, there is a noticeable 'hiss', which is why CD's use 16-bit samples. The Ur-Quan masters version has a more modern sound system with less background hiss. Also the Ur-Quan master's version includes the voice acting from the 3DO.
      * Your ship has a auto-pilot feature for hyperspace travel, you choose a destination using the starmap.

      Its your call if you want to play the original, or if you want to play the open-source version.

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    11. The whole Star Control II battle was waged years ago, and in the end, I mostly agreed to play it to get people to shut up. It sounds like it will be a fun game even if it technically doesn't meet my definitions.

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    12. Well, Buck Rogers is more like they slapped a sci-fi aesthetic on an existing medieval D&D engine, so I'm not sure that counts for much.

      I agree that Star Control II defies taxonomy, and that's part of what makes it great. I wasn't the one talking about Strategy/RPG, which does apply to HoMM and MoM, but I don't think applies to SC2, despite SC1's strategy roots. There's no player territory control, or unit positions.

      I can't make a particularly coherent argument about how you (or anyone) FEEL about stats vs. equipment as a development system... but we can talk mechanics. You can probably do this a number of ways, but in SC2, let's say ships = characters. So, it's like a single-PC game with an entourage of NPCs.

      You have a limited amount of slots and resources to configure your single ship, so you have to make choices. Someone else might make different choices, leading to a different set of resulting statistics. I don't see how you this is meaningfully different than using a point-buy system to create a character.

      You mention the permanency of stats vs equipment. But stats can get taken away. Lose a point of CON when getting raised, etc... Guild Wars allowed a complete character re-spec, and I am fairly sure it's not the only example.

      So, while I admit that the "equipment" aesthetic implies certain mechanics, and the "character statistics" aesthetic implies slightly different mechanics, I think most people are swayed by the aesthetics themselves, not the mechanics at all.

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    13. I would respectfully suggest that Addict play the original, not the remake.

      *The voice acting is.... not very good, the devs have admitted as much, and it can not be turned off. Skipping through when reading the text gives it a herky jerky quality.

      *Because of a limited budget for the voice acting, some of the content was cut, including a mission critical hint.

      *It is a console game

      *Was released in 1994.

      It would be interesting to see Addict go back and observe the remake after winning, it's an interesting history and a lot of people have spent a lot of work keeping it alive.

      Oh, getting a cracked version of the original (like GOG's if you can still find it) would go a long way to helping with the colour blindness issue.



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    14. Historic point... The combat in Star Control is based on 'Spacewar!' the very first graphical computer game (the term 'video game' did not exist in 1962). I had a chance to meet the author and play the game on a vintage PDP-1 at the Computer History Museum a few years ago.

      Regarding availability of Star Control 2... there is a legal dispute between the creators of Star Control, and the company Stardock who recently released a game set in the Star Control universe. Steam and Gog took down Stardock’s game as a result of a court order a few days ago.

      I just checked Gog, and it looks like Star Control 1/2/3 were removed from the store as well, however if you already own Star Control 1/2/3 on Gog, I verified you can still download them.

      The open source Ur-Quan masters is still available for download on SourceForge. Yes, the voice acting is hit and miss.

      Perhaps Chet should try the original MS-DOS version for the full 'experience', but if he runs into problems, then he could finish the game via the remake.

      Is it worth playing Star Control 1 first? I suggest spending 15-20 minutes playing with the Melee feature before moving on, especially review the in-game write-ups for each ship type (something I wish the had kept in Star Control 2). Star Control 1 is an arcade game with no in game plot, but learning about the races, and their ships will add to your understanding and appreciation of the game world. Star Control 1’s ‘full game’ feature won’t add to your appreciation of Star Control 2.

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    15. I think playing Star Control 1 is unnecessary from this blog's perspective. It's a fun arcade game but some of the background could also be gained by reading online sources. I do hope he obtained SC2 prior to the recent dispute over rights (or can get it secondhand), as it's likely to be commercially unavailable for a while.

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  18. Why are some of you saying: "Good plan, obscure games aren't fun to read about."? He's still going to cover them, and the option to abandon them has always been there, if rarely used.

    It is a good plan though. While it would be hugely satisfying to be able to say that you're done with a certain year, it's unlikely to happen for a few years. And if your goal is to finish a particular year quickly, every newly discovered game will feel like a nuisance rather than a, possibly, welcome break from increasingly long and complex games to come.

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  19. Great idea!
    As a historically working person (I’m an archaeologist), I can only congratulate you to your choice. While it is necessary to have sampled a decent amount of the material, it is much more worthy (and enjoyable) to concentrate your (limited) time on certain objects (considered to be important).

    Well done!

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  20. Very well. With all due respect, it got a bit tiresome to read about all those Ultima clones that have been (nearly) forgotten for a reason.

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  21. Nah. We won't let you. We want you to suffer.

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  22. Great plan! It is important that you keep your enthusiasm because in my opinion that is the driving force behind this blog. If you have to go for the 23rd boring Ultima clone in a row just to fulfil some order, we all feel this is work and not fun.

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  23. I like your new plan. I just wanted to let you know that your hard work playing and documenting all these older, harder to run, games is appreciated; I'm glad you will continue to exhaustively cover them, even if it may be longer before we see more of the others you skipped. You do a service to the gaming historians of the future.

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  24. Will we ever truly escape the Ultima clone? At least the graphics will get better.

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    1. After seeing two hundred clones of Ultima we will most certainly deem every game to be an Ultima clone. "Well, yes, graphics are much better, but ACTUALLY...".

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    2. Hey, there have been a fair number of Rogue-likes, Adventure hacks in there, and Dungeon Master copies in there, and eventually we're going to get into the realm of Baldur's Gate knockoffs and Diablo re-skins.

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  25. This plan should make for a better blog, overall. The Wizardry VII postings were honestly more interesting than most (not all) of the smaller games. Just qualitatively, the 1992 Unplayed list looks far more interesting than the 1977-1990 Unplayed list. I also think it would be nice to phase out the Ultima clones.

    Also, consider changing the the "link to discuss the list" to this post rather than the old "A New Plan" post.

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  26. I'm surprised at the number of commenters who don't enjoy posts about obscure games. Coverage of the unknown and overlooked is pretty much my favorite form of arts writing -- partly because (when it's done right) it forces the writer to engage a work of art without preconceptions or relying on existing narratives, and partly because it contributes more to human knowledge than the umpteenth discussion of a Greatest Hit.

    I disagree with the Tolstoy comparison made above: at least in my experience, truly bad games are often quite interesting and distinctive. It's the mediocre games that are a grind, just like mediocre movies, books, and music, and it's worst when they're overlong.

    It's to be expected that most of the games left from the 1980s fit into that category, and it makes sense to break the leftovers up. I don't think anyone reasonably wants the Addict to stay stuck in the 1980s until every last shareware RPG is attempted. But I'll be looking forward to those occasional posts, especially since the 1985-1995 era of gaming is still my favorite.

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    1. Truly bad games can be interesting to read about or watch someone else deal with, but actually playing them is akin to nausea. I think the difference between bad games and bad movies is that with the later, you can just sit there. With a video game, you need to personally advance through content, which means grappling with unresponsive controls or convoluted interfaces or your progress arbitrarily being eaten.

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    2. I think most people would agree with you, but I haven't found that to be the case for myself. For one, bad games are often broken in a way that can be exploited, and I find that -- poking holes in the code -- more fun to mess around with than being slowly, predictably led by the hand through some wannabe's competent but third-rate imitation of an AAA title.

      Getting the better of a bad game is, at least for me, satisfying. I can't think of a way to do the same for a movie -- to master it, and thereby take a kind of revenge on it. Specifically because it's a passive experience, it feels like a torturous and enforced waste of my time. (Unless, of course, it's spectacularly bad, and then it's usually great fun.)

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    3. I love the postings on the truly bad games, the final post on "Don't Go Alone" is one of my favourite posts from Chet. The games that are Wizardry or Ultima clones that go for 50 hours on the other hand can get tedious and you could feel the frustration in the postings over the last month when he encountered several in a row when the finish line was in sight. If there's one thing I've learnt from reading this blog, it's that developers should learn restraint and if you've got enough ideas for a 15 hour game, don't make a 50 hour game just for the back-of-the-box blurb.

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    4. I've had both experiences... Feeling compelled to sit through or play through lazy/mediocre content is one of the most frustrating anger inducing experiences ever. That being said... There's more left up to the imagination in games, especially if the game is older, which makes it a little more tolerable.

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    6. I often like writing about bad games for these very reasons. Once a game dips below a certain quality--say, around a 30 on my GIMLET--the quality stops mattering and the length becomes the primary concern. A 28-point game that lasts 30 hours is SO much worse than a 12-point game that lasts six.

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    7. I think you used to have a 6-hour rule - if the game didn't appeal you would play for 6 hours and call it a day. My impression is that you are increasingly reluctant to invoke this rule, and maybe you shouldn't be.

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    8. Agree on the 6 hour rule... that would be a good one to invoke on some of these games that are ungood that keep popping up. We'd get a taste of them, and the you could keep moving on.

      Love the blog! I think I've finished reading about 80% of the posts at this point.

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    9. Yes, you're correct. Technically, that rule is in effect still, but I don't often employ it. Every time I bail on a game, I disappoint someone.

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    10. It might be true that some random person on the Internet is disappointed each time you bail out on a game, however if that is done because you feel the need to bail and play/write about some other game - it will lead to 2 things:
      - An increase in your enjoyment
      - An increase in the amount of productive content on the blog, which will provide the greatest overall increase in reader satisfaction.

      So, bailing on a game (after due consideration on your part) leads to some few people being disappointed, you being presumably more energized, and all of the other readers receiving new content. Seems like an overall win to me... again, as long as you apply the rule with some discretion. Personally, I think you could bail slightly more often, but not vastly more often and achieve the best compromise.

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  27. Also, Minotaur: The Labyrinths of Crete (1992) is not an RPG. It is a great game and I realize that both MobyGames and Wikipedia call it an RPG, but it is clearly a multi-player battle arena game. We played a lot of it in school.

    There are stats, there are non-puzzle based items, but the only real goal is to defeat the other players.

    The Wikipedia article is reasonably accurate.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minotaur:_The_Labyrinths_of_Crete

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  28. Please no guest reviewers. A million people have gaming blogs. This is one of the few I read for a reason. If I want to hear what Johnny Nobody has to say about Obscure Ultima Clone Sigma, I have Google.

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    1. I agree with this sentiment. This blog should retain its single authorial voice. I wouldn't mind being linked to other blogs for games that really aren't worth the effort though, maybe in a nicely wrapped summary post.

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    2. I'm not really against guest posters, but one reason I'm here is Chet's style and narrative....

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    5. Fully agree. The Addict's addiction is what made me come here. His writing and voice are what makes me return every couple of days, hoping for a nice update.

      That said, anything that kindles and retains the Addict's enthusiasm is a positive to me, while anything that dampens it (like slogging through repetitive game formulas, or working with next-to-unworkable emulation, or running into never-tested difficulty curves of absurd steepness) should be an indicator of a game that ought to be abandoned quickly.

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  29. I also agree with this strategy. While your efforts to document the entire corpus of CRPGs including shareware titles, it just feels that that way lies madness.

    I'd rather you move on to more enjoyable titles to keep your own enthusiasm up.

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    1. Shareware wise, I can't wait for Spiderweb's Exile series, although it's going to be a (long) while.

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  30. How about guest bloggers to do some of the obscure games? There are a lot of enthusiastic posters on here. Some people who read this blog might be interested in playing those games and blogging.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd rather see that as part of a companion blog, gently administered by the Addict - if at all. As others have pointed out, it is the Addict's very own writing and voice that draw many people here.

      Delete
    2. My one experiment with guest blogging went well, I thought, but for some reason I'm not excited about the idea going forward. What I might like to try is some more "guest playing," like I did with Die Drachen von Lass in which someone else actually plays a game and I comment on the content and mechanics without direct experience. I'd probably only do it for titles that I simply can't play myself. For instance, I'd love someone who knows Japanese to help me with Dragon and Princess.

      Delete
  31. Another +1 for this plan. For as fascinating as some of these old obscurities are, having you take on '90s games I've actually played is more exciting. Doubly so if they're new to you.

    What I suspect might happen, and this could be your plan all along, is that you'll probably get stuck with two interminable '92 RPGs (or '93, or wherever you're up to) at some point and boot up an old, brief '80s game like Zerg to break the monotony. I'm sure many of the games you're leaving behind are around that size and scale if they've managed to elude your attention this long.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh, thank GOD. I don't think I could stomach reading through one more mind-numbing Ultima clone. I can't imagine they're much more fun to actually have to play, let alone find something to write about.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Island Fish JasconiusJanuary 2, 2019 at 8:29 PM

    Longtime reader, just wanted to put in a comment that I've always been happy with whatever direction you end up taking for your list. I always look forward to the RSS updating and telling me that there is a new post to read and whether it's some old obscure game in German or a game I remember fondly from playing it long ago, I always enjoy hearing your take on it. Thanks for all of your years of blogging and just keep doing what feels right regarding the list~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with Island Fish. Whatever it is that has allowed you to maintain the discipline to keep the blog going, listen to it first and foremost. Followers will come and go based on their personal interest but you'll always have a core readership.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    4. I happily agree with Island Fish, Joet88 and Paul! Just do it the way you like to do it, we will be here to cheer you on :)

      Delete
  34. I look forward to more Special Topic postings. I rather miss those.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Yeah, any old games that haven't showed up on lists by *now* must be loved by very few people indeed. It's not going to be worth the effort of tracking them down. When you finish this version of the 80s list, I'd suggest just calling it finished. You're not going to find anything, probably, that's even worth writing about in the few dregs and remnants that have surfaced.

    A huge chunk of my experience here in 2018 was being glad I never tried whatever game you were struggling with. And while I still enjoy the blog and visit regularly (you have a very prominent spot in my bookmark toolbar), I think that's less interesting than reading about games you're having fun with. The historian aspect has some appeal, but what I'm truly interested in is reading about games I might still want to play. (I played through one of the Might and Magics right alongside you, for instance, even though I didn't post about it.)

    I've found that completionism can really impair my sense of fun with a game, even veering into outright masochism. From here, it looks like you may have crossed that line, perhaps by quite some distance.

    ReplyDelete
  36. It is your blog, so let me preface everything by saying that you wrote it, they came, do what you want.

    But, I have really enjoyed your exploration of the games that lead up to Wizardry on the PLATO system, and all these funny shareware games, Ultima ripoffs, etc... Maybe I don't need you to beat them all, but that you have covered them is a pretty great accomplishment.

    That said, I also eagerly await coverage of more VGA-era games that coincide with high school for me.

    So, as I said, do what you want!

    ReplyDelete
  37. This seems like a very sensible choice. The last thing we want is for you to burn out trying to chase some goal you never intended.

    ReplyDelete
  38. The only hazard here (which was inevitable anyway) is that the backtracking games were almost always fairly short, or were at least so simple (compared to the 199X games run in concurrence) as to seem short. This made for a very nice break from the occasional dense or epic-length title - and you almost never wound up covering two overly-dense games at once. Adding a 4th category for non-commercial or independent games might be a good way to preserve this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you seem to be missing a lot of Flash games as well, especially Stick RPG by XGen Studios.

      Delete
  39. I think that's a very sound plan. But even if I thought otherwise, I'd still say do whatever you feel is the best way for you to enjoy your work. I'll be here to read your blog, whatever you decide to do.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I like this plan. While I do enjoy the posts about obscure games, I don't enjoy the thoughts about boredom and frustration you experience to play a lot of them.

    ReplyDelete
  41. A good plan - your extraordinary enterprise into the CRPG history has to kepp realizable. Though, it would be phantastic reading you findings of obscure and forgotten ancient games. I doubt that anyone besides you will start an archeological excavation in this area for a long time.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Bravo. These last games have been more and more obscure and of a spiraling quality. I have wondered how you have found the strenght to slosh through this drivel. Hopefully the new new plan brings more interesting games to your (and our) way!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Sounds very reasonable to just move on from the 1980s games. I want you to enjoy this, not become burned out playing games someone who could hardly program made in his bedroom. Even if we look at this blog as an archeological endeavor I think you have done your part. You have documented dozens of old games almost no one has heard of and showed how they fit into the evolution of cRPGs. I say you can move forward with no regrets.

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  44. Sounds like a plan! I'm all for it if you like it and I hope it will help you.

    Also looking forward to potentially seeing some essays and thoughts about the games of the times

    ReplyDelete
  45. Wich are those 23 unplayable games from 90-91???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That should have said "1980-1991." I made the fix. The master game list codes the unplayable ones as "NP."

      Delete
  46. I love seeing the obscure games but many of them are only worth so much posting time. Whatever helps you keep your momentum is probably best for the blog - its not like you're going to run out of things to talk about any time soon no matter what.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I have no idea what Gayblade is, but my search for the name revealed there was a Zorro film with the same name from 1981.

    https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/zorro_the_gay_blade

    I can only pray that this is an RPG based upon Zorro's flamboyantly gay son Ramon. This was 1981. Attitudes regarding homosexuality were MUCH different back then...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://obscurevideogames.tumblr.com/post/176876277725/gayblade-rj-best-macpc-1992

      I wonder if that email is still good, although that's only the person who wrote the article.

      Delete
    2. The manual is around, as are enough reviews to make it clear that it wasn't just a one-man prank. It's just the game itself that's nowhere to be found.

      Delete
    3. Some more articles... https://lgbtqgamearchive.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/gayblade.pdf

      So, it existed at one time or another.

      Delete
    4. Yeesh, I had just assumed it was some poorly translated Japanese title. It really is Gay Blade.

      Delete
    5. What's surprising is that the game was developed for two platforms and both versions are currently lost. I wonder if anyone has tried systematically contacting the journalists who reviewed it? (Not that I'm volunteering myself or anyone else for such a project -- but then, the LGBTQ game archive folks seem to be on the case.)

      Delete
    6. Not only that, but multiple versions of the game. Based on that first article, screenshots may have been directly provided to post, so I wonder how many of them actually had the game in the first place.

      Delete
    7. The game got some coverage in mainstream magazines (including the German "Spiegel", who also wrote about the CRPGAddict). I wouldn't expect them to have played the game or to have any copies.

      The clostest I have seen is someone thinking he had a copy in this twitter feed, but it was never followed up: https://twitter.com/textfiles/status/943670476190167041?lang=de

      Delete
    8. I was hoping that putting it on the list might generate some leads. If nothing comes to light in a few weeks, I'll have to move it to the "lost" list.

      Man, I loved Zorro, the Gay Blade when I was a kid. I didn't even really get the "gay" aspect of it, though it was clear that SOMETHING weird was going on with one of the two brothers. I'm sure I missed a lot of the jokes. I'd watch it again, but I suspect it doesn't hold up.

      Delete
    9. The Gay Blade is one of those delightfully cheesy movies that's always fun to watch. It's never going to be a masterpiece of cinema, but it's fun.

      I dug around in some of the Archive.org DOS collections, but didn't find any sign of the game Gay Blade.

      Delete
    10. I'm not sure it helps, but here's the link to the lgbt blog post:
      https://lgbtqgamearchive.com/2018/06/18/gayblade/

      Another blog cites that one with additional comments, although nothing helpful to date: https://lostmediawiki.com/GayBlade_(lost_PC_game;_1992)

      Delete
    11. Oh, found a webcast from 2014 that talks about GayBlade, and it sounds like they had a copy with them. Maybe reach out to them: http://gaygodsofgaming.com/ggog-episode-1-in-the-ring-with-ultimate-gay-fighter/

      They start talking about it at 42:42

      Delete
    12. There's a video version of the same podcast, in which the GayBlade discussion starts around 45:10:

      https://vimeo.com/85985316

      It looks like they only have, and may just be riffing on, the manual and "Players' Survival Guide". One of the podcasters has a Ziploc bag with those, but I can't spot an actual disk in there. He seems unsure about whether it's a DOS or Macintosh game, which might indicate that they've just got the docs.

      I'd love to be wrong, though!

      Delete
    13. Thank you very much for this, I somehow completely missed this podcast!

      When I contacted Chet a few months back I asked him if he could put the word out about GayBlade, I was sure the community here would deliver and it just did, well done :D

      I just wrote to one of the hosts of the podcast. More internet sleuthing tomorrow, hopefully I can find the other host.

      Delete
    14. Since nothing seems to have turned up, I'll have to take GayBlade off the upcoming list.

      Delete
  48. I am delighted by this change. The obscure games are interesting artifacts, and I will appreciate your take on them as you get to them, but I hope to see you reach more recent games. Reporting on the obscure ones as mood and energy permit so they don't leach your enthusiasm is wise, lest you give up on the project entirely.

    ReplyDelete
  49. To be honest, you probably could be a little less generous in playing through BadUltimaClone#6,952.5 and just do a cursory examination. Ultimately, if a game isn't fun, it probably isn't going to be worth a major effort to play through. You might also consider just picking them up whenever you need a break from some of the longer titles coming in the future. It isn't like it's critical that you pick up these missed titles in chronological order.

    As far as breaking that magic 70 point mark, if Ultima 7 somehow fails to do so, then I don't think anything will until Baldur's Gate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dark Sun, which is pretty much Baldur's Gate years earlier and in a much more interesting setting, and more player choice than BG1! ;)

      Delete
    2. My bet is for Fallout.
      Before BG there are other really good cRPGs like The Elder Scrolls Arena and TES Dagerfall, Albion, M&M world of Xeen or Betrayal at Krondor. Maybe some of them could hit the 70s.
      I also loved Princess Maker 2, but not sure how will it do in the GIMLET

      Delete
    3. Yes I was going to propose Albion as a potential game that could beat Ultima IV though it is mostly unknown.
      There is also Lands of Lore, UU2 (though I prefered the first one most people prefered the second) and Dagerfall (Arena is missing meaningly NPC interaction)

      But my bet is on MicroProse's Darklands.

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    4. Darklands' mechanics are very ill thought out and unbalanced. I wonder if its fans understand how the game actually works (for example, what armor really does...) And overall, Darklands is akin to a single player MMO, with copy-pasted content everywhere so I don't see how it can possibly score higher than Ultima 5 or Pool of Radiance.
      I bet on Betrayal at Krondor :)

      Delete
    5. How bad could the implementation of armor be in Darklands?

      Unless it increases damage received or they completely forgot to include it, I can't imagine it's game breaking.

      I haven't played it, so I'm not a fan, but I'd be awfully surprised if fans of a 25 year old game don't know how the armor works.

      Delete
    6. It goes (from memory) like this: armor has "thickness" and weapons have "penetration". If your armor thinkness is equal to weapons' penetration, the damage is divided by 3; if greater, the gamage is divided by 8 (eight). Which, in practice, means: if your armor is thick enough, enemies do very little damage. Otherwise, they do full damage. And, since you can get thickest armor very soon into the game, this is what you should do. So, you see, Darklands has all kinds of armor; padded, curiboulli, scale, etc... also, items, including armor, can have different quality. In practice, however, there is no reason to wear anything that is not either plate or chainmail (if you don't have strength for plate). Quality does almost nothing, so you might as well ignore it. Similar situation is with weapons, btw... It's not exactly game breaking, but usually RPG have a lot more elaborate equpment system. Of course, none of that is explained in the manual, so many players could get fooled and think that the game has many more non-useless items than it actually does.

      Delete
    7. Sounds like it's going to be like back when he played Pool of Radiance--a huge, mechanically identical weapon list.

      Maybe some people like that for the role playing aspect.

      Bad manuals that don't explain the mechanics ARE annoying though.

      Delete
    8. Darklands was one of the few games where I recommend reading the cluebook just to understand the combat mechanics.

      For example, weapon skill in that game is inversely relative, covering both offense and defense. If you have a low chance to hit an enemy, they have a high chance to hit you, and vice versa. The game also has a hidden +10% hit chance bonus against targets without a shield, which if you combine with the shield defense bonus (around 8-12%) means not wearing a shield makes you 20%+ more likely to be hit. In the beginning of the game this is devastating, and is a good reason why you should not use 2-handed weapons until your weapon skill is in the 70-80 range.

      The cluebook also properly explains what the different attack modes do, which isn't really intuitive. Specifically, berserk mode does not add damage, only speed at the cost of defense. Vital strike adds 1-4 penetration at the cost of speed, allowing you to potentially do more damage if your weapons are failing to penetrate armor. Since swords have penetration below chain or plate, you basically always have to vital strike with them against armored opponents or you'll never do more than scratch damage.

      Delete
    9. Penetration, attack modes etc. are all properly explained in the manual (e.g. for "beserk": the character strikes more swiftly, with an increased chance of hitting, but is much more vulnerable to being hit). The cluebook just adds the numbers. I think the time is better spent reading the sections about Gothic Germany in the manual.

      Personally I love the combat mechanics of Darklands (I'd rather not go into details before the game is actually played). But I think the game is too different from the standard RPG to score exceptionally high.

      Delete
  50. Unfortunately, the 2 or 3 it is going to receive in combat will probably keep the score well below 70. I love the game, but combat is a total mess

    ReplyDelete
  51. I like the new plan, but I suggest prioritizing those 90-91 games for other systems than dos somehow. I think they shouldn't be that obscure and hold up to certain standards..well not more obscure than the obscure dos games from that era you already played anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I admit by browsing through the master list I see only Centauri Alliance standing out, but I was very much looking forward to that. It's not an obscure title for sure and earned some decent ratings. However I'm not sure that you will like that one because it's from Mr. “Bard's Tale“ Michael Cranford. On the other hand you did enjoy Dragon Wars by Rebecca Heineman, another Bard's Tale developer.

      Delete
  52. PELIT bi-annual cataloques, the precursors of pelit magazine that interviewed you long ago about your blog, have been digitized and can be found from https://solvalou.com/pelit only in Finnish though but since you like to mark contemporary rewies.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I find these undiscovered RPGs intriguing to hear about. While they might not be amazing in and of themselves, it gives a illuminating view as to what was going on in the scene at the time and the different approaches people were trying out. But yes they can get a bit tiresome. Making them a more infrequent part of the blog sounds very sensible.

    > Discuss a special topic.

    Really looking forwards to these posts.

    Personally speaking I wouldn't mind if you abandoned a few games earlier if we got to hear more of your thoughts about the genre, its evolution and trends instead.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I like this plan also, However, I suggest you consider playing and writing about one relatively modern game (2005+ or so) per year as well. This has a few benefits: You could use it to show how games have developed, it introduces more variety, it allows us to read about newer games you won't get to in decades otherwise, and most importantly it might help keeping you motivated when you are going through a drought of good games in whatever year.

    Whatever you decide, I look forward to your every post. I've been reading this blog pretty much from the start and it keeps getting better (though it was always very good). (I would comment more often, but I usually read your blog on my iPhone and for some reason my comments from that don't go through properly.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That appeals to me, except that it somewhat ruins the fun of reaching key milestones in the timeline organically. I'll think about it.

      Delete
  55. I think you probably are a candidate for sainthood. I can't imagine the difficulty of getting these old games to run on a modern computer. It makes me wonder how much of your time is devoted to making the old games run rather than actually playing games.

    Playing games like "The standing stones" all the way through?? You're a better man than I.

    I think the new rule should be subjective. You play a game long enough to get the gist of it. If you're not having fun, quit and write up a summary of why it's not fun, including a GIMLET. If you are having fun then keep going to the end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cheated a bit on The Standing Stones. I suspect that will sink my beatification.

      Delete
  56. Did you ever thought of getting kind of a research money? I just think of the Museum of Modern Art, NY, where Dwarf Fortress was exhibited.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, no. If someone sees a grant opportunity, I'd be happy to submit my application to spend the next 10 years playing and writing about games.

      Delete
  57. I've just recently read your entire blog most of the way through (minus a few Ultimas that I'd like to revisit myself at some point). You've helped keep me sane while I sat in a quiet room rocking my new daughter to sleep on many a late night. I don't really care what games you're playing; just keep writing and I'll be happy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great to hear, Dan. Congratulations on the new addition to your family.

      Delete
  58. Here is a missing one for your list: Legend of the Red Dragon, 1989.
    Links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_of_the_Red_Dragon http://lord.stabs.org/ -- play online live with others! Getting the 1989 version instead of a later update may be tricky.

    This is in the category of BBS door game, in which your list is quite incomplete. At least this one was well liked and still has a following.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LORD has been discussed a few times but I think getting the 1989 version was the primary roadblock. It's definitely an important door game -- though by saying that I'm not making an argument for or against the inclusion of door games in general on the Addict's list.

      A lot of BBS door games put hard limits on turns per day to extend the shelf life of otherwise-brief content. So at least if the Addict chooses to play more of them, many should be trivial to blow through. The version of LORD I played ca. 1995 probably took 4-5 gameplay hours to beat, tops, but that was spread out over weeks.

      Delete
  59. I'm kind of sad about this shift, but I knew it was coming. It's a necessity. The number of RPGs that currently exist is already high enough that they cannot possibly all be completed within a human lifetime, so as noble as the thought of meticulously documenting all of them is, that goal would need the efforts of way more than one person to be even theoretically reachable. As it is, a certain amount of cherry-picking just has to happen, no way around it.

    I would suggest as a partial remedy a more aggressive use of the "drop a game after X hours if not having any fun with it" clause that you initially had but seemed to tacitly discard at some point.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Another one for the list: Local Area Dungeon. 1993, Windows 3.1, roguelike. http://bonny.ploeg.ws/ladindex.htm

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ3pRfrzhQE

    Doesn't appear on Mobygames.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks like a nightmare of a roguelike, but I'm intrigued because that top-level domain suggests we have our first (and only) Samoan RPG.

      Delete
  61. Hey, I don't think the game will be good by any metric, but Mobygames is missing The Power Stones of Ard I and II for the TRS-80. Apparently the first was developed in 1987 by a Brian Cleveland. Here's a link to the manual: https://archive.org/details/Power_Stones_of_Ard_The_1991_Three_Cs_Projects
    and a few minutes of gameplay on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UXHHMvfLBY

    I do know that the roms exist on the internet. (I might even have the files on the hard drive of my old computer)

    The only thing I know about these is that there is some kind of hellacious maze in it. So... sorry in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Very sorry to do this, Chet, but I have a bunch of games to add to the list again...

    I've found and tried out several Macintosh RPGs recently, and noticed they're not in your list.

    One would be Pathways into Darkness, an FPS with XP and levelups and an inventory system. Should be enough to qualify it as an RPG. Marathon, too, isn't in your list, which is also an FPS with enough RPG elements to qualify. Both were made by Bungie.
    Mobygames entries: https://www.mobygames.com/game/macintosh/pathways-into-darkness
    https://www.mobygames.com/game/marathon

    Then there are a bunch of more obscure Mac RPGs that don't even have Mobygames entries, so it's no wonder they're not on your list. All of these I have either verified myself or clearly show RPG stats and/or inventories in their sceenshots. I've weeded out those that clearly aren't RPGs.

    Anira: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/5319-anira

    Arcane Arena: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/10840-arcane-arena

    Atlas - The Gift of Aramai: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/3612-atlas-the-gift-of-aramai

    Battlin' Babe: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/3345-battlin-babe

    Castle Chaos: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/2932-castle-chaos

    Chronicle of Ekan: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/3627-chronicle-of-ekan

    Death Blade: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/4204-death-blade

    Dragon Alpha: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/3048-dragon-alpha

    Duck Quest: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/5272-duck-quest

    Fawn and Fawn 2 (but they look so utterly amateurish and terrible, I'd understand if you left them out...): https://www.macintoshrepository.org/19878-fawn
    https://www.macintoshrepository.org/19879-fawn-ii

    Gang Wars: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/4077-gang-wars

    JauntTrooper - Mission Firestorm (this one seems to be a sequel to Mission Thunderbolt, which is currently in your soon upcoming titles): https://www.macintoshrepository.org/5324-jaunttrooper-mission-firestorm
    This abandonware site has more info on it: https://www.old-games.com/download/3973/jaunttrooper-mission-firestorm

    Legendary Lair: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/5863-legendary-lair

    Mac Rogue: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/6003-mac-rogue-3-0

    Mantra I and II. The first one barely qualifies as an RPG, but the second does, so I might as well post both. https://www.macintoshrepository.org/3741-mantra-
    https://www.macintoshrepository.org/3548-mantra-ii

    Mechanical Anarchy: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/3309-mechanical-anarchy

    Mighty Nerd vs The Supervillains: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/4723-mighty-nerd-vs-the-supervillains

    Mythos: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/5677-mythos-0-8-9

    Pillars of Garendall: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/4365-pillars-of-garendall

    Quest of Yipe!: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/4714-quest-of-yipe-i-ii-iii-

    Shattered Stone: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/10601-shattered-stone

    ReplyDelete
  63. (Second part of my post about Macintosh games, for the whole thing was so big Blogger didn't allow me to put it all in one post...)

    Shattered Stone: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/10601-shattered-stone

    Siege of Darkwood (possibly related to the also Mac-only game simply called Darkwood, already in your list? Maybe a sequel?): https://www.macintoshrepository.org/4561-siege-of-darkwood

    Star Seed: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/13474-star-seed

    Sword Dream (it's mostly an RPG creation engine, but it comes with a bunch of scenarios included so definitely worth a look): https://www.macintoshrepository.org/3171-sword-dream

    Teltnuag IIa: https://www.macintoshrepository.org/13382-teltnuag-iia

    The New Centurions (made by the same guy who made Realmz, except this one is scifi; very cool game): https://www.macintoshrepository.org/13482-the-new-centurions

    The Trials of Achenar (I have not tried this one myself yet, and the screenshots on the site don't show much, so I can't guarantee if it qualifies): https://www.macintoshrepository.org/4736-the-trials-of-achenar

    And that's it for now. I linked you all the games from the list that (potentially) qualify as RPGs, while leaving out those I determined to not be RPGs. It's still a pretty sizeable amount of games to add, so I feel a little bad about it, but some of these are genuinely good games so it's not too bad, is it ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There has never been a more fitting time for the phrase, "I can't even."

      Delete
  64. I'll recommend one more game fore the list. Fantasyland 2041 A.D. by Crystalware

    http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-fantasyland-2041-ad_1935.html

    Crystalware published several RPGs around 1981/1982, but if you were going to play any of them, I'd suggest Fantasyland. I recently played a bit, and I think it meets all your RPG requirements.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to have to look into this Crystalware a bit more. Although your recommended Fantasyland they seem to have published several RPGs during the period, and this was not a period rich in RPGs. I'll add House of Usher (1980) and Fantasyland to the list and see how they go.

      Delete
  65. Blogger seems to keep eating my comment. Is it normal for it to happen like ten times?
    Another game you don't seem to have heard of is Ironseed. (or Iron Seed as so many sites seem to call it for some reason) It's like Star Flight or Star Control, except with more focus on building your own stuff. You don't actually explore any of the planets though, since your characters don't have physical forms. (the story's a bit weird)
    https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/iron-seed
    Whoever added it to Moby seems to think it turns into a 4X, but based on completing a decent chunk of it, that seems like a load of bunk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I found and checked out Iron Seed recently too, and it seems sufficiently RPG to have a place on this list. Particularly different characters with different stats and skills. It's a really cool and unique game and worth checking out

      Delete
  66. Don't know if you appreciate random readers asking about random games, but have you ever considered a 1994 game called Ironseed? It's in the vein of Star Control II and Starflight, albeit with a bit of a crafting focus.

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    1. I hadn't heard of it. I just read its Wikipedia and MobyGames profiles, and nobody really seems to think it's an RPG. I agree that it sounds a little like Star Control II, but I don't see SC2 as much of an RPG, either. I can't keep making exceptions for non-RPGs or I'll never get anywhere.

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    2. I'd agree with that if the person who added to either of it seemed to play it, but Moby thinks it turns into Master of Orion later and wiki calls it a RTS...which is technically true, but not really. It does fit all three criteria you list as being an RPG, even the second, which I don't think SCII has? (I'm just reading up to Hero's Quest, haven't touched the newest ones) I get where you're coming from, but I also don't think it's entirely fair to base it on someone misconstruing the game.

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  67. Ironseed is more of an RPG than Star Control 2, it's closer to Starflight (from what I've read about Starflight). You upgrade your ship but you also have a crew with stats and experience. It follows the familiar pattern: explore a huge galaxy, gather resources and upgrade your ship, meet strange alien races and slowly uncover the main plot. Combat is real-time but rare, very slow moving and more tactical (I didn't like it very much though).

    What makes the game interesting is its more serious tone and transhumanist setting. E.g. your crew is stored on databanks which can get corrupted over time, making it necessary to restore a backup of their personality. It's also a much less polished product than Star Flight/Star Control: buggy, a bit repetitive, and very hard. It has great ratings on Abandonware sites, and it sure has its qualities, but I'd take those ratings with a grain of salt.

    Since you played Star Flight/Star Control 2, it would probably make sense to put this on your list, and spend a single entry on it when you cover 1994. I wouldn't recommend trying to complete it. But in the end, just do what you think is best.

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