Friday, January 1, 2021

New Year's News

 
Happy New Year, Addicts! I don't know about you, but I'm glad to see the end of 2020. In the coming year, I'm looking forward to Zack Snyder's Justice League, herd immunity, finally getting to see live jazz in a club again, and reaching Might and Magic IV and V.
   
I just wanted to note three things as we begin our first days of the new year:
    
1. I finished 2020 with 141 entries. That's fourth-highest among the 11 years I've been blogging, and the highest since 2013. Moreover, those early years tended to feature shorter entries, so I suspect that I wrote more words in 2020 than any previous year. I don't know of any way to count words to know for sure.

2. Part of the reason I managed to complete the year without any long breaks is the mild pressure I've felt from having Patreon supporters. Every time I say something like that, I get a lot of comments to the effect of "we don't care how often you post," and I appreciate them, but I still feel that since I'm being paid for this blog, I need to elevate it slightly higher on my priority list, even when things get busy otherwise. This feeling is just enough to be motivating and not enough to be damaging, so it's a good thing.
   
I'm going to do a better job in 2021 of keeping my patrons updated with "micro-updates" and thinking of better ways to recognize their patronage. As I recently reported to them, their support allowed me to purchase a relatively expensive gift for Irene for Christmas and to make a needed upgrade to my house. These sorts of things help justify the amount of time I spend on the blog.
 
3. PC Gamer featured my work in an article that appeared in the November print edition and was posted online earlier this week.

4. I recently contributed to another Hardcore Gaming 101 "Top 47,858 Games of All Time" podcast on Pool of Radiance. You can listen to it here.
 
Finally . . .
 
Spice up your New Year with Two New Retro RPGs
   
Two frequent CRPG Addict commenters have recently announced games that are go beyond "retro"--they're designed for, and work on, original hardware. The first is Nox Archaist, led by Mark Lemmert, who comments as U3_Guru. Designed for the Apple II, Archaist is set in a peaceful world that has recently seen the emergence of a strange cult. The primary PC, an adventurer trained under the Order of the Nox Archaist, is directed by the queen to investigate. He charters a ship for a nearby island, but it turns out to be run by pirates who throw the PC in the brig. The game begins as it runs aground. 
           
        
Archaist imagines what would have happened if CRPG development had continued on the Apple II for another decade or so. It thus includes plenty of advanced elements that no one had conceived when the Apple II was in its heyday, but that are still technically possible on the platform (at least, the Apple IIc or above; the game does require 128K of memory). Heavily influenced by the Ultima series, it has the tactical combat screen of Ultima III-V (but with a "quick combat" option), the keyword-based dialogue of Ultima IV-VI, and the ability to activate a single party member at a time that only appeared in VI. However, the game goes beyond the Ultima series in character development. Each character has three attributes (strength, dexterity, and intelligence) and six skills (melee, range, critical hit, dodge/parry, and lockpicking), which are improved through training and direct use. Thus, the player doesn't choose a class for the characters but rather defines a class through the use of skills. There is also a set of original spells.
       
Exploring the pirate ship at the beginning of Nox Archaist.
      
The second title is Adamantyr's Realms of Antiquity: The Shattered Crown for the TI-99/4A. It boasts a party of four characters from nine classes, seven schools of magic with 60 spells, a full set of skills and attributes, and also an Ultima-inspired tactical combat screen. I know less about it because I haven't had the chance to play it myself yet, but it looks beautiful. In none of the era titles have we seen such advanced graphics and gameplay mechanics on the TI-99.
       
       
Both games share excellent production values. They come with professional-quality manuals with professional-quality maps and cover art. In the case of Archaist, the cover was designed by ORIGIN legend Denis Loubet. (The game also features a cameo by Lord British, who gave the game his official blessing on Twitter.) 
       
Combat in Realms of Antiquity.
       
I hope to get to them both eventually, but don't wait for me. Purchase Nox Archaist and Realms of Antiquity at their linked web sites. And U3_Guru and Adamantyr, please feel free to comment with any additional game features you'd like to highlight.
 

38 comments:

  1. Happy New Year everyone! Thank you, Chet, for your tireless and continuous trip through this amazing journey. Here's to a happy, prosperous and fun New Year.

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  2. Happy new year, Kid. We'll save a seat at Preservation Hall for you.

    On another note: a few years ago you mentioned playing skyrim; are you still playing contemporary games from time to time, or have you decided to focus on the list? If the former, what have you played?

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    1. Come on, now. Preservation Hall doesn't allow reserved seats. That would be one of the surest ways to ruin it.

      I play some console games off-blog when I'm looking for a more zoned-out experience. This last year, I played through Far Cry 3 and 4, Assassin's Creed IV, Rogue, unity, Syndicate, and Origins, Greedfall, and The Witcher 3. I don't blog about them because a) going from old PC games to modern console games would be too disorienting; b) I'm looking for an entirely different experience with console games; and c) as part of that different experience, I don't want to have to take notes and write about them.

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    2. What did you think of the games Far Cry 3 and The Witcher 3?

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    3. I thought both Far Cry games went on a bit too long, and as often happens when I play action-adventures, I wish it they had allowed for more player choice in the character. Nonetheless, they were both a lot of fun for a console experience. Who doesn't like blowing up helicopters?

      The Witcher 3 deserves most of the praise that it gets. Great open-world game with lots of fun, meaningful quests, but I want to play it again after I finish reading the books. I also didn't appreciate the way that so many quests were severely gated by level. The Assassin's Creed I just finished did the same thing (in fact, it seemed to take a lot from Witcher 3). I don't mind that a Level 30 quest is meant for a Level 30 character. I mind that if you're less than Level 25, the game adds additional penalties so you don't stand the faintest chance.

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  3. Happy New Year!

    Chet, thank you for your perseverance. Every single post of the 141 last year was a joy to read. This includes the comment section. A joyful and healthy new year to everyone!

    As new years go, starting off with a blog post, an article to read and two new retro RPGs to play this isn't a bad start!

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    1. ^^^ This. The one-two punch of quality posts compounded with worthwhile commentary from an energized and enthused community is so rare and very valuable, and it's important to take a moment to reflect on that once in a while! Thanks everyone and good luck in the new year!

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  4. Happy New Year Chet! I read this blog every day on my morning news roundup. Keep up the good work

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  5. Happy New Year to everyone! May 2021 be set to a much lower difficulty level than the previous year...

    My gaming resolution is to finally finish my Elder Scrolls blog. I made a single post in 2020, but to be fair I was distracted for most of it like everyone else.

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  6. I picked both up and have been playing Realms of Antiquity some. Really enjoying it a lot.

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  7. Happy New Year! I feel like installing heavily modded Skyrim again for some reason.

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  8. Happy new year Chet, and thank you for such an excellent and long-running blog. It's been one of many things to help keep me sane through an incredibly difficult year.

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  9. Happy New Year, Chet! Here's hoping you hit 161 entries this year;)

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  10. Happy New Year! Lots of good things happening. Thanks for your great work and your perseverance.

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  11. Greets and happy new year! It is so massively exciting to know people are developing new games for old hardware. Thanks for the heads up! Now to spend New Years on World Of Xeen and Morrowind :)

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  12. Happy New Year, Addict!

    You're what, five games away from completing 1992? You've got this. And the remainders seem like they'd make for some interesting coverage regardless, so take your time.

    That reminds me, I never did go back to World of Xeen to complete the Darkside...

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  13. Happy New Year from all us Anonymous!

    Just because we don't have names, doesn't mean we don't care.

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  14. Happy New Years and thanks for everything that you do!

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  15. Happy New Year! The past year has been exceptionally enjoyable to read.

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  16. Thank you for the shout-out, Chet! I do hope you get a chance to play RoA soon.

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  17. Happy New Years!

    Have been happy to play Realms of Antiquity...

    It is awesome! Give it a try!

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  18. The New Retro Show on Youtube. Watch as he plays brand new games produced for the Amiga, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesys, Commodore 64 and Vic-20, MS-DOS, and more.

    Ossuary, a brand new MS-DOS adventure (roguelike) game. Hardware requirements: IBM PC with an 8088 processor and CGA graphics, running PC-DOS or MS-DOS, or DOSbox. Dungeons of Noudar 3D, an RPG from 2018. Requires 386SX with 4MB of RAM or DOSbox.

    [ DOS HAVEN : 21ST CENTURY DOS GAMES ]

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  19. please find a new name to refer to fans instead of "addicts." I don't wanna be on my way to an "addicts' convention" in 20 years.

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    1. In fact, a virtual addicts convention wouldn't be that a bad idea, as long as it doesn't dilute the conversation happening here

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  20. Happy new year, Chet! I'm looking forward to you reaching 1993 and Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, one of the most underappreciated gems of the early 90s ;)

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  21. In the coming year I'm looking forward to: My partner escaping the plaguelands to live with me; completing some of the games on my newly minted 'must finish' list; and watching Henry Cavill grunt his way through some more dialogue.

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  22. My favorite text editing tool is the free Notepad++. It shows character, word, and line count at the bottom of each open file. You could Select All in each article, Copy it, and Paste it into Notepad++. I do this to get line and word counts for voiceover and localization scripts.

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  23. As always, I'm extremely satisfied with the quantity and quality of what you're producing.

    And I'd reiterate my statement that I'd be happy with - and indeed prefer - shorter update posts more often than having you hold off and get stressed feeling like you need a long, substantive posts.

    Substantive posts are good when you have a point you want to make or an issue you want to explore, but if you're just documenting what you did in the game, feel free to slap together a three paragraph update, call it good, and do it again the next day. Bite-sized chunks fit my reading pattern better anyway.

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  24. Hey, I rarely comment here but just wanted to say I love your blog and have been reading it for a couple years.

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    1. I appreciate it! Feel free to comment more often.

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  25. Oh wowza, you have Spelljammer lined up to play.

    Chester I last commented here when you played Disciples of Steel. I was delighted that you appreciated the wonder of that game as much as I had . . . and I posted indicating I would play through again myself and attempt a different ending. I failed to do that but 2021 might be the year . . .

    Spelljammer might give you some similar vibes to Disciples of Steel. It is far smaller in scope and yet shares the virtues of some fantastic tactical combats and rather unusual and novel mechanics for the time. Colour me hooked to see what you make of it!

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  26. Just thought I would drop a trailer here...

    https://youtu.be/z_4IN5MscXg

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