MobyGames

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MobyGames
MobyGames.png
MobyGames' old official logo
Web address MobyGames.com
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Gaming
Registration Optional, Free
Available in English
Owner Blue Flame Labs[1]
Launched March 1, 1999; 15 years ago (1999-03-01)
Alexa rank
positive decrease 23,450 (April 2014)[2]
Current status active

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,[3][4] spanning over 40 years.

Overview[edit]

MobyGames' database contains information on video and computer games, video game developers and publishers and categorizes them by year, manufacturer, platform and genres.

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:

Such database entry can be either a game, an add-on for a game (expansion pack, data disk, DLC), a compilation of games, or a special edition.

Game titles can form a group, to indicate they're a part of a series, or that they share similar setting (e.g.: the First World War), theme (e.g.: sea pirates) or feature (e.g.: female protagonist).

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".[5] Users can also write own reviews for any game entry (they may be later re-edited by the author if necessary).

The site also features an integrated forum - apart from sections on general subjects and community related matters, each listed game can have its own subforum.

Uses with own account may create own "have list" and "want list" of games, which may be optionally made public - this can generate another list of games available for trade with other users.

Concepts and goals[edit]

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).

History[edit]

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[edit]

In Summer 2010, MobyGames was sold by its founders to GameFly for an undisclosed amount.[6] 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[edit]

In September 2013, most of the key contributors had boycotted MobyGames as a protest against a radical unilateral site overhaul by GameFly.[7] The community reported missing features, unappealing design and impaired functionality (e.g. slower loading) in the wake of the overhaul.[8] 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[edit]

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).[9] Upon assuming control of the site, Blue Flame Labs reverted MobyGames' interface to its pre-overhaul look and feel.[1] 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.[10]

Awards[edit]

MobyGames was nominated for a Webby Award for Best Game-related Website[11] by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences on April 11, 2006.

Platforms listed in the database[edit]

Limitations of scope[edit]

Not all games can have entries at MobyGames, either due to authors' design decisions or limitations of the current database 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[12]
  • 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,[13] and there's no official definition in The MobyGames Standards and Practices so far.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wawro, Alex (31 December 2013). "Game dev database MobyGames getting some TLC under new owner". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  2. ^ "Mobygames.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  3. ^ 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. [1]
  4. ^ MobyGames database stats. Retrieved from MobyGames 2013-09-02.
  5. ^ "The 25 Greatest Games of All Time" list from MobyGames
  6. ^ "Report: MobyGames Acquired By GameFly Media". Gamasutra. 2011-07-02. 
  7. ^ Getting to know MobyGames http://www.mobygames.com/forums/dga,2/dgb,4/dgm,180655/
  8. ^ Redesign Feedback http://www.mobygames.com/forums/dga,2/dgb,4/dgm,180391/
  9. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray. "MobyGames purchased from GameFly, improvements planned". Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  10. ^ http://www.mobygames.com/forums/dga,2/dgb,4/dgm,188979/
  11. ^ "2006 Webby Nominees, Games-Related category". Webbyawards.com. 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  12. ^ such as Green Berets based on Myth II, included with package
  13. ^ compare various programs called "idle games" of little to none interactivity [2]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]