A quick thanks to all those friendly souls who put up YouTube videos of C64 games. It was very helpful for determining the gameplay and thus genres of a lot of games. Especially regarding flip-screen versus scrolling (multiple directions, vertically or sideways).
So with more than 4300 games available, almost any old C64 game you can think of should now be represented. There are local screenshots for most of them (courtesy of MobyGames) along with dynamic information from Wikipedia and Giant Bomb whenever available.
Normally GameDeed works as a checklist for whether you’ve completed a game, and you can certainly use the list of C64 games for this purpose, but it offers more than that. For example, the gallery viewer makes for faster and more efficient browsing of screenshots than a lot of other game databases.
Let me give you an example.
Using the site
Click the link above (with a middle mouse button click so you can view it in a new browser tab and refer back to this blog post). You should see a list of the first fifty C64 games, starting alphabetically.
If you want to find a specific game fast, start typing in the small text box in the top left corner of the table. Type e.g.
winter and the table should dynamically shrink down to something like this:
This reveals all findings of games that include the word “winter” – including Winter Games which is the one I actually wanted to find.
You can see a lot of immediate stuff such as the game length being one hour, that it has multiplayer support (the yellow color indicates that it works on the same device which was pretty much always the case for C64) and a cyan box with a number in it.
The cyan box is a percentage review rating from the popular old C64 magazine, Zzap!64. If you click the number, a scan of the magazine review opens up in a new browser tab.
Right next to the cyan box, there’s a big button. The yellow corner banner indicates that local screenshots are available for this game, and the bright light in the arrow that there’s also a Wikipedia article.
Click it now to open up some info space for this game – the ExpandSpace.
The expanded space offer two tabs in the top – one for Wikipedia and one for various Galleries. For Winter Games, there’s a Wikipedia article and this is always shown first when present. The information comes directly from Wikipedia through a service called an API which means it’s always up-to-date.
Now move your mouse to the Galleries tab. A drop-down menu appears, but if you just click the tab itself, it automatically chooses the first available menu item. For Winter Games (and most of the other C64 games) this is
GameDeed and that means local screenshots.
The screenshots can be browsed by moving the scroll bar to the sides, or by rolling the mouse wheel. Click a thumbnail to see a zoomed version of the screenshot.
If you hover the mouse on the Galleries tab again (looking at Winter Games) there should also be a menu item for
Giant Bomb. Clicking it shows their screenshots – again using an API, so the images should be fresh from their site. Do note, however, that Giant Bomb tends to mix up screenshots for multiple formats. The local screenshots only show for the format tied to the game row.
You can click the big button again to close the ExpandSpace for the game, or you can click a big button for another game to open it up while the old one closes.
If you wish to browse the games alphabetically instead of searching, first delete what you typed earlier in the text box to return to the original list.
Both in the top and bottom of the table, there are page browse arrows. Single arrows just goes to the next or previous page as you would expect. Double arrows jumps 10 pages, and the edge arrows goes to the absolute start or end of the entire list.
Since each table page shows fifty rows per default (this can be changed in settings for a user that has registered for the site) and the page browse controls show a total of 87 pages, it means that there are more than 4300 games to peruse for C64 alone.
Observations while adding the games
There sure were a lot of text adventures. Yes, many were more or less graphic too, but technically still text adventures. I never knew there were this many for C64.
I’m surprised by the choice of flip-screen in a lot of games. The scrolling type doesn’t seem to have been all that prevailing in spite of the awesome hardware support in C64. My guess is it was either lack of required programming skill or because of porting across other formats where scrolling was not an option.
I actually started out adding game lengths to be begin with, but I soon decided to skip it. Partly because I needed to cut some corners to speed up the process, but also because it turned out that most C64 games could (theoretically) be completed in an hour or two. Remember this is way back where saving in video games was not quite prevalent yet.
Pondering the future
I love extending GameDeed with new features, but I seem to have a tendency to do so in a manner that requires me to juggle a lot of data afterwards. Meticulously pouring in data while validating the details can quickly become a chore.
Adding the data for C64 was a long and tedious affair that required me to go through 18 big spreadsheets, each with about 250 games. After a while I found a solid work procedure where I could get all the columns set up along with most data so it wasn’t too much of a hassle, including titles, developers, links…
…except one thing – the genre!
The genre kept being the big millstone around my neck. Because my definition of genres for my site is so distinct, I had to click links for every single game and sometimes also look them up on YouTube to see the game in action. It took forever to go through. In fact, it’s a wonder I ever made it through the more than 4300 games for C64 this way.
Even adding links for Wikipedia and Giant Bomb wasn’t that bad compared to dealing with the genres. I found a way to multitask that while saving the local screenshots.
Unless I find a way to speed up the genre definitions, I’m not exactly keen on continuing the same work procedure for other formats. Considering how small the user base still is for GameDeed, I don’t really think it’s worth the trouble. It’s a lot of hard work for too small an audience.
I have ideas for expanding upon the C64 games in GameDeed, like adding a web SID player to enjoy the many marvelous game tunes. But I’m also hesitant about this, for pretty much the same reason.
If you have any comments, suggestions or corrections, please fire away below.