A Tale of Three Videogames
was one of my favorite CRPGs growing up. Still is, since the last character I played I put about 30 hours in.
Something always felt more full about Mordor than other CRPGs. You weren’t just delving a dungeon, you were delving into a world. You sold stuff to the general store, and other (imaginary) adventurers would buy it. Or you died in the dungeon, and the game wouldn’t end. Rather, your corpse would remain inside until someone dragged it back out. Guilds kept track of their members and gave them titles. The library recorded the dates of every find, and how many had died. Even the game itself was kinda-sorta expecting multiple people to play it, as you could give passwords to individual characters.
And the dungeon itself! Far bigger than the average floor of any RPG I had played. (Angband, perhaps, the exception) Each area had its own spawn table, apparently, because you really could predict what spawned where. There was nothing explicit, but eventually you realized that those Goblin Guards weren’t just called that.
Mordor hasn’t aged well, unfortunately. Literally, actually. It’s an ancient 16-bit Windows application–back when computers were too slow to update the inventory screen in combat. Now, you’ll need an old computer or shenanigans with DOSBox to get it to run nowadays.
Nowadays as well, people would be a lot less tolerant of its sheer harshness. For example, chances, unless you minimaxed at the start, your beginning character cannot join a single guild. Even then, I’m pretty sure some guilds (such as Wizard) are just out of reach. You’ll need stat items to just reach the minimum to join. Of course, those stat items go for millions of gold in the store, and are rare in the dungeon itself. Needless to say, you can also lose stats from stat draining. (MUNSAE! I HATE YOU!) And, of course, any revive can cause stat loss, meaning that any character is but a death and a failed revive away from being a shriveled husk useful only as a meatshield for your bright young new adventurers.
I’m sure you’ll see plenty of inspiration from Mordor in The City and the Dungeon, from the heartstone system to the insane inflation to the harshness of the world. If not, of course, outright references. I’ve read that Mordor is actually a clone of a primordial MMO called Avatar, so I guess I’m just continuing the tradition.
was one of the first games I’ve ever played. There is something inspiring, timeless, about its silent in-game cutscenes. Though I could not read, nor did I know the background, I understood what happened. Act 1 Collision Chaos: one bright blue figure (you) is followed by a pink girly figure. Then a darker blue figure falls from the sky, grabs the pink one, and flies away. The plot had no other need for conveyance. Again, timeless. To this day, that is what I think of when someone talks about icons as a kind of visual gospel.
But aside from subconscious influences, this wasn’t directly involved. What was involved was that I possessed the CD of Sonic CD, and the CD in turn possessed the entire (US) OST in Redbook Format. Said audio was around 52 minutes long, approximately the length of a writing session for me. Thus it served as a timer as well as writing music.
I listened to it exclusively throughout C&D. It’s a good OST. As my time chart tells me I spent over seventy such hour-ish sessions writing, I have listened to over seventy times. Like I said. It’s a good OST. (And no suckers were worked to death. It’s the US OST!)
is a game I have never played, and therefore am unable to gush over it.
Nonetheless, I promised myself that when I finished the draft, I would buy myself the game as a bonus. Even in the worst of the depression, when I feared I would not be able to finish it, or anything, the distant light of simple future gaming hedonism dragged me.
So there! Yay for bribery!
No, really, though. You can probably tell by my exclamation marks in the previous post how excited I am, in and of itself, to finish C&D. It’s done!
Matthew P. Schmidt My BlogFor those of you who have wondered what has been happening, well, it's a long story, but the short version is I'm moving all my social media to Substack. Check it out here!
Matthew P. Schmidt My BlogOr, ACK! The year's almost over, and I haven't written another C&D book! Here's the low-down, straight from the heron's mouth: I planned the side-C&D book, which I will cryptically refer to as a C&D:E, long before 2020 happened....
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