MobyGames' old official logo
Type of site
|Owner||Blue Flame Labs|
|Launched||March 1, 1999|
|23,450 (April 2014[update])|
MobyGames is a website which catalogs video games, both past and present. Its goal is defined as the following by the website's FAQ: "To meticulously catalog all relevant information about electronic games (computer, console, and arcade) on a game-by-game basis, and then offer up that information through flexible queries and 'data mining'. In layman's terms, it's a huge game database."
As of 2014, the catalog includes over 150 gaming platforms (arcade games, consoles, computers, social networking devices such as Facebook and handheld devices including mobile phones - some of them grouped as a family as in the case of Atari 8-bit) and over 90,000 games, spanning over 40 years.
Content to MobyGames is added on a voluntary basis. The ideas are similar to a wiki, though not identical. Anonymous contributions are not allowed, each item is tracked to a user account (account registration is free) for auditing purposes. Furthermore, all information submitted to MobyGames is individually verified by users with Approver access before it goes into the database. The most commonly used sources are game packaging and manual or the game itself (title/credit screens), but also publishers' announcements, interviews with developers etc.
MobyGames also maintains a comprehensive list of developers, such as programmers, game designers and artists. This list is garnered from the credit information for games in their database. Some developer profiles have biographical information (similarly to how IMDb tracks credits for various film actors and crew).
Almost all information on a game can be included in MobyGames. Each entry can include:
- a brief description characterizing the gameplay and setting
- alternative titles (in various languages)
- pertaining genres, themes, franchises
- credit information
- release information (across different countries and releases — including budget-price reissues) with product codes
- cover art scans
- screenshots (rules for contributing these are strict, they may not be borrowed from other websites)
- review excerpts (printed or online) and rating scores (aggregated into a MobyRank)
- technical specifications (medium, system requirements) for each platform
- tips & tricks (not necessarily cheat codes, but also hints, Easter eggs, walkthroughs)
- advertising blurbs from the publisher
- content ratings (ESRB, PEGI, CERO, DEJUS etc.)
- links to official or fan websites
- non-indexed information (such as awards) may be entered as trivia
MobyGames allows its registered users to rate their favorite games (by perceived gameplay value, audio-visual and presentation quality, educational value, etc.), the scores are aggregated into a MobyScore. The top rated games are then featured in a series of lists sorted by genre, system, year, etc. There is also a list for "The 25 Greatest Games of All Time". Users can also write own reviews for any game entry (they may be later re-edited by the author if necessary).
Concepts and goals
The primary goal of MobyGames is to meticulously catalog all video games. MobyGames relies upon user contributions for accurate information of video games ranging anywhere from the 1970s to the 21st century. The goal is to record all historically relevant information about a game.
MobyGames relies upon the idea that the website is built largely upon the contributions of the members of the site. The games added to the site are all added by users that contribute a missing game or some aspect of the game like credits or screenshots. Games can range anywhere from the 1970s up until the release date before it is entered into the database. Many games are missing relevant information such as credits, cheats, screenshots, and covers which can be contributed by users as long as the information is accurate. Almost all information relevant to the game is cataloged (this allows for complex database searches).
MobyGames was founded on March 1, 1999 by Jim Leonard, Brian Hirt, and David Berk (who joined 18 months after the project started, but was still credited as a founder), three friends since high school. Leonard had the idea of sharing information about electronic games with a larger audience; out of that desire came MobyGames.
MobyGames began with just entries for DOS and Windows games, since those were the only systems the founders were familiar with. On its second birthday, MobyGames started supporting other platforms, initially the leading consoles of the time such as the PlayStation, with classic systems added later. According to David Berk, new platforms are added once there is enough information researched to design the necessary framework for them in the database, as well as people willing to be approvers for the new platform.
2010 sale to GameFly
In Summer 2010, MobyGames was sold by its founders to GameFly for an undisclosed amount. As this was only announced to the community post factum, a few major contributors left in protest, refusing to do volunteer work for the now commercially-owned website.
September 2013 overhaul and community fallout
In September 2013, most of the key contributors had boycotted MobyGames as a protest against a radical unilateral site overhaul by GameFly. The community reported missing features, unappealing design and impaired functionality (e.g. slower loading) in the wake of the overhaul. As revealed on the forums, the redesign was previewed some months earlier to a select group of contributing members, who reported numerous errors and rejected the new concept. The outrage and subsequent exodus was caused by the fact that the new site was launched with the bugs and design flaws intact, along with a lack of official communication from GameFly. For three months user requests were ignored as no fixes were implemented.
December 2013 sale to Blue Flame Labs
On December 18, 2013, MobyGames was acquired by Jeremiah Freyholtz, owner of Blue Flame Labs (a San-Francisco-based game and web development company) and VGBoxArt (a site for fan-made video game boxart). Upon assuming control of the site, Blue Flame Labs reverted MobyGames' interface to its pre-overhaul look and feel. Numerous fixes and improvements have been announced, and most contributors resumed their work.
One of the major additions was allowing video games for arcade coin-operated machines in January 2014, after over a decade of user requests.
On February 3, 2014, Blue Flame Labs made a slight redesign to the site to make it look more modern.
MobyGames was nominated for a Webby Award for Best Game-related Website by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences on April 11, 2006.
Platforms listed in the database
- Acorn 32-bit family
- Amiga CD32
- Amstrad CPC (including Amstrad GX4000)
- Amstrad PCW
- Android (including Kindle Fire and Nvidia's Shield and Tegra)
- Apple II
- Apple IIgs
- Arcade video games
- Atari 2600
- Atari 5200
- Atari 7800
- Atari 8-bit family
- Atari ST
- Bally Astrocade
- BBC Micro
- Browser games (including Facebook)
- Camputers Lynx
- Casio Loopy
- Casio PV-1000
- Channel F
- Coleco Adam
- Commodore 128
- Commodore 16 and Commodore Plus/4
- Commodore 64
- Commodore CDTV
- Commodore PET/CBM
- DOS (PC)
- Dragon 32/64
- Epoch Cassette Vision
- Epoch Super Cassette Vision
- Epoch Game Pocket Computer
- Fire OS
- FM Towns
- Game Boy
- Game Boy Advance
- Game Boy Color
- Game Gear
- Game Wave
- GP2X Wiz
- iPod Classic
- Jupiter Ace
- Mattel Aquarius
- Memotech MTX
- N-Gage (service)
- Neo Geo
- Neo Geo CD
- Neo Geo Pocket
- Neo Geo Pocket Color
- Nintendo 3DS
- Nintendo 64
- Nintendo DS
- Nintendo DSi
- Palm OS
- PC booter games
- Philips VG 5000
- PlayStation 2
- PlayStation 3
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation Portable
- PlayStation Vita
- Pokémon Mini
- RCA Studio II
- SAM Coupé
- Sega 32X
- Sega CD
- Sega Master System
- SEGA Pico
- Sega Saturn
- Sharp X1
- Sharp X68000
- Sinclair QL
- Sord M5
- Super A'can
- Tatung Einstein
- Thomson MO5 and Thomson MO6
- Thomson TO7
- Tomy Tutor
- TRS-80 CoCo
- TurboGrafx CD
- Videopac+ G7400
- Virtual Boy
- Wii U
- Windows 3.x
- Windows Mobile
- Windows Phone
- WonderSwan Color
- Xbox 360
- Xbox One
- ZX Spectrum
Limitations of scope
Not all games can have entries at MobyGames, either due to authors' design decisions or limitations of thedatabase structure (a problem going beyond the addition of a new platform):
- cancelled (unreleased) games (this information may be entered as trivia for company/developer or relevant game series)
- unreleased games still in development (as all information is subject to change)
- games which appeared only in a compilation, without stand-alone release (while such compilations are listed)
- fan-made mods/total conversions of other games (this information may be entered as trivia for relevant game) - as opposed to commercially released ones
- platform-independent games, such as online MUDs, MUSHes etc. played over Telnet
- pirated releases
Sometimes it may be debatable whether a given title should be allowed, as it's somewhat ambiguous what is a game, and there's no official definition in The MobyGames Standards and Practices so far.
- Wawro, Alex (31 December 2013). "Game dev database MobyGames getting some TLC under new owner". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
- "Mobygames.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- Ports for different platforms count towards this number. Without ports/conversions, compilation and special edition entries the number of unique titles is over 40,000. 
- MobyGames database stats. Retrieved from MobyGames 2013-09-02.
- "The 25 Greatest Games of All Time" list from MobyGames
- "Report: MobyGames Acquired By GameFly Media". Gamasutra. 2011-07-02.
- Getting to know MobyGames http://www.mobygames.com/forums/dga,2/dgb,4/dgm,180655/
- Redesign Feedback http://www.mobygames.com/forums/dga,2/dgb,4/dgm,180391/
- Corriea, Alexa Ray. "MobyGames purchased from GameFly, improvements planned". Retrieved 2014-01-01.
- "2006 Webby Nominees, Games-Related category". Webbyawards.com. 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
- such as Green Berets based on Myth II, included with package
- compare various programs called "idle games" of little to none interactivity 
- Rusel DeMaria, Johnny L. Wilson, High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games, McGraw-Hill/Osborne Media; 2 edition (December 18, 2003), ISBN 0-07-223172-6
- Katherine Isbister, Better Game Characters by Design: A Psychological Approach (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Interactive 3D Technology), Morgan Kaufmann; Pap/Cdr edition (June 5, 2006), ISBN 1-55860-921-0
- Christy Marx, Writing for Animation, Comics, and Games, Focal Press (October 25, 2006), ISBN 0-240-80582-8
- Jean Swanson, Dean James, The Dick Francis Companion, Berkley Trade; Berkley Pr edition (July 29, 2003), ISBN 0-425-18187-1
- Sheri Graner Ray, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding The Market (Advances in Computer Graphics and Game Development Series), Charles River Media; 1 edition (September 2003), ISBN 1-58450-239-8
- Jason Rutter, Jo Bryce, Understanding Digital Games, Sage Publications Ltd (May 24, 2006), ISBN 1-4129-0033-6
- Ari Feldman, Designing Arcade Computer Game Graphics, Wordware Publishing; Bk&CD-Rom edition (November 1, 2000), ISBN 1-55622-755-8
- Dave Morris, Leo Hartas, Strategy Games, Thomson Course Technology (2004), ISBN 1-59200-253-6
- Diane Carr, Computer Games: Text, Narrative and Play, Polity (2006), ISBN 0-7456-3401-X
- Torben Kragh Grodal, Bente Larsen, Iben Thorving Laursen, Visual Authorship: Creativity and Intentionality in Media, Museum Tusculanum Press (2005), ISBN 87-635-0128-7