Matt Chat 118: The Dagger Has Fallen and It Can't Get Up!

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Matt Barton's picture

This week, I finally get around to retrospecting Bethesda's 1996 masterpiece Daggerfall, the game that for many fans is still the best ever Elder Scrolls game. While not without its share of bugs and interface issues, it's still a terrific achievement and demonstrates the possibilities of procedurally-generated content in CRPGs. Just don't make the mistake I did of not checking ALL the options for keyboard and mouse. :)

Still, the resulting misadventures are pretty darn funny.


Download the mp4.

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Bill Loguidice
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I don't think you should

I don't think you should change a thing, Matt. Appreciating a game is one thing, but pretending to like it when you don't is another. If the viewership can't understand the difference, then I don't think anything you'll be able to change will fix that. We're nothing if not the product of our experience, and quite frankly there are times when it's harder to appreciate older games because we've experienced improvements - either individually or in total - in countless games since. We can TRY to place ourselves in the time period and look at it with virgin eyes, but we can't really outside of play acting. That might be fun for a one-off, but it's certainly not the basis for an on-going, serious treatment of these games. And to put it one more way, when are these reviews being watched, back when the game was first released, or now in 2011? It's my strong opinion that you'd be doing a disservice to the people in 2011 to try and overly accommodate the feelings people had back when a game was first released...

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Matt Barton
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History
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I don't think you should change a thing, Matt. Appreciating a game is one thing, but pretending to like it when you don't is another. If the viewership can't understand the difference, then I don't think anything you'll be able to change will fix that. We're nothing if not the product of our experience, and quite frankly there are times when it's harder to appreciate older games because we've experienced improvements - either individually or in total - in countless games since. We can TRY to place ourselves in the time period and look at it with virgin eyes, but we can't really outside of play acting. That might be fun for a one-off, but it's certainly not the basis for an on-going, serious treatment of these games. And to put it one more way, when are these reviews being watched, back when the game was first released, or now in 2011? It's my strong opinion that you'd be doing a disservice to the people in 2011 to try and overly accommodate the feelings people had back when a game was first released...

Thanks, Bill. I do try to put on the "virgin eyes," so to speak, but it's always a challenge. I wish that I'd had access to more games and systems in my youth, so I could have more experience with things outside of the C-64 and Amiga community. I missed the DOS era entirely, so that naturally leaves a huge gap. Some of those games are easy enough to appreciate, such as Star Control, but others are truly challenging.

I'd probably be having the exact same reactions as these disgruntled fans if somebody was reviewing my favorite Amiga games and dinging them for things I felt were unfair. I'm sure my reaction would be, "This person is an idiot," or "This person just doesn't get it." I might get inflamed enough to say, "This person has NO business reviewing these games he knows nothing about." Which, of course, is exactly what I'm getting from these folks who love The Witcher or Daggerfall as much as I love POR or Baldur's Gate.

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Matt Barton
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Yeah, that's why I hate

Yeah, that's why I hate covering games that I don't personally like very much. It really accomplishes little. The fanboys will hate me for it, and nobody else really cares.

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Rampant Coyote (not verified)
The silent majority

I think there's a lot of rational, interested folks who just don't say much.

I know I just totally forget how these things played. I forget the interface, and just remember the experience. It's been hard for me to get back into the Ultima Underworld games for the same reason. I loved them, but re-learning the interface to the point where I can forget about it is hard to do.

clok1966
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I agree With Bill 100% if

I agree With Bill 100% if you dont like, agree, whatever.. dont gloss it over. With that, remeber alot of our LOVE for an old game is memory, i find very few hold up over time. Daggerfall is a great example of this.. when it was new.. I was enthralled by it. I revisted it a few times the years after its release but have not looked at it in many years since. Your chat and the video brouhgt back alot of it.. but sadly pointed out alot of "age" . its still going to be in my top 10 games of all time (when i consider them at release) but nowdays its an OLD game that relied on the current tech at its time of release to "oh and aww" you a bit.

New people takeing alook for the first time are going to find it clunkey.. age does that. no need to "glitz it up" it is what it is to you.. Even if i do or do not agree.. I would like ot hear what you ( or anybody ) thinks.

Bill Loguidice
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Perspective
clok1966 wrote:

New people takeing alook for the first time are going to find it clunkey.. age does that. no need to "glitz it up" it is what it is to you.. Even if i do or do not agree.. I would like ot hear what you ( or anybody ) thinks.

That's a great point. As long as the dislike is reasoned and even if it "hurts" if I'm emotionally tied to something, I would have no choice but to acknowledge the validity of the perspective. I think most times it's just human nature to want to get affirmation for our own likes and dislikes, and when something is counter to that, even if well reasoned, it's natural to try and push back. In the end, it is best just to get the honest opinion.

Of course, when there are out and out errors, like in my Atari Flashback 3 review in regards to paddles (the first three sets of paddles I tried didn't work right - if I tried the fourth set of paddles when I was evaluating the unit I would have found no issue), then aggressive steps should be taken to correct the error (which, in that case, I'm doing, both in the written review already, and also with a quick response video to roll up all the updates to date). That is of course a completely different issue from struggling with the interface or finding alternate control schemes, particularly if you're going into the game new and no one spoke up prior to your review of things to watch out for.

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Rampant Coyote (not verified)
Be honest

I think the difference really comes down to being fair and honest with the game from your own perspective, and not trying to get "cheap" jokes in at the game's expense. Saying, "WTF is a bear doing in this room?!?!?" is fair, or joking about the girl chilling next door to a tiger. Especially if you temper these comments with remarks about the cool things or things that may have been pretty impressive at the time it was released.

clok1966
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tiger in my bathrobe
Rampant Coyote wrote:

I think the difference really comes down to being fair and honest with the game from your own perspective, and not trying to get "cheap" jokes in at the game's expense. Saying, "WTF is a bear doing in this room?!?!?" is fair, or joking about the girl chilling next door to a tiger. Especially if you temper these comments with remarks about the cool things or things that may have been pretty impressive at the time it was released.

I do gotta admit when I played it never wondered how the heck that tiger (or for that matter) bear got into town, let alone sombodys house (that is locked at night! so even me, with hands, cant get in). It made perfect sence to me back then.. And to think a town miles away would know tiger is in a house and it needs to be removed.. by the time you got there it should be so weak from starvation (or are the townspeople one by one, trying to solve the problem, hence keeping the tiger "full"?) you should have no issues.. Maybe Daggerfall is the inspertaion for THE HANGOVER tiger in the bathroom scene?

Even when matt mentiond it it didnt ring a bell till this comment.. i guess im to used to strange in my games :)

it is kinda funny.. random generation can be funny somtimes!

Keith Burgun
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Back when Bethesda really had *ambition*.

Back when Bethesda really had *ambition*. Great video, Matt! :D

Bill Loguidice
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Page 43 of the November 2011

Page 43 of the November 2011 issue of OXM has an interesting bit of trivia that I totally forgot about. Bethesda's first game was Gridiron! in 1986 for the Commodore Amiga and it was the first physics-based 11x11 football game. After that EA hired them to create John Madden Football.

It's also claimed in there that one year after Arena, the game The Terminator: Future Shock was their first full 3D game that basically set all of the techniques they'd use in their future games, and it was also the game that pioneered mouselook, which apparently they got panned for in contemporary reviews.

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