The RPG Scrollbars: A Farewell Dip Into The Archives

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It is said that the greatest test is that of time. Actually, I’m not sure if anyone’s said that, except me just then. But that’s fine. I’m sure everyone will remember. Anyway, in the final edition of The RPG Scrollbars, let’s take a look back to see what the people of the past said about what was the present but is now, by the laws of causality, in fact that past. With some help from the magazine archives at archive.org, natch.

shadowcast

Let’s start by seeing what was going on back at the launch of cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer, and long-time distinguished competitors PC Zone. PC Zone started at by far the better time, in April 1993, just in time for Ultima Underworld 2. PC Gamer meanwhile had to make do with the largely forgotten Shadowcaster, one of a long series of Raven’s patented ‘take an engine and make a fantasy game out of it’ games. In this case the engine was Wolfenstein 3D, and it was really more of an action game than an RPG. It did however have a truly fantastic gimmick – unlocking the ability to take the form of assorted monsters. Weirdly, shape-shifting remains a fairly underutilised mechanic.

“The first thing you think when you see Shadowcaster is ‘Uh-oh, looks like Origin had better watch out. You see, this is a game that gives its own Ultima Underworld games a serious run for their money. In fact, this is a game that knocks back 12 pints of lager and a curry, then pounds its own chest and sings “Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough,” at the entire RPG fraternity.”

I’m reminded of the time PC Format reviewed Descent using the three words ‘Better. Than. Doom.’ But the point of this isn’t to go back and mock old reviews for being wrong or overly-enthusiastic. Maybe that PC Format one. But in general, the curse of reviewing is that you have to hit a game hard and fast and write while the iron is hot, making it easy to both be more critical than some games deserve, or get over-excited. And Shadowcaster was exciting, especially compared to the likes of fellow reviewer Dark Sun: Shattered Alliance, which prompts a bit of a snooze just for the streamline ‘SSI and TSR team up once more to bring us another of their computerised AD&D games’. (Flicking through this issue though, I think my favourite little detail is that Street Fighter 2 of all games gets a third of a page next to a slightly mean review of Privateer, while the most 90s titled game of all time, Yo! Joe! gets a half-pager.)

But what of Underworld 2?

“Tankard of ale or bonk, sire?” was all you used to get from women in Role Playing Games. That and “Help! Help! I’m crap. I’m wearing a white dress and I need to be rescued!” Of course, that was the old days, when men were men and women were buxom serving wenches with low-cut dresses.”

Indeed. How far we’ve come since… uh… 1993. And how modern those complaints are, at least to anyone who doesn’t remember things like Unreal creator Tim Sweeney’s 1992 Jill of the Jungle’s third part, the satirical but pointed “Jill Saves The Prince”.

The most interesting thing about Zone’s UW2 review is how damn short it is. As was fairly typical for the time, the review is more boxout than words, with only one page out of five actually the review and most of it devoted to a play-by-play of the first couple of levels. While it does end on a score of 94% (“Just go out and buy it, okay?”), there’s more words lavished on the long-forgotten post-apocalyptic train RPG Transarctica, and about as many on Shadowworlds, the sequel to Shadowlands, aka the only RPG ever whose main feature was a vaguely funky lighting engine. A subsequent review of Pagan would have more words, but inevitably the only thing I really remember about it is a boxout called “Lord of the Chins” in which the Guardian tries to exile the Avatar to the land of Pagan while the Avatar just mocks him with stuff like “Yeah, well, if you were as big and hard as your chin, we’d all be quaking!” It was a mighty chin…

Ah, the joys of old magazines. As ever, the difficult part about hitting the archives is somehow avoiding just sitting back and going through them all in depth. But we don’t have the time for that. You may have the time for that! But for now, let’s just keep things cut short to see what was said in a random sampling of of these classic titles.

“The thing about the FF games is that everyone goes on about the storylines. Bollocks to that. Either they really miss something when they translate them from the Japanese text or else they’re just completely shit.”
– PC Zone, Final Fantasy VIII

Hard to remember, but Final Fantasy had about the worst possible launch on the PC, courtesy of one of the worst ports in memory. The sequel was at least slightly better in that it only crashed every few minutes and the programmers had apparently been allowed to at least look at a copy of Windows before trying to implement it. Also, Triple Triad.

“Whereas the size of Ultima 7 was almost out of control, Pagan is refreshingly compact. It’s still an enormous game, but it has a solidity that makes the pre-Big Bang universe look about as dense as a Stay Puft marshmallow.”
– PC Format, Ultima VII

And with about as many colours once you’re out of the main town!

“I went to see them and said ‘Is this London?’ and they were like, “Yeah, what’s wrong with it?” Victorian lights and cobbled streets for Tottenham Court Road! And they asked if I could send them a photo.”
– PC Zone, Vampire: The Masquerade: Redemption

Don’t see the problem, guv’nor!

“One important matter for any complex computer game is documentation. Though this manual is well written, explains in detail the mechanics of playing the game, and even includes a short story, it lacks an important feature. During gameplay, monsters are not identified by name, so one needs to drag out those Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manuals to help identify monsters and their characteristics. The reviewer purchased two of them for purposes of the game.”
– CGW, Dungeon Master

Pssst. It’s Dungeon Master. You can just hit them. With swords.

“There is also a very novel feature which allows you to use yourself as the agent. By filling in the accompanying application form, you can become a member of Zodiac. To do this, you must send in the completed form, a passport photograph and £1.50 to Core, who will then digitise your facial features and send you back a disk with your character on it.”
– ST Format, Corporation

I like to imagine that the then-intern still has nightmares about this offer. Imagine if they’d done the same for some kind of ‘Be Lara Croft’ type deal. The horrors… the horrors…

“Ultima IX is broken. More than any other game this year, it’s been knowingly put on the shelves in a state which would have Watchdog hopping in an apoplectic war dance. If bugs were diseases, Bob Geldof would be on TV demanding your money for an emergency relief program. (snip) Perfected and optimised, Ultima would have received 94%. This is obviously one of the greatest solo games of all time.”
– PC Gamer, Ultima VIII

“Its level of complexity and intelligent plot knocks Baldur’s Gate into oblivion and gives RPG fans a real taste of what PC games could really deliver in the next year or two.”
– PC Zone, Planescape Torment

Oh, god, if only. Planescape’s old enough to vote and we’re still waiting.

Deus Ex isn’t all bad though; I’d say it’s only 90% bad. There are times when it’s fun. You’ll be stalking snipers on the rooftops in New York, pushing deeper and deeper into an underwater base, or sneaking past robot sentries around a missile silo. But just as you’re starting to get into the spirit of things, something lame happens (snip) and Deus Ex reminds you that you’re playing a cliché-riddled game with horrid AI that uses the one of the worst possible engines to tell an uninteresting story in unimaginative settings. Other than that, I suppose Deus Ex is okay.
– GamesDomain, Deus Ex

Sounds terrible. Bet that one’s going to be forgotten quickly.

“Upon opening it you are confronted by an awesome sight that will chill the bones of even the most hardened role-player. FOUR DISKS.”
– C&VG, Pool of Radiance

Pffft. I played Wing Commander 2.

“Until now, there’s never been a true RPG on the market. (snip) Sometimes, people will just walk up to you in the street and fight you. To be entirely accurate they don’t fight you outright. They just walk up and say you dress like a diseased troll.”
– ST Format, Legends of Valour

A tactic that would later be used by many an MMO griefer!

“If your neighbour bought a spanking new black Countach, practiced his handbrake turns outside your house in the middle of the night and you were only able to watch as chicks flocked to his motor while the dogs visited yours, then you’d be in much the same situation that PC and Amiga owners were in 1988. Of course, they weren’t worried about cars – it was a computer game, released to an unsuspecting public, that pissed off a nation of non-ST owners. The game was called Dungeon Master.”
– Zero, Dungeon Master

Well, it’s a change from the anorak brigade type commentary, I guess…

“The seventh instalment in Origin’s classic Ultima series seems to have picked up a negative word of mouth in some gaming circles for no reason other than that it’s a seventh instalment. Many who were delighted when Ultima VI was released cannot be bothered to boot up Ultima VII, as though it goes without saying that the seventh of anything can’t possibly be any good. The market suddenly seems matured; weary gamers, sure they have played enough to last them a lifetime, eye the new Ultima with suspicion that it is just More Of The Same.”
– CGW, Ultima VII

They’re probably thinking of flour.

“There is a very small group of individuals who claim to like Might and Magic VII. We hated it. Abysmal graphics and archaic gameplay are never going to impress us, but we do not hold grudges. What’s past is past. So, we start afresh with this latest offering, Might and Magic VIII. We have no preconceptions, we forgive 3DO its previous sins. Let’s move on and see how it fares.”
– PC Zone, Might and Magic VIII

They promptly gave it 9%.

“Though it certainly looks impressive, plays fairly well and is generally pretty okay, there’s always this constant nagging doubt at the back of your mind that says, what are you doing? This is a flick-screen game. They went out years ago. Stop it at once! (snip)”
– PC Zone, Stonekeep

Ah, the joy of retro sensibilities. It requires a bit of distance before we forget how bored we got of the good old games of the past and are ready for the likes of Grimrock or Bard’s Tale IV. Or maybe even Grimoire… when it finally launches in 2027.

But what of this own little column’s past? What have we learned over the last couple of years? We’ve drunk a million or so virtual shots to Ultima VII, for starters. But there’s been plenty more! We’ve learned that the industry needs more urban fantasy, that there are plenty of scenes we’d like to see, that I probably shouldn’t be allowed to write any Mass Effect novels, and that great ideas were meant to be stolen. We’ve poked behind the scenes of MMO jails and visited deep spaaaaaaaaaaace, and confirmed without argument – really, no argument – that HEROES! DON’T! CRAFT! In between all of that, we’ve found time to listen to the radio, go streaking for science, and confirmed once and for all that spiders are the fucking worst. Worst of the worst!

Plus some other stuff too, if you follow this here tag.

Oh, and lest we forget, we learned that Eye of the Beholder III invented the goatse.

And so it came to pass that at the end of civilisation, as the world descended into chaos via a chain of strange yet plausible coincidences sparked by the absence of a weekly RPG column, that the final scrollbar reached the bottom of the page. Somewhere, as the hordes of red dragons took to the sky and the cities of man and beast alive burned, one last smouldering monk didst take another look at the series’ long-running title and utter “Oh, now I get it. What a terrible bloody name.”

And then there was but darkness. Forever and ever. Or at least for a while.

Ultima VII. (Take a shot.)

87 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I’m never glad to see a feature ending.

    Neat look back at old reviews though.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      It’s cool to browse through the old mags. Especially things like previews, knowing how things would turn out. Sometimes the joy of seeing optimism rewarded or knowing the surprises the future has in store. Sometimes, Ultima IX: Ascension.

      • Blake Casimir says:

        Truth is, U9 was a decent enough dungeon romp and felt huge at the time which made it quite compelling. If it didn’t crash your PC or if you didn’t try to take its plot or characters too seriously. I didn’t and I had some fun times just plundering the dungeons, but it was definitely not nearly as good as the mighty Underworlds.

  2. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo, this is (was) the best column. :(((

  3. Stugle says:

    Well hello and fare thee well, Richard! I’ve enjoyed your writings and wish you good fortune for your future endeavors.

    Speaking of spiders: was it the announcement of Shelob for the new Shadow of Mordor game that broke the camel’s back?

  4. Kefren says:

    My nostalgia goes back to Amiga Format. :-) link to karldrinkwater.uk
    Dungeon Master, Starglider 2 and Hired Guns all made me believe I was in another world, role-playing (even though Starglider 2 wasn’t an RPG).

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      My favourite thing about Starglider is that the novella for the original game had the characters get into the ship and coo at the fact that it turned the world into wireframe. Yes, totally a ‘tactical display’. Totally.

      • Kefren says:

        I used to love instruction manuals that explained the failings of the hardware of the time. :-)
        The Starglider 2 manual (by James Follett) made me laugh out loud with its “Use the forslook” joke. It also came with an audiotape of the soundtrack in high quality, which I would play in the hi-fi while also playing the game on my Amiga. I thought that was the future. In later years I would play the Top Gun soundtrack in a CD player while also playing F29 Retaliator on my Amiga.

  5. njursten says:

    Aaw! I’ll miss the column!

  6. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    You know you will be missed and you won’t because some will follow your writings wherever you go.

    The nicest thing about reviewing old game magazines is remembering games that were forgotten just because they did not fit the canon. And they don’t fit the canon sometimes because they are not too good, but other times because the canon is made by people and people have their own tastes, preferences and such. What I was trying to say is that Shadowcaster is fantastic.

    Also it was very clear when a review was made to fill space or by compromise. In Spain we had the beloved Micromania, which had some really good writers in it (the guy that talked about flight combat games was awesome, simply awesome) and where you could tell that they did not really enjoy console games. They also fell into the hype trap of Rise of the Robots, of course. Talking about Spain, other magazines arrived that broke the canon and analyzed the things differently, like our Computer Gaming World, which in the end I had the feeling that they threw some dices and then filled a review with the score (Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri had a 1,5/5 in the same edition that Call To Power got a 4,5/5).

    Oh man, nostalgia.

  7. Premium User Badge

    picniclightning says:

    Always enjoyed the column! Best of luck with what you do next!

  8. Xerophyte says:

    Now I had to look up Grimoire’s current state and it’s supposedly releasing in a week. Only two decades late. I … didn’t think that was ever going to actually happen.

    I mean, it’s not going to be good or anything, but someone deserves some form of cookie or other baked good for their perseverance.

    • Premium User Badge

      tigerfort says:

      “…supposedly releasing in a week…”
      Well, yes, but that release has been put back twice in the last month as I recall, so I wouldn’t count on this being the final-final-final date just yet.

      Also, anyone doing shots for “Ultima VII” on the comments for this article must be absolutely wasted. [fx: raises farewell glass to Richard]

  9. vahnn says:

    Gonna miss ya, Rich, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal. This column is what I most looked forward to each week on RPS. Where can we look for more of your writings in the future? I’m too lazy to Google.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Skabooga says:

    Nooooo! Don’t leave us! Your articles were always such a pleasant, warm place to be in for a few minutes every week. For just being about a bunch of CRPGs, half of which I’ve never played, reading RPG Scrollbars never failed to brighten my mood.

    • Gomer_Pyle says:

      Yup, same here. I didn’t / haven’t played a lot of the games either,
      but I don’t think it was the games so much as the stories that came along with them that made it so interesting.

  11. duns4t says:

    Awwwww no – this was regularly my post of the week!

  12. Ditocoaf says:

    Ahh, dang. I’ll miss this column. Seems like every RPS column that becomes an insta-read for me, ends. (because everything ends. I’m sure columns I skim past end, too.)

    Best of luck, Richard, and thanks for the fun and interesting thoughts on a regular basis! I’ll collect your twitter so I might see what you do next.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Spottswoode says:

    Well crap. Sad to see RPG SBs go, Richard, I’ll really miss it.

    Good luck wherever your words end up taking you.

  14. Person of Interest says:

    Thanks for all the great words, Richard. And since you mostly talked about decades-old games, I can reread the series in five years and enjoy it just as much!

  15. cpt_freakout says:

    That old Deus Ex review seems hilarious. Don’t get me wrong, to each his or her own, but that just goes to show how silly the whole objectivity fetish is.

    Anyway, I’m sad that this column is ending – it really was one of the features I enjoyed the most in RPS! Hopefully we can catch your writing in an article here or there whenever you can get away from being a game writer! :) Cheers, Richard!

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      My favourite thing about the Deus Ex review is that as much as it’s easy to disagree, it’s actually quite hard to argue much of what he says.

      • Jekadu says:

        I can’t really find any fault with that quote. It more or less mirrors my own feelings about the game. More “interesting” than “fun”.

        • Titler says:

          The same for me; I got the game on the Sold Out collection for a fiver back in… er… 2001-2003 some time. I’d heard a fair bit of hype about it, and at that time I wasn’t so jaded, so I honestly went in expecting something great.

          Came away thinking “It’s a load of conspiracy theories and geek wet dreams shoved into a Trench Coat.” I just didn’t find it any fun to play mechanically either; Got as far as the Tokyo level I think before I just couldn’t go any further. I remember wandering around a market stall, something about a mystical sword, and then getting stuck in a vent somewhere and just sighing and realising it just wasn’t worth it for me.

          Loads of people love it, but that was one classic I just don’t get.

          Ultima VII was the bees knees though. Shroud of the Avatar is the dogs perineum.

  16. Premium User Badge

    pegolius says:

    Sad to see you go sir
    I enjoyed your writing quite a bit
    Hope you will grace us with a guest appaereance in the future
    Good karma on your next road

  17. mercyRPG says:

    Shadowcaster was the absolute best! :D

  18. RuySan says:

    Yo Joe! was actually a pretty good platformer, at least on the Amiga, and it had co-op which wasn’t that common in the genre.

    And whoever in PC Zone reviewed Might & Magic VII is a massive idiot. That game is amazing, and probably my favourite in one of the most important RPG series.

  19. Scrote says:

    I’ll miss you Richard, your column is/was great!

  20. Blake Casimir says:

    PC Zone was brilliant. Charlie Brooker writing game reviews. It was worth buying just for those, though the rest of the mag was ace (that’s period-correct terminology ;) as well.

    Almost no-one is making first person dungeon crawlers like Shadow Caster or Ultima Underworld. When I see screenshots of these games I just get depressed that this type of game is so rare. But at least we had another immersive sim in Prey this year, I guess…

    Someone commented about Might & Magic VII reviewing badly above… it’s a shame that Ubi regressed when they finally released X and made it grid-based. Why does no-one seem to want to make Ultima Underworld / King’s Field / Daggerfall style free-look dungeon crawlers any more?! :(

    FFS From Software, just make King’s Field 5 already!!

    • RuySan says:

      I only once bought PC zone because British magazines were quite expensive here in Portugal. It was the issue with curse of monkey island on the cover and I read it over and over again. Didn’t know Charlie brooker did wrote for it. I have to check that issue again when I visit my parents.

  21. BooleanBob says:

    “This the body, Des?”
    “Nuh-uh. It’s this one over here, sir. You’re looking at Chris Avellone’s reputation for only putting out good scripts.”
    “Jesus, how long do they keep bodies in this morgue? Aright, aright. Here we go. Richard Cobbett. Death by clip show, huh. Sad. Real sad.”
    “You think so? I’m sure he wouldn’t have wanted to go out any other way.”
    “Tell that to the widow. She’s ain’t gonna be able to watch Friends for the rest of her life. I tell ya, it’s the ones left behind that’re the real victims in all this. Anything suspicious in the stiff’s BG?”
    “Funny you should ask. He called the station a few days ago, real hysterical like. Said he was afraid for his life. Claimed someone tried to crush him under a scale replica of the Towers of Hanoi. Also, you realise ‘BG’ is the same number of syllables as ‘background’, don’t you? You’re not really saving any-”
    “Don’t get smart with me, Des, or I’ll bust you back down to MOBA detail quicker than you can say Mid or Feed.”
    “Sorry, sir. There’s one thing bothering me about all this, though.”
    “Go on.”
    “Well it’s the Doe. No prints, no dentals. I mean, sure, he matches the photo we have on file – if you move the hand so he’s stroking his chin. But all we really had to confirm his ID was a can of Arachnisol in his pocket and the fact he was wearing a shirt with the slogan Ask Me About Ultima VII.”
    “Just what are you suggesting, detective?”
    “It just bugs me, s’all. First Marc Laidlaw shows up in the New Mexico desert with a crowbar in his skull. Then Valve announces work on the Half Life 3 is progressing smoothly for a 2018 release, but Gabe Newell won’t answer any questions on who could be writing the scri-”
    “Detective Desmond Ertranger, let me stop you before you start gettin’ any big ideas. What, you wanna go step on the toes of those good old boys at the FPI? Think they’ll take kindly to that? Maybe they’ll come down here and return the favour, ‘help us out’ with our juiciest cases. Everything’s first person now Des! We’ll have no jurisdiction left this side of Kickstarter!”
    “But sir-”
    “I said forget it, detective. There’s nothing we can do here. It’s Ultimatown.”
    “…”
    “…”
    “Sir, I don’t think you can really rhyme ‘Ultima’ with ‘China’ like that.”

  22. Dogshevik says:

    The end of this column is a huge loss to RPS. I tend to bookmark articles I found insightful so I can refer to them at a later date as a reminder. Turns out about half of them of them are from the Scrollbars. I checked.

    Make sure your former RPS colleagues do some major advertising once the projects with your work in them are done.

    And while we are at it, I would like to thank you for the (mostly) Delightful Adventuress.

  23. pauleyc says:

    Hooboy. I’ll admit it – I’m not good with things ending. Change I get, change is a necessity and usually good in the long run. Endings are…sad. Bittersweet at best, with their finality and realization that there won’t be any continuation. Whether it’s a great game, a book, a relationship – and don’t get me even started on death – or column, it’s always so hard to say goodbye. Nevertheless: thank you, Richard, it’s been a pure pleasure. Good luck to you in the future.

    Also, on the topic of U7: everybody has a few formative games, titles that had the biggest influence on their gaming life and tastes. Being a relatively old fart (42 is, as I’m told, the age that things start to go south), I can say that I had the fortune to have several of them: Elite, Secret of Monkey Island, Star Control 2 and of course Ultima 7. The game that showed me a grand story set in a fantastic, living, believable world, with people that had their own small computer lives, years before Bethesda’s Radiant AI bullcrap.

    Tonight I’ll be drinking. Here’s to nostalgia.

    • RimeOfTheMentalTraveller says:

      I’ve always felt the same. Like, even if I catch a rerun of The O.C. at the end of the series I can’t NOT watch it end and tear up. It’s kind of silly, but endings of long-running things or good books have that effect on me. Nevermind real life situations.

  24. ansionnach says:

    That PC Zone quote about Final Fantasy really is bang-on.

    Will miss this column. All the best, Richard.

  25. caff says:

    Thanks Richard, I’ve always liked the RPG Scrollbars. It’s been one of my favourite series over the years – excellent writing and diverse articles. The comments have been great to read through too, your words sparking nostalgia and imagination from the RPS crowd.

  26. Premium User Badge

    subdog says:

    Happy Trails, Cobbett! Ultima 7 remains my favorite game of all time, and it was always fun to read words from a kindred spirit.

    The Scrollbars is and was one of my #1 reasons for paying to support this site. Good luck in your future endeavors, and I look forward to supporting them when I can!

  27. Premium User Badge

    Serrit says:

    Thanks Richard – it’s been a great run, and will be missed!
    Was always good to see your participation in the comments too – was a good incentive to take a scroll below the fold.

  28. G_Man_007 says:

    I miss PC Zone. ‘Gamer was decent, but ‘Zone always felt more suited to my sense of humour and just felt like a more comfortable fit. I do miss both…

    You’ve made me sad with nostalgia. :(

  29. Chillicothe says:

    The glory that was CRPG-only reviewers confronting the 9.0 earthquake that was FF7 will never not make me chuckle with a wry grin.

    The “good old games” are new again one is also dead on. Don’t know whatcha got till it’s gone…

  30. shoptroll says:

    Thank you Richard for all your words over the years. I’m sad to see this column go (like many a good column here), but I look forward to seeing wherever I find your writing next :)

    EDIT: Also how much money do I have to give to the site to get a better features archive? Would be awesome if “RPS Features” had a sub-menu to the tags for each of the recurring features instead of just linking to the ‘features’ firehose

  31. April March says:

    Waaaah, I liked this one. Every week I’d save it to flavour it slowly. You’re a treasure, Richard.

    Also, for the longest time I held on to a “magazine” I found from, what, 1995? I put it in quotes because it was sold as a magazine, but it was inside the cover of a demo CD. It had some deets on the big games that were coming out, and made a bold prediction: the cRPG genre was dying, for the adventure genre was getting better and better and absorbing the fun stuff from the cRPG. I don’t know where it is right now, but I’m quite sure it had a more positive review of Phantasmagoria than of Ultima V.

  32. Gomer_Pyle says:

    Aw shucks! This was one of my favourite columns, Richard. Why’d you have to go and leave us behind? Why? WHY?

    But seriously, thanks Richard! I have enjoyed these weekly stories immensely and wish you the best going forward.

  33. icarussc says:

    Richard, how could you? I followed you all through Crapshoot and all through Scroll Bars and now you’re leaving? Really leaving? But you’ll be back, right? You’ll still come by a couple of times a month and write something, won’t you? Or you’ve got some book you’re writing instead? Come on, tell us when we’ll see you again!

  34. shevtsov200 says:

    If you want more nostalgic articles, here is one from 2002 russian magazine, where author praises realistic nature in Gothic:
    link to translate.google.com

  35. RimeOfTheMentalTraveller says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I’ve only been following this column a bit more closely for the past year and now it’s ending?! :(
    Anyway, thanks for the articles, Richard, I always use your article on mechanical roleplaying in Hearthstone in conversations with friends to illustrate how pure mechanics can lend a different flavour to an experience, even in a game as commercial as that. All the best in your future gigs!

  36. amusingthebrood says:

    Thank you for an entertaining well written column; best wishes for the future.

    Also, Descent. Is. Better. Than Doom.

  37. Premium User Badge

    Gnarl says:

    Well dang. The column from the best games journalist ending, and him not writing anywhere else really (about games at least). Dang.

  38. Vroomparrot says:

    Isn’t it odd looking back at old magazine covers you can still remember. The PCZone with System Shock 2 on the front – I can still see myself going into the shop, buying it and reading it on the way home from work. That was 18 years ago! And what have I done in the intervening years? Absolutely nothing of any consequence. Oh sure, I’ve got married and had a kid, but so have most other people my age. Well thank you Mr Cobbett, thanks for reminding me of my wasted potential. I’m going to lie down now and contemplate my inevitable oblivion.

    Anyway, I have enjoyed your weekly column and would like to wish you the very best for the future – you know, the bit between now and eventually becoming worm food.

  39. Deano2099 says:

    Just adding myself to the chorus of people sad to see this go – between Crap Shoot, Shooting Crap/Patreon stuff (which seem to have vanished…) and this I don’t think I’ve been without a Richard Cobbett weekly column for a long time…

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Yeah, I pulled the plug on the Patreon stuff last year. Unfortunately it was at that exact point where it wasn’t doable – enough to demand vast amounts of time, not enough to actually pay for it, and I didn’t feel comfortable taking peoples’ money if I couldn’t give them what they deserved. Folks only seemed interested in the video content, but that was a solid week’s work minimum, and often more, for content that wasn’t drawing any attention, never mind a crowd.

      • Deano2099 says:

        Oh yeah I didn’t mean that, I got the email as a patron when you wound it up, though it was a shame. Just the articles don’t seem to still be anywhere since you changed your website. I guess the video stuff is still around on YouTube though.

  40. jeremyalexander says:

    Whaaaat? This is one of the main reasons I come to this site. Even if the writer leaves the column could continue. There are plenty of old school rpg lovers out there that would love to write for you, I’m sure. Why is it that one of the most, if not the most, popular genres of one of the most popular forms of entertainment on Earth gets so little specific coverage? Sad to see the article go, you’ll be missed.

  41. Jombi says:

    Has anyone digitized the old PC Gamer magazines? I’ve been looking for a particular issue for a while now. I found a easter egg in Interstate ’76 and wrote in and they published it! I’ve always wanted to go back and take a look at that issue. I think its the one with either Quake2 or the Quake 3 logo on the cover.

  42. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    I have very much enjoyed this column. Thanks for writing it.

  43. Catachresis Rex says:

    Had to delurk to join the chorus of thanks. Cheers, Richard, for a column I always looked forward to reading.

    Your writing always gives me that feeling I get from a Kurt Vonnegut novel – like I’m sitting in an armchair in front of a roaring fire, drinking tea or a nice Scotch and listening to a very affable friend tell a wry, funny, and warm story. Hope to see you either columned up again soon or at the helm of a huge project that deserves your talents.

    Best of luck, and thanks again.

  44. KingFunk says:

    Let it be said that Sir Cobbett died bravely!

  45. harvb says:

    Gutted to see the column end, as a die hard RPGer since way back when, you’ve been the beacon of traditionalism for ever ‘n ever. We’ll miss you.

    How’s about setting up some diary playthrough goodness just to keep your hand in, as it were?

  46. Rainshine says:

    So much to say. So I’ll just say, Thank you.

    • Paul B says:

      Same here – just want to say thank you too – it was my weekly pleasure reading this column, and I must have read every one of them. Best of luck in your future endeavours, Richard.

  47. Ragnar says:

    Thanks for all the lovely words. Hope we see you around here again at some point.

  48. CloudPS says:

    What? No! This was my favorite thing on RPS :(

  49. zipdrive says:

    Thank you, Mr. Cobbett, for this most excellent of columns.
    I’m not sure if I like it so much because it deals with RPGs or because of your writing, so please write a column about the missing narratives and lacking systems in…sports games, so I can know for sure :)

  50. TheAngriestHobo says:

    I somehow missed this when it was published. It was only when I went searching for the latest RPG Scrollbars that I realized the horrible truth. No! Richard! Don’t go!

    In all seriousness, Mr. Cobbett, you have been my favourite games writer on the internet, and I very much hope to read more from you in the future. Best of luck in your future career – I’ll think of you whenever I re-read Nakar’s U7 LP (so, like, twice a week).