Friday, October 4, 2019

10 Reasons I'm Still Blogging About CRPGs After 10 Years

In case you're not already aware, the 10th anniversary of the CRPG Addict is coming up on 15 February 2020. Other than my marriage, which turns 21 this month, I can't think of anything that I've stuck with for 10 years. Since 2010, I've moved five times (it will soon be six), switched primary jobs three times, started and abandoned dozens of diet and exercise programs, made and lost several friends, and, if we're being honest, even tried to quit the blog once. Spoiler: it didn't work.

In recognition of my 10th anniversary, I've decided that for the next four months, I will periodically pen a special entry plumbing this project's past. I've written down several ideas but I would welcome more:
       
  • The 10 best comments ever received
  • 10 times I was very wrong
  • 10 great discoveries
  • The 10 most frustrating threads
           
But I'm starting today--mostly because I haven't done enough with Fantasyland 2041 to round out a full entry--with my list of 10 reasons I'm still pursuing this hopeless task to play all CRPGs.

10. Commentary on art is important.

In thinking about art, in analyzing it, in discussing it, we make it part of us; we make it live in a way that transcends the creator's pen or brush. One of the things I was "very wrong" about is when I agreed with Roger Ebert that video games are not art. At first I thought I was wrong because of a failure of definition: "art" is too complex a concept to be subjected to, to be generalized with, an "is." Now I think I was wrong just because I was wrong. You hardly have to twist the definition of "art" to make it encompass video games; you only have to abandon certain unfortunate prejudices. 

Perhaps the most important proof that video games are art is the level of critique that they provoke. Over the last 10 years, you and I have dissected hundreds of games and discussed how their plots, themes, mechanics, and artwork do and do not work, do and do not satisfy, on every level from aesthetic to socio-political. These are the same discussions that people have about paintings, books, films, and music.

I believe that there is incredible value to this commentary--not because either the art or the commentary is necessary to human existence, but precisely because it isn't. The measure of a great civilization must surely be how much time it devotes to unnecessary things. Oh, we certainly have some lingering problems, but what more testament do you need to our victories over hunger, disease, and violence than the existence of Keeping up with the Karashians, pet chiropractors, and a blog that spends decades chronicling every video game in a niche genre?
          
9. It's a nice contrast with reality.

To protect my anonymity, I don't discuss my "real" job on my blog. But suffice to say it's unlike playing computer role-playing games. It does not involve any art or entertainment, or the creation thereof, or the consumption thereof. It is worldly and necessary, about making existence sufferable rather than actually enjoyable. I'm not going to pretend that I play computer role-playing games as an antidote--I was addicted to them long before I had this job--but certainly this blog, in contrasting with the work I do during the rest of the day, fills my life with more variety than I would otherwise enjoy.

8. It makes me a better writer.

Communication skills are important in just about every profession and every walk of society. Because of this blog, I've written over 2 million words, the equivalent of about 5 door-stopper novels, in less than a decade. I've certainly put in the 10,000 hours that are supposed to make you an expert at something.
         
7. I learn things.
         
Once, I scoffed at the idea that RPGs actually taught you anything. But 10 years later, I find myself with a nascent ability to read German, much greater knowledge of the history and culture of Finland, a better understanding of classical mythology, and a large number of new technical skills. A lot of this learning, of course, has less to do with the games than with the discussions that we have on the blog, but this post is about why I'm still blogging, not just playing.
          
6. Maybe one day I'll work on an RPG.
            
The more I think about it, the more I think it would be fun to participate in the development of an actual game. I can't bring any technical skill to such an endeavor, but at least I can say that I have overall subject matter skill.
           
5. It's making me some pocket money.
              
This obviously isn't a major consideration because I only started my Patreon account this year. But thanks to my awesome supporters, I'm taking Irene to Chicago in a couple of weeks. This makes her feel a lot better about the time I spent on the blog.
           
4. It captures what might otherwise be forgotten.

In the last 10 years, we've uncovered and exhaustively explored many games that would have been utterly lost otherwise. I'm not the only one doing this, of course--Jimmy Maher and Matt Barton deserve particular accolades. But I like that I play a unique niche in this community by often being the only one to fully play a game from beginning to end.
             
3. I no longer feel like I'm wasting time playing CRPGs.
               
I used to beat myself up--a lot--for how much time I spent on computer role-playing games. I felt particularly bad about playing them to the exclusion of doing things with Irene. I haven't felt that way in a long time. The blog "legitimizes" my hobby in a way that I wouldn't have anticipated--not only because it's my blog but because it engages me in discussions with other fans of the genre. Prior to 2010, my CRPG addiction was a solitary, lonely, shameful experience. Post-2010, it is a community experience that adds value to a global understanding of this art form. What a change.
             
2. I really enjoy the discussions.

Early on, I thought that I would probably keep blogging even if I didn't have any commenters, just because I enjoyed the experience of blogging itself. Now, I'm not so sure. I think my blog would be missing something without all of the great comments that expand, supplement, and sometimes correct my own observations. I find myself looking forward to what certain commenters will have to say about certain aspects of a game, and I eagerly check in with comments a few hours after each posting.
               
1. I still think I can make it.

I don't know why I persist in this delusion. I can see for myself how many games lie both behind me and ahead of me on the "master list." And yet some part of me believes that I'll reject a lot of them, or that the process will go faster as they get more "playable," or that I'll somehow find a lot more time to spend on the project. Either way, my quest to be the One Man who has played all computer RPGs continues with Fantasyland 2041. Very soon.

152 comments:

  1. Glad you are back!!!

    You and Jimmy have made my week for years... glad you finally set up patreon to let us support the effort!

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    1. http://dmweb.free.fr/files/DMCSB-SoundEffect-Attack(Giggler).mp3

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  2. Congratulations on ten years!

    One aspect that you didn't mention, but that I hope you might agree with is related to #4: You have INSPIRED a lot of other writers to try to follow in your footsteps and do amazing things. Of course TAG is one, but there have been many others that have come and gone including CRPG Adventures, Data-Driven Game, RPG Consoler, and others that either started because they were inspired by your or kept at it. Thanks for spending the time and inspiring others to learn more and teach more about the history of gaming.

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    1. I'm proud of that, and it's certainly a worthwhile consequence of my blog, though I'm not sure it counts as one of the things that KEEPS me blogging, if that makes sense. But thanks either way.

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    2. Yes, thanks for inspiring the fruitful byproduct of the Adventure Gamer blog!

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    3. Another side effect you might not anticipate, regardless of whether it inspires you to write, is you encourage the documentation of lost or forgotten historical CRPGs on obscure platforms by affirming that at least one person cares about the topic and raising the remote chance that someday it may be analysed with great rigor before a wide audience.

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    4. Might want to go through and review the blogroll, though. Some of them abandoned their blogs, as is all too sadly common. One of the things that I like the most about this blog is the consistency and the author doesn't get bored and start doing something else. His addiction actually is the key to the entire project.

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    5. Hey, CRPG Adventures! That's me!

      Yes, it's no secret that I was 100% inspired by Chester. I read his blog from start to finish and then said to myself "I want to do that too". It's perhaps one of my dumber decisions, but I'm still very slowly persisting with it after a mere 5.5 years.

      Not a patch on Chester's 10 years and 339 games, however. Congrats on that, you've given me plenty of inspiration, a lot of entertainment, and a list of games to play that's bound to be far longer than my possible lifespan. Cheers!

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    6. This blog inspired me to start my Elder Scrolls trilogy blog a few months before my daughter was born. Now she's eight years old and I'm hopefully halfway done with Skyrim.

      I don't have many readers (hardly any comments anyway) so I am looking forward to being "done" with it, but I am determined to give it a proper end rather than abandon it.

      I was glad to see the Patreon for this finally come into being and happily donate money every month. This blog has been more entertaining than most AAA titles released these days.

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    7. Both my Super Famicom RPGs blog and my Strategy RPGs blog were influenced by both this blog and RPG Consoler (who was influenced by CRPG Addict).

      Like RPG Consoler, I started a Super Famicom games blog in 2011, but I didn't get very far because I wasn't really sure how to do it. Reading Chester's posts has taught me a lot about how to write, even if I don't think my own posts are as good.

      I also agree about the discussions -- it definitely provides motivation to write more detail and more often if you know people are reading and commenting.

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    8. Having been a reader since 2013 or so, it's difficult for me to estimate just how much CRPG Addict influenced Data Driven Gamer as far as content and style goes - I've been playing games with a data-driven, chronological approach since before DOSBox was a thing. His writing style very likely influenced mine at least subconsciously. But I'm certain that it was CRPG Addict that gave me the inspiration to write about my hobby, and to give my experiences with old games a permanent record that people would want to read.

      And also using the Simple theme. Works for him, works for me.

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    9. Your reviews/reports on obscure old RPGs has actually invigorated my interest in obscure RPGs and made me research a bit. Found plenty of obscure games not even in Chet's master list (and made him add them to his list, to Chet's great despair :p ), and contributed quite a few posts to the "Really Obscure RPGs" thread over on RPG Codex.

      This blog showed me how important it is to catalogue and preserve obscure games. Even if they're not half as good as the well known classics, they often have a personality of their own and interesting unorthodox gameplay ideas not usually seen in bigger releases.

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    10. @raifield
      Been reading traversing tamriel for years. Unfortunately the "blogger" comment system is ... not good on phones (iOS at least) and I suspect there are others like me that want to read but aren't willing to sign in on a computer to leave comments.
      Your journey has been fantastic and I'm interested to see how you wrap it up.

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    11. Well, my blog wouldn't exist as it does today without Chet's. I wouldn't consider it abandoned; I'm just not sure when I'll be able to start it up again.

      So, congrats on 10 solid years, Chet. Looking forward to so many games in the future. That might something to list, 10 things you're looking forward to doing with the blog.

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    12. @Unknown
      Thanks for being a reader! Hearing that someone is enjoying the blog is a major boost to my desire to update more often.

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  3. Thank you for sticking around all these years, Chet.

    I hope to be thanking you again ten years from now!

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    1. I honestly worry that blogging will stop being a "thing" before I'm ready to stop.

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    2. Post-singularity, CRPGs may cease having any meaning. So, I wouldn't think TOO far ahead.

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    3. I don't think it will stop being a thing, just as books and written articles haven't. But it's indeed quite rare to find an author that keeps on doing it for so long. Most only last a few years at most and then disappear, often without a word.

      On the other hand, I believe you had a Youtube channel too, by now eight months have passed without any new content. Are you planning on resurrecting it now that you have more time?

      Some bloggers also branch into podcasts, have you thought about creating one? Though your desire to remain anonymous would certainly conflict, and not everyone likes the format.

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    4. Message boards have gone out of fashion, being partially replaced by Facebook/WhatsApp/Whatever, but they are still around and the ones users care about are still doing pretty well. Same with mailing lists and newsgroups, if you go back further in time. I used to be on a heavily frequented mailing list and it died eventually, but it was mostly because people stopped caring about the TV show it was about.

      Even if blogging stops being a thing, you don't have to worry about it. As long as you care, there will be enough commenters that will, too.

      I just hope you have backups in case Blogger ever shuts down.

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    5. Please stay with the classic written blog format instead of going for podcasts! I much prefer reading at my own pace over listening to a voice recording. Written report of the ganeplay + annotated screenshots is the perfect format for this.

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    6. I've been wanting to make more use of my YouTube channel, but my priority (as far as the blog is concerned) is always to get five full blog entries in the pipeline before I do anything else. On the rare occasions that I'm that far ahead, I then try to split my time between:

      -Videos
      -The Book
      -Cleaning up past blog entries

      Nonetheless, once I get out of this month (I still have two major reports and one database app due, now overdue), I think I'll have a lot more time, and I do intend to make better use of the channel. Videos will always be secondary, however, and I don't have any interest in audio-only formats (like podcasts) at all.

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    7. It's probably wise that you don't do a podcast if you're going to still do videos. I'd say your plate is pretty full with that list you have. Editing audio can be a time sink.

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    8. Oh, the book. After not hearing about it for so long, at this point I thought it was abandoned

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  4. Congrats on such an accomplishment, Chet!

    Other top 10 ideas:
    10 most unique characters
    10 most memorable encounters without fighting
    10 best puzzles to solve in a CRPG
    10 most useful spells in all CRPG's played so far
    10 player character/class types that brought out the best roleplaying moments

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    1. 10 best side-quests
      10 dumbest spells
      10 strangest names for NPCs

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    2. The top 10 single thing you would change in a given CRPG that would have made it 100% better

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    3. There have been a huge number of stupid pun names used in rpgs. I found the best odd ones have been randomly generated ones such as the books and character epithets in dwarf fortress.

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    4. All good ideas. I'll play with some of them.

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    5. Maybe some of this suggestion would work better in a frame of an era of games or sub-rpg-genre, like dungeon crawlers or goldbox games (you are reaching an end there so it would be interresting with, the best side quest, must useless spell or best npc etc...).

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    6. ... but when I think about it's getting closer and closer to names on clickbait on youtube, so you should maybe disregard my other cooment and see this as an extra and fun diversion from time to time to the rest of your blogging.

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    7. Clickbait point noted, but I still had one thought to share:

      "10 most immersion-breaking pop culture references in a CRPG"

      Anyway, my congratulations as well to the Addict for (nearly) 10 years of blogging!

      The tiny little film blog I have with my wife reached the decade mark last year, so I know something of what it's like to see through a commitment like that -- and we don't have anything even remotely like the readership or consistency of The CRPG Addict.

      Still, your points #3-4 and #7-10 have resonance for us too. There's a magical feeling in writing about a piece of art that's been utterly ignored by the rest of the world, and knowing that your analysis and reflections on it are among the first, or even the very first. It sheds a little light and, in its quiet way, refuses to capitulate to the world's cultural (or literal) entropy.

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    8. I'd love to see CRPG Top Ten Pet Peeves.

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    9. 1. Level caps
      2. No support for the keyboard.

      I could probably think of 8 more.

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    10. 3. Annoying music / sound effects that can't be turned off

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  5. Maybe the discussion about rpgs being ‚art‘ is difficult because the term ‚art‘ in itself is so complex. Art as a word might trigger associations of or evoke connotations similar to painting, photography or classical music.

    You might be better off comparing directly to books or movies.

    Especially rpgs - more so then usually e.g. platformers - tell a Story and rely on certain techniques than can be discussed.

    These kind of thoughts make it easier for me to open up the world of arts for rpgs.

    And by the way: I am so glad you are here!!! Your blog has offered me a way to think differently about rpgs. It helped to see these games from a more technical, factual perspective.

    Keep the awesome work!

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    1. Oh by the way forgot to use my name on the previous post.

      One suggestion. Keep an eye out on Kickstarter rpgs. Such as the recent ‚Skald‘.

      I found especially the guys with kickstarters (or Indiegogo or fig) to be quite open to feedback and potentially support.

      I guess if anyone can help an rpg get better it’s you!

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    2. I confess to a prejudice against Kickstarter games that I should probably reconsider.

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    3. The idea that video games are incapable of being art is an idea that I can't even wrap my head around, even as a devil's advocate.

      It could make some sense 30-40 years ago when they weren't much more than electronic carnival games. (Can carnival games be art?) But then they grew the ability to incorporate pretty much all other art forms -- music, visual, narrative, etc. -- just like films does. Some games are basically slightly interactive movies.

      So is the argument really that some element of interactivity disqualifies something as art? That seems to me a depressingly small-minded perspective. At its best that interactivity allows for something truly artistically novel.

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    4. It's just a mainstream media writer looking down on people he considers the Outgroup. Don't read any more into it than that. Only his Ingroup, which includes him naturally, can possibly make Art. The rest of you are all soulless heathens and deplorables.

      You don't have to Tell A Story to be Art. Playing Discs of Tron is Art, just as much as the movie Tron is Art. Playing Discs of Tron at a master level is High Art. Fight me.

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    5. One definition of art is that it is supposed to evoke feelings and thoughts in you. In that regard many games (perhaps even most when we look at all of them) at best qualify as popcorn art if at that. You're entertained, feeling enjoyment, but not really moved beyond just being engaged in a fun activity.

      But there are absolutely many games what do qualify as art, or even Art with capital A. Games that truly move you, that give you pause, that make you contemplate things. And where the interactivity enhances things. They are better art *because* they are games, not despite being games.

      An example that immediately comes to my mind of that is Undertale. That story simply wouldn't work as anything but a game, since it depends on player agency in making those choices and especially using certain features of the game interface. And having used and done those things in other games before...

      Sure, not every game is like that, but neither is every book, every movie, or every painting. And world is better for that.

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    6. Are CRPGs art or not? Well, I would say: They can be. When I play wonderful creations like Daggerfall, Dwarf Fortress, Wizardry 6, or Witcher 3, I feel excitement not only through the act of playing, but also through an experience that resembles reading a good book or looking at a work of art. And a well-designed game - action, gameplay, technique, construction - definitely requires an artistic handwriting.

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    7. >It could make some sense 30-40 years ago when they weren't much more than electronic carnival games. (Can carnival games be art?)
      They definitely CAN. I'm not hugely into pinball, so I'm not going to speak for the pinball aficionado community in general here,but I'm positive lots of its members considers pinball tables works of art, and they absolutely include 40-50 year old vintage tables in that.

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    8. Perhaps the most important proof that video games are art is the level of critique that they provoke. [...] These are the same discussions that people have about paintings, books, films, and music.

      It's often been claimed that video games aren't art because the meaningful experience is created through the interaction between the player(s) and the product, rather than anything inherent in the product. I always found that ridiculous, but I think the fact that such critical discussions are even possible is an irrefutable argument against it. The fact that we're critiquing the content of these games and not just swapping personal anecdotes shows that we've got a common frame of reference. When somebody writes an essay explaining why Super Mario Bros. level 1-1 is the most important level of the game and explains the purpose of every element down to the last brick position, none of us experienced that level exactly the same way the writer did, and yet we all understand what he's talking about.

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    9. Doesn't the meaningful experience in other forms of art also happen through the interaction of the viewer with the art? Someone who knows a lot about classical antiquity and christian symbolism is going to get more out of a Renaissance painting than someone who knows nothing about either. Looking at a painting and seeing all of the themes and symbols in it is interaction, in a way. With a good movie, you're also supposed to notice the details, the nuances in the acting, etc. In a comic book, a small seemingly insignificant item standing on a table in a panel on the first page may actually be a highly symbolic item that is of importance later in the story and the reader will only get it on his second reading of the comic.

      All forms of art require the viewer or reader to invest himself in the artwork. Computer games just take one step further.

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    10. It would mean that art can't be interactive, a notion that I think few artists would agree with.

      Everything can be art. Use a hammer to put a nail into a wall, and it isn't art. Put the hammer in a museum with a plaque next to it, and it is art. Art is when people value something beyond its mere utility - which for computer games would be entertainment. I think its obvious that many people care about computer games beyond their entertainment value.

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    11. My posts in this thread keep on not going through, so I may have forgotten the primary point I was trying to make.
      Regular art, which is to say music, paintings, movies, aren't really interactive. There are the odd interactive items, but those are usually quite obscure and relegated to museum exhibits that you probably won't be able to get. Games as an artform let you make really interactive art pieces, which is both its appeal and the reason why it hasn't really taken off. A painter is capable of making multiple masterpieces a year, but a game maker requires far, far more time. I'm not saying the painter is any less capable, but he usually doesn't have to do multiple paintings for a single project.
      I feel like a well-crafted RPG especially does the medium justice. A well-crafted one can remember thousands of things the player has done and screw with them later. I feel like the eventual next step is something like Facade's dialog system, improved.
      However, I feel like most of the reason why people don't think of video games as art is that most of the people saying video games are art are usually doing it so they can feel like they haven't wasted their lives playing crap. To be at the big boys table. To find the Citizen Kane of games so they can be validated as the Roger Ebert of video games. Nevermind that movie reviewers and directors didn't spend all their time talking about whether or not movies are art or not. That Citizen Kane failed horribly at first. That Ebert started off small.
      What I'm saying is, if everyone in games so concerned about whether or not they were art were focused on making art instead of talking about it. This conversation wouldn't happen because there wouldn't be a question about it.

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    12. While other art forms aren't as interactive as video games, they still have their own interactivity. I think this is most obvious in sculpture or architecture. You have to choose how to move around and explore them.

      This is sort of the point my first post was trying to make. If someone sculpts or builds something in a video game, why would it be any less art because you use a controller and monitor to navigate it instead?

      Of course, I think that interactivity is actually an asset, not a liability, but I don't see how you can neatly box video games away from other art forms.

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    13. I don't really think you can call where you're looking at something interactivity. I think you're really trying to stretch things into things they're not. Its an extreme comparison, but its like saying a movie can be interactive if you choose to sit on your head.
      Interactions have to affect the art in some way. You're not changing anything related to the art piece by moving anywhere. I wouldn't call a piece of software that just let you walk through a famous landmark a game or interactive if all it did was let you walk through it.
      But regardless, I think we're at least both agreed that there's nothing that makes video games less art than anything else.

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    14. Yeah, I'm definitely stretching 'interactive' there, but I do see some sort of continuum. Is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book interactive? I would say 'yes', though you are mostly just choosing a path through it. Are you changing it, or just viewing it in a certain way?

      But maybe 'interactive' wasn't the right word. I guess I'm more getting at the idea that the viewer needs to participate and make some sort of choices instead of being completely passive and neutral. And I think that's there in classic art, and just magnified in video games.

      The walking-simulator genre is an interesting bridge here. You do sort of just walk through it. I would call it a game (and art), but that is debated.

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    15. All art is 'interactive' on some level, but i think there's a useful distinction between art that everyone experiences the same way in a mechanical sense, and art for which that isnt true, and I think interactive is a useful term for the latter. A lot of art installations fit the bill, as do CYOA and video games.

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    16. On one hand, I want to say that CYOA type books* aren't really interactive in the sense I'm trying to get across. Everybody is more or less going to have the same experience. On the other hand, I might be keeping my figures on the back pages so I can see where all the story goes while someone else might just pick one adventure. So I guess I'd say it is interactive, but just barely. Although on a third, weird hand you could also cut up a TV show or movie and rearrange all the scenes so its a different experience than everyone else. I don't think I'd call them interactive just because someone could do this.

      I get the point you're making to a point, but I don't honestly think that makes art interactive. You could look at the same painting at a hundred points in your life and see different things, but the same information is being conveyed. You can't tell or do anything to the painting to change it. I don't think because you have different thoughts in your head that makes it interactive.

      Walking simulators I think tend to mostly fall under game, except for the reason I outlined.

      *But not gamebooks, oddly, since I don't see any reason why they're not fully in the interactive camp.

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  6. This may sound delusional, but I, like you, actually believe that you can make it. The kind of progress you have made is amazing. I would never have thought even a self-confessed addict could be as meticulous, but moreover as enthusiastic in engaging with this kind of subject matter. Thank you for taking us along on the ride. You have given me and everybody here countless hours of reading, discussing, and imagining pleasure.

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    1. Came down here just to say:
      I too still believe he can make it.

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    2. Everyone who plays CRPGs knows that the time limit is always fake!

      Seriously, I love this site as it brings back happy memories of the old games I played, and imaginings of the ones I missed. I don't care at all if it dawdles along forever in the past of CRPGs.

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    3. >> "Everyone who plays CRPGs knows that the time limit is always fake!"

      That sound you just heard from behind you was the original Fallout clearing its throat.

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    4. They wimped out and patched out the time limit, so you effectively have infinite time if you download it nowadays. So lame. I want my stakes, dammit!

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    5. Huh. What does the big "X days left" note on the Pipboy screen say now? Does it still count down to zero and then just have nothing happen?

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    6. I'm not sure. I actually never noticed the timer on the Pip-Boy.

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  7. Welcome back and congrats on the upcoming milestone of a whole decade of dungeoneering. For a top ten, how about the ten games you're looking forward to covering most as you make your way through the rest of the 1990s? Should be handy encouragement for the next ten years of blogging, at least.

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  8. I would like an update on "The most annoying crpg enemies" and more similar lists in the future.

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    1. I think about that list a lot, but nothing quite so worthy has appeared since I last updated it.

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  9. I'm actually really curious about Fantasyland 2041. The manual is really interesting, the gameplay is strange and unique, and I played it for an hour and literally couldn't do anything but keep dying after no less than 10 - 12 attempts.

    Congratulation on 10 years of blogging. If it counts, you actually helped inspire me to start adding old RPGs and other forgotten games on Mobygames. Back on your Lords of Time article, you noted surprise that the game was not on Mobygames. I was curious too, and I realized lots of games I knew existed are really poorly or not at all documented. I've now added nearly 600 games between 1978 - 1988, and over 6000 screenshots. Oh, and Lords of Time is awaiting approval.

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    1. Awesome! Salute for that, documentation like that is really important!

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    2. I started playing FL2041 yesterday but I'm having trouble making progress. It's not even really an RPG by my standards. I wish I had something obviously easy to ease myself back in after a long break.

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  10. 10 worst games, worst characters, worst stories, worst plot twists, worst shifts in quality, worst sequels, worst ripoffs, worst designers, worst puzzles, worst navigation.

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  11. 10 reasons I still play ROMs and P.C. games on Good Old Games after all these years:

    1. There are a lot of great games on those old systems: I have found hundreds of great games on the NES, SNES, Genesis and Turbografx.

    2. Imagination: Many of these old games are very creative and unique and have clever forms of gameplay.

    3. Archival: One day I will probably move them to a separate hard drive or cloud server, giving them a permanent home even if the companies erase them from their websites.

    4. Pride: These games are often very challenging, and so beating them is very fulfilling,

    5. Predate many of the worst design decisions: Quick Time Events, button mashing, D.L.C, microtransactions and the obsession with boring First Person Shooters and battle royales: All very rare until the last few generations.

    6. Translation: Some excellent games have only received unofficial translations in ROM form, like Rondo of Blood, Dark Half, King Kong 2, Corcoron, the NES Ganbare Goemons and Gunman's Proof.

    7. Expense and obscurity: It would probably take years of hundreds of thousands of dollars to get all of the games I have in ROMsets.

    8. Accessibility of reviews: Unfamiliar games usually have a variety of reviews on the Internet to tell me whether they are worth playing.

    9. Convenience: Having each system's ROMs in a folder and an emulator with a search function is much more convenient than having to plug and unplug systems in my television and dig through boxes of games to find something.

    10. Bosses: I hate P.C. Gamer's take on this *https://www.pcgamer.com/boss-fights-good-or-bad/* There are a lot of great bosses in these old games.

    ReplyDelete
  12. 10 hidden CRPG gems seems like a natural fit for this blog. Pleb lists on big websites would include games like Baldur's Gate that everybody has heard of. Somebody more "in the know" might list games that are still pretty famous in CRPG circles, like Dungeon Master and the Gold Box series. You could probably come up with 10 hidden gems that are not only hidden, but positively buried.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dark Heart, Omega, and Robert Clardy's games are probably biggest 'discoveries' from where I sit.

      Delete
    2. Omega is one of the few games that might deserves a second bite from the Addict.

      Delete
    3. That's up there as well.

      tbh I'd never heard of Starflight, but I know many of you had.

      Delete
    4. Yeah, this would be a good top 10. It's because of this blog that I'm seriously looking into playing DoS, Sword of Aragon, and Starflight.

      Delete
    5. 10 hidden gems does sound like an excellent idea for a post... However, don't the Addicts ratings already do that? Would likely just end up as a lot of cut and pasting from previous posts.

      Delete
    6. I feel like a top 10 hidden gems would probably be good for each era. Its entirely possible that in the future they'll be buried by the not so hidden gems.

      Delete
  13. I kinda want 10 best places to visit in New Orleans as a bonus.

    Oh, and congrats on the 10 years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. Maison Bourbon (jazz club)
      2. Fritzel's (jazz club)
      3. Bombay Club (jazz club)
      4. Three Muses (jazz club)
      5. d.b.a (jazz club)
      6. Spotted Cat (jazz club)
      7. Port St. Peter when it's 3:00 AM and you're really craving a delicious burger and enormous baked potato
      8. The Copper Monkey when it's 3:00 AM and you're really craving some jambalaya
      9. The World War II Museum
      10. The courtyard of the headquarters of the New Orleans Police Department

      Delete
    2. First thing I'd do if I ever set foot in New Orleans would certainly be going to as many jazz clubs as I can.

      I'm no jazz connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination (where does one start? I know a couple Miles Davis albums, obviously, and love them tremendously; also, I liked the fusion of prog rock and jazz they had back in the 70's, plus some obscure stuff like Bohren & Der Club of Gore, but still, that's a daunting genre to get into), but I LOVE seeing jazz performances — especially in clubs.

      And, well, I guess NOLA's the place to be if you enjoy such performances.

      Delete
    3. Copper Monkey had a fire a while back...still not reopened I believe. Make sure to check before you try to go there at 3 AM.

      Delete
    4. Ah, the New Orleans Police Department. While I was living there, they found a man in the Orleans Parish Prison (that's what the jail is called). There was no record of his arrest, or booking, or any reason why he was there. He had been there about six weeks, and lacking any charges, they had to release him. They were so incompetent that he was just lost in their system.

      Another story that appeared in the Times-Picayune was about a police officer who went to a witness' house in his squad car, in full uniform, while on duty, and when she answered the door he shot her to death with his service revolver. No witness, no problem.

      Delete
    5. Aw, man. I haven't been in a while, and I hadn't heard about the Copper Monkey. That blows. I used to love to hang out with all the FQ workers there. They'd get off at around 3:00-4:00 in the morning and want some dinner, so the kitchen would be churning out jambalaya, shrimp po' boys, and tater tots until almost 6:00. I wonder where they're going as a replacement.

      Herland: yeah, the NOPD has its problems. But the reason to visit the courtyard has nothing to do with the NOPD itself.

      Tremens: It sounds like all the jazz you know is post-bebop. New Orleans is an earlier style than that. It's more about multiple instruments playing at once ("polyphany" if you want to get technical), playing generally recognizable melodies but with a lot of improvisation. For era-authentic examples, look up Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong, or Jelly Roll Morton. For modern examples, look up Tuby Skinny, Lino Patruno, or Yoshio Toyama. Lots of YouTube examples.

      Delete
    6. Take Heart....I remember an article a month or two ago where they had set up as a 'popup' at another restaurant.....and had just got their insurance payout. I believe it said they were looking for a new place. But only they know how well that's going.

      Delete
  14. I'd add:
    10 ways to make a CRPG game that has a fair chance of getting above 90% on the GIMLET.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't the post that introduces the GIMLET do that pretty well already?

      http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2010/04/ranking-and-rating-crpgs.html

      Delete
  15. 10 best bad guys
    10 most memorable locations/maps
    10 most annoying enemies (which would be revisiting an old blog post)

    Maybe bad guys aren't characterised enough as of '92 to be compelling, compared to say, Irenicus or HK-47.

    There've been quite a few memorable locations though - the crossword map is way up there :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. 10 most influential neologisms. Have any terms invented on this blog passed into general (read: CRPG) usage? Worm tunnels, razor walls, menu towns, that sort of thing?

    I wouldn't mind more reflective posts once in a while. The virtue of knowing something comprehensively is being able to tell everyone where things came from and why. One of my favorite insights from this blog, which thought so highly of I bookmarked, is this:

    >"Arborea was covered in several Amiga magazines, which predictably focused on the graphics, sound, and music rather than the actual gameplay elements. (The May 1991 review from CU Amiga begins by giving thanks that "the days [are gone] when a role-playing game meant little more than a great leap of the imagination, a plot with trolls and gameplay along the lines of a special maths paper." You want to know when RPGs started getting "dumbed down"? This is it, right here.)

    -- The CRPG Addict, http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2014/10/game-166-crystals-of-arborea-1990.html

    But I'd be careful of getting too much into the "community". I've seen blogs that went down that path, and it gets so much that you can't even tell what's going on unless you're following all the other blogs too, and on Twitter and in the Facebook group and on the Discord. It gets to be chatty as people establish an ingroup and revel in it, and the topic of the blog kind of gets pushed aside.

    Then people find reasons to dislike each other, and the slapfights ensue. In the worst case a blog on a cool topic gets shut down because the owner can't deal with all the negativity. Just do your own thing and don't worry about what other people think about it or how they react to it. Keepin' it real.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I appreciate the suggestions. I've learned to live with negativity--a month doesn't go by that someone doesn't feel like they have to write and tell me what's being said about me on RPGCodex--but I certainly don't want to ENCOURAGE it.

      Delete
  17. Like it or not, your blog is already part of the internet's history. You may not be the only one today, but you were the first blogger who did this. And people tend to stick to the original, so we all hope you will never stop :-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Congrats on a decade of blogging! Hey, you have to keep going until you play my newer TI CRPGs at least. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Given your penchant for mapping, I'd like to see some sort of top 10 list related to that. Top 10 most satisfying games to map, or top 10 most beautiful maps or something.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Congrats! Your blog is actually one of the very few places on the internet I can recommend to friends without any reservations,

    I especially admire your "purity of purpose" - no guest posts, no compromise. While you try to have an objective look on the games you cover, at its core the blog has always been about your personal, subjective experience of the games as you play them. Together with your authorial voice this makes your blog closer to "art" (whatever it means) than you might admit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He actually had a few guest posts and they were great. I trust his judgment if he plans for a few more guest posts.

      Delete
    2. I only ever had one pair of guest posts. I think it worked because I participated heavily. We went through several drafts; I formatted them to work with my style; and I commented throughout. It wasn't much less work than writing a post from scratch.

      But overall, thanks, Marcin. I'm glad the blog has worked for you by remaining mostly consistent.

      Delete
  21. Also, your mapping efforts are EPIC.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've really enjoyed reading these past years, and I hope you continue to enjoy writing this blog as much as I enjoy reading it!

    As for top ten lists, what are the ten games you are most anticipating in the next ten years? The ones that you have fond memories of, or the ones that people praise highly yet you've not played?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From my own fond memories:

      Baldur's Gate
      Morrowind
      Might and Magic VI
      Ultima VII (won't have to wait long)
      Quest for Glory V (mostly for one specific part)

      From what others have told me or just because:

      Planescape: Torment
      Fallout and its first sequel
      The Elder Scrolls: Arena
      Gothic and its sequel

      Delete
  23. First off, congrats on the ten years. You've given me ten years of good reads and fun times and I'm happy we can finally contribute a little thank you in the form of your patreon.

    Secondly, as someone who has been trying to beat every RPG for nearly 25 years myself, I have to say that I love and agree with your #1 reason.

    I've beaten nearly 700 games, but my list of unbeaten has swelled to over 3000. Every day I think about the time I could save by just giving up and moving on to some other less ridiculous hobby, but there is always that part of me that keeps thinking that somehow I'll succeed someday. It's satisfying to know I'm not the only one who thinks like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. I thought I was doing well at having played 350. I guess I'm still a n00b in some ways.

      Delete
    2. I'm always really impressed when I see how many games you've gotten through in such a short time.

      It's certainly a lot easier for me since I'm not going in chronological order. When I beat an RPG I just move onto what I want to play next, so I rarely ever have to slog through terrible games.

      Also, I can definitely say that playing a game knowing that you will have to write about it afterwards makes a huge difference in the amount of time it takes compared to just playing it for fun. When I think of how long it must of taken to play, research and write the content for the hundreds of posts on this blog, it truly boggles my mind.

      Delete
  24. Congratulations! And thank you for writing excellent entries on the older games. I like them, but I probably never had played games like Dragon Wars without this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've been faithfully reading for 9 of those 10 years, lurking the entire time. As someone old enough to remember playing Colossal Cave/Adventure on a PDP-10 in my Dad's office, this has been a great trip to go (silently) along on. Thanks for the great writing, dedication and above all expressing forthrightly your opinions on games, both good, bad and gems in the rough.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Congratulations! Many many thanks for providing years of great reading. I'm also not only looking forward to the blog entries but also to the comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was me BTW, I messed something up with my linked google account it seems.

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

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  28. Congratulations for 10 years!! Greetings from germany.

    ReplyDelete
  29. How do you feel about the fact that you are a kind of champion or hero for us :) If you ask for help, people will pour in to volunteer.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Fantasyland 2041: the year when the list has finally been worked through entirely! :p

    ReplyDelete
  31. Well done getting to 10 years and filling the void of previously not-covered games. I think rpgs are also educational without even trying. They teach about socializing, interacting in a cosmos of differing situations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think rpgs are also educational without even trying.

      This is so very true. I know someone who basically learned to read from RPGs after his teachers in school, not competent to teach someone with a disability, had given up and pronounced him incapable of learning. Despite that huge setback, watching others play RPGs gave him just enough to work with to put the pieces together.

      Long story short, he's now of well above average literacy, and you'd never guess he was a late reader.

      Delete
    2. (BTW I know you had other things in mind, of course -- just offering another example of how RPGs can provide an opportunity for unintended learning.)

      Delete
  32. I completely agree that these CRPGs are artistic creations worth reviewing and remembering, and your blog helps to keep their legacy alive. It's worth remembering this time when video games were still relatively new, exciting, and fun creations that existed in a subculture that existed under the radar. It was a special time. Hard to believe it was so long ago!

    Thanks for all your hard work and dedication in keeping this project alive!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Happy 10th anniversary!

    For 10 years now, your blog has been on the top of my procrastination bookmarks, refreshing at least daily to see if a new post didn't come up... I guess I could have just subscribed to an RSS feed, but the thrill of just opening the page and being surprised by a new article is too much fun.

    Along the way, thanks to you and commenters, I've gained such a critical understanding of cRPG design paradigms and tropes, not to mention a historical perspective, in addition to discovering wonderful hidden gems.

    Thanks for those 2 million words, and cheers to at least 10 more years.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Congratulations for (almost) 10 years of blog!

    Thank you for "Hera: Sword of Rhin", "The Black Sage", "Tera, la cité des crânes",... and somehow even for "Realms of Darkness" (I played it because you did not, and I absolutely loved it).

    Just for curiosity, I found one more blog inspired by you: the Arkalys Project, all about forgotten French role-playing games. In particular, they focus on hardware conversion, retro-engineering and interviews to the authors.

    They already "digged out" ten role-playing games that are missing from your chronology. Be reassured: they are the first one stating that these games are forgettable.

    Arkalys Project (blog/vlog in French):
    (1983) Le dragon du donjon
    (1984) Argolath
    (1984) Citadelle
    (1984) L'antre de la peur
    (1985) Chevalier Arthur
    (1985) Crystal 5
    (1985) Troll
    (1985) Château noir et dragons rouges
    (1986) Graal
    (1986) Danse Macabre
    (1987) Mystique

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow a 'new' game from 1983, that's cool!

      Chet might groan though ^_^

      Delete
    2. Hey, if they're squeamish about providing the game program, the least they can do is to chronicle it as fully as they can stand to. :P

      Delete
    3. Tristan, the authors admitted already that most of these games are forgettable and/or for obscure systems only (Oric, Thomson...) and/or bugged and/or without manual, and all of them in a "foreign" language. Chester, steer clear!

      Alex, here I write and declare (for Chester's relief) that they are squeamish about divulging the game codes. Send me a private message if you hope for a different answer... ;)

      Delete
    4. Which reminds me: we sometimes about French RPGs and the occasional German ones.
      Considering the market in Europe and overseas, I would have expected some Spanish rpgs as well.

      Anyone know about a site covering these??

      Delete
    5. I'd LOVE to play some Spanish RPGs particularly since I'm trying to master Spanish. I'm just not sure there are any.

      On the "found" French list, I'd be happy to give some of them a try if someone can look over the coverage on Arkalys and confirm that they really are RPGs. It's always slow-going to play in French, but since I'm taking potshots at my backlist instead of insisting on going through it systematically, no reason not to add them.

      The interview with Hervé Lange is interesting. I'm afraid he gets my vote as one of the worst RPG developers of all time, and the reasons why really come through in the interview. I also like how the interviewer didn't soft-peddle anything but confronted him on some of his borrowed ideas and artwork and legendary game bugs. I'm not sure I'd have the gall to be that confrontational.

      Delete
    6. I'm Spanish and, at least up to the late 90's I can't recall any

      Delete
    7. The only title that cames to my mind is Rol Crusaders (1995) by Noria Works, which is a Dungeon Master rip-off and sluggish as hell.

      Delete
    8. I went through all the videos in the Arkalys Project blog, and cut down the previous list to the games that apparently respect Chester's criteria.

      Dungeon crawls:
      --- (1984) L'antre de la peur
      --- (1984) Argolath

      Text based:
      --- (1985) Crystal 5
      --- (1985) Troll

      Open worlds:
      --- (1986) Danse Macabre
      --- (1987) Mystique [bugged combat]

      I was tempted to leave Citadelle in the list as a joke: I could imagine the face of Chester confronted with a text parser in French. Anyway, it is a pure adventure game.

      Sorry for those who were expecting a "new" 1983 role-playing game, but in the end Le dragon du donjon is just a maze/adventure game.

      Delete
  35. 10 funniest bugs
    10 best easter eggs
    10 RPGs that could have been great but failed miserably
    10 best RPG puzzles
    10 most memorable NPCs
    10 most memorable RPCS (Recruitable PCs)

    Oh yeah, and congratz naturally :D

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks for 10 Years of quality blogging. I found this blog through the piece Game Informer did on you and I've been coming back ever since, even if I rarely comment and I always read.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Congratulations and thanks a lot for all your perseverance! Long time lurker here. Your blog helped me to play cRPGs in much more thoughtful way. Now, while playing, I always have GIMLET in the back of my head.

    An idea for the top 10: 10 most sinister and 10 most hilarious monsters/bosses.

    ReplyDelete
  38. How about: 10 dead characters I remember fondly (with stories how you lost them)!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thanks for taking us with you on this journey, Chet. I'm really really looking forward to the years to come. Like Patryk, you blog gave me a different view on crpgs. For me they're much more fun now by understanding the origins and backgrounds of our hobby. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  40. A lot of the "10" suggestions would be great for the NEXT 10 years of the blog, but so far in the chronology, there haven't bee a lot of great stories, NPCs, and other strong thematic elements that we're used to in the modern era.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I respectfully disagree. To me, one of the main differences between old and new RPGs is that the early "stories" are largely dependent on the player's own role-playing. Remember that time when Thesbius went all-in although he had already lost two of his comrades but managed to luck out by slaying the dragon AND made it back to the surface?

      In modern RPGs the gameworld is often designed in more detail so that not as much is left to the imagination. The stories told by bloggers then tend to be the same because they make the same experiences, by and large. When I discovered who the Nameless One was in Planescape: Torment it was a truly seminal event for me - but it was the same thing everybody else experienced if they played it up to that point.

      I don't say that either type of RPG is better - they both have (dis)advantages but I disagree that there are no memorable stories to be told about characters in old RPGs just because the narrative doesn't spell it out for the player.

      Delete
    2. I realized that I may have come across as a little snotty, especially on a 10-year celebratory post. I have great respect for your immense work and your expertise and my response was rather meant to elaborate on my suggestion than to tell you something about crpgs you certainly know much better than I would. My apologies.

      Delete
    3. @Will not sure how that works though.

      "In which game did I imagine the best backstory for an NPC"?

      Delete
    4. @Tristan: Oh, I was exclusively referring to player characters, not NPCs. Or am I missing something here?

      Delete
    5. The comment you responded to was referencing the limited characterisation of NPCs

      Delete
    6. I see, thank you!

      On my screen it looked like a consecutive string of comments from my original suggestion to the Addict's remark but now that I see it on my PC I literally see what you mean.

      Delete
    7. That's cool, Will, and I agree with you about how sometimes older games are preferable because they engaged the imagination. When I was a kid playing Ultima IV, Dupre and Geoffrey et. al. loomed large in my mind, with deep characterizations entirely of my own invention. But either I'm just not that spontaneously creative any more or (more likely) the nature of blogging has made me approach games more analytically than fancifully. Either way, I can't think of many games that would provide fodder for some of these lists.

      Delete
  41. 10 worst suggestions for top 10 lists.

    And yes, I will be disappointed if this one doesn't make it in. :P

    ReplyDelete
  42. 10 years... I've been reading you almost from day one, although I had a 5-year stop. There was a lot of catch-up after that.
    Being french myself, I'm amazed by the diverse community you've managed to build in 10 years: there are spanish readers, french, german, russian... Great job !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was mentioned in an Austrian newspaper 5 years ago. I've found this blog through that article...

      Delete
    2. It's funny. In my opening years, when everyone was sure I'd never last, everyone wanted to interview me. But it's been at least 5 years since I had a request, which is odd because my blog actually has some staying power now.

      Delete
  43. 10 reasons I refuse to grow up.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks for those 10 years :)

    Looking forward the 10 next !!!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hooray for Chet and his wonderful blog. I may have moved on from reading it religiously, but I am never disappointed to check in on the blog for something interesting to read in the mean hours I'm not working or doing something else.

    ReplyDelete
  46. we really need a crpgaddict addict blog....
    no real stress man take your time

    ReplyDelete
  47. 71 days until Xmas! What are your plans Chet? I guess by that stage you´ll be off on break from the (real life) job. Anyway rest up and we look forward to more postings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I just made an offer on a new place. We should be closing in early December, so I suspect I'll spend my holidays moving. But I hope to have plenty of time for RPGs in there, too.

      Delete
  48. Hey, Chet, I don't know if it can help you, but a lot of DOS games were added to the Internet Archives:
    https://blog.archive.org/2019/10/13/2500-more-ms-dos-games-playable-at-the-archive/

    ReplyDelete
  49. I'm joining all the praise here. Congratulations for the anniversary and thank you for all the good reads!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hm, sounds a bit like you have to reasure yourself that you should carry on.
    Do you really WANT to continue?
    Or maybe you have something else in mind, something new?
    Whatever it is, it's your decision and your decision alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This would be a hilarious post to end on.

      Delete
    2. That's an interesting interpretation of my entry, but not what I intended.

      Delete

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

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) This also includes user names that link to advertising.

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