Thanks to the battle for Middle Ear, I didn't finish my Geek in Review this week until 11:57 this morning, three minutes before it was scheduled to go live. Awesome.
The Battle for Middle Ear sort of dovetails with the theme of this week's Geek in Review, though, which is all about the marriage of fantasy gaming and electronic gaming, when both of those things surged in popularity in the early eighties:
Most of these games were variations on the basic dungeon-crawling theme, but they were just perfect in an age where imagination was still required to transform the monster that chased you around Atari’s Adventure from a duck into a dragon, and the animated Rankin/Bass version of The Hobbit was scary and magnificent. This was a perfect blending of the two things my friends and I loved more than anything else in the world: cool electronic gadgets and the fantasy world we were just discovering.
Today, I look back at a couple of my favorites . . .
There's this theory that once a species develops the ability to change and control its environment, it stops evolving. I wonder if there's something similar with electronic games? Once manufacturers didn't need to innovate to earn our money, and could just develop for Gameboy or something similar, all the individuality and difference between games like Tomy Pac-Man and Coleco Pac-Man simply disappeared. I guess we would have all wanted Arcade Pac-Man, anyway, if it was available back then, so the point is kind of moot, but from a broader point of view, I'd rather have lots of unique and innovative games and designs than a bunch of things which are all slightly derivative of each other.
I was lucky to grow up during a time when there was so much competition for our allowance, and designers were working so hard to keep our attention. There were always crappy knock-offs, to be sure, but there were a lot of gems hidden in there, too.
Did you have a favorite classic electronic fantasy game that I missed? Gals Panic does not count.