MobyGames Celebrates 20 Years with Wing Commander Nod Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Update ID

We're a little bit late to the party here, but Jim Leonard, one of the co-founders of MobyGames, recently posted a neat look back on twenty years of the useful game data website. As we've just recently celebrated our 21st, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy that simple old gaming sites like ours are still humming along after all this time. "Simple" is probably not a very fair label for such a vast and exhaustive resource, but they've managed to keep a lot of their classic charm intact to this date. I use it frequently to check up on classic developers and gaming credits, and thousands of other folks find it useful in other ways. Speaking of which, I should really go figure out how to get the voice actor credits separated off from my profile on the site. Yes, the Serious Sam special thanks is legit. Back on topic: the article is a really interesting history of how a classic gaming site came to be. It also turns out that Wing Commander was just the third game added to the site's enormous library, and it was the first 'serious' entry after the The X-Files Game and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? were added as a test. So Happy 20th Birthday to MobyGames! You can check out the original Wing Commander article dating back to March 1, 1999 here and read the whole historical article here.
MobyGames turns 20 years old on Friday March 1st, something I am overjoyed to witness. It’s occasion enough for me to come out of semi-retirement and tell my side of the story of MobyGames’ humble beginnings: A tale of two friends starting up a company to fill a void in the gaming community.

MobyGames was created in a figurative basement (an apartment, actually) during the formation of the first Internet Bubble, and somehow stayed alive and grew once that bubble popped. It has become the de-facto source of historical data of the game industry, for people both inside and outside that industry. It is frequently cited as the source of material for tens of thousands of Wikipedia articles on video and computer games. It has achieved and surpassed the goals I originally had for it, and I’m grateful to everyone who volunteers their valuable time to contribute to the database, even more so by all of the admins who edit and audit all of the information for accuracy and authenticity. I am humbled by all of their efforts, past, present, and future.

It was in 1998 that I was motivated to revisit the idea. Fueled by nostalgic curiosity, I had attempted to search for some information on older games that I wanted to play or learn more about, but kept coming up short in all of my searches. I wasn’t being totally unreasonable; I was searching for answers to questions like these:

Who composed the wonderful AdLib music in Continuum, and what else have they worked on?

  • Did that old Cinemaware samurai game ever come out for the PC?
  • Everyone on the newsgroups talks about Star Control 2; will it run on this old Tandy I have lying around here?
  • Speaking of which, what other games will take advantage of my Tandy’s sound and graphics?
  • I like racing games; what other racing games were made for the PC?
  • I am completely stuck in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis; where can I get a hint or walkthrough for older games?
  • Speaking of which, what other games are like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis?
  • I’ve never played King’s Quest 7; what does it look like?
The first game ever entered into MobyGames was The X-Files Game. This was not because it was a great game, but rather because Brian was testing the system and it was the first game within arm’s reach. The second entry was by myself, for Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. It was, also, the closest game within arm’s reach for me; I’d grabbed a smattering of titles from my collection to start populating the database with. The third entry was more proper for a historical database on gaming: Wing Commander. (As of today, these last two entries still retains their original contribution date of March 1st, 1999.)

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