Last time, I carried on at some length about CRPGs versus MMORPGs, and how in Dungeons and Desktops author Matt Barton succeeded in, "...igniting my Nerd-Rage, burning with the fierceness and fury of a thousand suns." In my own roundabout, navel-contemplating way, I came to understand and grudgingly accept what he was saying about how MMORPGs have ursurped the title from CRPGs as "King of the Digital Hill" for, "fantasy-themed gameplay on a computer". (I can't bring myself to say that the MMORPG is "King of the Hill" as far as role-playing on a computer though. I'm sorry. I tried. But my fingers rebelled as I tried to type it out--I just can't do it. As evidenced from the stimulating back-and-forth in the comments, the classical "role-playing" aspect is minimal to non-existent in MMORPGs anyway.)
I know that last time, I stated that I would also discuss what would comprise "My Ultimate CRPG" here in Part 2. However there's just way too much material to cover in one blog post. So forgive me, but I shall have to save, "The FUN stuff!" for Part 3 of this blog-entry. Here in Part 2 of the blog-post, I'm going discuss two things, in (probably too much) detail:
I wrote this blog entry with a couple of key points stuck in my head, bouncing around in there and making a good bit of racket. Let me share them with you, so we have a common ground on which to begin:
(1) The subject of this blog posting was triggered by Matt Barton's wonderful book, Dungeons and Desktops. As I read it, I began pondering: What is the future of CRPG's, MMORPG's, and what do the individual games or sub-genres "Mean" to gamers?
(2) Let me make something very clear: Dungeons and Desktops is a great book. I'm not writing this to pick a fight or act disrepectfully towards the author. If you are looking for a troll or bash-fest, go soak your head.
(3) I'm trying to get a handle on some strong emotions his book stirred in me. I'm also trying to understand _why_ those emotions were so strong. This in turn got me pondering what makes a game "Meaningful" to me. Thinking through it all has been an interesting experience.
So, what happened?
Well, to begin with, I read Dungeons and Desktops. If you have not yet done so, please go order a copy right now. Here is a link to it on Amazon:
Um, Hi. Is this thing on?
Unless you've recently suffered severe head trauma, it should be obvious that 'Bitsweep' is a pseudonym. In this age of computer crackers, malcontents, and nitwit marketers who would gleefully data-mine their own mother's health records for a buck, one must be cautious. So, for now, call me 'S'. Just 'S'.
I am a avid watcher of the Digital selling market for games and where it is, where its going and how its effecting games. Personally when it was first done I was frimly in the "its no good" camp, another service running on my mahcine, if I uninstall a re-install takes hours to download. And as many have said here, no box, no cool do-dads, etc..
Today's remarkable auction is Sierra On-Line's (OnLine Systems), Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress, big box version, for the Apple II. Ultima II was Richard Garriott's somewhat divisive sequel to the first Ultima game, and one of the most sought after entries in the series for collectors. There were several different versions of the game, some in large boxes, some in small boxes, and some with Origin as the primary publisher rather than Sierra. Origin also re-released Ultima II in yet another variation, this time in conjunction with Ultima I and III, in a materially scaled back compilation called the Ultima Trilogy. In any case, what makes this particular auction remarkable is not so much the final sale price, which was a relatively fair $257.00 with free shipping, but the fact that the game was sealed, which had the potential to drive the price even higher. As with most of the Ultima games, Ultima II saw release on a wide range of platforms, but the Apple II version was the original, and also was one of the only Western platforms to get a slightly upgraded re-release. I personally own all the games in the Ultima series boxed except for Ultima II, which I only have outside of PC CD-based compilations in the Commodore 64 version of the Ultima Trilogy, though I do have the original disks for the Atari 8-bit version of Ultima II. Though not spectacular, the Japanese-only FM Towns version of Ultima II, is arguably the nicest looking of the official releases.
Check out the video from LordKarnov42 below to see the original Apple II release in action for the RPG game that tasked you with traveling to every planet in the solar system, including Planet X:
All this talk of great old RPG's and such, and my silly atempts to replay games I have already played I decieded to play one I hadnt. I picked of TOEE off GOG (I'm almost sure I already bought it someplace else, but I cant find it). So after about 4 hours my first thoughts.. warning, not all good. keep in mind I havent played this one.
just saying thanks and looking forward to the fun.
Today's remarkable auction is a doozy, Cyborg for the Apple II, Softsmith Software version. Why is it a doozy? Because the Softsmith Software version was the budget-packaged re-release of the Sentient Software original, and it sold for an amazing $157.50, plus shipping and handling. The original Cyborg, from computer game pioneer and sci-fi author Michael Berlyn (also of Infocom fame) and published through the Sentient Software (both of whom also did the more famous, Oo-Topos, which I personally own, which also had a later re-release (and update) through another publisher), was released in 1981 for the Apple II. An Atari 8-bit version followed in 1982, as well as a Commodore 64 version. Cyborg is a science fiction text adventure game in which an artificial intelligence is electronically merged with your body as the result of a scientific experiment. Your mission is to find a source of energy to keep you alive. The game uses a text parser, except for character interaction, during which you choose a question from a predetermined list.
In any case, at some point Softsmith Software got the rights and, apparently without Berlyn's knowledge (and, obviously, consent), created a PC DOS version that, amazingly, had compatibility issues with most true PC's (see the trivia section, here). Though not shown on the Mobygames Website, there was in fact an updated Macintosh version that Berlyn mentioned that was published through Broderbund, shown here. As you can tell and what I find appalling about the final sale price, the Softsmith Software version was packaged in that company's usual generic boxes in as lazy a manner as possible (though of course, even the original version of the game was just a folder with some instructions, but at least a colorful folder with actual artwork). To me, that throws any significant value right out the window, but of course, to us collector's, that's often irrelevant to the end goal of possession.
INTV Corporation's Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball just sold on eBay for a remarkable $1,826.00 plus shipping and handling. This was one of the last cartridges released by INTV (along with Stadium Mud Buggies, known as Monster Truck Rally on the NES) circa late 1989 and is obviously extremely sought after by hardcore Intellivision collectors (though rarely reaching anywhere near what it just sold for, particularly unsealed). The limited releases of both Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball and Stadium Mud Buggies marked the end (1990) of the Intellivision's remarkable 10 year old original commercial run, even though Mattel had given up on the platform less than halfway through.
Check out the video below from "ed1269" to see how all those years of experience with the system paid off in the quality of the late-life games: