MobyGames is a website devoted to cataloging computer and video games, both past and present. The site contains an extensive database of video game information. The website's 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 the beginning of 2008, that catalog includes more than 83 separate gaming platforms (consoles, computers and handheld devices including mobile phones) and more than 20,000 unique games.
MobyGames' database is completely relational, meaning that information can be searched for in a variety of ways. The database contains information on video and computer games, video game developers and publishers and categorizes them by year, manufacturer and platform.
The Moby software also develops lists of related games. For example, all the games in the Ultima series are included in a group list. Indirectly-linked games are also grouped together, ranging from Tetris variants to The Simpsons licenses.
Also, all versions of a particular game released for different platforms also get grouped into a special list. Games are separated by their gameplay and similarity to one another. So that even though two games may share the same name or license, they only comprise the same game sheet if the gameplay represented is the same (or almost the same). Therefore a game such as Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, released for 3D-capable platforms (Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Windows) is separated from Splinter Cell as it appears on the Game Boy Advance or N-Gage.
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 for auditing purposes. Furthermore, all information submitted to MobyGames is individually verified by users with Approver access before it goes into the database. User accounts are free and require only a valid email address. Several notable developers have contributed to the database, including John Romero, Damon Slye and Harvey Smith.
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 "rap sheets" (as MobyGames calls them) have biographical information, similarly to how IMDb tracks credits for various film actors and crew.
Almost all information on a game is included in MobyGames. Each entry can include a summary, credits, release information (across different countries and releases — many budget-price reissues are documented), cover art scans, screenshots (rules for contributing these are strict, ensuring perfect quality), reviews (unlimited), technical specifications for the game, trivia, tips & tricks (cheats), advertising blurbs the game may have used, and links for buying or trading the game. MobyGames does not offer any downloadable games, demos or patches, feeling those roles are better left up to the developers. They also do not carry game news as there are many other web sites devoted to that task.
One of MobyGames' signature features is that it allows its users to rate their favorite games. 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".
Concepts and goalsRectify
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 '70s 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 including its rating (ESRB, PEGI, CERO, etc.), screenshots, cover art, techncial specifications, release info (including release info for every country the game is released in), and advertising blurbs.
Besides this information, users can write reviews for any game entry. MobyGames subscribes to the concept that the average of multiple user ratings is more accurate than a few ratings from a professional journalists. Reviews are written and submitted to the website, and later re-edited by the author if necessary. The site also allows for users to enter in trivia or their own walkthroughs/cheats/hints for others to use.
MobyGames was founded on March 1, 1999 by Jim Leonard, Brian Hirt, and David Berk (joined 18 months after project started, but 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. The significance of the site is perhaps summed up by the creation of an online petition calling for the ZX Spectrum to be added. It was added in late 2004, and as of late 2005 has around 1000 games documented for that platform.
Other 2005 additions include the MSX, Amstrad CPC, TRS-80, Palm OS, Windows Mobile, Java ME, Xbox 360 and Gizmondo . 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. In 2006, Atari 8-bit, Commodore PET, Apple Macintosh computers, Channel F, Magnavox Odyssey, CD-i, Dragon 32/64, Magnavox Odyssey², iPod, PlayStation 3 and Wii were added to the database. Systems such as the BBC Micro and SAM Coupé are still absent.
MobyGames was nominated for, but did not win, a Webby Award for Best Game-related Website by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences on April 11, 2006.
- Rusel DeMaria, Johnny L. Wilson, High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games, McGraw-Hill/Osborne Media; 2 edition (December 18, 2003), ISBN 0072231726
- Katherine Isbister, Better Game Characters by Design: A Psychological Approach (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Interactive 3D Technology), Morgan Kaufmann; Pap/Cdr edition (June 5, 2006), ISBN 1558609210
- Christy Marx, Writing for Animation, Comics, and Games, Focal Press (October 25, 2006), ISBN 0240805828
- Jean Swanson, Dean James, The Dick Francis Companion, Berkley Trade; Berkley Pr edition (July 29, 2003), ISBN 0425181871
- Sheri Graner Ray, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding The Market (Advances in Computer Graphics and Game Development Series), Charles River Media; 1 edition (September 2003), ISBN 1584502398
- Jason Rutter, Jo Bryce, Understanding Digital Games, Sage Publications Ltd (May 24, 2006), ISBN 1412900336
- Ari Feldman, Designing Arcade Computer Game Graphics, Wordware Publishing; Bk&CD-Rom edition (November 1, 2000), ISBN 1556227558
- Dave Morris, Leo Hartas, Strategy Games, Thomson Course Technology (2004), ISBN 1592002536
- Diane Carr, Computer Games: Text, Narrative and Play, Polity (2006), ISBN 074563401X
- Torben Kragh Grodal, Bente Larsen, Iben Thorving Laursen, Visual Authorship: Creativity and Intentionality in Media, Museum Tusculanum Press (2005), ISBN 8763501287