Time for the obligatory end-of-the-year update. In previous years, I usually posted a summary of games added to t he site in the course of the year. This, however, ignored all other contributions. Whether it is reviews or files, it is all valuable. So instead, here is the table or users sorted by the contribution points they earned in 2011. Check out the full list of contributors and everyone's profiles for a detailed breakdown of who did what. And since there have been a number of questions concerning these in the past months, let me state again that the points of course are not supposed to measure the time and effort someone puts into the site with complete accuracy. Such a thing would not be possible. It is only an approximation. So, without further ado, here is the list – thanks to all of you for making this site better for everyone! Maybe we'll see your names again in next year's news.
Another article, about yet another game competition. This one is significantly smaller than the last one: Herbstlaub 2011.
Still filling the RPGs with all the content I have, this time Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen has received several docs and downloads.
One of the best games I know is System Shock. And I found it just by chance many years ago. Sadly, it's also another game which tried to create a new genre, but was forgotten, even if some new games like BioShock supposedly evolve from it (or from System Shock 2 at least), they just end going to the linear shooter kind of game.
Josh provides a second manual for Sim City. Sorry, that has been sitting in the queue for quite some time. Entirely my fault.
Menzoberranzan has received docs and a few downloads.
New docs, this time for Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra.
luisbotelho took care of integrating Home of the Underdogs' review of The Manager into our site. That removes another game from the list of incomplete stubs.
It's again Kiomlrak who is responsible for this update. This time, he took on one of these cheesy promotial games we all love so much: Claas APS-Spiel. I didn't even know this one before – good job!
Kiomlrak adds Bundesliga Manager Hattrick. That was quite a controversial game at the time it was released: Some reviewers considered it too detailed.
Inspektor Zebok is a game which most certainly everybody involved would rather forget about. We can't do them this favour, though, because preservation is important both for the good and the bad sides of history.
The results of the The 17th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition are out – congratulations to the winners and thanks to all participants! As promised I wrote a general article with comments about specific games as well as general observations. Enjoy!
PataNoir concludes the run of this year's IF Comp reviews. The list is complete, slightly more than half of the games got a full review and those remaining ones I was able to run at least received a short comment. After the results have been announced (should happen in a day or two), I will update the article to have something less placeholder-y, so check back soon!
So here is Kiomlrak game: Biing!. Thanks a lot!
Luster... I'm getting close to the end of the list of IF Comp games.
Repeating yesterday's call: Kiomlrak, please get in touch with me concerning your submission!
Last Day of Summer is a game I cannot recommend. Read why.
On an unrelated note, will the user Kiomlrak please check his e-mail in relation to his submission?
Only very little time left in the IF Comp, but I'm doing my best to get through as many of the last ones as possible. Blind made it!
ueda_mizukage uploaded a great map of the first level of Flashback - very useful!
Elwood adds Mortal Pong, providing something he calls a "drunken re-review". Curious what this is? Read for yourself.
Josh provides manual scans of The Settlers.
Cursed is a game which really should not have been entered into the IF Competition. It would have been a good candidate for Spring Thing, instead. And I mean this in a positive way.
Oh no... yet another religiously themed game? Well, I did fight my way through this one: Beet the Devil.
Josh provides a manual scan for Die Siedler.
Martian Dreams now has several new docs, only missing for now the cluebook.
Edit: The cluebook is now also among the new docs.
The next one is Taco Fiction – another great game!
The Elfen Maiden is, thankfully, not another one of these clichéd Fantasy games. In fact, it's my favourite in this competition so far! Further comments apart from the review can also be found in the overview.
Moving on to Playing Games. On a sidenote, more skipped games have been added to the overview page in the meantime.
Escape From Santaland is the most thorougly implemented game I've encountered in this year's IF Comp so far.
And another new game entry: Death of Schlig.
Now Veil of Darkness receives new downloads.
The next game is Ship of Whimsy.
The Hours is a time travel game – as regular reader will know, this is one of my favourite topics in games.
To also list the games of the IF Comp which I'm not giving a full review at least in some way, I've also made this quick overview of all games I played so far with short comments for the unreviewed ones. I will be updating this overview article as I go along, so check back regularly.
Ted Paladin and the Case of the Abandoned House not only sounds like an amazing game, it actually is quite good!
Tenth Plague comes from Lynnea Dally, who was already responsible for the severely underrated Divis Mortis – probably the best game of last year's competition. My expectations were appropriately high for this one. Read on.
Vestiges is the first game of the IF Comp which I'm reviewing here which I cannot recommend. So I'm taking the time to reiterate:
Lexcort, ror.schach, anabate, omahans, RodneyMcKay, Heavenly6, rwss and Freak11, please get in touch with me concerning your content submissions!
Keeping with the manuals, now it was time for Pool of Radiance.
Mr Creosote adds: I'd like to take this opportunity for a public service announcement. Right now, there are a lot of contents in the submission queue, sent in by various people. It is great, folks, that you are taking such an interest in this site that you want to take part! What is not so great, however, is that most submissions are incomplete in some way and therefore cannot be published without further action. I'm always writing these contributors a mail, but in most cases, I never hear back. I seriously don't know why that is. So please, if you are on the following list of people, please get in touch either via mail, contact form or forum messenger!
Lexcort, ror.schach, anabate, omahans, RodneyMcKay, Heavenly6, rwss, Freak11
Cold Iron was not exactly my cup of tea, but it is exactly what I've been talking about a few days ago: a good example of modern-day 'interactive fiction'.
Professor Frank was a strange one; no plot, no goal, just goofy fun.
Andromeda Awakening is the third IF Comp game I played. It could probably be best described as a confusingly overwritten old-school cave crawl. What happened to the second game? That one simply left me confused. I doubt I will be reviewing it as it is right now, as I fear not all of the problems I had with it are intentional – I'll wait for a fixed version.
...and here, as promised, is the first game from the IF Comp already: Keepsake. Short, but well-done!
The Wicker Woman is the first game on the site which has been released this year. It won't remain the only one for long, though, because this year's IF Competition begins today! I'm planning to review a few of the games again. The Wicker Woman has got the old-school touch. If you want to see some games in a more modern style (with all the advantages and disadvantages this implies), stay tuned!
Josh again, this time adding a whole new game to the site: Buggy Boy. Wait a minute... hasn't that one been on the site for a couple of years already? Yes, but this is the Amiga version and it comes with a very detailed review.
Josh provides nice new documents for Loom.
This time it was Dungeon Hack the game to receive the downloads treatment. Docs and all the versions of the game which I know of.
Snowquest is a review I've had lying around for quite some time now. Various reasons back then. Picked it up again, did some minor fixes and here it is - enjoy!
...and finally Pinball Mania.
The logical followup being Pinball Fantasies.
Pinball Dreams has been equipped two manual scans.
Not a new game, instead Lands of Lore has got all the versions I know of, all the documents, and floppy images for the USA version. By the way, the USA version will only work on DosBox 0.72.
Being Andrew Plotkin is a well-received game from the last year of the last century. Not quite as good as it's usually said to be.
...and here is the manual of Déjà Vu 2.
OK, let's have a slightly more elaborate update than usual. Starting today, you can read Josh's first game review. Of course, it is about the very game which he entered himself some time ago: Ports of Call. That makes this one of the few games on the site which has been reviewed more than once. In the interest of viewpoint neutrality, this would be a great thing to be applied to more games!
Sorry for the downtime most of today. Manuals coming in for Déjà Vu.
Josh uploaded different manual versions of Chaos Engine.
One game off the requests list done: Steigenberger Hotelmanager.
Another manual came from Josh; it is the French version of The Patrician.
Thanks for the manual scan of Mag!!! go out to Josh.
Today comes Field Combat, a small action game for the NES which at first looks like some kind of strategy game.
Premiere is an above-average Jump'n'Run game which gains points primarily though its excellent graphics.
Feik001 was so nice to submit Sim Tower: The Vertical Empire – one of the best "Sim" games out there.
In addition to the text manual we already had, there is now also a scanned version available for Beneath a Steel Sky.
Warpath is a very original space shooter – unfortunately, only released for the MS-Windows platform.
A shitload of new documents in various languages for Battle Isle, submitted by Josh.
Documents for Civilization arrived from Kevin Lancaster – thanks a lot!
New documents and videos have been added to Ultima VIII, courtesy of allanwer.
There are a few more things in the queue, but they are all incomplete. Unfortunately, the users who submitted these things are not responsive. Please keep in mind: If you send something in, monitor your inbox – it's not unlikely you'll receive some remark or question from me. If you then simply don't reply, I have no other choice but to delete the whole thing, which would be a pity.
John Saul's Blackstone Chronicles is the next step in my attempt to get all Adventures by Legend Entertainment – one of the best companies ever – here on the site.
Josh's turn again, providing paper for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.
allanwer provides two documents and a video link for Darklands.
tautology entered our very first game for the Acorn Archimedes: Paradroid 2000. Obviously, now that this system is present here on the site, it could do with some more contents – where are the fans?
Manuals for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade have arrived today. Well, actually they "arrived" some days ago – there is currently a small queue for additons. So if your submission hasn't been processed yet, don't worry, it will be soon enough!
Zoda's Revenge: Startropics II was the next on my list. I must say that it's better than the first, but too similar to play one after the other.
Populous 2 again – another manual.
Der Stein der Weisen is one for the fans of classic text adventures – and I mean classic, even within the genre.
Covert Action gets manual and hints – thanks to allanwer.
IK+ might seem like one of the games you don't really need a manual for – which is a very positive quality – but it cannot hurt to have one nevertheless.
Champion of the Raj is an attractive-looking and accessible wargame in the style of Cinemaware.
Two manual scans for Populous 2 have been added today.
bacheshatonee wrote a review of Might & Magic 4, thus eliminating one game from the list of incomplete stubs. Meanwhile, cloudrunner provided a translation of NetDanzr's old review of Skyroads.
Teset took care of a real oldie today – the very first Adventure. Since it basically predates the rise of the commercial software industry, there are many versions of this game. The one he selected comes from a well-known company and is appropriately called Microsoft Adventure.
A whole bunch of document scans by Josh – all for Monkey Island 2.
It's time for new reading matter. This time, it's all about time travel. All questions about their logic, possible paradoxes, philosophical implication etc. will be answered. Oh, and the article closes with the detailed construction blueprint of a working time machine. Enjoy!
Some new documents again: Monkey Island receives manuals, its codewheel and the technical reference card.
One new game entry, two new reviews. One of the latter is a discussion between Wandrell and me. The game? Hammer of the Gods!
Sorry, it's quite late already, so just a quick one: Sim City gets a manual and a box scan.
The next manual belongs to Banshee. Unfortunately, this scan is less than ideal – if you've got a better one, send it in! This one is readable enough to still be useful, though.
Josh provides the next update again: a multi-language manual of B.C. Kid.
Power Struggle is a game somewhere between Risk, Empire and Balance of Power – an underdog if there ever was one!
Josh's turn again – he submitted another manual of North & South. As he specifically points out, scanned by him personally. All the more thanks are in order!
Caesar is called Attila in its English version – so you can now find it in our database under both names.
Command HQ gets a box and the scan of the technical supplement.
Josh added Ports of Call – the original Amiga version, including new screenshots and manuals.
Weekend - this means I'm squeezing in a more elaborate update, i.e. a completely new game entry: Risk.
This day's credits go out to te_lanus who entered World Circuit. This is the US version of Formula One Grand Prix.
North & South is the next game to get the manual treatment.
Thanks for the manual of 1869 go to... surprise, surprise: Josh.
Today it is Josh's turn again to supply new manuals: English and French manuals of Advanced Destroyer Simulator.
Believe it or not: New news! This time, you can enjoy box and manual scans of Cyber Empires.
The logical followup to yesterday's update: Der Produzent. In this game, you are the head of a film studio – the execution is nice (a little more complex than Software Manager), but not excellent.
Software Manager never got a wide commercial release, because its company went under virtually at the same time. Pity, because it is about quite an original subject.
More new scans – this time from my own collection: a box and the manual of Zeewolf.
Two more document scans from Josh; both relating to Brutal Sports Football.
Josh has provided a solution of Hexuma. But wait – isn't there anything missing for this game entry? I have entered it, because somebody asked for the manual. I have scanned that and it's now available on the site. However, the game is still missing a review. Surely there is somebody who has an opinion about this game?
It's been a month since the relaunch and things have been going very well. For this 'anniversary', I've got a new article which is a little longer than usual, but the subject of artificial intelligence was worth digging into a little deeper!
Winpolis is a nice Monopoly version – that's really all you need to know.
As I wanted to keep going with the NES reviews here goes one for Startropics (NES). A bit of a cult game, and one of the earliest attempts to copy the Zelda games.
The next new game addition: Dogs of War (with two reviews) – a completely different game than Dogs of War, though.
One of the dirty little secrets of this site is that there are a couple of reviews which appear for more than one game. These date back to the very early days of the site when things were still handled a little differently. After so many years, it might be time to finally replace them – starting with Cyber Empires and Fantasy Empires.
Weekend update - the opportunity to publish something more interesting than the usual game review. This time, it is an article about / review of a mini-sized computer / gaming handheld you probably haven't heard of yet: the OpenPandora.
By the way: From my side, this 'search for the ultimate handheld' is not intended to become a series, because I'm not knowledgable enough on the subject. If you can contribute another perspective, review another device, feel free to submit your article!
My next attempt is Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games. By the way, in case you didn't notice yet, you can see the latest addition in all sections on top of the home page - even without reading these boring news posts.
Another thing I've added is a small image gallery covering the different versions of Paradroid. Maybe somebody has got a simple idea for something like this, too? Looking at the server logs, these image galleries are quite popular!
As small site bugs are slowly uncovered and fixed (please keep reporting them!), Gateway 2: Homeworld is a first test of the game-entering-capabilities. They seem to work; try it out yourself if you want to!
Time for the first update. This is to let you all know I've gone through all game entries to fix things which have gone wrong in the switch and, of course, to add new stuff. To give you an impression: I entered 288 gameplay videos and 3397 magazine reviews into the database. So now you can see what many games look like in action and compare what people thought about a game when it was new versus what the respective reviewer here thinks today. Phew... This means that now would be a good time to report any errors or just plainly strange things you notice. Chances are these are still problems I simply didn't catch.
Regular updating will resume shortly. Of course, this is also something you could improve/speed up. For example, when was the last time you had a look at the list of requests? Maybe you can fill one of these in.
So here it is finally: The new TGOD!
Since there seems to have been some false impressions with some people, let me first clear up that this change does not go along with an anniversary - we figured that after more than 11 years, a few more months wouldn't really matter in order to get this right.
So what's new? Why this change? You can read all about this in the last part of the updated history article. To make it short: We're shifting our focus a little. For a start, there is a new article about the phenomenon of death in Adventure games.
On the technical side, some things have changed as well. Not all of the backend data conversions could be done automatically. So expect some minor breakage in the next few days while we work feverishly to unleash to full potential of the new system.
We hope you like what you see - enjoy! Oh, and registered users might want to check out their own profile page (click on your username after logging in) - there are some new features for you.
Wandrell and I took the liberty of discussing Space Quest 1: The Sarien Encounter - the remake of the game already covered on the site. Chances are this will be the final update before the launch of the new site...
mgtroyas took pity on poor Wandrell working pretty much on his own to keep the site updated while I'm (very slowly) reworking it in the background. So now you can see one of his personal favourites: Carmageddon.
Today a classic: The Legend of Zelda (NES). Everybody knows it, but being the starter of a great, but barely used, subgenre it's now here to be remembered.
While the new webpage project is advancing, we have here a new game, this time it's Return to Ringworld (PC). Sorry for not having updates past month, but as you know we are always glad to have your help and contributions in these cases, so if you have a game you love, don't think twice and send us that review.
A site anniversary... with nothing new to show. Instead, I'd like to announce that the plans to revamp the site have entered a slightly more advanced stage than pure 'wishful thinking' by now. Instead of rushing along and just delivering the same old site in a new look to be done by today, I thought it a better idea to take my time to get in some groundbreaking changes instead. And I don't use that word lightly - I mean it, it's going to be something which, once again, no other site does! After so many years, I believe this kind of progress is more important than a mere arbitrary date which happened to be the day when I first uploaded the site to a public webserver more than ten years ago. It's going to take some more time, but the waiting will be worth it!
I've always heard that Ringworld: Revenge of the Patriarch was worse than the second part. Actually, after playing them I must say the first is, by far, better. No surprise they didn't make a third part.
Space-Pilot - for one of us, a very nostalgic piece. Read for yourself.
So, I hope everybody's come through the usual new year's stress ok. Time to pick up things here again: ZORK I: The Great Underground Empire.