Friday, August 3, 2018

Citadel: Summary and Rating

Citadel: Adventure of the Crystal Keep
Postcraft International (developer and publisher)
Released in 1989 for Macintosh
Date Started: 1 July 2018
Date Ended: 3 August 2018
Total Hours: 8 (not won)
Difficulty: Hard (4/5)
Final Rating: 30
Ranking at time of posting: 174/305 (57%)

Yeah, I'm bailing on Citadel. Sorry. I know it's kind of pathetic. You have to give me one like this every once in a while. Nine solid, thorough attempts and one half-assed one. Maybe I'll come back to it later. I'd certainly be happy to entertain a guest posting if someone is a real fan.

Since it's been a while, let me remind you that Citadel is a Mac-only RPG that showcases the Mac's strengths and weaknesses. It has detailed graphics but no color, the ability to move windows around (which I find more annoying than useful), and lots of mouse work. It shows a heavy reliance on the Mac version of Wizardry in that it's a multi-level dungeon crawler with six characters chosen from the standard set of races and classes, with the standard set of attributes, although with a little thesaurus work (e.g., "lords" become "knights" and "charisma" becomes "mien").
I don't remember what's happening here, but it's a nice screen shot.
Before I start complaining, let's cover a couple of things that Citadel does well. The graphics are nice. Instead of the featureless wireframes or tedious repetitive tile sets used by 95% of RPGs through this era, Citadel has a more hand-crafted feel, with little graphical touches like alcoves, chains, arches, and torch sconces. The levels don't have a uniform "block" design, but feel more organic, with multiple ways up and down. The levels seem to get bigger as we descend, as if the design is based on a spire. You can see monsters in the environment, which is unusual in this era except in the Dungeon Master line.
The corridors are more graphically-interesting than the typical game.
Unlike most RPGs, the dungeon isn't unrealistically packed with creatures. You don't find combat after combat. Each battle is a rare affair, maybe a couple of times per level, with significant consequences for the party's well-being and inventory. There are a satisfying number of puzzles, even if we were permanently stymied on the "how long does it take to fall 10 feet" one. There are some cute touches like the ability to give your own names to items. There's a good in-game help system (for mechanics, not hints). I like the realistic lighting system. Apparently, there's an automap once you find the right item, and NPCs can join and fight with the party. The sound effects are solid, and theoretically include digitized dialogue, though I couldn't get that to work.
"Key" seems good to me, but if I wanted to call it "Agagadl," I could.
But the game's positive aspects wither in the face of its annoyances and frustrations, which together led me to spend the past month resolving to play the game, opening its folder, staring mutely at the emulator icon for a few minutes, and then closing the folder with a sigh. Here they are:

1. For someone who loved the Mac in the early 1990s, it's surprising how much I now hate the Mac. That this is more of a platform/emulator issue than a game issue still doesn't change the fact that it hurts my enjoyment of the game. You can't right-click. You can't select a file and hit "Delete" to delete it--you have to drag it to the trash. You can't just kill the emulator; you have to "shut down." I hate the way the files don't have extensions, and thus don't make it clear which is an application and which is a data file.

After my first experience with the game, commenter Adrienne gave a good answer to some of the Mac problems that I complained about. While that takes away some of my disdain, Mac games still seem overly delicate, with too many penalties for not being a single-button mouse master. I find it easy to click on the wrong thing, or double-click when I should single-click, or vice versa. I end up in the Finder constantly because I'm a couple pixels off when I go to move a window. There's not enough keyboard redundancy.
I accidentally single-clicked.
2. The game is resolutely character-based rather than player-based. What do I mean by this? It acts as if different players are going to be controlling different characters. You can password-protect the characters. Each has his own gold inventory, both on his person and in the bank. It's a pain to transfer gold around (there's no "pool" or "distribute" options, among other things). If you buy items from the store, instead of going to the character, it goes to the party's "camp," but even in camp every character has his own separate stash of items, and it's kind of annoying to transfer them. It gets this idea from Wizardry, which had some of the same elements, and Wizardry was of course mimicking the multi-user PLATO games it adapted. By this point in the timeline, in a single-player game, it's absurd to make distinctions between character assets and party assets.

3. There's no development. I like the sparse approach to combat. But on the opposite side, the game doesn't seem to have taken the rarity of combat into consideration when structuring the character development system and the economy. Eight hours into the game, I still haven't reached Level 2.
When it comes to my last character, the game adds insult to injury.
4. My party doesn't stay in a consistent place. I save in the dungeon. On the next reload, it's a crapshoot whether they'll still be in the dungeon or whether they'll for some reason be back in the tavern, dispersed, and I'll have to form a new party again. It's almost as if, having not reloaded in a while, my characters got bored, left the dungeon, and went for a drink. That would be awesome if that was actually happening, but the game's not clever or consistent enough for that. It's just being weird.

5. Healing is unbelievably annoying. By 1989, most games offered some pretty fast ways to rest and heal, particularly if the party was back in the safe town level. But Citadel retains Wizardry's conventions, in which a night at the inn only heals a couple hit points, and you need your cleric to truly heal. But where Wizardry allowed you to pop in the dungeon and use a sequence of easily-memorized keyboard commands to cast one healing spell after another, Citadel makes you go through a tedious, mouse-intensive process of "memorizing" spells one-by-one based on rune sequences, then casting them, then memorizing them again--rather like the Gold Box games before they introduced the "Fix" command. Come to think of it, if Citadel's authors played anything other than Wizardry, it would have to be Pool of Radiance. That would explain the codewheel and their weird Gold Box approximation of combat.

(Incidentally, mages are supposed to find their spell books in the dungeon. I haven't found a single one.)
The tedious clerical magic system involves first meditating on runes, then stringing them together to makes spells, then casting the spells.
6. Rewards are paltry. In five dungeon levels, I've made about 50 gold pieces. That's been enough to buy a few torches and a night or two at the inn. The few random combats that come along never seem to drop gold, suggesting there's a fixed amount of money in the game.

7. Combats are bizarre and too difficult. This has to be the weirdest combat setup of any game in my chronology. When battle begins, party and enemy icons are scattered across the combat screen. You have to drag your characters and drop them next to the enemies you want them to engage. After you do so, rounds pass with excruciating slowness, and hardly anybody ever hits anybody. It's like Infinity Engine combat slowed to 1/10 the speed. But when an enemy does hit, it often kills a Level 1 character.
Combat options with Tasmanian devils.
After offering breezy battles with skeletons on the first few levels, the game suddenly served up near-impossible mummies and "Tasmanian devils" on lower levels, with nothing in between that would allow me to grind and level up. My party gets slaughtered almost every time I try to explore further than I've already been, and I don't have enough money to raise even a single character.

8. Okay, this is a fairly minor one, but still. You have to refer to the manual a lot, and the pages in the manual are in Roman numerals. I know how to read Roman numerals, but the mental delay is still long enough to be annoying.

A few words on my explorations since the initial entry. Having lost my access to the elevator by taking it to the top level and then falling down, I mapped out the small areas of Levels 1, 2, and 3 and part of 4. Levels 1 and 2 had no more than 20 squares and staircases. Level 3 offered two large rooms with small hallways spinning off. There was a combat with skeletons in the first room, and one with various giant bugs in a corridor off the second room.
Fighting skeletons and giant bugs.
In another corridor on the level, a skull said that "to pass, you must know when I came to this keep." Assuming that the skull meant the big bad, I went back to the game's backstory: "I can still remember the fine spring day when the mysterious, cloaked figure arrived and asked directions to the citadel." SPRING was the answer and it opened up a second stairway down.
How am I supposed to know that "I" is the evil necromancer?
The first stairway to Level 4 led to a crossroads where I had a vision of Lady Synd in a crystal. I tried to approach, but the illusion broke apart and four guys in executioner's masks attacked me. After that battle, there was a pit to jump over but not much else to find on this section of the level.
An occasion for the "jump" command.
The other way down to Level 4 opened up into the largest dungeon section so far, including an alternate way back up to Level 3. At one point, I found a wand in a glass case that said "In emergency, break glass," but I can't actually figure out any way to break it. In a door beyond this area is the actual Lady Synd entrapped in a crystal. My guess is that you have to find various items to free her throughout the dungeon.
It's good that she had time to pose before the crystal froze her.
I took to the Internet hoping to find validation of my complaints. In March 1990, Dragon gave it 5/5 stars, which could of course mean anything. (Perhaps in response to my constant needling about their inflated rating scale, they note at the beginning of the column that: "These days, most publishers are providing gamers with superior software entertainment. This is one reason why you don't see very many negative reviews in this column.") They seem to have fallen in love with the cutesy character creation system but did not actually get very far in the game itself. Dave Arneson offered a more satisfyingly negative review in the January 1991 Computer Gaming World. He sees through the silly "nursery" system of character creation: "Everything is almost immediately translated into numbers . . . once the data is converted into numbers, the background is never again referenced . . . so one can only ask 'Why bother?'" Like me, he'd rather just have a series of menu options than a group of corny signposts to click on. He notes the slow character development system, the lugubrious combat, and the tedious clicking involved in casting cleric spells.

Some comments at the beginning of Arneson's review suggest that Citadel was originally supposed to be published by Mindscape, but something must have fallen through and Postcraft ended up distributing the game themselves. Postcraft seems to have specialized in font and graphics software; I can't find any evidence that they made another video game, let alone an RPG. Moreover, although the manual gives a Valencia, California address for the company, the company headquarters seems to have been in or near Ontario, Canada, and all the developers (whose names also do not appear on any other RPGs) are Canadian. I have thus modified my spreadsheet accordingly.

My best guess at a rating is 30, but I'm not going to try to justify it. You can see what I gave to each category in the spreadsheet.

As I was wrapping this up, I happened to find the cluebook for the game, Citadel Secrets, published in 1990. It's clever. Like the Bard's Tale hint books that were published earlier in the 1980s, it offers hints in the form of fictional narrative separated into non-linear, numbered paragraphs. Maps at the end of the book offer numbers that reference those paragraphs. I never use hint books. Maybe it would be fun to literally go through the game step-by-step using the hint book as a guide. Maybe I'll come back to the game and try that. Right now I just need something to take my mind off how hot it is.


  1. As a long-time reader of this blog, I am glad for your heat tolerance that you elected to live in Maine rather than Florida.

    1. In Florida, you buy air conditioners and leave them chugging all summer. In Maine, we don't need them, except for a couple weeks in which we REALLY need them, and at that point the stores are all sold out.

    2. That's how it is in Western Washington as well.

    3. I live near Boston. As soon as I could afford a place with central air, I got it. It is so worth it for when you need it.

    4. I'm in Ireland - we don't use or need AC, but lately it's been amazingly warm.

    5. As a European, I feel your pain right now. It's reaching almost 40 degrees celsius over here in Germany these days... ouch.

  2. Since you're writing this one off, I guess I'll post a couple of things I remember doing to make the game easier.

    1. Somewhere (behind a hidden door, I think) is an encounter that gives you a wish if you win the fight. Wishes can grant a lot of things, including stat boosts. It is repeatable.

    2. Having really high mien greatly helps at the shop. If it's high enough I think you can buy below cost and sell above cost, basically getting infinite or near-infinite money. This probably falls under the "playing like a jackass" by your standards, but it seems like it was intentionally programmed into the game.

    1. I wish I had more to say about the actual gameplay, exploration, or even hints to give, but it's been 20+ years, and I don't remember much, including leveling being such a pain. Given that I tried every permutation of the spell system, I clearly had time on my hands and a willingness to grind, so maybe I've just blocked that part out of my memory.

    2. Somehow I want to play this game. Honestly, it sounds wonderful!

    3. Do it. Play it, win it, write it up with screen shots, and I'll buy it for $25. That might be negotiable.

  3. You've titled the entry "Summary and Rating" yet it appears that there is no rating, unless I've missed it somewhere.

    1. I just added a line before the final paragraph. Argh. That just highlights that I can't leave it like this.

  4. You can't select a file and hit "Delete" to delete it--you have to drag it to the trash. You can't just kill the emulator; you have to "shut down."

    Command-Delete for items in the Finder was introduced with OS 8 in 1997, and was certainly long overdue. (I prefer having to use a modifier key to just hitting Del, since it's harder to do accidentally.)

    That said, what functionality did Windows 2.x have at the time of the game's release? An apples-to-apples comparison (no pun intended) would seem more fair. And doesn't any GUI-based OS generally need to be "shut down" in order to avoid startup disk corruption?

    I end up in the Finder constantly because I'm a couple pixels off when I go to move a window.

    This sounds like it might be a MultiFinder issue that wouldn't have shown up in the current version of Mac OS at the time of release. It wouldn't surprise me if MultiFinder wrecked a lot of interfaces that didn't account for the impact of errant clicks in later OS iterations.

    Also, a more general question that's sincere, and not intended to provoke: do you think your disdain for Mac OS might affect your ability to give future Mac-based games a fair shake? If so, do you see that as a problem?

    At times I get the impression you'd rather the platform just didn't exist -- which isn't an unusual attitude among e.g. programmers, IT professionals, or PC-master-race gamers, many of whom tend to view using anything but DOS > Windows as a kind of pathetic affectation, akin to wearing capes in public or collecting Betamax tapes. I can't imagine that won't affect the way you experience its content.

    Don't get me wrong -- this game sounds cloying, taxing, and poorly designed. But there are some Mac-exclusive games coming up that I'm looking forward to reading about, and it's sometimes less fun to read your posts when they seem to harbor a grudge against a game for being on a platform you don't respect. (If that seems silly or precious, imagine how you'd react to a Mac-centric blog where the owner frequently carps about how inferior Windows is...)

    I hope you find your way to air conditioning soon! Buying a pair of window units was one of the better decisions we've ever made; we regretted not doing it years earlier.

    1. Rather odd tone here. You're that worried someone might get a bad impression of a long dead OS? This is a personal blog written for fun, not a formal senate ethics hearing.

    2. The effort the Addict puts into his documentation and research suggests that it's something other than those two categories, no? This isn't just some guy recording his conquests, but quite a bit more than that.

      Part of what I love about this site is the seriousness, integrity, and fair-mindedness with which the Addict approaches this project (as opposed to someone like the AVGN, or more accurately his imitators). Occasionally, though, the snark towards certain non-Windows platforms has sucked the fun out of it for me, because it starts to feel like the game might not be getting a fair shake -- and given the state of the world right now, I'm already getting more than enough of that feeling on a daily basis.

    3. What Windows had was two mouse buttons. But I'll agree that Windows 2 was quite anemic, indeed. It also wasn't very popular as result. I would probably argue that Gem Desktop was better than Win2, especially before the Apple lawsuit that crippled it by forbidding Gem from using overlapping windows...

      More relevant comparison would be AmigaOS, it had equally capable graphical interface as the Mac, but it's probably very telling that practically no games made use of it. Instead they created their own diegetic interface that looked like it belonged to the game world, rather than the immersion breaking OS widgets.

      (BTW, you didn't need to "shut down" AmigaOS. So that's one.)

      (There's also Atari, but that's actually Gem Desktop again. Though slightly different lineage and without the crippled windowing. And the ugliest default colours I have ever seen.)

    4. Move any icon to the trash. Deletes it.

      Move the floppy disk icon to the trash. Ejects the disk, does not delete anything.

      Explain that.

      Oh, I'm sure to the geniuses in California that made perfect sense. But to mere mortals, we had to use paperclips to eject our disks until one day someone showed us that and we were flabbergasted at such a betrayal ("BETRAYED ME!)" I move the floppy disk icon onto the trash, I expect it to be deleted, not unmounted. The perils of small reference pools.

    5. PK, my blog has always been a highly subjective account of my experiences playing these games more than 25 years later. The tone I was going for in this review was irrationally, almost comically frustrated. No, having to drag unwanted files to the trash is not such a burden that it will affect my ability to review future games soberly. However, if future games are like this one, eschewing easy keyboard controls for lots of pointing and clicking, than it will probably hurt the games in that area.

      I don't know why early Windows came up here. I haven't played any games in the Windows OS yet. I'm sure I'll find it equally frustrating when I do. Windows was a pain in the neck until XP.

    6. Addict, I guess what I'm wondering is whether you'll be a bit quicker to write a game off -- if instead of looking further into a situation like the one with Citadel, where a non-trivial number of your complaints turned out to stem from using a version of the OS that wasn't current when the game was release, you'll be tempted to jump to "Naah, this just sucks because $PLATFORM sucks."

      I think you got the tone you were going for in this review, but I also wouldn't relish reading a lot of similar entries -- if only because, as someone who's been happily using Mac OS since the very first 128k machine (though I never actually owned a Mac until 1999), I can't fully relate to your frustrations...

      ...well, except one: all my experiences with Mac emulation have really, really sucked. As in "This is such a pain in the rear, why doesn't anything work?", etc. That's one reason I keep around old machines: I have a Mac SE on my desk as I type this.

      If you prefer the command line through the end of the 20th century, I 100% respect that. And BTW, I do agree that having to drag floppies to the trash was dumb (probably dictated by the small screen real estate of early Mac OS), and that Macs in general were short on useful key commands for a long time for, essentially, ideological reasons.

    7. (Maybe what I'm getting at is the difference between disliking a work of art because of what it is, vs. because of what it stands for or represents -- in this case, a platform whose conventions you clearly despise -- and what it takes to draw a firm line between the two.

      I don't think I could be objective if I were to review a lot of recent pop music, since no matter what its merits might be, I'd struggle to hear past a lot of surface-level signifiers [e.g. Autotune] that are now synonymous in my mind with musical decisions I despise. "But you represent something I loathe!" is a tough barrier to navigate around, at least for me -- but even in questions of aesthetics, it feels like an important one to think hard about.)

    8. I don't see what the issue is. If the OS affects the UI of the game and consequently the overall game experience (for good or ill), it is a legitimate point of criticism. And if the same OS affects the games written for it in a consistent way, it's not unfair to comment on it in a likewise consistent manner.

    9. If the OS affects the UI of the game and consequently the overall game experience (for good or ill), it is a legitimate point of criticism. And if the same OS affects the games written for it in a consistent way, it's not unfair to comment on it in a likewise consistent manner.

      Absolutely agreed on both counts, with the caveat that there's a difference between "bad" and "not the way I like to do things". I think we owe it to every work of art to evaluate it based on what it's trying to do, not what we wish it were trying to do. Otherwise we risk being like the guy who shows up at a rave (or the opera) and complains that the lack of guitar solos are a fundamental flaw in the genre.

    10. In subjective reviews like the ones here, "bad" and "not the way I like to do things" are essentially synonymous. I think the Addict is pretty clear that he's giving his own impressions, not some objective God's-eye view of the inherent worth of the product (assuming such a thing were possible).

    11. In subjective reviews like the ones here, "bad" and "not the way I like to do things" are essentially synonymous.

      I don't think it has to be that way, though. Some of the best reviews I've ever read were cases where the reviewer clearly didn't like the game (or album, film, etc.), but wrote in such a way that I could tell I would like it -- or, if it was a work of art I already knew and enjoyed, wrote in a way that allowed our perspectives to coexist respectfully in a "Sure, I can see his point" kind of way.

      I don't think the choice is between "subjective" and "objective God's-eye view"; there's a third possibility that one might call "intersubjective", where you say what you think but also allow for the legitimacy of other ways of looking at the topic under discussion. That kind of writing can be overly noncommittal and milquetoast -- but it can also be really, really good and a badly needed antidote to the "worst are full of passionate intensity" times we're living in.

    12. PK, you're spending a lot of time trying to offer insightful comments on the one post I just wish people would ignore. Please go back and read the third sentence and just let it go.

    13. I guess it's the fourth sentence. I forgot the "sorry."

      If you want me to move on and preserve my sanity, "You have to give me one like this every once in a while."

    14. Oh, jeez, don't think for a minute that I fault you in any way for moving past this game! I hope I haven't given that impression.

    15. "I haven't played any games in the Windows OS yet. I'm sure I'll find it equally frustrating when I do."

      I'm guessing the first Windows game will be Castle of the Winds in 1993. And it is a Windows program in exactly the same way all these Mac games have been Mac programs. It uses the OS provided controls and style for its interface. (Though, unlike the early Mac games, it does cover the desktop in its own window. It uses the MDI paradigm where you have document/tool windows constrained inside the main application window.)

      I never liked the look of it, because of that interface. But it's not a bad game. I'm quite looking forward to that entry when we eventually get to it.

    16. The main pain with Castle of the Winds is it's a 16-bit binary. It will run in modern Windows but only on a 32-bit system; 64-bit can't downgrade that far.

    17. Windows 3.1 is pretty easy to get working in one emulation environment or another.

    18. Yeah, you can pretty easily set up a modern Windows in a 32 bit virtual machine, or even Dosbox runs Win3.1 quite ok.

    19. I notice the box says "Multifinder compatible", so it seems the game was at least tested with it.

    20. @PK Thunder, I think you missed this line,

      "1. For someone who loved the Mac in the early 1990s, it's surprising how much I now hate the Mac."

      See? He used to like the Mac and (I'm guessing) all the cool and new ideas it demonstrated. But over 20 years later it's showing its age.

    21. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with going to the opera in an effort to experience new musical frontiers and not liking it because it doesn't have enough guitar solos. It just means you prefer guitar solos, despite your pushy friend the opera fan's inability to understand or respect your preference.

      Don't be the pushy opera fan friend.

    22. ThirtyNine, anyone can like or not like whatever they want; I've never claimed otherwise, nor have I advocated that anyone push their tastes on other people (or call someone an idiot for liking or not liking something).

      Beyond that, let's let this drop, as the Addict requested.

  5. Why is “Tasmanian Devils” in quotes?

    1. Perhaps the monsters depicted in the game didn't looks anything loke actual Tasmanian Devils?

    2. They look more like the Looney Tunes character.

    3. Because, this being a fantasy world, it's hard to imagine that they're the real thing.

    4. Oh yeah, they do look more like the Looney Toons character.

      Someone should put a dire tasmanian devil in a game.

    5. I'm Australian. All Tasmanian Devils are dire! And suffering terribly from some sort of contagious facial cancer, sadly :(

    6. What I'm wondering is, does this fantasy world even *have* a Tasmania?

    7. To be fair, Tasmania sounds like a fairly fantastical name.

  6. Rpgs with super slow leveling are the worst. Roman numerals bug me too. Just in general, I refuse to use them. We don't speak latin, why use the numbers. It's strange.

    1. Most of us don't speak arabic, either, though.

    2. >> Most of us don't speak arabic, either, though.

      But we do use Arabic numerals routinely and not Roman ones.

      I'd also observe that Arabic numerals as we know them (1,2,3, et al) have little or nothing to do with Arabic itself (either as a written or spoken language). They're called Arabic numerals becuase they were developed by Arabic scholars from a systems first invented by Indian scholars.

    3. Or Hindi. So called Arabic numerals originate from India.

    4. Most cultures have two sets of numbers, one for everyday, one for formal. Did we not know this?

      Some have three.

    5. We should ditch this silly latin alphabet too and use a proper English alphabet!

      I kind of like the look of futhorc runes.

    6. I don't live in china either.

      Roman numerals are dumb and inefficient. There's no explanation for them. We don't even use them "right" anyway. 49 in modern roman numerals is XLIX, but in correct roman numerals it's XXXXVIIII. That's a dumb waste of space. You use extra letter and make things harder to read and understand. What's the upside?

      Don't crap in outhouses when you have a toilet.
      Don't use chopsticks when you have a fork.
      Don't use archaic numerals. No reason to.

    7. This not correct. While the system took a long time to become fully standardized, "XL" as "40" appears in plenty of ancient sources, sometimes within the same document that also uses "XXXX".

      There is nothing wrong with Roman numerals. Them being different from regular numerals can help when they are used in series and dynastic names that could easily be used with another number directly afterward.

    8. Wait, why shouldn't we use chopsticks? Theyr're quite efficient.

    9. I use chopstick from time to time if food is chopstickable. I think of it as a training in manual dexterity (is there any other?) just like I number things with Roman numerals from time to time so that I won't have trouble with deciphering them when world needs saving.

    10. Super interested to hear in what way chopsticks are more efficient than a fork.

    11. I use chopsticks to eat cheetos without messing my hands.

      In general, chopsticks can do few things that forks can't. You can pick something and then put it down without using another utensil (knife) to help. You can pick something that is too fragile to hold together if you poke it with a fork. You can pick something that is too hard to pierce with the tines of a fork. You can pass food from one person's chopsticks to another's (though this may be bad etiquette, depending on where you are).

      Personally, I'm most amused that chopsticks became the utensil of choice in the corner of the world where the primary starch is *rice*...

      (Of course, you can pick even a single grain of rice with chopsticks, try doing that with a fork.)

    12. Squish the grain of rice with the back of the fork. Easy peasy. :) Having said that, picking up a single grain of rice with chopsticks is not a simple task, either.

      Personally, when I eat Cheetos, I keep a paper towel or napkin handy to wipe my hands after I lick the delicious delicious Cheeto dust from them. The very model of efficiency.

  7. Is the Dave Arneson who reviewed this the Dave Arneson that co-created Dungeons and Dragons?

    1. I was wondering the same thing. I know he did end up going into computing after leaving TSR, so it makes sense that he'd comment on CGW.

      His Wikipedia page does mention he liked Ultima 4 and wished that the Gold Box games pushed the industry further than they did.

  8. I’m in Ottawa Ontario Canada; which is a HUGE province by the way, saying “in or around Ontario, Canada” is like saying “in or around Texas, US. We get similar weather where it’s below 30 celcius in the winter with windchill for usually just a couple of weeks and then hit over 40 celcius (110 f I think) for a couple separate weeks in the summer. Supposed to be 44 C tomorrow, ugh.

    1. I realize that, but I couldn't narrow it down any further. Even that was mostly speculation based on where the developers ended up working post-Postcraft.

    2. Ah, fair enough. I tried looking it up myself but only see address information for California. Given the timeframe, it’s most likely Waterloo, or Toronto but who knows now.

  9. What a pity the game fails. Graphics and story seem hopeful, it looks like gameboy on steroids. It seems the command and menu system is the real letdown. If only someone could redo this with easier controls.

    1. True. I really like the corridor graphics. It's near perfect for an old game and I'd totally welcome them for a retro-rpg.

      What a pity that it is so unbalanced.


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3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.