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2013 Programme

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15 Years Ago (1998)
20 Years Ago (1993)
25 Years Ago (1988)
30 Years Ago (1983)
Thematic Updates
Indie Games
Freeform Updates
Posted at 19:04 on November 20th, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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As we're preparing the final month for our 1992 retrospective, we should also look just a bit further into the future and see if we can come to an outlook towards the next year. Unfortunately, as mentioned a couple of times in the site news and as was plainly visible to everyone, there was almost no reaction to what Wandrell and I occupied ourselves with for most of this year. So we have no way of gauging interest or to see into which direction to go. So let's try it explicitly.

Although this is a poll, remember that guests are welcome to leave a comment!

So, what would you like to see more of on this site? The poll options don't have to be mutually exclusive, of course. Feel free to name more than one option or even weigh ups and downs in a reply. Or even name completely different suggestions! I will just briefly describe each of the options we have come up with:

  • 15 Years Ago: The PC & Playstation age – Interactive Movies, 3D Shooters & Real-Time Strategy
  • 20 Years Ago: The beginning of the corporate age – Point & Click Adventures, Strategy games finally becoming accessible and colourful consoles on the rise again
  • 25 Years Ago: The home computer age – modern genre definitions beginning to be formed, arcade quality games finally arriving in people's homes
  • 30 Years Ago: Simplistic arcade ports & Text Adventures (plus: M.U.L.E.!)
  • Thematic Updates: Have thematic updates not based on time of release, but game contents – like we did with western games in the past, for example
  • Indie Games: Move more into the direction of more current games produced without backing of the big publishers (both freeware & commercial)
  • Freeform Updates: Cancel those themed updates and just do whatever comes to mind again

Of course, Wandrell and I have our own preferences, but I don't want to get too deep into them right from the start. Just a note that for 1998, we might need major support. As it turns out, we're both not the biggest experts about that time. Which isn't meant to rule it out, of course.
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 19:09 on November 20th, 2012
Posted at 20:12 on November 21st, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Allright, in order to change that "almost no reaction" to "almost some reactions": I really enjoyed the 1992 restrospective, alltough it had some minor flaws.

On the one hand it somehow felt a little bit too restrictive, considering it is only one year out of more than 3 decades of videogaming. And while all of them have something in common, it isn't all that obvious, so if you would have sneaked in some games from 1991 or 1994, I probably couldn't have told the difference.

On the other hand, it is a great opportunity to compare the games directly to their contemporary titles, which gives a greater sense of how they fared compared to their immediate "opposition" and a greater scope of how different they were . Also it was kind of intriguing to guess what title could be next (which is why I would love to see some kind of review theme in the next year, so whatever you do, don't go back to "Freeform Updates" ;) ). Plus for me it was the perfect time-span, because I started my career as a gamer back in the early 90ies. :)

By the way: I don't know if you have planned something like an overview, but I think it woul be great if you could summarize the 20-year retrospect in some way (even if it is only a list of all the reviews you have done... probably with an appendix of other games from 1992 on this site).

So, while I liked the 20-year retrospect, I don't want to see it repeated with just another year. Choosing a (half)decade would be OK.

The three themes I would like to see the most (in no particular order):
-) The time machine: Start with a review of a game published in 2013 (some big blockbuster smash-hit ;) ) and moth per month go back year(s) by year(s) to the oldest game on your site (or the oldest video-game ever).
-) Games with multiple versions e.g. for different systems or remakes, comparing them to each other, focusing on the differences.
-) Multiplayer Games
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Posted at 06:44 on November 22nd, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Herr M. at 20:12 on November 21st, 2012:
Also it was kind of intriguing to guess what title could be next

OK, interesting... I was actually considering publishing a list of all games reviewed in that month's Power Play magazine (which, for my part, I followed quite strictly) beforehand in the hope that someone might spot a game they know and jump in as well.

Originally posted by Herr M. at 20:12 on November 21st, 2012:
By the way: I don't know if you have planned something like an overview, but I think it woul be great if you could summarize the 20-year retrospect in some way (even if it is only a list of all the reviews you have done... probably with an appendix of other games from 1992 on this site).

Surprise, surprise - here's the list ;)

Above that, I don't have plans for an article in this regard. Simply listing games is something a computer can do better (see above link) and I can't think of an appropriate angle to make it interesting otherwise. Ideas (or articles...) welcome, of course.

Originally posted by Herr M. at 20:12 on November 21st, 2012:
So, while I liked the 20-year retrospect, I don't want to see it repeated with just another year. Choosing a (half)decade would be OK.

So, like "games from the first half of the 90s"? Haven't really considered that, but that would make the link quite a bit weaker, of course. Also, more choice usually does not make things easier, actually.

Originally posted by Herr M. at 20:12 on November 21st, 2012:
-) The time machine: Start with a review of a game published in 2013 (some big blockbuster smash-hit ;) ) and moth per month go back year(s) by year(s) to the oldest game on your site (or the oldest video-game ever).

I would assume that the games would actually need to be typical for the year in some way. Reviewing just any game per year could seem a bit random. Which gets us back to the problem of knowledge... my expertise pretty much ends around 1994. If someone wants to take the lead, I will be curious to learn something new, though, and happy to contribute some games in the later stages.

Originally posted by Herr M. at 20:12 on November 21st, 2012:
-) Games with multiple versions e.g. for different systems or remakes, comparing them to each other, focusing on the differences.

OK, could be interesting, but only for games where there is a significant difference between the versions, in my opinion.

Originally posted by Herr M. at 20:12 on November 21st, 2012:
-) Multiplayer Games

Definitely interesting, but hard to pull off. This only makes sense if there is a dedicated team which actually plays these games togther in preparation. When Wandrell and I reviewed RoboSport, clearly a multiplayer game, we did not even manage to play against each other. It's hard enough to find some consecutive hours for the discussion itself and then for editing and reading several review drafts over the following days.
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Posted at 20:28 on November 22nd, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 06:44 on November 22nd, 2012:
Surprise, surprise - here's the list ;)
[...]
Ideas (or articles...) welcome, of course.


Awww... that's cheating! :P I will give this some thought, if an idea (f)or an article occurs to me I'll let you know.

Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 06:44 on November 22nd, 2012:
I would assume that the games would actually need to be typical for the year in some way. Reviewing just any game per year could seem a bit random.

Hmmm... you are quite right about that. As a main theme for the side this might be to arbitrary... maybe I will pick this as a personal review theme.

Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 06:44 on November 22nd, 2012:
Originally posted by Herr M. at 20:12 on November 21st, 2012:
-) Multiplayer Games

Definitely interesting, but hard to pull off. This only makes sense if there is a dedicated team which actually plays these games togther in preparation. When Wandrell and I reviewed RoboSport, clearly a multiplayer game, we did not even manage to play against each other. It's hard enough to find some consecutive hours for the discussion itself and then for editing and reading several review drafts over the following days.

Well it might take a little bit longer, but it's something which should definitely be given a try. If you should need test players, count me in. Turn based games and play by mail could help a little bit with scheduling, but might drag on the game.
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Posted at 20:34 on November 22nd, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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As a guest I cannot get my vote accepted, so I'll just post that my choice is 1983 (with a second preference of 1988) - computer games-wise I just find the older days more interesting than the present.
Posted at 20:40 on November 23rd, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Herr M. at 20:28 on November 22nd, 2012:
If you should need test players, count me in. Turn based games and play by mail could help a little bit with scheduling, but might drag on the game.

That, of course, is another important factor: If anyone has the capacity and will to support any of this, speak up so that we can include you in the planning!
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Posted at 18:51 on December 1st, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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One idea I'd like to throw in here is doing a "Laser Age" theme, i.e. focus on early CD-ROM games. That would be less restrictive than a single year with regards to the time of release, but still be a stronger link between the games due to other aspects.

Pros: Little coverage elsewhere, historically fascinating period
Cons: Not many good games…
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 19:25 on December 1st, 2012
Posted at 00:08 on December 2nd, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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The laser age reminds me there were some interesting SEGA-CD games that could be reviewed.

One was Popful Mail, a curious platformer that had some silly humor sense, that sometimes managed to be funny.

Another was Snatcher, never played it but has a cult following.

There was also a strategy one of which I can't find the name.

And, of course, the second part of Another World: Heart of the Alien, where you play as the alien, using an energy whip instead of a gun.

Also had some other curious games such as the enhanced version of Ecco or a version of Monkey Island.
Posted at 12:49 on December 2nd, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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SEGA-CD, as one of the black sheeps of the consoles, does sound interessting. But as far as I know it is very hard to set them up nowadays. I never had one myself, but I have been told, that they fall under the
Quote:
Cons: Not many good games…

category. Allthough the games you mention do sound intrigueing (especially the Another World sequel, I wasn't even aware off!).

Laser-Age... like really bad actors in striped 'full-motion-video'? :D Back then some of them where really great, but they did age very badly. I can think of just one 'Multimedia'-game I still love today and that is Zork: Nemesis (but this one is definetly in my personal top 10 list).
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Posted at 15:00 on December 2nd, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I haven't tried the SEGA-CD emulators in years, but the only problem was the saving system, which didn't work correctly, and in some games didn't work at all. Otherwise, you just need an image of the CD, another of the BIOS and a Megadrive/Genesis emulator.
Posted at 16:24 on December 9th, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Looks like so far, 1983 is in the clear lead (45% of the votes). My question is: If this is what we go for, who would be actively participating?
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Posted at 19:29 on December 9th, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Alas, 1983 could be a little bit too much for me: The number of games I know from this era I can count on two hands, those which I played on only one and those I liked... well was Zork II from 1983? :D

Yet I could still take a look from a modern perspective, free from nostalgia, which could be more objective and therefore not all that bad.

But I will wait for the final result, before I make definite promises. ;)
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Posted at 19:43 on December 9th, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Well, the "result" will finally (obviously) be dictated by what the actice people are willing and able to commit to… that's why I'm asking. Especially since the participation in the poll (in spite of strong nagging) is hardly conclusive.

What I also see as an option is having more than one theme running (e.g. two themes, each with half the current frequency). Good or bad idea?
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Posted at 21:01 on December 9th, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I think overlapping themes is not a good idea. Also 1983 is a bit far from my usual years, I wasn't even born back then. But can also be a nice chance to check some of those games, also I may not know many of those game, but I have at least played some of the Atari games of that age, so I can recognize a few, which would help to start.
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Edited by Wandrell at 21:01 on December 9th, 2012
Posted at 21:05 on December 9th, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 19:43 on December 9th, 2012:
Well, the "result" will finally (obviously) be dictated by what the actice people are willing and able to commit to… that's why I'm asking. Especially since the participation in the poll (in spite of strong nagging) is hardly conclusive.


Well I can think of the one or the other review (or article) to almost any topic. As stated above 1983 wouldn't be my top picking, but that shouldn't keep me from trying. ;) So count me in!

Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 19:43 on December 9th, 2012:
What I also see as an option is having more than one theme running (e.g. two themes, each with half the current frequency). Good or bad idea?


+ More variety, agrees with widely spread poll results
-- waters down the themes

Depending on the theme you could also combine them in some cases (e.g. year 1983 would go along with e.g. fantasy theme)

Also: Since "Year 19XX" seems rather popular (compared to a simple "theme") we could alternate between all four years. I think this could work either over the whole year (changing every three months) or review by review (and jumping back to 1983 after a review from 1998).
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Posted at 07:11 on December 10th, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Frequency is another open question. We have been going weekly, which is a good goal, though I am honestly at my limit. What about the availability of you guys?
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Posted at 21:00 on December 10th, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I think we should first have a rest time between themes. The problem also is that weekly thematic updates end being tiring, and I still think you, Creo, was the one who worked the most to keep it up.

I think that what we can do is setting a two updates minimum per month. After these two are prepared depending of how much time everybody has the number can be increased to three or four.
Posted at 22:42 on December 10th, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Wandrell at 21:00 on December 10th, 2012:
I think we should first have a rest time between themes.

You mean some weeks/months with no themed reviews? How long did you have in mind?

Originally posted by Wandrell at 21:00 on December 10th, 2012:
I think that what we can do is setting a two updates minimum per month. After these two are prepared depending of how much time everybody has the number can be increased to three or four.

I agree with that. Allthough it also depends on the question of how many people are willing to participate (and how much). Personally, I guess realistically I could write a review a month (somewhat depending on the actual theme).
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Posted at 22:54 on December 10th, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Herr M. at 22:42 on December 10th, 2012:
How long did you have in mind?


Two months? I don't know. It's for two reasons, first so we can rest of it, obviously, otherwise it stops being a change in the schedule. But also I think that starting a theme as soon as the previous finished makes it harder for people to notice that something new has started.
Posted at 23:05 on December 10th, 2012 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Hmm... yes that makes sense. Some time to plan and gather material could be usefull.
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