I’ve been adding a lot of things to MobyGames lately after initially noticing a couple of things missing in my local games community and now it spiraling into me adding stuff from Steam Curator pages and lots of smaller adventure games and interactive fiction, and now I have Some Thoughts
MobyGames is the one I decided to focus on, despite being owned by Atari, since it has the most games and is the one that games historians seem to look at the most. For example, here’s a recent comment from someone at the Video Games History Foundation on cohost after I posted similar thoughts there.
“For the study we’re doing with VGHF, we picked MobyGames for that reason. Even then there’s still some pretty big holes; there’s like 1600 GB/GBC/GBA games in MobyGames and they’re missing another 200. But it’s the best for what it’s covering, for sure. (For comparison, IGDB has 290 C64 games, MobyGames has over 5000)”
That said, MobyGames isn’t perfect either. It’s going through a redesign right now that’s introduced some bugs, which will eventually get fixed but has made contributing harder at the moment. It’s a headache to credit people, especially when the person has used various names or isn’t using a legal birth name. They’re working on improving this too but at the moment it’s still annoying. It also takes forever to approve new game entries. I know it’s all volunteers but man, the current wait time for approving new game entries at MobyGames is estimated at 5 months?
IGDB seems to move much faster and has more entries for games on Itch but also doesn’t seem to have credits for very many games and has some inconsistency with multiple entries per game, etc. There is a process for removing duplicates but it basically requires contacting an admin. And as mentioned before, it’s just missing tons of older games. So maybe there’s just no ideal games database and everyone is doing the best they can with what we got. I’m also not really thrilled about them being owned by Atari and Amazon either.
There’s also more specialized ones like IFDB and the one on AdventureGamers.com that aren’t owned by a big company but again, specialized to just one genre. There’s also the Giant Bomb one but I don’t really think people should invest more time into that one with it being owned by Fandom now, especially when they seem to be letting go of everyone.
I still think people should contribute to these places though, it doesn’t have to be MobyGames. I’ve been adding info from the Michigan game dev communities I’m involved in and there’s just so much missing, so I imagine there’s a lot of stuff other people here know about that isn’t being documented and it would be nice to have more info about these games preserved. There’s just so many games, especially on Itch, that haven’t been documented at all.