Sunday, September 24, 2006

Comment: Game Survey Results

Okay, been promising to do a tally on the last survey about Color Computer games for a long time and never got around to it. So here goes... :)

This survey asked:

What type of games would you like to see for the Color Computer?

This was one of those mark all that apply questions. Most categories got at least a few votes except Classic Board, Text Adventures, and Sports - Racing. What? No one wants to play Monolopoly on their Coco? Sheesh! :)

This is a little different from the previous survey, where strategy games came out on top. This time, when we got more specific, arcade game won out. Different sample set? Too specific?

Arcade Shooters, like Galaga, Galaxian, Gyrus, Defender, etc., garnered the most votes. I thought about this and thought about this. I mean, it's not like there haven't been a bazillian (at least) clones of most of the main arcade classics done to death on the CoCo. So why do folks want more?

Two things come to mind. First, while they certainly were done aplenty, they aren't plentiful any more. Getting hold of originals is tough and expensive sometimes. Yeah, you can download most arcade games and play them on an emulator. And if you have the patience to go through all the trouble, you can even load 'em into your CoCo from your PC.

However, I really do think that most CoCoists want something easier. I wonder if a group of CoCoist got together, sorted through everything available on line, and started offering them for sale on a 5 1/4" collection disk or two or five, if anyone would care? As long as they weren't making gobs of money off it, even just doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, would it be a copyright violation if the software has already been released for free distribution? I'm not saying someone should load up some disks and start charging twenty bucks a pop for them. But $5.00 to cover materials and copy time plus shipping would certainly be reasonable. And it would get those old CoCo games playing again! Just a thought.

Second, these games are quick and easy. And given the more mature base of users the CoCo currently has, quick and easy is probably important. Most of us don't have the luxury of days and days in front of our CoCos like we did when we were younger. Work, kids, and life in general often trumps CoCo-time. Arcade shooters are quick and easy to load up, play for 10 minutes, have a little quality CoCo time, and then get back to fixing dinner. The appeal is obvious.

That said, though... Adventure/Role Playing games came in a respectable second. And those are usually not sit down and play for ten minute games. Here I think there's a certain nostalgia factor, though. These were often the games that captured player's attention for the longest periods of time. They were an investment in time and computer love. There's certainly no reason why a few clever developers could sit down and design an RPG that COULD be played in smaller increments and still get the larger experience over time, though. Some cool and original Role Playing games would definately be fun on the CoCo.

Pulling in at third were Graphic Adventures and 3D Action games. Graphical adventures would be fun, but require a huge amount of work (hell, text adventures require a huge amount of work). Thus, I'm a big believer that CoCoists are eventually going to have to team up to produce top notch game software. You need someone to direct it, someone to write the plot, someone to code it, someone to do pictures, someone to do animation, someone to do sound, a bunch of someone's to play test and so on. Two or three creative and technical types getting together and having at it could probably come up with something pretty good. As for 3D shooters and such, well, GLOOM showed that it could be done on a CoCo. Here's hoping someone (or someones) pick it up and create some cool games with it. That one example aside though, it amazes me that no one has taken the most successful and, perhaps only, CoCo classic and done it again with say, Nazis, or spacemen, or talking vegetables. Dungeons of Daggorath was a 3D action game long before anyone else did them and it was all done in 16K. Now that's some manly man programing my friends.

Here's how the voting broke down by the end:

17.4% Arcade Shooters - Galaga, Gyrus, Defender
13.0% Arcade Classics - Pac Man, Dig Dug, Rampage
13.0% Adventure - Role Playing Games
08.7% Adventure - Graphical
08.7% Action - 3D
04.3% Simulations - Air Craft
04.3% Simulations - Cars
04.3% Simulations - Miltary
04.3% Simulations - People (the Sims, SimCity)
04.3% Action - Side Scrolling
04.3% Strategy - Turn Based
04.3% Strategy - Real Time
04.3% Puzzle - Action (Tetris, Bejeweled)
04.3% Puzzle - Classic (Crosswords, Su Doku)
00.0% Arcade Sports - Racing
00.0% Adventure - Classic Text
00.0% Classics - Board Games (Chess, Monopoly)

What about the losers? Well, classic board games translate to the computer, but really they're not particularly better than their cardboard and plastic originals. Maybe a Risk-type game with head-to-head capability over a null modem cable would be cool, but that's not really a "classic board game" so much as a simplified war game. As for Arcade Racing, has that ever been done well on the CoCo? I think I've played just about all of them now. There's a couple of decent racers, but none are outstanding. Fun for a bit but that's about it. Car simulations did get a few votes, which would seem to indicate a preference for realism and modeling over high speed action, in this case. Truely for the developer that loves a challange. :) And classic text adventures? I know there are some hardcore fans out there, but honestly, have you actually sat down and played one lately? Fond memories, but I think the majority of the world moved on to bigger and better. Not saying it couldn't be done, just saying it wouldn't be easy to do well and be of widespread interest.

This is, of course, all highly unscientific. Seriously, unscientific. Last thing any of us would want to see is someone developing a game, look at something like this, and go "oh, man, no one would want my game." On the contrary! I'm doing all turn based strategy games, probably for the next few years. It's what I like, it's what I know, it's what I can do well. Also considering a couple of puzzle games and, yes, even a "board game" of my own design for kids. If a couple of people play them and enjoy them, so much the better. We need hundreds of people plugging away on their CoCos producing all the categories above. Who says CoCoists wouldn't go nuts for a well plotted, deeply involved text adventure? I'd buy it! Everything is worthwhile. Do it well, do it right, and get it out there. We'll play it. :)

Of course, that's just my take on it... What say thee?!?

Angel's Luck,

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