The Final Dungeon

Posted: 15th September 2021 by Jeroen in Endgame
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It’s time for a brief intermission before we get ready for the end game. While game 998 might not sound like an odd point to do so, there is some meaning behind it – by our definition of genres, there are 25 genres left. We finished two of those a long time ago – Wii Fit was the only fitness game on the list, so we finished that genre four games into the list, over a decade ago. I’ve played all of the MMORPGs, finishing with Everquest 2 back in 2013, early after the closure of City of Heroes made me fear others would follow suit. I don’t believe any of the other listed games ever did close, even if my professional relationship with Runescape turned odd a few years later.

That, you’ll notice, leaves me with 23 genres and (thanks to the second edition of the list) 23 games left to play.  Like a classic boss rush, we selected some games for each genre to play last and, obviously, narrowed it down to one per genre to be played now. Most of these are amongst the best games in the genre that represent a major series in it or one that stands out. In some cases, it was left to chance instead what I ended up playing last. Either way, though, there’s a game for each genre left that’s (almost) just that, something that I hope will really represent the genre in some way.

For these final 23 games things will mostly go the same, but I hope to get a short retrospective in for each genre to look at how they land with me. Now my schedule is more certain, I will also be able to get a bit deeper into some of them before we finish this, but we’ll see how that goes. As I’m starting a new set, I’ll do my round up for this batch a bit early – at 998 rather than 1000 – so we can go in fairly with that area. That’ll be up tomorrow, so we can start with our first entry of the final batch on the 17th.

With that, I can also confirm the end date of this blog. Barring any weird events – and by the time you read this, all of the posts should be scheduled and written anyway – the final post of this blog will be posted on November 22nd, exactly 11 years after we posted Pong. See you after that for our final round up!

And since I’ve missed out on doing these overviews for those genres, here they are for fitness games and MMORPGs!

Fitness

I managed to finish this genre, as it is, quite early on. The only fitness game on the list is Wii Fit, the fourth game we played as it fit into our fitness regime at the time, and the only one in this genre. With hindsight, we may have rolled it into the sports genre, but we made this choice before we ever thought we’d make it to the end. Even outside that, the genre is pretty small, with Ring Fit Adventure and the Zoomba games being the only others that come to mind. I haven’t seen much of them though – while I think the gameification would help be give that incentive, I’ve been focusing more on other ways to get fit. In the end, they would never go for the deepest gameplay options, but would treat exercise as the main focus, and that is always going to make it more constrained as a game on their own.

MMORPG

I finished the MMORPGs early for quite a different reason. A few weeks after we played City of Heroes, on the same day its post went up on here, it was announced that the game would be shut down. It’s available for free now, after the server source code was released (somewhat illegally) a few years ago, but for a long time it looked like it’d be a lost game on the list – something that was out there, but can’t be played anymore. We ran into the same problem with Reset Generation, which has just disappeared and needed a big workaround, and Golden Tee Live, which required us to compromise on the version of the game we played.  Ultimately, though, while various games have started to disappear from online sites disappearing, app stores no longer providing them and physical machine that are required for the game (like Final Furlong) being increasingly hard to track down and made worst during the pandemic, it’s the online only MMORPG genre where the threat of servers disappearing is always ready.

Having fast tracked them, I finished them with Everquest 2 eight years ago. As far as I know, the other eight MMORPGs are still online and even the oldest ones are continuing to be updated. I suspect it helps that the servers will be cheaper to run now than they would have been back then, but even then the regular updates they seem to be receiving shows the value in the long burn of these games. I wouldn’t have needed to rush, but I couldn’t have known that.

I’m not sure whether they would have necessarily reached me further anyway. While I enjoy some couch co-op gaming, the idea of working with strangers relying on me makes me quite nervous and I felt quite late to the party to connect with people. I end up treating it as a single player experience with others around, which doesn’t feel that far off from what the earlier levels of most of them feel like regardless, but in that case you tend to end up playing a grindy RPG instead – none of them connected on that level and I did feel better just playing a  standard RPG.

I want to jump on board at an earlier point in an MMO’s lifecycle and properly experience it, but I’ve not had my moment yet – perhaps my post-blog free time will make it easier for me to do so. As it is, though, I haven’t fully had the experience yet that I’m looking for from these.