It's the last day of the year, time to wrap up the Site Goal 2009 business. The goal was to reach 700 game entries within this year. To make it short: It has not worked out. The site currently has 672 game entries, meaning it's short by 28.
Let's have a look at who did what this year (only talking about game additions, not about all the hours spent on other areas of the site):
Mr Creosote: 55 games
Wandrell: 19 games
T-Pow: 2 games
Elwood: 2 games
Anonymous: 1 game
meyou: 1 game
To all of the people on that list: Thanks a lot! You all did your share! To everyone not listed (yes, that means you): Shame - this is your fault. 28 people each adding one game (or 14 each adding two and so on) aren't actually a lot, considering this site is visited by more than a thousand people every single day. People not doing anything themselves mustn't expect anything. That's the way it is.
Alien Carnage is one of the popular games published by Apogee in the early 90s. Thanks to meyou for the review!
Ceremony of Innocence is a unique game; hard to fit into a category scheme. In case you're wondering, 'Anonymous' is actually a contributor who wants to remain anonymous and for whom I've set up this dummy account. Should it be required by someone else, I'll just re-use this account again. It's actually good that someone else is sending in some new contents, because nothing will come from me at least for the rest of this year. Waiting for your submission next...
The Duel in the Snow belongs to a type of game I usually can't really get to like: Adventures without puzzles.
On diskimage news, we've now included hash checksums for all the files so that you all can easily check whether your own images are the same or different. In the latter case, why not upload them? Incidently, many thanks to Wayfarer who did exactly that - your images will be processed as soon as possible!
Byzantine Perspective is another game from this year's IF competition. It was particularly popular with the other authors.
We've finally decided on an automated model to make the Disk Images available for download. You can find the details in the FAQ, but briefly: disk image downloads are available to everybody who contributed something which the public benefitted from, e.g. by writing reviews and so on. Some games which are on the list still aren't available, because the files haven't been processed yet. T-Pow is currently working on that, though, so please have a little more patience until everything is up in all its glory.
Grounded in Space is another entry of this year's IF Competition - and it's another nostalgic one.
This year's Interactive Fiction Competition ended yesterday and I plan to review a couple of the games which ran. As usual for me, those won't necessarily be the best ones or even the ones I liked best, but rather those which I found interesting and which I feel I have something to say about. So, without further ado, here's one which surprised me very much (in a positive way) and which I would have wished a better ranking: Interface.
Die Fugger 2 gets a boxshot. If you think updates have been slowing down lately, you're right.
Again, unsurprisingly, another sequel: Imperialism 2: The Age of Exploration.
To give the fans of current games something, too: Imperialism.
Another sequel, but this one is very conventional: Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon.
Closing the series of Gargoyle's Quest: Demon's Crest (SNES), which isn't exactly a Gargoyle's Quest.
To show everyone that this game was indeed sold commercially inside a regular box: Ilyad.
Ironically, I actually do own a few roleplaying games and it's not like all of them were purchased second-hand. Eye of the Beholder, for example, I regularly bought when it was new and I never regretted it.
Box time again: Die total verrückte Rallye.
Two additions for Prince: A boxscan and a manual scan (complementing the text manual which had already been available).
Well, the last game didn't even receive half of the attention Midwinter got. On the other hand, there has been one single comment at least. Still clueless. Since you guys seem to prefer staying completely passive, I'm just going to continue as I want to: Pinball Mania.
meyou provides an alternate boxscan of Syndicate (American Revolt data disk). Thanks!
From time to time, I'm going into these rants about how I don't understand things anymore. This is another one of these, but a short one. Midwinter received an insane amount of pageviews in the last two days - more than any other game on its first days since we started counting. Why? Is it because of my raving in the newspost? Is it because the game is so insanely popular? Or is it just pure chance? The problem: There is zero feedback from your side. If it is so popular, why doesn't anyone have anything to say about it? Maybe I'm totally 'wrong' with my appreciation of the game - but nobody tells me that, either. Or is it just that nobody knows any game anymore?
Now let's see how it goes with this game: The Fourth Protocol.
Midwinter is one of the greatest games of all times. Greatest games of which genre? That's the great thing about it: It doesn't follow the strict definitions of the classic genres and just gives you a whole world to explore the way you want it. Unless, of course, you decide to cheat yourself and take the shortcut to winning - which is your own loss, then.
When I said the basic size of the Interpreter category had now been reached, this meant I'd treat it like the rest of the site now. So, without further ado: Shade.
Not very surprising, Gargoyle's Quest 2 (NES). It's quite similar to the first one, but as I wanted to add the SNES game that, more or less, is the third part of the series I didn't want to leave this one.
Taking a breath between the big updates, here's a boxscan of the Syndicate data disk.
After a couple of title changes for the last update (these things are really not as simple as you might think), here's an easier one which - at least as far as I know - kept the same title all over the world: Fantasy General (PC).
I was going to continue with NES games, but the next one was the second part of Gargoyle's Quest, so here you have the first: Gargoyle's Quest (Game Boy).
Good news: Longtime member Vemperor has just breached the magic number of 100 contribution points. It's always interesting to see how he got there - and this is just one way, there are many more. What does this mean? Vemperor now belongs to the privileged group who is allowed to access any downloads directly from this server - no matter how large the file is. No more waiting for scarce public download slots and putting up with slow connections. You deserve it - enjoy!
Now that the Interpreter section has grown to the basic number of ten games, we can head towards some more diversity again: Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail (PC).
Once again, as so often lately, time for a boxscan: UFO: Enemy Unknown (PC).
Bliss (Interpreter) has got an intriguing idea behind it - through you'll only know and appreciate it after going through relatively uninteresting motions to get through most of the game.
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - Nevermore!
To my surprise, ardell (who reviewed the game) doesn't seem to be the only person in the world who likes Tomb Raider (PC). Today, T-Pow provides a box scan.
Little Blue Men (Interpreter) - a game which you should play to the very end.
Plan 9 from Outer Space (Amiga) got a boxscan and three document scans - enjoy!
In the spirit of the second game: Bugged (Interpreter). This gets us up to 650 games. 50 more to go for the site goal!
OmegaMan and Kim sent in a great new high quality scan of issue 8 of the Interpart series. Yes, the comics are still part of the site and they will continue to be. It's just silent, because nobody has been actively adding to it lately.
The problem has been discussed in the news and in the forum many times. Even more than the other parts of the site, the comics depend on individuals who are willing to contribute and put time into it. If you want to be part of that group, great - drop me a line. If not, don't complain.
Time for another box scan: Ultima VIII (PC).
Undo (Interpreter) is an interesting one - kind of a meta game. Curious what that means? Check if out yourself!
Still trying to alternate between adding new game entries and improving old ones, Theme Park (PC) has received a box scan today.
Next in the line of interpreted games is Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die (Interpreter).
Spellcasting 301: Spring Break (PC) - now with a boxscan.
Obviously, having just opened a new section on the site, it needs some more contents: Spider and Web (Interpreter).
T-Pow's day again - he just made the entry of The Dig (PC) a little better.
Picking up the point Wandrell made last time (everybody being able to help), one of the things we hear most often from people giving reasons why they won't contribute is roughly this: "But the site doesn't focus on what I'm interested in". Big deal. The site is focused on anything the people who work on it make it focus on. Just to show you how it works, I'm starting a new section about interpreted games today. Those haven't been on the site before, now they are. The same way, you could just add whatever you feel has been neglected here so far. The first game: Anchorhead (Interpreter).
Due to time constraints (I love how pro that sounds) we can't add many games lately. I suppose you noticed that these covers, like the one (just added) for Rampart (PC) are being added instead of games.
Well, you can help us. Writing a review. It just takes a few minutes and little work, try it.
Continuing with the boxshots, Ultima Underworld 2: Labyrinth of Worlds (PC) is the next on the list.
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (PC) has just received the boxshot treatement.
This time we have another boxshot, for Ultima VII: The Black Gate (PC) exactly.
At first looked like a game on the style of Metroid, but Chōwakuseisenki Metafight (NES) is not like it looks.
Maybe you know this one: Snake Rattle 'n Roll (NES). A curious and good game for NES.
And if you don't. Why don't you try it?
The sequel to the former game: Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror (PC).
T-Pow provides a boxscan of Ökolopoly (PC).
In the series of alright-but-usually-overrated-games: Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (PC).
Back on the subject of boxscans: Mad News (Amiga).
Puzzle games, they never change. You push boxes around the screen and suddenly the puzzle is solved. Like in Solomon no Kagi 2: Coolminto Kyushutsu Sakusen.
A guideline for this year's German election: Hurra Deutschland (PC).
Now you have Solstice (NES). One of the most interesting NES games. I may add a few other curious games to the NES section, so pay attention.
The Train Game (ZX Spectrum) comes with a typed (not scanned) manual. Is this enough?
Uploaded a boxscan of Der Clou! (Amiga). This game already has a manual download - a shortened one in plain text format. Is scanning the original manual in addition worth it?
Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe (Amiga) is the long, long, long, long awaited sequel to its predecessor. Surprised? According to the feedback so far, you guys don't need a manual for that one, do you?
You can never have enough dungeon crawlers, and this one isn't of your usual kind, The Legacy (PC) is a horror themed one, with Lovecraftian tones.
Black Gold (Amiga) is one of those games which are hard to understand without documentation. Would you liked to have a manual scan with this game entry? Then say so!
Today, I added a boxscan and a manual scan of Murder (Amiga). Incidently (as if...), this goes along with the age old question of how important manual scans are to you. Looking at our download statistics, it doesn't look as if many people care about those at all. Should we even bother spending all this time in front of the scanner in the future? Discuss!
Realms of the Haunting (PC)
1997! It's too new. But those graphics... it's outdated!
I hope you are thinking that, because I must say, those 3D games with lots of textures that make you feel disoriented aren't good 3D games (well, a few have really good graphics, but most are just a lot of textures).
Yet this one is 3D, so you get freedom to move around, and uses 2D sprites, so they can have detailed enemies that don't look the same with a different texture.
And people say 2D is obsolete, it's just badly used.
Der Patrizier (Amiga) is one of the few German games which actually got some international recognition - though you'll probably know it under the title The Patrician.
T-Pow is jumping in again, providing today's update: a boxscan of Martian Dreams (PC).
Time for the next game: Shadow Caster (PC).
New boxscan: Little Big Adventure (PC).
Level 9 never was quite as popular as Infocom or as well-known as Magnetic Scrolls, but they nevertheless made very good games. Here's an introductory level one: Lancelot (Amiga).
Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares (PC) is the sequel to one of my favourite games ever. One of those games which I couldn't wait to get my hands on.
Nine years after it has been added to the site, Alone in the Dark (PC) gets a boxscan.
Sim City 2000 (Amiga) - reviewed by me, but you have to blame T-Pow, because he (unknowingly) requested it.
Two new boxscans: Incubation (PC).
Magic Carpet (PC), a good, but vastly overrated game from the mid-90s. So I guess most people will enjoy it.
Monday, but this Monday not only comes with an alternate boxscan of History Line 1914-1918 (PC), but also disk images of that game for download.
The Quest for the Holy Grail (ZX Spectrum) lets you meet the three-headed knight, the knights who say... something and a few more of your favourite movie characters - and they'll bore you to death.
From my collection: a boxscan of Frontier: Elite 2 (PC).
Borrowed Time (Amiga) is a classic in the mystery adventure genre I like so much.
Scans from my collection: box, map and three other documents of Croisière pour un cadavre (Amiga) (also known as Cruise for a Corpse).
A new game entry: Heavy Metal Paradroid (C64). On a very much related note, we're currently discussing how to handle alternate versions of the same game in the future. Feel free to join in and let the world know what you think - the more people take part in such discussions, the better the results.
An image of T-Pow's box of Das Schwarze Auge: Die Schicksalsklinge (PC) has been posted.
Today, we have an alternate box scan of Comanche (PC).
International Championship Athletics (Amiga) is my attempt to kick-start the site goal initiative.
Annoucing the Site Goal 2009:
700 games until the end of the year
Time to pick up speed. Let's all help the site reach 700 game entries until the end of this year ('year' according to the Gregorian calendar)!
Please note that this is not a 'Mr Creosote and Wandrell' goal. It's the site goal. We two will do our best help make it happen, but it won't be enough with more people lending a hand. Every visitor (i.e. you) is part of the site just like Wandrell or me - so it's our shared reponsibility to make this happen!
So ask yourself: How many games have you submitted lately?
The most popular game on the whole site, Colonization (PC), gets a box scan.
Castle Master (Amiga) is another one of those classics which aren't really as great as you probably remember it.
Civilization (PC) is now equipped with a box scan, too.
Apparantely, poor little Barbie isn't all that popular with our visitors: only very few people checked that game out. Maybe this'll be different for the incredibly manly Dark Legions (PC).
...and another one of those box scans: Battle Isle 2 (PC).
Today: A boxscan and disk images of Chaos Engine (PC).
Boxscan: Aces Of The Pacific (PC)
Barbie (C64) is the long awaited counterpart to Hot Wheels.
Another box from T-Pow's vault: Aces over Europe (PC).
Next is a boxscan of Bundesliga Manager Professional (PC) as well as a disk image download of the same game from our collection.
T-Pow was so nice to send in a boxscan of Aces Of The Deep (PC).
Callahan's Crosstime Saloon (PC) is one of the later games from one of my favourite Adventure makers: Legend Entertainment.
Still trying to improve on the existing game entries, here's a box scan and a manual scan of Mean Streets (Amiga) from my collection.
After announcing it a few weeks ago, Wandrell and I (and T-Pow, too) have worked hard on tagging the game entries with theme information. We have now done more than half of the games and that is why I've now activated all the theme-related functions for the public. I.e. you can now search and list games by theme.
Mind you that about 250 games still aren't classified, so you won't ever find them if you use themes to generate a listing. Most of these games have been added by former crewmembers which aren't with us anymore, so we can't count on them to suddenly reappear and tag 'their' games. Which is where you guys come in: Please help us give the rest of the games themes, too! Wandrell and I don't even know many of those games, so we will never be able to give them themes. You can read more in the forum and a list of games without themes can be found here.
This review from T-Pow has been in the making for several months... so you should rightfully expect a true masterpiece. Why he chose such an incredibly ugly game as Syndicate Wars (PC) for this epic review will probably remain his secret, though.
Here's another of those fine updates you keep coming here for. Today, I bring you no less than seven document scans for Lords of the Realm (AGA) (Amiga). Along comes the much requested German version of the game which is played on a map of Germany instead of England. Enjoy!
As you won't have noticed so far, I'm currently adding the games which came up in this forum topic. Today's entry is Grave Yardage (C64).
New downloads: Two disk versions and one CD version of Dune (PC).
Modem Wars (PC) - great game, wrong system.
Added two new downloads of Death Gate (PC) - both full CDs.
You can tell it was made by Coktel at a glance, The Prophecy (PC) has its distinctive look and weirdness.
Going back to an older game entry, I scanned the box, the manual, the reference card and the map of Lords of the Rising Sun (Amiga).
Vier Gewinnt (PC) has actually been up for 15 hours approximately, but didn't announce it, because due to a technical error, the rating somehow got lost. Had to wait for Elwood to come online again to re-add it.
Weekend - new game day. You know how much I like detective mystery games, and this one didn't disappoint: The Hollywood Murders (PC).
Alright, now that we're through (for now) with Western games, I can finally add all the stuff which has piled up over the last month, but which has been put on the shelf so that it won't interfere with the 'themed' updates. Thanks for your patience, everyone!
Starting out, T-Pow has scanned the manual, the reference card and the box of Syndicate (PC). The manual is quite a large download - but it's worth it. Thanks a lot, keep the stuff coming!
Saving the best for last, here's my personal favourite game of this run: Law of the West (C64). Which means that as for me, this concludes this month's Wild West theme. Thanks for following, I hope you found something which sparked your interest.
Our old comrade Elwood joined in with our little Western scheme and sent in Western Games (C64) - if that isn't the epitome of that theme...
Staying with Atari for a moment, my next game is Lucky Luke (Atari ST).
I was planning on making a review of Outlaws, a Sierra shooter. But it was too boring, and too obsolete. It looked like a bad attempt to copy Duke Nukem 3D. So I decided to remove a letter from the title and bring you Outlaw (Atari 2600).
Colorado (PC) is a curious game from Silmarils. Not bad, not too good, but interesting at least.
Silverload (PC) has cowboys and Werewolves. You can't go wrong with that? Think again.
Short interruption of the usual updates with a 'structural' announcement of importance: As discussed in the forum, we decided to implement game themes as yet another way to list and search for games. Now we're faced with the problem of applying that information to the vast back catalogue of games. For this, we need your help. Needless to say any help provided will not go unrewarded. Come on, help make this site even better!
The Oregon Trail (PC) has quite a fame of being about traveling through the west and dysentery. I can assure that at least you will get more than you can chew from the first.
The Town With No Name (Amiga) is one of those early CD games, i.e. very interesting piece of history, but hardly one of the greatest games ever made. I enjoyed it, though.
Here we are again searching for treasure: Der Schatz im Silbersee (PC).
Who knows Alone in the Dark 3 (PC)? I didn't play it before, always thought it was going to be quite bad. But then I tried it and liked what I saw. But then I kept playing and found after all it was a bad game.
Now, more gold search: Lost Dutchman Mine (PC). And still western things will keep coming.
Here's the next one: Gold Rush (Amiga).
Oh, you thought that last update was it? Sorry to disappoint you, but we'll torture you with 'Wild West' related games for the rest of this month! You won't believe how many there are. So be prepared to total greatness! Today, the 601st game on the site: Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (Amiga).
This time it's my turn to say this, we have an anniversary. No, we didn't get married. I mean the webpage's anniversary.
It lasts. I can barely recall when I first saw this page (years before I would have anything to do with it) and it was immorally ugly. But things have improved, and will keep improving (it's always your chance to say what to improve, we listen to feedback).
This time the biggest improve will be the addition western games. We were thinking on keeping it just on disturbingly manly cowboys but I'm sorry to say we will have to do with indians (without workers nor policemen), deserts and everything western.
But don't despair, the first one which comes here is all about cowboys: Los Justicieros (PC). It adapts an arcade named Zorton Brothers, which I never played. But the game itself was quite popular in Spain, and people still remembers it fondly.
As many of you will have noticed, Home of the Underdogs, one of the best sites of its kind, went down a few weeks ago. Although the owner is allegedly working on getting it back online in some form, it all sounds like it'll take a while.
The site is / was one of the very few informed sources of game criticism (i.e. not run by a 12-year-old for whom everything released three years ago is "old"), so it would be a disaster to lose it. Yes, yes, it has been critisized all the time for various reasons (by me, too), but let's be honest: To get an overview, it's the best reference point there is / was.
So, to help out for now, I've put up what I have of the site here: http://www.goodolddays.net/hotud/. Note that this is not the site 'Home of the Underdogs' itself! It's just what I had of its contents. I'm neither trying to build a 'new' Home of the Underdogs, nor do I see this as an actual long-term solution. I'm still hoping for the real site to come back in some form. Once that happens, this temporary reference point will disappear again.
To make the difference between this and the real site clear from a technical point of view: What I did was write a simple Perl script which opens the HTML review pages one by one, parses them to extract all the relevant game information and write all that back into a database. The contents of that database are displayed with this simple frontend to allow listing and search methods as they were on the real Home of the Underdogs. I haven't double-checked each game entry, so if you notice any errors, please let me know.
Today's game comes from T-Pow, and it's called Creepers (PC). See, it's not that hard, is it?
After 8.9 years of preparation to get this particular game on the site, here's Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time (PC).
The Child Murderer (Amiga) is a game which certainly isn't mediocre. Anything but mediocre, I can assure you. Promise. Really!
I swear I thought this one was going to be quite good. I love megaman games, and this looked like a nice clone. Anyway, other people may like it more than me.
Oh, I didn't say what I'm talking about? Well, today's update: Little Samson (NES).
Judging from last week's update, it seems Wandrell had the same idea as me: Lately, we've mostly been covering games which were just 'somehow ok'. Time for some good games again. Today: Discworld (PC). This is the third computer game based on the novels. The first one might find its way to the site one day, too, the second is very unlikely to. Oh, and downloads will be posted tomorrow (Update: They're online now).
In the last minutes of the week: this week's update. Here you have Guerrilla War (NES). A game where el Che and Castro, I mean, two nameless guys who look suspiciously familiar win a war on an island.
Disk images - remember? Here are a few new ones:
* Another World (PC)
* Buck Rogers - Planet of Zoom (PC)
* Red Baron (PC)
* Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All the Girls (PC)
* Witness (PC)
* Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord (PC)
To organize this a little better, I've put some basic information about what we've collected so far into a simple database to be able to provide you with a disk images collection frontend. There, you can see what we already have. Everything else is still needed.
What you'll also be able to see there is that there are often various versions of the same game listed. There was quite a number of different floppy disk formats in those years, and the same game might have been released on several. Of course, we're trying to collect all of those versions. What we would use some help with is information about a few formats, though. For example, I'm not very proficient with self-booting disk formats. There seem to be many disks with 160KB capacity, and some with 200KB, 320KB and 400KB. If anyone could share some information about those, I'd be happy to hear it!
I've been thinking about adding this game more than once, as I used to play it as a kid. But playing again it doesn't seem so good. What game I'm talking about? Well, take a look at Rescue: The Embassy Mission (NES).