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Is there an encyclopedia of old games? Maybe we can make one

 
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Rabit
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:11 pm     Post subject: Is there an encyclopedia of old games? Maybe we can make one Reply with quote

Hello all,

I was wondering if there is any encyclopedia or wiki for old games.
If there isn't, I think it's worth to consider the idea to start one.
Maybe together with the owners and supporters of other retro game websites we can start a wiki.

Such a wiki would be useful for including information like:
- known clones of the game
- reverse engineering and programming information. The old games are still a huge learning resource for those who want to create games. For example someone might know what ".glb" archives in Raptor contain and how to unpack them or to browse them and then they can teach others about it. Others might want to learn how a specific game generates sounds and where are the sound files and what format the game is using for the sound files. And so on.

For example I just found recently three clones of the Supaplex game:
- Bomberman vs Digger - http://download.cnet.com/Bomberman-vs-Digger/3640-2099_4-10155326.html
- Doulber Gold - http://download.cnet.com/Doulber-Gold/3000-2099_4-10228639.html
- BeeDeeDash - http://www.freegamearchive.com/download-games/freeware/arcades/beedeedash/14094

It's a pitty to lose such information. It should be kept somewhere.

I noticed Amstrad CPC has it's own wiki, including a list of games, and that's a good thing. A single wiki for all retro games would be awesome though.
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:28 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

For PC games the three I most commonly use are MobyGames (started as a wiki), "good review" style abandonware sites like Home of the Underdogs and here, and Vintage-Computer.com site & forums.

Hm, there's another new-to-me cool one I found the other day, but what was it called... Happy Darn it, it's slipped my memory.

For other platform's games, I've liked Lemon Amiga, Atari Mania, etc.


Edit: Normally I'd suggest putting the effort into an existing spot - MobyGames! - but with MobyGames recently suffering from new management, maybe you have a brief window to start something new that takes off. There is a felt need that wasn't there a bit ago and may not last long... but if you strike fast... Wink
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:37 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Didn't know this existed: Amazon link: Encyclopedia of Video Games [2 volumes]: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming. Less than USD $200! At that price everyone should have one!
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wardrich
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:40 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Quadko wrote:
Didn't know this existed: Amazon link: Encyclopedia of Video Games [2 volumes]: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming. Less than USD $200! At that price everyone should have one!


What a steal! I'll take two!
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Malvineous
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:03 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

For reverse engineering DOS games and file formats I started the ModdingWiki some time ago.
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Rabit
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:44 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Malvineous wrote:
For reverse engineering DOS games and file formats I started the ModdingWiki some time ago.

That's a very good one.
How about adding links to clones of the games?
Would you consider allowing that?
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:43 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

ModdingWiki: That's cool! I've got some work I contributed to on Darklands I could probably contribute - mostly just a copy of the stuff on the yahoo darklands group that we've been maintaining on and off.
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Malvineous
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:18 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

A few games already have links to clones, remakes and source code releases so you're welcome to include those. The purpose of the ModdingWiki is to help people modify the games (and especially to write programs that make this easier), so anything that fits within that goal is welcome. Alternate ways of playing the game (clones etc.) are also welcome, as is interesting trivia people have discovered while reverse engineering games.

And if you have info about a DOS game you have reverse engineered, you are most welcome to include it! More information like this is always appreciated.
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:16 am     Post subject: Re: Is there an encyclopedia of old games? Maybe we can make Reply with quote

Hello Rabit! I like your idea, as I'm interested in at least some aspects of your proposed research. Unfortunately, large projects like MobyGames or game entries ar Wikipedia have a very wide scope of games they cover, and usually do not focus on specific time periods or categories.

Rabit wrote:
Such a wiki would be useful for including information like:
- known clones of the game

Yep, I've tried to catalogue at least some shareware (mostly DOS) clones (or at least lookalikes) of popular titles as part of my search for free alternatives to popular games. I've removed the shareware part from the list some time ago, but I can re-post it if you want (the freewares are still there though).
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Rabit
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:04 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, MrFlibble, that's encouraging, to see that others are interested in such things.

I think we might find more people interested on other gaming community forums too.
The problem with MobyGames is that it's not in a wiki format, so it's not easy enough to add information and it probably needs the articles to bee short enough. Also it's not a good place to talk about what to add in the articles (it doesn't have talk pages for articles, like a wiki). Also Wikipedia is limited because of the (strict) notability requirements, you can't add external links, and there is no freedom to write about reverse engineering and other topics about the games.

For the moment I think we can try to add information in the ModdingWiki.
It's much easier for you too, to maintain game lists in a Wiki page.

Another useful thing in a Wiki is to provide external links to sites where the games can be downloaded. Most of the readers would look for that, and neither MobyGames nor Wikipedia supply such information.

Might be a good idea to add screenshots to games too, in case Malvineous would agree with that.

Every day there are many games forgotten or probably even lost, simply because there is no central index to include them. Probably only an open Wiki can do that.
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:21 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Rabit wrote:
I think we might find more people interested on other gaming community forums too.
The problem with MobyGames is that it's not in a wiki format, so it's not easy enough to add information and it probably needs the articles to bee short enough. Also it's not a good place to talk about what to add in the articles (it doesn't have talk pages for articles, like a wiki).

Well, technically each game in MG database has its own sub-forum where you can discuss anything, so it's not a real problem. The real problem is the current crisis that ensued after the website redesign, and it's unlikely that normal activity at MobyGames will resume any time soon. I think that as of now, all approvers (members who moderate content submissions) have boycotted the new design, and new contributions are thus not possible.

RGB Classic Games used to have its own wiki but it had to be shut down because of the onslaught of spambots (DOSGuy, the site maintainer, did not have the time to moderate the wiki and it resulted in a spambot invasion that was impossible to clean out without destroying the wiki in the process).

BTW, may I invite you to join the RGB Classic Games Forum too? DOSGuy is planning to add support for user-contributed content soon, and all research on old IBM PC games is more than welcome Happy

You might also be interested in the Oregami.org project.
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Rabit
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:06 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I will keep a watch on RGB forum, for the moment I have not much to contribute there, I will make an account when I will have something to say.
The quantity of information is way to huge, the only way for success is to create a central Wiki for all. Otherwise the people will waste a lot of effort with many similar projects which can fail because they are too small. I guess that's exactly what happened at RGB Classic wiki. We should spare our energy instead of disperse it.

First, we have to make sure we can have a Wiki and that we can keep it free of spam.
It will provide the infrastructure and a fertile ground for other projects.

There is a need for a central "Wikipedia" of games, and such an encyclopedia can only help projects like Oregami.org project. I can't see an easier way to create a user-contributed content than a Wiki. Once the information is in the wiki, it can be used by various adjacent projects, like Oregami or MobyGames or platform-specific databases (like for example an encyclopedia or Atari games). A wiki can be a very good incubator for other, more narrow targeted projects, giving them the visibility they need.

Maybe I will join RGB forum tomorrow though, to invite DOSGuy to join the ModdingWiki project.

I already created the http://www.shikadi.net/moddingwiki/Supaplex page, it's a very little contribution but it's a pity for that information to be lost.

@Malvineous: Do you think we can make a page with a list of such projects like Oregami? It can be useful for readers.
Another question: Can I make a list of forums and resource sites, by platform? Like for example, Amiga forums and resource sites, Atari forums and resource sites, etc.
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:52 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
...central Wiki for all...
But who holds the one ring to rule them all? Wink

This is the classic argument, described at times as Cathedral vs. Bazaar, centralization vs. dispersion, fascism vs. freedom, order vs. chaos, and many many more. (I'm not saying that a wiki is automatically fascist!) Centralizers decry the 'wastefulness' of competition and overlap, but miss the robustness it brings. They dream of what they could do directing the efforts of the masses in a single direction, but miss the inefficiency of the necessary bureaucracy and lack of motivation of the acting individuals. But chaos and anarchy aren't the answer either, the answer is the empowering of motivated and passionate individuals to freely do the good they are passionate without doing harm to their neighbors. It has the efficiency of allowing empowered intelligence at the point of action, and allowing passion to drive effort. We like to call it... civilization. Shit-Eating Grin

Anyway, I wandered off topic, sorry! Funnel your enthusiasm however you desire, but spend your time on your passion, not trying to collect or direct others, and not begging for permission from them. That way lies burnout and disappointment and lack of progress. Just act from passion, and carry the torch forward as seem best to you (not harming others). If people join you, build an organization. If they don't, fearlessly explore beyond the boundary. Lead, act, and accomplish!
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Malvineous
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:00 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

@Rabit: It sounds like you might actually want to create your own wiki - some place like wikia.com provide them for free and a number of large projects are using them. I'm not quite sure the ModdingWiki is the place for all the information you want to collect - for example other platforms such as Amiga are quite off-topic for a wiki dedicated to DOS games, and screenshots of clones is starting to be borderline off-topic because it's not really the wiki's primary focus. I would hate to be the one to hold you back because the place you are contributing to isn't quite a 100% match for your goals.

It sounds like you are after a more general gaming focus, so perhaps your own wiki would give you the free range you are after? As Quadko says, it doesn't matter that there is some duplication with other sites. You can always merge content later if you feel the need, or maybe the other sites will merge with you if your presentation is better. You could also easily link to the ModdingWiki for DOS games, and I would gladly put a link on ModdingWiki pages to your own wiki for people who would like more in-depth information about the games listed.

What do you think?
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Rabit
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 2:44 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it probably needs to be a different Wiki.
But probably it's not a bad idea for you to add games for other platforms too on your Wiki.
After all, they have many things in common. For example .mod files were used on Amiga (and probably on Atari ST) too.

I'm not sure Wikia is a good place, they might not allow reverse engineering info, and they are probably more strict with external links.

Well, I have not much to add at this time anyways. When I will find links to clones I will add them. The same with reverse engineering info. If one day I will find a central gaming wiki, I will copy the information there.

I would start a mediawiki encyclopedia myself, but I can't find a free host. Wikinet.org and EditThis.info are way too slow.

@Quadko: a copyright-free encyclopedia can be replicated any time so it doesn't matter who holds the ring. If something is not right, then the next day the encyclopedia can move to another server. It's not like a commercial product.
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:08 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

It's nice when it works that way. It's sure supposed to work that way. But since we're talking about people, it too often ends up with factions and hurt feelings and "wars" and splintered visions and retroactive "take my toys and leave" and all the divisive behavior and politicking that goes with unhappy humans.

I don't want to discourage you! I want to encourage you to spend your energy on your passions; to often people waste them on preliminaries and intend to get to their passions later, and end up never getting to pursue their passion. Or they ask permission or pre-validation and end up discouraged. Instead, act! Then enjoy the fruits of your labor, whatever comes. Worst case you tried and learned. Best case is beyond what you can imagine. (And look, I have to tell myself this all the time, too. I'm not that good at it, but I'm happier when I apply these guidelines.)


...and I think .mod files were invented on the Amiga and just ported everywhere else! Here it is. Happy I was always a PC guy, but looking back, the Amiga was the best engineered and best features of the early computers, the Mac had the best marketing, and the PC was the best at business. And that basically explains everything that happened, much as it crushes my engineering-oriented heart.
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Malvineous
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:35 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

You can always read Wikia's terms of service, but I have seen other wikis there that deal with reverse engineering so I wouldn't worry about that. You should take regular exports of your wiki's content anyway, so if they do close you down you won't lose anything except the time it takes to find another host. But if they can host wikis about movies complete with photos and screenshots and not get taken down for copyright infringement then I think information about some old games nobody is selling any more isn't going to raise any eyebrows.

And I could add games from other platforms to the ModdingWiki, but I fear that makes the focus too broad, which can make it difficult to maintain. There are other wikis that aren't so narrow in their focus such as the REWiki and the Xentax game wiki but in my opinion neither of those wikis are as high quality because they lack the focus of the ModdingWiki. So it's probably going to be specific to DOS games for the time being at least.

I still think you should consider giving Wikia a shot!
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Rabit
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:38 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, I am back and I haven't abandoned the idea.
I made an account at Wikia.
I mentioned the Supaplex clones at http://gaming.wikia.com/wiki/Talk:Boulder_Dash#Boulder_Dash_clones

Please help me to locate more wikis and encyclopedias dedicated to games in order to make the list longer at http://gaming.wikia.com/wiki/Encyclopedia_Gamia_talk:About#Other_encyclopedias_dedicated_to_games

I think there should be a list of game wikis somewhere at some page like http://gaming.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_gaming_wikis or something like that

Please recommend me other good web sites to enlarge the list of "Old gaming websites" at http://gaming.wikia.com/wiki/User:GameFury#Useful_sites
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nickherc
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:49 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

How far along you came?
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