Friday, March 6, 2020

Game 360: Quest for Power (1981)

Problem #1: Nothing Arthur or Galahad did was done "for power."
         
Quest for Power
United States
Crystalware (developer and original publisher); Epyx (later publisher)
Released in 1981 for Atari 800 and Apple II. Rereleased in 1982 as King Arthur's Heir
Date Started: 5 March 2020
Date Finished: 5 March 2020
Total Hours: 1
Difficulty: Very Easy (1/5)
Final Rating: (to come later)
Ranking at time of posting: (to come later)
           
Quest for Power is another insulting game from Crystalware, a company that was either knowingly scamming its customers or so clueless about what made a good game that they must have never played one. I admit that their titles at least sound interesting--I was sucked in by the backstory of House of Usher (1980), for instance--but if anything they've gotten progressively worse as time passed, losing core elements that made them, if not "good," at least memorable. A commenter named Tronix recently posted some background on the company, and while we can't take an anonymous Internet comment as gospel, what he says makes sense given the quality of the games. I'm particularly disturbed about the part where they "skipped town" while still owing money to a lot of developers. I hope the developer of this game, Marc Benioff, managed to recover.

There isn't much to say about Quest for Power. Like the other Benioff/Crystalware collaboration, The Forgotten Island (1981), it's a short adventure with a few light RPG elements, recalling in structure the old Adventure for the Atari 2600 (1979). It takes about as long to play and win the game as to read the manual, and the lengths that Epyx went through to puff up the manual for the re-release (as King Arthur's Heir) are particularly absurd given the paucity of actual gameplay. 
           
You have to have several artifacts before you enter Canterbury.
           
The backstory casts you as Sir Galahad, son of Arthur's "good friend" Lancelot, who Arthur designates as his heir to the English throne if he can find and return the Scroll of Truth, which Merlin has hidden somewhere on the island. Good lord, that sentence alone manages to mangle the Arthurian legends in about a dozen different ways. The whole point of Galahad's story--in the few sources where he actually appears--is that he's too pure for the mortal world, and he is taken bodily into heaven at the end of the Grail Quest. Arthur and Lancelot are hardly "friends" by the end of Arthur's reign; Merlin should be long gone; and the realm wouldn't be known as "England" for over 400 years.
              
There are several places to buy necessities. This particular list makes it look like I'm about to murder someone and then dump the body off-shore.
            
Your little icon sets out from Camelot to explore the land, which I guess is roughly shaped like Britain except that for some reason it's surrounded by a wall. Your journey will take you to the Caves of Somerset, Hastings Mountain, Sunderland, Essex, the Castle of Skenfrith, the Black Forest, the Eagle Stone, Canterbury, Hillsborough by the Sea, and Leeds. (Of these, only Canterbury has any authentic Arthurian history. "Hastings Mountain" doesn't even exist.) The manual makes it sound like these are all exotic and interesting places to explore, but really they're just names written across the screen with maybe one NPC and a treasure item.
           
This would have made World War II a lot easier.
        
To win the game, you have to defeat a series of enemies (The Devil of Skenfrith Castle, the Black Wizard, Gogmagog--none of them appear in actual Arthuriana) and acquire a series of treasures. For instance, you explore the Caves of Somerset to find the key to Essex, where you find Moses's Rod (where's Kenny when you need him?), and so forth. The enemies named in those parentheses, plus a couple of dragons, are the only fights in the game.
             
Canonically, Galahad could probably do this.
          
Combat is a matter of random rolls. Each round, each fighter does 1-9 points of base damage against the enemy but each round, one of the two combatants gets 10 added to his roll. For instance, you might take 7 damage while doing 19 in the first round, but in the second the Black Wizard gets the bonus and does 15 damage to you versus your 3 damage to him.
                
Looks like I got lucky this round.
              
As you start off with only 3 hit points, the first combat--whoever you fight it with--is a risk. But if you can win, you'll gain enough power and extra hit points that further combats become much easier. After your second or third combat, you're basically invincible.
         
In battle against Gogmagog.
        
Gold chests pop up randomly as you explore, and there are a few places where you can spend your gold on an axe, a rope, and a boat. There are three NPCs (Ambrosius, Amadas, and some random guy in Essex Castle) who give you spectacularly unnecessary hints, and one of them must be bribed over 1,000 gold for his. 
    
I'm sure I would have found it on my own anyway.
      
Once you've found enough artifacts and have built up enough power from killing enemies, the guard Oberion (facepalm) will let you into Canterbury. There, you find the Ark of the Covenant. If you open it without the three major artifacts (Anselm's Staff, Solomon's Ring, and Moses's Rod), you'll be melted in the manner of the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. With the three artifacts, you find the Scroll of Truth.

Completing my quest.

Granted, I had the emulator speed cranked up to 250%, but it still only took me about 20 minutes to run around the map and do what I needed to do. The game minimizes its control scheme; the manual actually brags about this. All action is mapped to the joystick except for the (T)rade command. If you have certain items (torch, boat, rope), you're assumed to use them when the situation calls for it.

Returning the Scroll of Truth to Camelot wins the game. You get a picture of the throne room at Camelot and your score is displayed.
            
You can tell it's Camelot by the "C" on the banners.
           
But of course it doesn't end there. As with half of Crystalware's titles, there's supposedly a Great Mystery lurking beneath the surface, with players encouraged to solve it and send their solutions to the company, with promises of a $250 cash prize. (The Epyx re-release removes any mention of such a puzzle.) As usual, I not only didn't solve it, I don't even know what they're talking about. Is it something you're supposed to find in the game? A hidden message? Is it simply winning the game? 
                
Can anyone identify the source of the image Crystalware used? Reverse image searches were no help.
       
The manual says that to solve the mystery, you must a) read the entire manual, b) "go to each of the magical places and talk to all of the magical people." "It is then," the manual says, "you may understand the very neurotic mystery." Did the author not know what "neurotic" means, or is that a clue?
              
I wonder if they paid anyone.
          
The only three people to talk with in the game are Ambrosius, Amadas, and the guy at Essex. Amadas, at Hastings Mountain, says that "you must have Solomon's Ring and Anselm's Staff and Gogmagog to make it past Oberion!" (Once you defeat Gogmagog, his power "fuses" with you or something.)  Ambrosius is hanging out by something called the Eagle Stone, and he says, "Ah, son of Arthur [???], the staff is in the caves." Essex says, "The Ring of Solomon is in the Skenfrith Castle." I've looked for anagrams, initialisms, and other wordplay and can't find anything. Thus, I'll give a reward of $50 to whoever can solve the mystery, which is five times the value of the GIMLET I gave to Quest for Power. It's the first game so far with 1s straight across the board.

*****

Let's talk about how we got so far down the list:
     
1. I'm having trouble with Planet's Edge (1991). The introductory application starts up okay, but every time I hit ESC to move on, DOSBox crashes with a "corrupt MCB chain" error. I've tried multiple versions. I've tried running INSTALL and configuring video and sound different ways. I've tried running it with LOADFIX. I have not tried another computer with a different configuration of DOSBox, which I will next week after I move.

2. Minotaur: Labyrinths of Crete (1992) turns out to be a two-player game. (You're supposed to connect over AppleTalk.) There's a "single-player mode," but it just lets you explore the dungeon, pick up items, and test them, not play in any meaningful way. It moves to the rejection list.
            
Wandering the Minotaur dungeon.
             
3. I thought I had a working copy of OrbQuest from reader Lance M., but I lost it or never downloaded it or something. I had to ask him for it again. He came through, but I had already half-drafted this entry by then. It'll be soon.

4. I'm moving this week, so I didn't have time to approach a game as complicated as Ultima VII.
     
Anyway, this means I need two more games to add to the "upcoming" list, replacing both Quest for Power and Minotaur. The earliest game on my list that I haven't played is Sands of Mars (1981), another Crystalware title. We have three more, in fact, and I think I'm going to try to cover them all in one entry, but we'll leave it as Sands of Mars for now. After that comes a random roll! It lands on Moraff's Dungeons of the Unforgiven (1993). For those worried that I'm going to get too far away from 1992 before playing Might and Magic IV/V, don't worry--we're going to have a discussion next week about designating "landmark" games that I should prioritize in a given year.

88 comments:

  1. To their credit, this was 1981, and the length of a game, or really what was a legitimate commercial game wasn't well defined.

    On the other hand, I recently acquired two Crystalware newsletters from 1981. The production quality is high, but their ambitions were ludicrous. They claimed to have 3 movie productions in the work. They were selling a number of games I don't believe were ever released, and claimed to be selling like ten thousand copies of their games per month. This can't be true, as these games are RARE on eBay.

    I can scan a copy if anyone is interested.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am very interested, if you don't mind taking the trouble.

      Delete
    2. I'll be too busy the next day or two, but I'll get you a copy before the weekend is over.

      Delete
    3. Given that it was 1981, I wouldn't be surprised if memory (48K Apple II+, for example - Apple IIs weren't 64K standard until 1983) was a consideration, and disk space. (Lots of cassette still used, too.)

      Delete
    4. OK, I sent a link to your gmail account. Please let me know if you have a problem. Please share the document as you see fit.

      Delete
    5. Wow, this is wild. This deserves its own entry. This company had a staff of like 20 people. They announce in this newsletter that they're filming three films, including a bio of Sarah Winchester, the crazy woman who built that sprawling monstrosity in San Jose. They're also working on the first fantasy RPG for a video disk, an educational platform, a dating service, and imaging for a Universal Pictures film called "The Genius" (as far as I can tell, it never was produced). They have 40 games in their catalog, including an unlicensed Star Wars title and their own version of Oregon Trail!

      Some of the letters suggest the bonuses for "solving the mystery" WERE paid and that the "son of Arthur" discrepancy may have been the "mystery" to this game. I need to double-down on trying to find people who can talk about the company. This newsletter gives me a lot of extra names to work with; I'd love to see the other one if you get a chance. In the meantime, here's a link for anyone else interested:

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/1W6kp9-SD8yaF-qrOJ8bWSDQcTVs9buWT/view?usp=sharing

      Delete
    6. And, of course, thank you, Dungy!

      Delete
  2. I don't think a "landmark" games rule is really necessary, because most of them are landmark due to their influence on games to come, so they'll inevitably show up as direct or spiritual predecessors for later games. The only games that may need special attention are one-off experiments, like The Legacy or games that close off a particular series.
    I'm more concerned that the randomized method has so far produced only certifiable trash, and in a year like 1992 with so many strong titles, just sticking to the chronology would result in a better gaming experience for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not true. I mean, you might not like Dungeons of the Unforgiven, but trash? C'mon.

      Delete
    2. The random roll will produce the same proportion of trash as the chronological approach did.

      Delete
    3. Having not played any of the games produced by the random rolls yet, I'm not prepared to say whether they're "certifiable trash." The POSSIBILITY of trash exists--it must exist if we're going to find the hidden gems.

      While it would be nice to improve the average quality of game, I'm not necessarily in this to have the optimal gaming experience with every new title. Rather, I value a variety of quality, length, and style.

      Delete
    4. Well then it's a good thing that you have Ultima 7 upcoming, because otherwise the to-play list looks very homogenous in terms of quality ;)

      @Tristan, overall - maybe. But the thing is that 1992-1993 are really good years, and 1994-1996 are really trash years (despite producing some great games here and there), so at this particular point, chronological approach would produce higher average quality for the next couple of years.

      Delete
    5. What *is* it with people who only want the "greatest hits" version of CRPGs? The man's mission is to play all of them.

      You want to fast forward to Ultima 7? Why? It's one of the most extensively covered games of the period.

      Delete
    6. People want different things and that's ok?

      Delete
    7. Same reason I want to see him cover various console RPGs despite knowing they won't get the best treatment: I like his coverage and want to see what he says about it, even if I could easily find a bunch of other coverage on it.

      Delete
    8. This blog is gonna play every single RPG ever made. Them's the rules. Don't like it, get your own blog. I'll probably read it.

      There's just this weird strain of people who only want to see what they've seen before. Certain that their pre-existing beliefs are correct, don’t like to try new things just for the sake of having a new experience, not open to new experiences, only want what's comfortable and familiar. Ultima, Final Fantasy, JRPGs.

      Call me crazy but I find it very interesting to see all of these strange and obscure games. Maybe it's being open-minded that does it. They get run through the wringer and played fairly. I'd rather have a dozen odd French CRPGs than a single big hit like FF7. All that's going to happen is the fanboys start dropping spoilers in the comments anyway.

      Delete
    9. Agree with Harland. Obscure stuff I never heard about before (or heard about but never played myself) gets me more excited than stuff I'm personally familiar with. I get the idea of wanting to see what Chet thinks of your favorite games - I am quite looking forward to Planet's Edge and to Dark Sun in 1993 - but I don't get people being so dismissive towards unknown and obscure titles, saying they'll be crap anyway. Recently Chet discovered an unexpected gem in Ragnarök, and finding these gems is one of the main purposes of the blog. And even if some of the games are crap, a lot of them still have interesting ideas in them, or a unique atmosphere (like all those weird French games).

      Delete
    10. Have to side with Harland and JarlFrank on that matter, that's also the main reason why I come here regularly.

      Delete
    11. And thus the fan wars began.

      Delete
    12. "I don't get people being so dismissive towards unknown and obscure titles" - well, maybe because they're not that unknown to those particular people? ;)
      I'm all for obscure games, and for games that do things differently - in case some people here failed their reading comprehension, my original comment was arguing against introducing the "landmarks" rule. I've just pointed out that having several amateur clones of better-known franchises in a row doesn't make for a very exciting gaming or reading experience.

      Delete
    13. There is definitely value for some people in having known material covered by a favorite critic.

      There might be thousands of reviews of Hitchcock's "Vertigo", but some people might only care for Leonard Maltin's or Roger Ebert's.

      For many blog readers (Chet, skip the next sentence to avoid excessive ego inflation), the Addict is kind a Roger Ebert of CRPGs; people look forward to know his take on popular and beloved titles.

      I'm not bothered by an excessive chronological back and forth: that what the blog has been doing (more unintentionally than deliberately) for the last ten years, as we are commenting on a 1981 game.

      The base problem (which I think is kind of unsolvable) is that the amount of bad/boring/meh/derivative CRPGs far overwhelms the amount of good/great ones.

      I think that getting to those "chronolologically" is definitely more rewarding than artificially skipping forward to them, on the other hand, there is the real risk of never getting to popular titles like Witcher 3 or Skyrim due to the sheer size of the undertaking.

      Delete
    14. Remember Chester's Rule #6 of Computer Games: "Every game, no matter how dumb, is someone's favorite."

      Delete
    15. If Chester is the Roger Ebert then sadly I am probably the Leigh Paatsch (that's a deep cut for the Australian commenters).

      Delete
    16. Pfft, implying anyone reads the herald sun.

      Delete
    17. Or my blog. Though I probably have more journalistic integrity.

      Delete
    18. I'm unreasonable and I want both the classics and the forgotten. All in all I'm happy with the new plan and the variability.

      As a fan of the writings of both, Chester is a very strong Ebert for me.

      Delete
  3. "I hope the developer of this game, Marc Benioff, managed to recover." .. Nice. I'm guessing he won't be answering questions about this.

    As for Minotaur, don't say I didn't try to warn you (in the list comments). It is actually a multi-player game; I don't recall if the max player count was 4, 8, or more, but you could have more players if you bought more disks. We played it quite a bit in college, it was probably one of the first multi-player arena combat games and a good one ... but not an RPG.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Current net worth 6.9 billion. Yeah, he'll be fine.

      Delete
    2. Wow, just Googled him. His Wikipedia photo reeks of slimy...

      Delete
    3. Minotaur was also the first game from Bungie, who would later go on to make the Marathon series, and then the Halo franchise.

      Delete
    4. Oh, I don’t know. I think it’s kind of roguish.

      Delete
    5. Nah, I have to agree with Chris on that. Only lacks a mustache twirl.

      Delete
    6. It's the slicked-back hair. I'm not sure why people still do that.

      Other than that, I like billionaires who came out of some sort of vocation, rather than just rent-seeking.

      Delete
  4. master game list column 470 for dark heart uukrul and 656 for quest of glory are lower than rest of the column sizes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does that bother you? I hope I managed to repair things to your satisfaction.

      Delete
    2. yes:) it just caught my eye scrolling the list

      Delete
    3. also Muryaden is added twice for both 88 and 89 if you want 1 off the list

      Delete
    4. Them Chet playes it two time dubbel the Play dubbel the fun

      Delete
    5. I imagine many CRPG fans to be at least mildly obsessive-compulsive.

      Delete
    6. I imagine many CRPG fans to be at least mildly obsessive-compulsive.

      Delete
  5. Regarding Planet's Edge, what version of DOSbox are you using? A few games sometimes don't work in newer versions. It seems to be working for me in 0.74. Although that could be because I don't really change most of the settings in my config file.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm using the latest-0.74-3.

      Delete
    2. I've finished Planet's Edge with 0.74, don't remember needing any tricks. Maybe try that next?

      Delete
    3. Let me describe what works for me and what I see:
      - I use PE from MyAbandonware
      - Standard DOSBox.conf
      - Run PE
      - Intro (press ESC to skip)
      - Commander Polk talks
      - Main Menu (select factory, launch, saving, etc. ...
      Where exactly do you have problems?

      Delete
    4. I just use my old 0.74 download, drag the pe.exe onto my DOSBox shortcut, press esc to skip the intro sequence and am in the game with no issues.

      Delete
    5. "corrupt MCB chain" is actually an error from DOSBox which occurs if the memory block is corrupted.

      After researching a bit, it occurs with multiple games like X-COM as well and the only way to fix it is to try a different installation disk set.

      Delete
    6. I've got it. I just restore my configuration file to the defaults. I must have made some little change in there to accommodate some game, and it just wasn't a problem until now.

      Delete
    7. Chet, I'm currently playing Planet's Edge, and came across a bug that freezes the game (and won't let you start again either) - but there's an easy workaround. If you run into the bug: delete the MAP.CC file, copy your last savegame file (MARS.SAV or whatever), and rename the copied verson "MAP.CC" (without quotes). The game will now start, but probably in the wrong location. Just reload your last savegame and it should be fine. If you really want to be sure, save it to another name, quit, and restart again. I don't think it's really a spoiler but the bug occurs jura lbh nggrzcg gb ornz qbja gb gur cynarg npnzne gjb. Whfg fpnaavat vg vf na vaqvpngvba bs n tyvgpu. Hope you otherwise enjoy it. Cheers!

      Delete
  6. When do you finish Magic Candle 3?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It probably says something about the game that I completely forgot about it until I saw that comment

      Delete
    2. I also eagerly anticipate the return of Magic Candle 3. If it helps, many say the follow-up (Bloodstone) is the best in the series after the first one.

      Delete
    3. The one thing I didn't like in Bloodstone is the change of the font and the background color for text. What is wrong with having a nice, plain font with black text on light gray background? Why it has to be changed to something much less readable with black text on parchment-yellow?

      Delete
    4. Bloodstone is a little weird: they removed the "lose energy while walking" mechanic, which in turn made some other things (e.g. clothing) useless. But it's still a pretty great game. If I have one issue with it it's the lack of big cities like Telermain.

      Delete
  7. "which I will next week after I move."

    Looking forward to your sister blog, MoveAddict.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was going to ask "Moving again? You just moved four times in a year.", then I realized that was four years ago already. Damn, time sure flies.

      Delete
    2. I hope to be at this new place for a long, long time.

      Delete
    3. Hope the move goes well and isn't too stressful!!

      Delete
  8. On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It's a silly place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But it is painted my favorite color.

      Delete
    2. I bet it's blue ! No, red ! AAAAARRRGHHHH !!!

      Delete
  9. If Hastings did have a mountain, it would improve the place a thousandfold.

    My first thought was that the cover image was a depiction of Sigurd/Siegfried, but it doesn't match any that I could find.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "I hope the developer of this game, Marc Benioff, managed to recover."
    I work for Salesforce and this made my day.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm excited for Ultima VII. Ultima games have never been to my taste for a variety of reasons, but it's fun when you talk about them because you have strong opinions about them and care deeply enough to really dive deep.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just watched a youtube video of Moraff's Dungeons of the Unforgiven . I think you said you were colorblind. If so this game may be unplayable. Its also the ugliest game I have ever seen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Might actually be fractionally less awful looking to Chet.

      Delete
    2. Well, Chet already played Moraff's World which didn't look much better either, so he knows what's coming at him.

      Delete
  13. I'm selfishly very happy that the random roll system means you'll be playing Moraff's Dungeons of the Unforgiven relatively soon.
    A lone, unexplained floppy disk of that game was probably my first exposure to grid-based dungeon crawling as a kid in the early 2000s, and it stands out very strongly in my memory because it was so bewilderingly colorful and completely inscrutable to a child with absolutely nothing to compare it to. I'm not entirely convinced it wasn't a Candle Cove type of situation...
    Anyway, now I'm looking forward to having a lot more context about it soon! I hope it's at least a little bit as weird as I thought it was then!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good lord, I just checked the screenshots and feel I'd need to play that in greyscale.

      Delete
    2. The entire Moraffware line was known for, ah, interesting color schemes. (Try "Moraff's Entrap" for another feast for the eyes.)

      Delete
  14. Random Guy from Essex is by far my favourite character from Arthurian legend.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "Problem #1: Nothing Arthur or Galahad did was done "for power.""

    Didn't Arthur become the tyrant king of all Britain by pulling a piece of cutlery out of a rock?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, kinda, but that was more just a sign that he would be king. Excalibur was given him by the Lady of the Lake, and that was what made him king. Though I wouldn't call him a tyrant.

      Delete
    2. In most source, Arthur becomes king simply because he's the son of the previous king, Uther Pendragon.

      In sources that have him being raised in secret, pulling the sword from the stone proves his right to be king, but it was a right that he already had by virtue of being the son of Uther. When the sword says on it, "Whoso pulleth this sword from this stone is the rightwise born king of Britain," it doesn't mean that he's notably brave, or strong, or destined, or whatever--it meaans that he's literally the next in line. It's a medieval DNA test.

      Delete
    3. It wasn't that pulling the sword out made him the king, it's that already being the rightful king made him able to pull the sword out.

      Delete
    4. At one of the Disney resorts, they have a Sword in the Stone. Because if there was one thing that Walt Disney loved, it was taking ownership of public domain stories and making people think they were Disney's. Some body builder came and ripped it out of the stone. Amusing. He should own the title to the castle now.

      Delete
  16. "The Devil of Skenfrith Castle, the Black Wizard, Gogmagog--none of them appear in actual Arthuriana"

    Gogmagog's in Geoffrey of Monmouth, albeit not the part with Arthur in it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gogmagog_(giant)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're referring to the last giant in Britain, slain by Brutus, my translation of Geoffrey has it as Goëmagot. I suspect you're right that it's the same character, though.

      Delete
    2. Perhaps even conflated with, or having a shared etymology with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gog_and_Magog (which HoMM 3 uses as the names of demonic species)

      Delete
    3. I think Gogmagog is a giant in Mallory too.

      Delete
    4. Malory has a couple of giants, including the giant of Mont St. Michel and Galapas, but none named Gog or Magog.

      But there are other "gogs" that might have some relation to Gogmagog. The Middle-English Sir Tristan has a giant named Beliagog slain by Tristan. In another Tristan saga, he kills a giant named Moldagog and seizes the Hall of Statues from him. In the Welsh triads, Guinevere's father is a giant named Gogfran. There's a fragment of a 13th-century French romance called Gogulor in which the titla character, a giant, is challenged by Gawain. In Spenser's The Faerie Queen, Prince Arthur kills a giant named Orgoglio.

      Delete
  17. Sunderland is an odd name to see on the list of places to visit - it's a run down, insular, ex-industrial little city way up in the North of England, so has no Aurthurial links, and no real stand out mythologic or folkloric ones that I know of - unless you count the Lambton Worm dragon story, which is fairly nearby.

    I wonder if the author of the game happened to live there when he was writing the game?

    Some of Sunderlands claims to fame - it had the highest "Leave" vote during the brexit referendum in the country, according to studies and surveys it has (or had) some of the highest levels of clinical obesity and familial incest in the UK, there were nine Greggs pasty shops in the town center at last count, Lewis Carrolle visited his sister at her husbands vicarage there one time and Sunderlands weirdly all propriety about him and the Alice books because of that, and for many years it was the largest city in Europe not to have a cinema.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bobble, Bryan Talbot made a deeply intriguing graphic novel entitled Alice in Sunderland, exploring the wealth of cultural riches that may percolate through a locale not well known for historical or cultural renown.

      Delete
  18. The cover image definitely looks familiar, but I can't lock it down. I was thinking Labors of Hercules. Lori points out that the hero is fighting a fire-breathing dragon, and speculated it might be St. George, but he is normally depicted fighting on horseback. Beowulf's final battle was against a dragon; this could be that fight? Anyway, I do feel as though I've seen that image previously.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's odd because the image depicts the hero shoving a tree branch (or perhaps a whole tree) down the dragon's throat, which is not an element I can remember from any mythology.

      Delete
    2. It must be Sigurd/Siegfried and Fafnir from the thiedrik/Dietrich saga

      Sigurd beats Fafnir with a tree trunk before he kills him with a wood cutters axe

      Delete
    3. Now I'm confused, in the thiedrek saga Siegfried traps Fafnir in a pit and stabs him with Gram.

      But I'm sure if read the version were Region sends Siegfried in the woods to make charcoal where fafnir ambushes him and Siegfried beats him down with a tree he cut down before. In both version he seems to cook the dragon and tastes his blood which makes him understand the birds language who tell him that Region wants him dead.

      Now I don't know which version is the tree one, it could be also one of the Nibelung song version which Wagner didn't use.

      Delete
    4. Region = Reginn (damn autocorrect)

      Delete

I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) This also includes user names that link to advertising.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters.

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.

As of January 2019, I will be deleting 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.