Database question: Line between port and separate release?

I just finished Sonic the Hedgehog for the Master System, and I don’t know how to log this in Grouvee. Figured I’d ask for advice!

Background: Sonic the Hedgehog was released for the Genesis/Mega Drive in 1991. In parallel but slightly behind the development of that title, Sega contracted a third-party studio called Ancient to make an 8-bit version of the game for the Master System and Game Gear.

Although the 8-bit game came out the same year and shares level names and some themes, it’s not the same game. The level layouts and bosses are completely unique, it controls very differently, and two of the game’s six worlds are wholly original (meaning the even the names, themes and mechanics are different).

I’m sure we inherited the current data from Giant Bomb, but I haven’t had a lot of luck in the past suggesting changes like this to such a popular game. Would this be a fair case for submitting a new title via the magic form, or do I need to dial the nerd down a little and just comment on my 16-bit Sonic review or something like that? :nerd_face:

There’s a number of games for different platforms that are grouped under one main title because each release is considered a port of the main title. This strikes me as similar. Is this not effectively a port of the 16-bit version released for Sega, with hardware limitations dictating the final product? Typically when shelving a game like this you can select the correct release on the release page. This is the solution that tends to make the most sense to me. Ultimately it’s up to @peter, but my thoughts on it are two-fold: this could be done for Sonic but that leads to the question of whether we do it with other games in a similar situation and; separating individual ports/releases from master database entries could lead to the exponential growth of the number of separate entries with identical names that could lead to a a bit of a confusing mess. I think the existing system keeps things nice and tidy but maybe I just can’t see outside my perspective to a system that gives you what you want and maintains that tidiness.

It was certainly Sega’s intention to market the game as a port. But the levels, sprites, audio and source code are all unique. It’s no more a port of 16-bit Sonic than Strider for NES is of Strider for arcade.

But intention isn’t nothing. It’s a valid opinion to say “it’s silly, but Sega wanted you to think of this as a port, so we’re calling it a port.”

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You see, I would group the arcade and the NES Strider as separate releases under one entry because the latter is a port of the former and both share the same name. To me it makes sense from an organizational point of view to nestle different versions as releases under one main entry.

I completely agree that they are different games, yet so are GameBoy ports of NES and SNES games. So I think it is organizationally more efficient to set them up as releases rather than distinct entries.

Regardless, it is all just an arbitrary decision about where to shelve what in a way that makes sense to anyone looking in or using the database. And no matter what there’s always a downside to any system. I see your point and I empathize, but I don’t know if your solution is better than the existing one. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe I’m just being lazy by accepting the status quo of the database, lol.

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Fair enough! Strider on NES is currently a separate game (and not a release) on Grouvee, but that doesn’t invalidate what you’re saying.

I’ll post my review as a comment on my review of the 16-bit game.

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This is the problem with databases, there is bound to be contradiction in something so large and that pulls data from separate places (manual entry, other databases, etc.) It points to the fact that there’s no perfect categorization. For something like Strider, I would group all of the 1989 releases. If you look at the arcade entry it encompasses the Arcade, Master System, Genesis and Wii versions because all are ports of the original Arcade version. I would have added the NES version to that grouping. I assume they are separate because the NES version differs from the Arcade and Genesis versions, but I do think the intent at the time was to port the same IP to all the available consoles at the time. There is a distinction being made here that one might either agree or disagree with. I am for grouping all of those releases together. I am fine with the fact that the 2014 Strider has a separate entry, because that is a distinctly different game made at a different time. But all of the 1989 version of Strider (and ports of that version) should be found in one place, at least in my thinking.

I think that the Strider example illustrates is the specific problems I am highlighting with maintaining a database in a tidy and organized manor. It is hard to get right.

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In case @peter ever sees this thread, after sleeping on it I realized the issue I’m encountering is actually more of a feature thing than a database thing.

I played 16-bit Sonic and reviewed it. Now I played 8-bit Sonic, which is distinct enough that I feel it deserves its own review, separate entry in my shelves, etc.

I don’t really care whether or not these releases are grouped together or separate. What I’m really running up against is “how the heck do I log this?” And I thought I’d just flag, since in general Grouvee is better at this than anything else I’ve tried.

Definitely an edge case, though!

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I try and read everything that comes across the site :slight_smile: I am busy enough that I don’t get to play video games or code a website, but I do like to read what everyone else is doing.

Maybe an edge case, but it’s one I think we should handle.

To the point about how to handle this. I think we should be able to write multiple reviews for a game, assuming the review is for a different platform/release. I actually have a database field setup in the review table for platforms. I’ve obviously never implemented any kind of logic to fill that field in, but the idea has been kind of floating around about how to handle it. Here’s the real question, should we use releases, or platforms? I think releases is the ideal, but the release data is terrible from Giant Bomb. Maybe I could allow users to submit releases like games, and then that could maybe alleviate the issue.

I’ll play around with a couple of ideas and see what I come up with.


I hope my message didn’t come across like “ugh, if peter ever reads this!” I just didn’t know if you read everything or not. :sweat_smile:

In case it’s helpful, here are the reasons I’ve wanted to leave multiple reviews on the same game before (in which case I always just comment on my first review)…

  1. Reviewing a “port” that’s basically a wholly unique game (my original example).
  2. Reviewing a re-release or remaster and the features unique to that.
  3. Re-reviewing a game years later where my opinion changed for one reason or another.

I don’t know if that supports the release or platform camp, or a broader ability to leave multiple reviews, or if I’m just over-complicating something that works perfectly fine for everyone else. :nerd_face:

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I also like the idea of being able to classify reviews as pertaining to particular releases—it would also be nice to extend it to status updates and playthroughs, too, if possible! :slightly_smiling_face:

I’ve been thinking of a sort-of-related issue—related in the sense that it pertains to the ‘quirks’ of Giantbomb’s muddled (or “terrible”, as @peter put it) release data—which is relevant to this point:

We’re in an age of so many re-releases, remastered ports, compilations, &c., and I’ve been wondering about logging/reviewing such releases in a nuanced way on Grouvee; in doing so, I’ve noticed the opposite problem to the one illustrated by @tylerisrandom’s Sonic example: while Giantbomb’s database includes some rather indiscriminate groupings of games (e.g. Master System Sonic, or loose ‘adaptations’ of home console games for the Gameboy), it also disallows arguably more relevant releases from being added to a particular game—such as when a game is ported only as a part of a compilation, not as a standalone release.

This restricts certain functionality, such as not being able to specify the platform of a game—as it appears on Grouvee under “You have this game on the following platforms” on game pages or the Platform heading on Shelves—because it isn’t recorded in the ‘Game details’ section of Giantbomb’s database. That is a separate field to releases on Giantbomb, so it mightn’t be a problem for the proposed feature; oftentimes, compilations are still added as individual releases on GB, but I think this isn’t really permissible in their guidelines (as suggested by a recent edit of mine being denied by a moderator—mea culpa!).

I agree with @bmo that “the existing system keeps things nice and tidy”, so it’s probably best to not deviate too far what we currently have… So, extending the suggested feature to accommodate compilations would probably be impracticable—e.g. mark a reviewing of Sonic CD as that of the Gamecube version released as a part of Sonic Gems Collection would require the somehow classifying releases of a game as releases of another game (a bit of database Inception there)… But perhaps another secret form to add releases, similar to the one for games, could be a solution for serious hairsplitters like me?


Sorry, this got garbled in editing. (Sorry for the length of the post, too!)