Thursday, December 19, 2013

The MobyGames Problem: fixed?

You may recall that just over three months ago the MobyGames database of computer and video game information, in whose service this very blog was established (so as to have a source to point to verifying game ad blurb submissions) had its site-breaking "new design" inflicted on it by the benignly neglectful owners at GameFly they'd languished beneath for three years.

For three months the users banged their head against the wall, tried to reach someone in charge to fix some of the glaring, show-stopping problems (but though the lights were on, no one was home), and actually en masse boycotted the site, which ground to a halt. The bulk of the once-active users changed their nicknames and avatar pictures to shame the owners, and on a given site visit it wasn't unusual to see the frontpage basically hitting itself in the face by randomly coming up with one of these "featured users'" profiles scolding the site owners. We had pretty much determined that the party was over and that it was time to leave.

Good news! Yesterday a team led by Reed Lakefield and Simon Carless, with projects like Gamasutra, the GDC, and GameTab behind them, announced that they had taken on ownership of the site, and would be rolling back the reviled changes, effective immediately. In a 24-hour period, we have not only seen the site's stint on death row repealed, we have seen an eagerness, nay, an appetite, to implement changes and streamline snags that has been unknown for at least three years (since GameFly bought MobyGames in order to, as best as we can tell, assign its one programmer to other projects and help themselves to our box cover art scans.) It's truly a Christmas miracle. I've been wondering what to do with these ad scans now that I had nowhere to submit their text, and now the gates have been opened again! (Just as well, I have a pile of exciting updates from the land of computer gamebooks to put in their database, including a great new title from Choice of Games launching tomorrow, "Choice of the Deathless"... a supernatural legal thriller!) Many users have been unironically describing this new development as a Christmas miracle. If Mr. Archive Team is satisfied, we're satisfied. Site founder Trixter is also in high spirits over this new development, though still stinging from recent acrimony regarding his handover to the previous deadbeat administration. Giddy on optimism, during my coffee break last night I came up with another one of my ugly MobyGames collages, with the letters in the name sourced from box artwork from diverse and sundry games. Can you figure out where they came from?
(It took a single MG user just over a half-hour, most of which was them getting around to reading the message I'm sure, to nail all the letter-sources. Specialists! They have a deep trove of specialized knowledge and expertise!)