Desperately seeking blue dungeon crawler

That title almost rhymes with “Desperately Seeking Susan” while cleverly tying into the content of the post. If only it weren’t for that vestigial “geon crawler.” That bit really harshed my mellow.

Anyway, I’m currently in the process of tracking down the last few games I need to flesh out my research material for the site’s Roguelikes page. I actually own most of these already, at least the ones that have been published, but I was surprised to learn that two of the games I thought I owned are not in fact in my possession. And then there are a handful I’ve only heard about recently. So! I am looking for the following games: Azure Dreams (both for PlayStation and Game Boy Color), Time Stalkers, Dragon Crystal and Fatal Labyrinth. Also, some people claim the quest mode of Ehrgeiz qualifies as a roguelike, although I have my doubts, but I would like to give it a try.

If anyone would like to donate these games to the cause, please drop me a line. Perhaps we could trade! Or maybe you could claim a tax write-off. I dunno. Normally I would simply eBay these, but the combination of going to Japan and my girlfriend losing her job right before we left for Japan (but after we’d already committed to the trip by giving my credit card number to various hotels and airlines) has had an astringent effect on my wallet. Ever paid rent for a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco all by your lonesome? It’s not something I would recommend to anyone who earns less than, say, $80K a year. As someone who earns considerably less than that, my favorite hobby these days is to load up my bank account info and die a little on the inside each time.

I suppose I should open the floor again to suggestions on ways I could monetize this site and temporarily boost my income until the girlfriend graduates and can track down full-time work. Difficulty: Method must not be soul-crushing. (Google Adsense is tremendously soul-crushing.)

29 thoughts on “Desperately seeking blue dungeon crawler

  1. If ads are too soulcrushing.. i’m not sure there are any better alternatives.

    Though I do greatly prefer this site as it is. Ads free, that is.

  2. My thing is, ad blockers are so easy to use that people who don’t want to see Google ads don’t have to.

    Other than Google ads, you can try selling direct to advertisers (a la Penny Arcade) or relying on referral links. (Probably be a major chore to add them to all your articles, though).

  3. Sell junk! That’s what you’ve done in the past. Make some T-shirts, buttons, stickers, plush toys, and other trinkets featuring the Toastyfrog/GameSpite properties. Hey, it works for Homestar Runner!

  4. I’m not adding ads, period. And I don’t really think the site has enough of a following (or enough substance) to monetize with merchandise.

  5. My memory’s fuzzy but Ehrgeiz at least has some roguelike elements. Random dungeon layouts, random items, random traps. I can’t remember if it’s turn based, but it at least has those other elemens. Oh, and it’s also bad. Very, very bad.

  6. I have fond memories of Azure Dreams, although I only rented it briefly.

    Soul-crushing? There’s nothing wrong with at least breaking even on your website. It’s your creation, and you maintain it, why should you be expected to do this at a loss? You should make some actual income off of it. Google ads are easy enough and they’re very harmless, being nothing more then text. May as well cafe press as well, I bet your drawings could sell buttons and shirts.

  7. Get married. Your taxes will go down right quick.

    Note: being in love first helps!

  8. funds are rarely exchanged without a service rendered. perhaps you should elaborate on the set of tasks that wouldn’t be beneath you.

  9. I’d buy toasyfrog/gamespite junk from a cafepress site if there was one.

    Also, I’d pay you to quit saying you hate me.

  10. If don’t like the idea of whoring out nameless brands, why not whore out a place you know? You’ve done business with the people at Pink Godzilla, right? It might be worthwhile to ask them about making an arrangement to get income or import games in exchange for some service (i.e.- ads). I figure it would be contract violation if you did product reviews or event coverage for them, but you might be able to make a deal.

    Also, fixing the “Personal Website” link on your 1up blog might entice more people to come to the site.

  11. Donation button?
    Then it’s opt in and it would only take a small space on the page (unlike ads).
    I’m not sure it would be a big money maker but every little bit helps :)

  12. The first thing on your side bar should be a PayPal/Amazon Donate button, with text alongside it reiterating your ad-free status and making apparent the fact that donations will be appreciated. People will appreciate the honesty and respect with which you treat this matter, and it should prove to be a more worthwhile approach than CafePress or Project Wonderful or whatever.
    You could even add an incentive, like a small library of polished Toastyfrog art that you add to every month — as long as you’re willing to let go of the self-defeating assertion that nobody would be willing to pay for it!

  13. I may have a copy of Dragon Crystal, so long as my parents didn’t toss it… Which is at home (I’m in Boston, home is Long Island, NY). It’s for the Sega Game Gear, though…do you have a Game Gear?

    Honestly though, it’s Fatal Labryinth in forests and deserts with a traveling buddy (the dragon) who can’t even do anyting until he levels up a bit, if I’m remembering accurately. I never did make it to the end, despite playing it many many many times. Talk about soul-crushing.

  14. Ehrgeiz is very roguelike, aside from the whole real-time thing. If you don’t classify Diablo as a roguelike, though, I don’t see why Ehrgeiz might pass as one.

  15. Text ads like Adsense are usually considered the least soul-crushing option (while being economically viable — merchandise is fine but the people who would want it are also broke!), so I don’t know what else is left…

  16. The Metroidvania page was originally a nondescript list of titles, too. We call these things “works in progress.”

  17. Good page so far. I actually just picked up Fatal Labyrinth myself recently, but you can’t have it. I’ve actually been playing Nethack on-and-off for a little while, but it’s only the release of Shiren that’s gotten me picking up the console/handheld ones.

    Also, you’re missing Toe Jam & Earl. Here’s an excellent article on the game in the context of a Roguelike if you need convincing:

    Damn, now I feel like playing it again. Too bad there’s nobody around to play Earl.

    For your PC section, it might still be a good idea to mention the major players: Rogue, Nethack, Angband, ADOM…

  18. I have a copy of Dragon Crystal for the Game Gear in (crushed) box. It is one of the two games I bought for the system. I played it a lot, but it always pissed me off. When I first started playing it on was rechargeable batteries. One charge is not enough to finish the game, and it has no save function. Later playing on the AC adapter, I would get to high enough levels where something would rust my best armor and I’d die and have to start over. I never get rid of games (or CDs or DVDs), but these seems a worthy cause. I’m assuming you can see my e-mail address, contact me with the shipping details.

    I played Fatal Labyrinth, it is exactly like Dragon Crystal. But it is also exactly like Toe Jam and Earl, which is not on the list. So if you accept these two you need to accept that one too.

    I also own Time Stalkers. I’d say it is Rouge-ish. As it only half pissed me off. That one I think I’d part with that one without much convincing.

  19. I like the amazon/playasia referral list suggestion too… dunno how much those bring in, but you could have a link on the sidebar. Then, when I want to buy something from amazon, I could just click on your link rather than typing “” in the url box. I’m already buying what I wanted to buy, and you somehow get compensated for it too?*

    *this is not based on any research

  20. Hmmm, I think I still have a copy of Azure Dreams sitting in storage with my parents. When I go home next weekend I will take a look for you.

  21. Ehrgeiz’s “quest” mode takes place in a labyrinth called the Forsaken Dungeon. It’s an apt name.

    Based on my memory here’s how Ehrgeiz’s matches up on your roguelike criteria.
    1. Global, turn-based gameplay
    2. No leniency for death
    3. A strong emphasis on item use
    4. An element of item identification
    5. Randomly-generated dungeons

    1 definitely not
    2 no. “save scumming” and partner revival are both possible / allowed / somewhat-encouraged
    3 yes (sorta)
    4 no
    5 yes (sorta)

  22. I think I have a copy of Azure Dreams at home, but I’m not going back until september, so if by then you still haven’t got a copy (and if I can find it) I’ll be more than glad to donate it.
    Btw, earning $79.5k a year is not considerably less than $80k.

  23. Oh man, Azure Dreams. I loved that game to death on PSX. I have the GBC version, though I’m hesitant to part with it. I guess it would be going to a good home, though, and you /did/ sell me your copy of Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon 2, after all.

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