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Matt Barton's picture

A Review of Epyx's The Sword of Fargoal (1982)

Jeff McCord's The Sword of Fargoal, released in 1982 for the Commodore VIC 20 and updated in 1983 for the Commodore 64, is one of the most accessible and innovative of the 8-bit computer role playing games. Every serious "Commodork" is familiar with the title, and for good reason. As I see it, there are essentially two qualities that earn this game its venerable status as classic. First, it's a highly accessible game that anyone can learn to play in minutes. Secondly, the creative "fog of war" effect, real-time gameplay, and creepy sound effects generate far more suspense than most other early RPGs. Even in 2006, nearly a quarter century after its release, The Sword of Fargoal still offers compelling and addictive gameplay.

Matt Barton's picture

Remembered Realms: Revisiting SSI's Legendary Gold Box Games

Gold Box Games. It’s hard to exaggerate the kind of nostalgic reverie that these words are able to evoke in true fans of SSI’s legendary computer role-playing games (CRPGs). Incredibly, it’s been 18 years since SSI released the ground-breaking Pool of Radiance (PoR) in 1988, but contemporary CPRG makers are still trying to live up to the standards it set. What I want to do here is take you on a brief tour of the SSI’s legendary Gold Box line, starting off with the classic and best-known Gold Box games, which are set in the Forgotten Realms AD&D universe. From there we’ll take a glance at the Dragonlance games and, lastly, the Savage Frontier series. Along the way, I’ll try to offer as much commentary as I can from my own experiences playing these games, both as a youth and as an adult. Hopefully, what will emerge is some understanding of what made these games so wonderful, and why it’s still a challenge even nearly two decades later even to match their appeal, much less exceed them.

Matt Barton's picture

Kawaisa!: A Naive Glance at Western and Eastern RPGs

In some ways, I feel that my videogame experience has been a bit limited. While I know plenty about computer games of today and yesterday, I've owned very few consoles.

Matt Barton's picture

Neverwinter Nights Platinum: Some Thoughts on CRPGs

Although I greatly enjoy playing adventure games and the occasional strategy game (Civilization IV being one of my favorites), the genre I always find myself returning to is the computer role-playing game. My fixation with the genre began at the tender age of 12 (or maybe 13), when I started playing the Bard's Tale series on the Commodore 64. If you remember, the first Bard's Tale is extremely difficult starting out. Fortunately, the cracked copy we had still had a saved game from whoever copied it, so I was able to play with high-level characters and thus get a better feel for what the game had to offer. However, it wasn't really until I got Pool of Radiance (the original SSI "gold box" game) that I really fell in love with the genre.

Matt Barton's picture

Gay Characters in Videogames

Author and Screenshots: Matthew D. Barton
Editing: Bill Loguidice and Buck Feris
Online Layout: Buck Feris
Additional Screenshots and Scans: Buck Feris and Bill Loguidice

Notes: All pictures were taken directly from the editors' personal materials unless otherwise indicated
Special Thanks: Buck Feris and Bill Loguidice

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