According to my records, I reached 10,000 MobyGames contributions points way back in the spring of 2008. Now, 11 years later, I am teetering on the precipice of 20,000 points:
I’ve been going wild this year submitting promo art for various old games, a floodgate which opened late last year. Each promo art entry is worth a mere 1/2 point, so the fact that I have earned 171 points on this task so far this year says something. The small amount of contribution credit that each submission grants also allows me to finely control the exact point total. I have opted to savor the 19,999-point milestone for just a little bit before resuming contribution.
I started out manually scanning the video game ads from old comics. However, I then started perusing the Internet Archive’s collections of old computer magazines and saw that they had plenty of unentered advertisements. So I have also developed a workflow to systematically work through those issues and extract any ads. It’s what I call brainless work– it’s a low-mental-bandwidth, somewhat relaxing task to perform while I watch YouTube videos or listen to podcasts or audiobooks.
Over the years, I have collected more physical artifacts that are appropriate for scanning and preserving into the MobyGames database, especially as MG continues to expand its preservation charter. Here’s a curious item that I think I acquired in 2005, before I started maintaining this blog. It seems to be a package containing marketing materials for various Namco titles that were scheduled to be released in the 2004-2005 timeframe. I found this at a used game shop for just under a dollar.
Here’s the outside case:
And the inside of the case, with the DVD video and “Assets” CD-ROM:
In addition to the discs, there are also 11 cards in the case, each with marketing information cards (apparently called “sell sheets”) for each of 11 different games. Here is a closer look:
I was thinking that I might have to painstakingly scan each one of those sell sheets, front and back. That turns out to be unnecessary because all of the sell sheets live on the assets CD-ROM, each as a 2-page PDF file. I have found a method to convert the pages of a PDF into flat PNG images so that I can submit them to the database. Curiously, while a PDF viewer will only display the same content as seen on the cards, the flattened exported images contain more information around the border, including the name of the marketing firm that created them (shout out to Ignited Minds for their lovely work on these sell sheets).
This reminds me of the Ubisoft marketing CD-ROM I found in a used game shop a few years later, the one which had similar sell sheets but in the form of PowerPoint presentations. Perhaps I need to flatten those into still images and submit them as well.
The assets CD-ROM also has lots of art and screenshots from each of the advertised games which all warrants inclusion into the database. Meanwhile, the video DVD has a series of trailers, some of which aren’t on YouTube and probably should be. I should rip and upload them into a playlist (just as I did with a Nintendo GameCube trailer CD-ROM a long time ago when YouTube was still young). Really, I need to get moving on getting everything on both of these discs preserved at archive.org.
Of course, I have also been on the hunt for more comics that might have useful game advertisements. To that end, I have been occasionally buying grab bag lots via eBay sellers. Not all of them will contain useful ads, but as long as the price is well below, say, a dollar per comic, I don’t mind rolling the dice.
Here are some of these recent comic acquisitions (including the legendary trucker superhero, US Archer):
Here are some of the interesting ads contained within, from 1983 (Tutankhamen) to 2007 (Crackdown):
Actual game acquisitions have been few and far between. But here are 3 that arrived in the last few months from an eBay seller:
The titles are as follows:
- 3D Space Station Adventure: Copyright 2001 Sterling Software. This seems to be an activity center title rather than a game.
- Zombie Dinos From Planet Zeltoid: I picked this up even though it’s already in the database, just on the strength of its name. It came out for CD-i in 1992. This represents the later DOS release. Again, not sure if this is a game, at least from the jewel case copy. But if it is in MobyGames, then someone must have already assessed that it is indeed a game, though more on the alleged “educational” side.
- Inventor Labs: Transportation: 1997 published by Houghton Mifflin. Again, this seems like a pure educational title. However, there is already another game in this series in MobyGames. The jewel case copy mentions that you have to build your own transportation prototype and then race it against others, thus certifying this title as a “game”.