Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Achievements and tough decisions - Starting Year 4

Two months worth of relative rest and relaxation, and I'm happy to say I have made a decision of sorts. The happy news is, the blog still continues. The unhappy news is, I have stopped working on it pre-actively, in the way I have so far been doing. This means, that the rate of posts will be lower (perhaps even much lower) than previously, and I cannot guarantee the sort of material you will be getting on a regular basis anymore, because I'm only going to work on one article at a time, unless I've got a RESET magazine article to work on simultaneously. On the plus side, now I can focus on bigger games with more versions to compare, rather than lesser-known titles that only a handful of people care about. The lack of a schedule also means that I can now accept suggestions and requests more freely and work on with more immediacy than the previous year. Also, due to the less frequent posting, I have decided to continue working on the blog as far as I can bother with no summer holiday breaks or anything of the kind, but this also means, the next time I decide to go for a break, I might as well quit the blog then. But now, let's start the fourth year, or season, if you will... with an announcement about achieving another visitor milestone:

The above number of visits FRGCB has had over the past 3 years was passed on the 3rd of August, which is already well over a month ago. Currently, we're going at almost 250,000 already, which I think is spectacular. Thanks for the continued interest, everybody! The next stop, half-a-million!

Now, if you're even more interested, click on to read what I've been up to this past two months. Some of it might have something to do with the blog, but I assure you, not all of it is FRGCB-related.


A good deal of the start of my "holiday" got sacrificed into archiving material from my old computer, then putting together a new PC from mostly new hardware, and installing a bunch of software on a new, clean hard drive. The main reason for my PC hardware upgrade was, so that I could work on some videos more efficiently, but also because my old graphics card was dying on me, and there was no point in upgrading the graphics card without upgrading most of the other stuff inside the computer case. For a nice bonus, now I'm able to play some more modern games if I feel like it. Of course, having new hardware brings new problems: I will probably need to upgrade to a better flat screen monitor and some other small things sometime soon.

After I got my new computer up and running as well as I needed, I spent a considerable amount of time researching the game libraries for not only common machines like Amstrad CPC and MSX, but more niche computers like the NEC PC-88 and PC-98, as well as Sharp X1 and X68000, in hopes of finding anything worth writing about on the blog. Due to the way Japanese game developers liked to focus on developing only a few certain kinds of games, it's insanely difficult to find anything particularly unique or interesting, at least when you also want the games to be presented in a language most of us non-Japanese people could also read. But I'm still researching.

In the past three years, I have managed to diligently browse through most of the main retro game databases, like GB64, CPC-Softs, World of Spectrum, Plus/4 World, Lemon64, LemonAmiga and Atarimania, but sometimes it's impossible to keep focused on finding things that should be considered important for this sort of research. Mistakes will happen, as they have in the past, so if I miss some bit of information, corrections are still welcome, just as long as you don't act like a jerk about it. Also, new conversions of games previously mentioned on the blog seem to have a habit of popping up every now and then, inevitably requiring either some updating of an old comparison article or perhaps correcting a Unique Games entry.

Finally, small portions of the last two months have been put into updating some old comparisons. If you want to take a look at the fixed comparisons, here are the links:

- QUEDEX (with special thanks to Stavros Fasoulas for the correction!)

Fixing Krakout and River Rescue took longer than expected, which I shall use as an excuse for the lack of more updates - there are still plenty of entries to update, namely Commando, Jumping Jack, Saboteur, Wizball and Barbarian, as well as Alter Ego and UWOL from the NGOTM series, but I'll get to them as the season continues, or after I have finished actually writing new entries for good, whichever seems more plausible. I just haven't had as much time to get into updating the blog during my summer break as I would have hoped. Also, Alley Cat is still supposed to have a ZX Spectrum conversion coming up soon.


For those of you, who like some statistics and have been following the blog for longer than a few months or so, I decided to compile a couple of Top Tens regarding the blog entries for you to wonder at. First, here's...

Top Ten Most Clicked Entries (compiled 13th of September)

3549 - Chuckie Egg
3380 - Twofer/NGOTM: The New Dimension Special!
3373 - FRGR: Uuno Turhapuro Muuttaa Maalle
3353 - BoneCruncher
3310 - Unique Games: Afterlife 2
3265 - The Sacred Armour of Antiriad
3249 - Unique Games 10
3244 - Renegade
3192 - The Last Ninja
3187 - Enduro Racer

What's notable here, is that all of these entries were made during the third year, and the only older entry to cross the 3000 views count was The Goonies from February 2014. Also, what was interesting for me to note, while the Archive page has been recently put to more use than the previous year, it still has only about 2800 clicks, so it's less viewed than the Goonies comparison. Kind of funny, actually. Now, the other Top Ten is basically all the genres and sub-genres dumbed down to twelve basic genres, and a list of how many games of each genre has been dealt with on the blog.

Top Ten Genres on the Blog

OTHER INFO: 22 (Unique Games series, Updates etc.)

It seems like I would have to concentrate more on at least racing and sports games in the future to get a more balanced ratio for game genres, but the problem with sports games, at least of the waggling kind, is that you really need to have the proper machines to make the comparisons on, because no emulator and no USB controller works well enough to get a proper idea of how the games actually play on each machine. As for the bottom three from the list, I'd say there is no reason to make all that many comparisons of those genres, unless something truly special comes up.

Just for the heck of it, here's my top ten list of which entries I've enjoyed making the most - not including the non-comparison entries.

Top Ten Comparisons I've Enjoyed The Most To Make (in no particular order)

Forbidden Forest + Caverns of Khafka
Fort Apocalypse
Hoppin' Mad
River Rescue
Test Drive
Montezuma's Revenge
Rally Speedway + The Great American Cross-Country Road Race


In other news, both of my bands of original music have been a bit busier than usual this year. Jacques Daniels Project has been working on a new music video, which shows footage of an old culture-centric building we had our old rehearsal studio in for a few years - the building has now been demolished. We also had our album release party in late May, and a few days ago, we had another gig at a small local festival to "quietly" celebrate the release of the video. And here's the said video:

Snowreport has also been busy, but in that case, we spent a few days in a studio in Oulu and recorded a couple of new songs. No videos for these tunes yet, nor have the songs been uploaded online yet, but if you're interested, like Snowreport's Facebook page to keep yourselves posted.

In addition to these two bands, I'm still working in a few cover bands, as well as making cheap videos for friends, so things are a bit hectic even without the blog. Thankfully, I've still got SJ on board, helping me out whenever needed, so the process of doing research and writing is not always such a chore. Anyway, that's the situation, and I hope all of this has shed some light on why the blog has been so quiet lately, and will continue with less frequent posts. I shall still be taking things a bit easier than usual here this month, but rest assured, you can expect something big coming up sooner rather than later.

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