The List Never Ends (a New New Plan)

From The CRPG Addict

For the last few months, I’ve been talking about finally reaching the “end” of the 1980s and thus finally atoning for this blog’s original sin. If you’ll been with me since the beginning, or have read back to the beginning, you’ll know that the sin to which I refer is establishing an original rule that I would only play RPGs with DOS or Windows releases. It was a lazy, short-sighted, ignorant rule (although one I’ve been wishing I could implement lately), and I finally abandoned it nearly four years later.
At the time that I abandoned it, to avoid losing all forward momentum, I started alternating my “upcoming” list between non-DOS games in years I had passed with all games for years going forward (at the time, 1990). That’s what we’ve been seeing for the last five years. I never though it would take that long, but the non-DOS list from the 1970s through 1989 included more than 100 games. It wasn’t an easy list. About 10 were in a foreign language. Only 7 of 100 rated higher than 35 on the GIMLET (the best was 1987’s Alternate Reality: The Dungeon); the average was 22. You can imagine how excited I was to finish the “backtracking” list when I finally scheduled the final 1989 game last month.

But of course, I won’t be done with the 1980s even when I finish The Seventh Link. (Since no one has been able to offer any hints, I’m moving Theldrow back to 1988.) We’ve unearthed 18 new games after I passed their years for the second time. (That count is just for the 80s; there are 15 more in 1990 and 1991.) I have no doubt that after I clean those up, we’ll continue to find more. I just did a quick search of MobyGames, and for the period of 1975-1980 alone, eight new titles have appeared that I’ve never heard of. I’m sure that years hence, when I’m enjoying the great cop of titles in the 1998-2000 period, commenters will still be digging up obscure titles from 25 years prior.
In addition to newly-discovered games, we also have 23 titles from the 1990-1991 period originally listed as “not playable.” It’s worth checking on these occasionally to see if new images or information have appeared.
The problem is that with each successive pass, as games become less and less well-known, they also become more and more unplayable. Lining up a lot of them in a row, continuing to thread them equally with newer, better games as I go through 1992 and beyond, is a sure way to kill my progress and enthusiasm. For the last few years, I’ve settled into the role of a historian, thoroughly documenting every title, major or minor, for every platform. But that isn’t why I started the blog in the first place. I started it to find and enjoy fun games. I started it to satisfy my RPG addiction. In nearly nine years and over 300 games, there have been maybe 4 per year that have done so. Now what I want most is to find the first game that breaks 70 on my GIMLET, and that’s not going to be a 1985 title released solely for the Amstrad CPC.
Thus, for games in years that I’ve already passed, I will no longer be adding them to the “upcoming” list. I’ll still get to them eventually, but it will be dependent on my mood.
My rough plan going forward is to continue to alternate entries on two titles, occasionally three, on my highest-achieved year. But every fifth posting (on average) will be an unannounced special entry. These special entries may:
  • Discuss a special topic
  • Cover a previously-missed older game
  • Return to a previously abandoned game
  • (Rarely) investigate one of the more important console games from the period. Do not get excited about this. Do not send me suggestions about this. Do not even comment on this.
I think this plan will allow me to simultaneously make progress on my core list while introducing some variety and unpredictability.

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

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

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