Huh, okay, when I posted my Big List, I knew it wasn’t a complete, final version, but I did at least think I probably had the earliest game creation systems covered. I had no doubt I was still missing a lot of game creation systems from the 2000s and 2010s, and maybe even some from the 90s, but I thought my list was probably pretty much complete through the 80s.
Of course, I was wrong. I’ve since found out about at least two games from the 80s that weren’t on the list.
One was pointed out by a comment to my Big List post by Jonathan H. Davidson, who brought it to my attention that the 80s Color Computer game Video Pinball includes a level editor/board designer, which places it within the purview of this blog, so I’m adding it to the list. (As soon as I figure out what year it was…)
The other missing system from the 80s I found out about through the latest post (at the time I’m writing) this by the CRPG Addict. He had just finished Eye of the Beholder II, and the next game on his list was going to be “DC Game”—or rather, DC Game being a game construction system, the sample game that came with the system. However, on further investigation, he decided to remove it from his list, because (a) he’d already played a game made with the system (The Rescue of Lorri in Lorrintron), (b) the game required payment of a shareware fee to access its full features, and (c) it was apparently not much of a CRPG anyway.
Now, the existence of this system wasn’t news to me; I was pretty sure I remembered it already being on my Big List. But what’s relevant to the current subject is that the Addict also found he may have been mistaken about the date, and while he had it down as a 1988 game, the earliest version he could find was from 1991. Well, that got me wondering if I had the correct date for it. So I checked my Big List, and… yes, it’s there (as “DC Games“), but under 1998. Obviously, if it was used to create a game in 1991, this is wrong. It’s not a surprise that some of my dates are wrong; again, with thousands of systems to put in my list, I don’t have time to take a close look at every one, and in many cases I just went with the date of the earliest version of the website for the system I could find on the Wayback Machine, which I’m pretty sure is what happened here. But apparently either the Wayback Machine didn’t have versions of the website prior to 1998 saved, or the system was on a different website (or didn’t have a dedicated website) previously, so in this case that led me astray. (It is likely to have led me astray in other cases too that I don’t know about yet, but I knew it was fallible.) Actually, I now note that the FAQ on the archived website says it was last updated in 1995, so if I’d seen that at the time that would have given me an indication that the 1998 version wasn’t the oldest version of the site…
(Bizarrely, the CRPG Addict mentions DC Game[s] going by several other names, one of which is “Generic Adventure Game System”. I do, in fact, have “Generic Adventure Game System” on my list under 1985, but this is a system for writing text adventures, and clearly entirely different from the DC Games system, which is geared toward CRPGs. So did two different systems really use that same four-word name? Huh.)
So, anyway, it appears that my Big List wasn’t as complete through the 80s as I’d hoped. There are at least two more systems to add to it… or rather, one system to add to it, and one to move from the 90s. (Despite the Addict’s suspicions, if the DC Games documentation gives a copyright date of “1988-1991”, I’m going to go ahead and count it as dating from 1988 barring new information surfacing to the contrary.) I’m not going to update my Big List post; I’m going to leave that as is to reflect the list as it was when I started. But at some point I’ll post an updated list, and eventually I probably ought to just go ahead and put the whole thing in a Google Doc like the CRPG Addict’s indices. In the meantime, though, if anyone knows of any other games missing from my list, especially from the 80s, please let me know!
Anyway, I ought to make another post about Wander soon. I have started writing a game in the system, and I certainly have enough material to write a post about it… so expect that later today.