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History of Computer Role Playing Games (1974-1983)

timothy posted more than 7 years ago | from the passed-perfect dept.

Role Playing (Games) 93

Matt Barton writes "I thought Slashdotters might be interested in my History of Computer Role-Playing Games Part I article on Armchair Arcade. It starts with the birth of the CRPG on mainframes and ends in 1983. I start by discussing tabletop D&D and number games like Strat-O-Matic, move into mainframe classics like dnd and Rogue, and then cover the first CRPGs for home computers. I wrote this article for CRPG fans who want to learn more about venerable old classics like Akalabeth, Temple of Apshai, Ultima, Wizardry, Tunnels of Doom, Dungeons of Daggorath, and Telengard. Please share your own stories!"

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Legend of the Red Dragon (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361258)

I used to get up at 6am to log onto a BBS and play LoRD before school started, it was a classic.

Re:Legend of the Red Dragon (1)

blackicye (760472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361338)

Most of these games were released way before LoRD.
I spent an ungodly number of hours playing Temple of Apshai and Wizardry on my 8086 with its CGA monitor..
I never really got into Aklabeth or any of the Ultima series until around Ultima III.
Ahhh good times.

That said I did enjoy that early morning bit of Tradewars 2002, Barren Realms Elite and Operation Overkill,
the connect tones of my first 1200bps modem still haunt my consciousness.

Re:Legend of the Red Dragon (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361840)

I played all the Epyx "Apshai" games on the TRS-80 Model-I. I also learned quite a few tricks for pushing the envelope on a Model-I, because Apshai set up a bunch of Z-80 machine language routines and called them from BASIC.

As for BBS games, I ran a BBS through the 80s and 90s, and while I loved Operation Overkill (and hung out with its creator Dustin "Weazal Dub" Nulf a few times), I could not play TW2002 or BRE myself. My users certainly seemed to enjoy those games, but I think I was too antisocial even for a multiplayer BBS game...

The Temple of Apshai (1)

Amerist (183586) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362310)

"Please wait while I find the keys... Oops, I dropped them. Oh there they are. Now unlocking the dungeon." *Music plays* Antman appears!

Re:Legend of the Red Dragon (1)

Hott of the World (537284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361846)

God I loved LoRD. Especially the In-Game Modules (crossroads, etc) and the balanced nature of the time/fight limit. It was a game that the casual player could do as well as those with more time on their hands.

Re:Legend of the Red Dragon (1)

chasethetail (1026912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367872)

Legend of the Red Dragon, I haven't heard that mentioned in a decade. I remember running LoRD on a WWIV BBS. Oh how easily entertained we were back then.

best in class games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17374128)

Crawl, rogue, and hack still beat all of the modern RPG and MMORPG's I've played.

Crawl - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linley's_Dungeon_Craw l [wikipedia.org]
Rogue - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_(computer_game) [wikipedia.org]
Hack - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hack_(computer_game) [wikipedia.org]

Nethack comes in well below Linely's Dungeon Crawl.

Self promotion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361286)

Why is it that everyone has to self promote on Slashdot? If your article has merit, someone else will post it!

Now, that being said, I love the article. A history of RPGs is pretty cool. I am not sure that this really does justice breaking down the genres, instead just talking about games. A closer look into how the games play, etc would be a bit more interesting.

ronB

Re:Self promotion (1)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361560)

Why is it that everyone has to self promote on Slashdot?

You can't get the news any faster than from the horse's mouth.

Re:Self promotion (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361778)

And it's not ad-infested. I salute the author.

Re:Self promotion (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362330)

What the hell is wrong with self-promoting? It's not like it's spamming, it's being submitted for consideratio to a group of editors. If those editors didn't think it was worthwhile it wouldn't have reached you. From your perspective the submitter is irrelevant.

Re:Self promotion (1)

SkeptAck (558548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17378680)

30 people a day read my blog, and they were looking for something else. In the unlikely event I write something worth your reading of it, it could be years before anyone else pushes it here.

As long as the author can only suggest it, and not actually put it on the front page themselves, meh.

They're only slightly less capable, or if suffering from self-esteem issues potentially much more, judges of their work as the next random dude on the internet to run across it.

Early Influences - Miniatures (2, Interesting)

skeptictank (841287) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361312)

I agree that D&D had a huge influence on CRPG and miniature wargaming had a huge impact on D&D. The first pnp rpgs grew out of existing miniatures rules.

Re:Early Influences - Miniatures (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361460)

I've never played a single RPG DND or MMORG.

And yet I'm a unix coder. I must be a mutant

Re:Early Influences - Miniatures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362528)

pos nub!!

Re:Early Influences - Miniatures (1)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361498)

Like the rules covering armor in modern 3.5 D&D (and most CRPGs, at least spiritually). It is a twist on the older = 2ed rules which in turn take their form from the way that hits were calculated using six sided dice in chainmail.

Rogue used @ for the player, not * (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361336)

The article has a mistake in that it claims "rogue" used an asterisk to mark the player's location. Asterisks were used for
gold, not the player. The player was represented by an at sign (@).

Re:Rogue used @ for the player, not * (2, Informative)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361474)

The subject says "used" as though rogue is past-tense...

Lots of people still play rogue. I prefer Nethack, of course. By "prefer", I mean, I prefer its gameplay to any other computer game that I have tried *ever*.

Re:Rogue used @ for the player, not * (4, Funny)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361480)

And maybe one day you will beat it.

Re:Rogue used @ for the player, not * (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361642)

>And maybe one day you will beat it.

I've ascended several Nethack characters, including two on tournament servers just so I don't have to deal with accusations of savescumming.

I just finished reading another article (linked from this one) about Dungeons of Daggorath. I really liked that game a lot, and managed to beat it once, but only by saving the game (to cassette!) very, very often at the end. Crazy game, great pace.

Re:Rogue used @ for the player, not * (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17365782)

While I still do play rogue occasionally, I haven't ever found the version I learned on and I am partial to that one.
I used to play on a vax. It had the older style monster list and had party rooms with lots of monsters from one level
deeper in the dungeon. When you were confused you could only move in a legal direction. Attempts to move into walls
didn't happen (making it easier to survive umber hulks in corridors).
I have gotten the Amulet of Yendor out of the dungeon playing that version.

Re:Rogue used @ for the player, not * (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17363738)

Just so you know, there are other rougelikes out there. Ever try the likes of the zangband varients?

Rumour has it... (2, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361346)

I start by discussing tabletop D&D....


Ahh... good old D&D. Better than Sex.... or so I'm told.

Re:Rumour has it... (1)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361402)

I think the general rule back then was that you had one or the other...

Re:Rumour has it... (2, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361418)

Not true, my character got laid plenty!

Re:Rumour has it... (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361436)

Back then? I doubt it's changed. Well, unless you play with guys that swing the other way.

Re:Rumour has it... (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362124)

I think the general rule back then was that you had one or the other...

Well, it's still difficult to do both at the same time....

Re:Rumour has it... (1)

edjs (1043612) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364194)

Role-play and sex, however . . .

Re:Rumour has it... (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367258)

Role-play and sex, however . . .

I tried that before. Took me forever to figure out where my d20s ended up.

Re:Rumour has it... (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364540)

Yeah, you probably should try D&D too.

Re:Rumour has it... (1)

Terminus32 (968892) | more than 7 years ago | (#17365344)

There's even a fan-made AD&D supplement dedicated to the subject of sex!

Wizard's Crown (2, Interesting)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361378)

Although slightly offtopic (wizard's crown was released in 1985), it is one of my favorite crpgs of all time, and it is obvious from the article where they got some of their ideas from. I still havn't beat the game.

Bard's Tale (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361490)

That POS was the first one I played, although I saw some geeks playing Ultima I (I guess, or whatever) on the Apple IIe in the back of the classroom.

It was pretty fun as I recall.

Alternate Reality (1)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361508)

I hope Part 2 remembers to cover Alternate Reality: The City (1985) and The Dungeon (1987) (Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ). Those games were amazing for their time. AR had a raycasting engine 7 years before Wolfeinstein 3D, animated background scenery, weather and sun systems, great music with synchronized sing-along lyrics, character alignments, it tracked hunger/thirst/encumbrance/temperaturee/etc. The series had an ambitious Matrix-esque [marktaw.com] 6-game plot scripted out (only the first of which was made, in two parts). It even implemented garbage collection in a literal sense: if your inventory exceeded your free RAM, the Devourer came and ate some of your items at random. A review [ataritimes.com] of the City tells more.

Drupal Sucks! (-1, Flamebait)

Heembo (916647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361536)

The source URL of this post is a Drupal website - the most craptacular unscalable php CMS solution out there! I'm surprised it survived the first 10 hits! Blech!

Re:Drupal Sucks! (1)

Narcogen (666692) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363640)

Leave it to Slashdot to comment on the CMS used to host an article and complain about the fact that TFA is still available *despite* the CMS chosen, rather than actually reading TFA.

You, sir, astound me.

Re:Drupal Sucks! (1)

Heembo (916647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364664)

Leave it to Slashdot to comment on the CMS used to host an article and complain about the fact that TFA is still available *despite* the CMS chosen, rather than actually reading TFA.

Thank you kindly, I'll take that as a compliment!

At the time of my comment, when I tried to read TFA I was greeted by a Drupal database error screen, something I'm very familiar with since I'm developing one of the largest Drupal websites in the world at present. They must have fixed that problem since my comment. I honestly tried to read TFA but was unable to thanks in (small) part to Drupal, Slashdot, the hosting contract, the hardware used, etc...

Drupal still sucks (4.6 really sucks, 4.7 still sucks, 5 sucks a little less), and so does your smarmy attitude, bucko!

Summary (0)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361544)

1974: Freshman year.
1983: Vowed to quit computer gaming.

Stay tuned for Part II (1984-1994), due out Tuesday (patch day!), in which I relate the story of how the now-famous Apple commercial lowered my Con by 2 and lured me back in.

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17368258)

1974: Freshman year.
1983: Vowed to quit computer gaming
1991: Graduate with a B.A. in psychology

Telengard (2, Interesting)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361554)

I tried getting back to Telengard after ~15 years. While there isn't a problem running a game in real-time, it becomes an issue when you have to wait ~5-10 seconds for the scene to render and only have a short window of opportunity to make an action before being assigned the default "pass". The situation was worse with IBM PCs - since processor speeds kept improving, any old game that relied on a slow processor for delays became almost unplayable (e.g. Ultima III - on a modern system the whirlpool would slag pirate ships before you could see it on screen, which was required to advance the plot.)

As a side note, these games aren't exactly Role-playing games. It's more on par with a combat-oriented red-box D&D (1st edition) where the only interest is in killing off monsters, as opposed to Paranoia where there is a mandatory focus on roleplaying (usually at the expense of the rules.) Regardless, I don't have anything against computer-run adventure programs.

Re:Telengard (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361784)

Telengard for the Commodore64 was written in Basic.
Very easy to give yourself the advantage.

Re:Telengard (1)

koafc (718334) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364066)

There are some programs (e.g. moslo) which will slow down the game so that it is playable on modern hardware.

Moslo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17369188)

moslo doesn't always quite work right. In Ultima II, you would occasionally hear a *skccch!* sound and the game runs at super-turbo speed for a split second. Not a huge problem, a minor annoyance, until you try to land the rocket ship on a tiny patch of grass. (Landing anywhere else meant death.)

Re:Telengard (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17373546)

Mo'Slo and other slowdown utilities work by periodically requesting time from the CPU - this works fine until you have a "fast" computer, which results in bursts of fast events, or a multi-core computer where slowdown utilities are less effective.

With Ultima II in particular, I ran it under Dosbox. The result was that the game was too slow even after trying to use ~15000 cycles. I don't see why this should be the case, but that's what happened.

Dungeons of Kairn (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361564)

Back then I used to play a lot to a CRPG called "Dungeons of Kairn", developed by the same man that did "Aethra Chronicles" later. It was a fun game, and I enjoyed it quite a lot back then. The problem is that it was shareware, so it had only one dungeon. The author posted an university address to send the money to purchase the registered version, but it was no longer his current address when I played the game. Since then, I have tried to find him and purchase the game to play it in Dosbox, but he (and the registered version) seem to have vanished from history.

Don't forget Adventure for Atari 2600 (1)

steveshaw (690806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361586)

Adventure [wikipedia.org] was a massively addictive game, once you stopped wondering why the dragons looked like ducks.

Don't forget the Original Adventure either (1)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362228)

That was a makeover of the original Colossal Cave (Adventure/Advent) text game. One of the more influential games, and the first adventure game, it had some of its features like "you are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike" copied into other games. I remember spending hours trying to work through it on a VAX 11/780. There were several ports done, and I played one a few years back, and it was still addictive. A great piece of gaming history, and something everyone should try - it's still fun, and shows that you don't always need enormous graphics and processors to make a great game.

Re:Don't forget the Original Adventure either (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363884)

Adventure (Colossal Cave) and a whole stack of other classic games (Hunt the Wumpus, Trek, etc.) are available as a standard RPM for Fedora Core, right out of the box. "yum install bsd-games" gets you the lot.

Re:Don't forget the Original Adventure either (1)

Little Brickout (896529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17383354)

... I remember spending hours trying to work through it on a VAX 11/780. There were several ports done, and I played one a few years back, and it was still addictive. A great piece of gaming history, and something everyone should try - it's still fun, and shows that you don't always need enormous graphics and processors to make a great game.
Holy crap! If a VAX 11/780 isn't an enormous processor you must be into some really big iron. You know the type you can get lost in. ;)

My childhood was lost to Ultima III (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362090)

In Ultima III I used to love to create "roads" three chests wide between all the cities/dungeons/moongates so I could travel at will w/o fear of attack by wandering monsters.
Then I learned that I could do the same in the ocean with boats, once I trapped the whirlpool.

L=Land
M=Sea Monster
O=Whirlpool
S=Ship
W=Water
(fixed width font required)

WWWW
LWLL
LSLL
LMOL
LLLL

You could do this in the little fjord just north of Lord British's castle.

Slashdotted already (1)

MagerValp (246718) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362128)

Database server down. Any reason why slashdot doesn't coralize [nyud.net] or link to mirrordot [mirrordot.org] in every article?

Re:Slashdotted already (1)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362188)

Any reason why slashdot doesn't coralize or link to mirrordot in every article?

Yes [slashdot.org]

Re:Slashdotted already (1)

chrispl (189217) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362436)

Consider it a surprise server stress test, keeps the admins on their toes.

Trinkets (2, Interesting)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362164)

I miss the large boxes with real manuals and a game-related trinket. For example, the Orb of Moons in the Ultima 6 box.

What other games came with trinkets?

Re:Trinkets (1)

ReverendHoss (677044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362318)

Everquest I & II both did this often. In addition to in-game items when the retail version of an expansion was purchased, I have a small collection of extras such as a Fiorina Vie figurine, collectable coins, cloth maps, etc.

Re:Trinkets (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362382)

Ultima IV came with a nice cloth map and a lead ankh. Of course every Infocom game I can think of came with stuff. Ogre came with a real ID rad-badge (I didn't know until much later they were random since mine is the appropriate 2033rd Armored Division badge) with stickers that changed colors when exposed to gamma radiation.

Re:Trinkets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17363188)

'Hitchhikers' came with (IIRC) fluff, a "don't panic" button, and a set of peril-sensitive sunglasses.
'Bureaucracy' came with the skinniest pencil I had ever seen, and a maddening form you had to fill out in triplicate, only what each blank meant was different from page to page.
But yeah, the Ultima series and Infocom games came with the best stuff.

Re:Trinkets (1)

hellasaltine (822805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363546)

one of the Ultima Online expansions (UO Renaissance I think) came with a UO medallion and cloth map of the game world.

Its a shame EA turned Origin into such a lame company.

Ogre (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368722)

Came with a working radiation badge.

Re:Trinkets (2, Informative)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369082)

I know that every Ultima game from IV through IX came with a cloth map and a trinket. I'm proud to say I have them all.

Ultima III definitely came with a cloth map; a friend had it, didn't want it any longer and gave it to me.

I do not know if Ultima I or II came with a cloth map or trinket. I only have the cardboard remake maps of those two.

The original Ultima Online, Collector (Dragon) edition included a cloth map and a medallion.

All of the Infocom games came with some trinket related to the game.

Nowadays, getting a cloth map is a collector's edition.

Re:Trinkets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17369484)

I do not know if Ultima I or II came with a cloth map or trinket. I only have the cardboard remake maps of those two.

Ultima II came with a cloth map. Not sure about the remake of Ultima I.

Some other Origin games I recall/owned:
Omega, Knights of Legend: (none)
Autoduel: toolkit
Ogre: badge with radiation detecting dot decals
Space Rogue: no trinkets per se, but it did have a cut-out papercraft of your space ship.

....so I'm looking for a couple of old games... (1)

Fjornir (516960) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362396)

This seems like as good a place as any to ask for info on a couple of shareware titles I played back in the day on my 8088.

The first was, a pretty normal dungeon crawler done up with ASCII graphics. The only thing that really sticks out in my head about this game was a command on the order of "Activate your mad uncle Aleister's device...". I had a lot of fun with the game but lost the disc when my house burned and never managed to find it again. (The device, when activated, was a random teleport which could save your ass -- or leave you dead embedded in solid rock).

The other game was all text and as annoying as hell. It threw you randomly from prompt to prompt, event to event, and you'd have a few options at each prompt. Eventually (if you didn't die of plague beforehand, which happened more often than not) you'd get the Staff of Power (I think it was called) which would convert all of your assets into armies and your army would do battle with the bad guy army and if you won it'd offer you a chance to print out a certificate showing you'd won.

Wizardry (1)

cei (107343) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362408)

It's a shame that Werdna [slashdot.org] hasn't been active on slashdot for a while... I'd love to hear some inside scoop on the development of Wizardry from its co-creator. Wizardry and Ultima IV are still my two favorite CRPGs.

Re:Wizardry (2, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17366988)

I loved Ultima IV and Ultima V. Those were games that could send you all over the map repeatedly gathering up information. Things like "ask the three brothers anthos about the riddle". Two (real time) days later you might actually have gotten to find them. Forced you to explore the land and get to know the inhabitants. If Ultima V was re-released in its original form for a modern computer I'd buy it just to play it again.

For the Apple II there was an unexpected challenge. Due to an oversight, the Apple release of Ultima IV could not be won by anything but luck or cheating. The "Water" character in the castle you were supposed to ask for the answer to the riddle. (the riddle was THE VERY LAST question you had to answer, to beat the game) They forgot to program Water's dialog. You speak to Water and it says "A". Then it asks you "A?". If you reply yes, it responds "A". (oops!)

In Ultima V, Water is still there, and if you talk to him he will apologize for his mistake in IV. "way back. way waaay back, I forgot to tell you something!" Gotta love that. That's back from the days before patches too. In case anyone was wondering, it's "infinity". For the longest time I didn't know the answer to the riddle. I found where some of those things were stored, but Ultima only parsed the first four characters of the codec's questions, so I knew the answer started with "INFI" and didn't realize what it truly was until much later.

Wizardry on the other hand, never interested me. Unlike Ultima, it lacked the scenic variety of walking around on the main map, the animation of the monsters, and the interaction with the populace. (and for the most part, color in general) Despite seeming to be lacking in most respects, Wizardry was still amazingly popular around that time. Ultima's animation also helped you forget that it was still a turn-based game.

Re:Wizardry (1)

cei (107343) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367532)

I guess the things that were somewhat revolutionary for Wizardry at the time were the spell system and the advanced classes (Bishop, Samurai, Lord & Ninja). Well, that and the nature of the mazes and how they needed to be mapped. Odd jump points and maps that wrapped weren't something I'd encountered in text adventures up to that point.

Ultima IV's component based spell system was also intriguing. Early D&D always had spell components, but most of the DMs I played with were more than willing to ignore such slow-downs to game play. With Ultima IV, there was no way around it. Also liked the advancement of skill points in the 8 virtues. (And, well, to be honest UIV was the first game I ever hacked in a hex editor on my Apple ][+, so it holds a special place for me, even though I cheated a bit...)

Wizardy+++++++ (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368440)

I lost many many hours to that game. The trick early on was to find "Murphy's Ghost" and send in a character to fight him over and over to get craploads of exp. That and the tiltowait spell, always was exciting to cast that. What a great game. I still have the original manual and disk sitting along with my IBM PCjr.

Re:Wizardry (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17370698)

You will recall that Ultima also had classes, eight of them. Didn't they have 8 of everything? You could read the programmers behind the monitor so easily! Eight reagents, eight circles of spell level, 8 skill levels, eight classes, eight towns, eight cities, eight shrines, eight stones, eight words of power, etc etc. Three of everything else, castles, abbeys, etc.

The different classes were not balanced either. You would have a much quicker game if you answered the gypsy to become say, a mage rather than a shepherd. So a lot of people played a more difficult (or easier) game than their friends did.

The different classes' main differences seemed to be where the stats maxed out at. The shepherd maxed out very low on most stats except spirituality, and had no magic. The mage was at the opposite end of the coin I believe. I don't think there were any specific advantages to starting as any of the "weaker" classes. Certain weapons could only be weilded by certain classes though. I recall the magic axe being the weapon of choice to outfit the entire party with. What good was the glass sword?

Re:Wizardry (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368622)

Huh, how did I possibly not know that he used to be a /. user? He must think us Wizardry fans are a bunch of nuts. ;-)

Temple of Apshai (1)

twistedcain (924116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362764)

When I was about 6 years old my dad bought an Atari 800 with a tape deck. I had few cartridge games for the system and we used to get a subscription to magazines with game code you could type in. We would back them up onto tape which failed so very often.

Anyway, when I was about 8 my mom bought me a game on cassette tape for the 800. The game came with a massive manual with a section devoted to descriptions of rooms. It took about a half hour to load the game off the cassette each time I wanted to play, but I would still try and play it faithfully. The game was really fun, when it would actually load. The tape eventually stopped working and I never played it again. I couldn't for the life of me remember the name, but I am thinking it was the Temple of Apshai game in the article as it looks just like it.

Re:Temple of Apshai (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363278)

You have definitely described Temple of Apshai or one of its sequels.
I thought the idea of putting descriptions in the book was a great idea. It allowed the creators of the game to really push the envelope and squeeze every single byte out of these limited machines for gameplay and graphics, and offload all that text to a book.

Re:Temple of Apshai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17380620)

That game was killer in its day. Those room descriptions made the game come alive for me. I had a really vivid dream about being lost in the caverns of Apshai (level 3 I think... not sure how I remember it) one day when I was around 10 years old. Walked around in a trance for days afterwards. I'm 37 now and even though much of my memory from those days has faded I still remember that dream clearly. It gives you an idea of the games impact.

Telengard (2, Informative)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362810)

FTFA:

Telengard was directly inspired by the PLATO dnd game mentioned above, with minimal graphics and randomized dungeons.

This is inaccurate: Telengard's dungeon is not random, but procedurally generated (rather like the universe of Elite).

Out of interest, this map [mazmanian.net] rather entertainingly shows someone's abortive attempt to map the dungeon (they got only a tiny fraction of the way through mapping the first level, tee hee).

Re:Telengard (1)

XO (250276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363226)

My brother had several graph paper books full of maps for Telengard.

Semantics (1)

Narcogen (666692) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363678)

You're probably requiring the author to be a little more technically specific than he was trying to be.

He probably intended "random" to mean "not static" as he points out that dungeons in certain other games are the same regardless of when you visit them, whereas in Telengard this is not true.

That Telengard doesn't simply randomize everything, but follows a procedure, is probably important to the programmers but not to the players, who are only going to be interested in whether or not it is worth their time to make a graph paper map.

In the case of random or procedurally generated dungeons, the answer is no.

Re:Telengard (1)

pokemonkiller (1039364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17373116)

Not sure if anyone pointed this out but there is a port of the old Telengard to PC which can be downloaded for free. Here is the link. http://buildingworlds.com/telengard/ [buildingworlds.com] Regards!

Colour me old-school, if you like. (1)

Cimon Avaro (1022609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362910)

I never got the fascination of Colossal Cave on my Vic-20. But losing a long played Moria character at level 24 (1200 feet) on a VMS box using a 300 bps speed just because of a loss of carrier, really got on my nuts. I mean *really* got on my nuts. Sure, I got my revenge by killing the Balrog seven times over later on my own box, but... As for Nethack, it died, when they added the fountains. Sorry, but that is my view. Even games can get freeping creaturism. Nethack bloated in a spectacular way, when they added the fountains, not even a creep there.

Re:Colour me old-school, if you like. (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363252)

>As for Nethack, it died, when they added the fountains.

Of all the things to get upset about, this one seems very weird to me.
What was your problem? The small chance of a free wish?

I see fountains as a last chance to summon Demogorgon if he didn't show up in Hell. So my characters almost never touch them at all (because it's the rare hero who actually *wants* to summon Demogorgon ;-)

Sometimes I will #dip in fountains in order to try to create pools of water, because that can be very handy to have on the upper levels.

But I certainly never saw the fountains as a problem. There have been lots of exploitable bugs and such over the years. So it's kind of strange to me that you'd pick fountains as your cowardly excuse to stop playing ;-)

Fountains or not, (1)

hellasaltine (822805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364336)

I will always have a copy of Nethack on my USB drive.

Re:Colour me old-school, if you like. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17368740)

I recall playing Rogue, or maybe it was the variant called Super Rogue, in which their were pools you could dip your weapons in and possibly enchant them. Or curse them. I remember having a strong character suddenly encumbered with a -2 -5 two handed sword after dipping it in a cursed pool.

Quest for Glory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17363078)

Hi:

I loved playing Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire on my brand new G3 in 1999. One game I always regret missing was Into the Heart of China. It sounded neat.

Apshai (1)

XO (250276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363156)

I think the DOS versions of the Apshai games are playable on Gametap.

Thanks for the reminder --- Moria (1)

dmk (53916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363164)

Thanks for the reminder of much time spent playing Moria instead of completing my school work at Rutgers University. I was just able to compile the code under MacOS 10.4.8 with a minimum of effort and it is (of course!) as I remember it :-)

Nethack (1)

mikehunt (225807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363322)

Nethack [nethack.org] was originally released in 1987. The last update to the website was in 2004, a total of seventeen years of evolution.
Nethack itself is a branch of Rogue, which itself came out in 1980.

TFA does not even mention Nethack. So much for history...

Re:Nethack (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363524)

TFA does not even mention Nethack. So much for history...

Well, two things. First, it does mention Hack as one of the Rogue derivatives. NetHack is just a further derivative. Second, this is the 1980-1983 section. You're complaining about something from 1987 not appearing.

Re:Nethack (1)

mikesum (840054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17372254)

Does 1974-1983 mean anything to you ?

Tolkien and D&D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17363694)

From TFA:

Although there's some question about how deeply J.R.R. Tolkein's Ring trilogy played in the development of D&D...

Can't be that much of a question, TSR was forced to change one of the original races/classes (back when Elf was both a race and a class) from "Hobbit" to something else (they chose "Halfling") by the Tolkien estate. Since that's a Dave/Gary thing, it would be hard to say that just "slipped in" without significant influence from Tolkien's works.

(I would post at TFA, but I'd rather not register at Yet Another Site)

DUNGEON (1)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17365924)

I played DUNGEON on a PDP-11. It was the spark igniting the flame that is my raging video game addiction. I have played many clones - Bard's Tale, Diablo, Dungeon Siege, etc., but this is the original for me.

Tunnels of Doom (1)

SydBarrett (65592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17366610)

I remember having to "Kings Quest" from tape. Later I got the expansion pack from Asgard software. It had levels based on Dr. Who, and I think one based on K-Mart. Anyone else have this?

Re:Tunnels of Doom (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369146)

Yes, I have these.


I loved the K-mart theme because you were looking for the blue light special and had to fight cafeteria ladies and mall zombies. Dr. Who was always a favorite.

I know there were several other themes, but I'll have to dig it out to check.

I'm very fortunate that I have two working TI-99/4As. I brought it out a year ago and gave my daughters a brief distraction with the A-maze-ing game and speech synthesis. This article is making me want to pull them back down. I also have all of the Scott Adams' adventures. Those I've found an emulator/remake for, but I didn't have much luck with the MESS or other emulators for ToD.

Re:Tunnels of Doom (1)

British (51765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369230)

Actually it was "Quest for the King" for Tunnels of Doom. Aasgard software made the ToD editor. I had it and it came with a few already-made sample games. You can basically change around the graphics, magic item names/behavior and such, but not not the core game. It is still fun to play with though.

There was a Star Trek-themed ToD game and some other fantasy-based ToD game, but it was insanely hard.

Phantasie & Wizard's Crown (1)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368038)

Phantasie I & III for the PC were easy but addicting. The graphics were simple but you really got into the story. On the other side of the fence, Wizard's Crown (& Eternal Dagger which I somehow never saw for the PC) was difficult, focusing more on tactics. I never finished that last dungeon.

All those games were from SSI. Really fun. Ahh the memories.

What, no Zork? (2, Interesting)

NuclearBeast (1043784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369296)

>Turn left
...you have been eaten by a grue. Game over.
Best text game. Ever!

"The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is either adventurers or enchanters, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its horrible fear of light. No grues have ever been seen by the light of day, and only a few have been observed in their underground lairs. Of those who have seen grues, few ever survived their fearsome jaws to tell the tale." - Zork I
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