The good ol’ days

Recently I was in a really fun pickup group when the conversation turned to how we all got into playing DDO. That led to some great reminiscing for me.

This dates me, but I had the D&D board game in college. I didn’t get to play a lot what with carrying 18-21 credit hours a semester plus a work-study job and a part-time job at a taco joint, but I spent a goodly portion of my free time doodling mazes on paper and planning out characters. I used to read the books, too – anybody remember those? I wish I still had the game and/or the books now.

Aside from my paper foray into the realms of AD&D, I started out mostly as more of an arcade gamer. I was SO addicted to Pac-Man! My parents thought I was nuts. I thought they were hopelessly uncool for not realizing how awesome my maze-running patterns were.

Now this REALLY dates me… the first adventure game I ever played was called Zork. It was all text, no graphics. You’d get something like:

You are in a room with one window. There is a table in the middle of the room. A desk is against the east wall.

And you’d type something like:

Look at the table

It might tell you there was a key on the table, and then you’d look at the key or pick it up. It was tedious and incredibly time-consuming but surprisingly addictive, although I never did finish it mostly because I lacked the patience… not to mention that I was running it on a Commodore 64. If today’s processing speeds were compared to strapping yourself onto a rocket, the C64 was more like buckling yourself onto one of those coin-operated merry-go-round horses you see at strip malls… and forgetting to put the quarter in.

Graphic adventure games opened up a whole new world for me, even though I mostly didn’t have the patience to finish them (well, having skillz would have helped, too). Then I picked up Bard’s Tale III based on a friend’s recommendation and BAM! I was hooked. I played that game for HOURS. It was the first computer game I ever played that let me customize my character, and the night I finally finished it still stands out in my mind. I’d love to find a version of BT3 that would run on Vista.

That led me to games like Doom 3D and Duke Nukem. One of those – I think it was Doom – had a great patch you could download that turned some of the mobs into replicas of Barney the purple dinosaur, and they even sang the Barney theme song (“I love you, you love meeee…”). It took me ages and more than a few hints, but I managed to finish both of them.

Another classic was Leisure Suit Larry. Completely scandalous back then, mild by today’s standards, totally hilarious. Larry was a polyester-clad, disco-dancing, perpetually horny guy and if I remember right, the object was to get him into bed with the woman of his dreams. EVERY detail counted. Early in the game, one of the goals was for Larry to bed a lady of the evening. He had to take a cab there. If you forgot to tip the cab driver, he killed you. Once you got him set to do the deed, if he forgot his prophylactic, he contracted venereal disease and died. If you forgot to have him take the prophylactic off when he was done, he got arrested for indecent exposure when you left. One reason I never got all the way to the end of Larry was because there were so many riotous bits I kept going back and replaying just because they were so funny. Even the little details could get you laughing – the law firm he used was called Dewey, Cheatham and Howe (say it out loud).

It was great to get in with a group who remembered a lot of the same games I did. I’m still feeling really, REALLY down, but looking back at some of those old memories was fun.


7 thoughts on “The good ol’ days

  1. Mizzaroo

    Ive played most of those games =] Text based adventures were interesting to say the least. Never played Zork, but I did play A Mind Forever Voyaging.


  2. ComicRelief

    Ever hear of “Erik, The Unready”? It was a ‘static’ graphics, text-based adventure game (meaning it had pictures, but no motion, just still-frames). It was hilarious! They had things like “attack turtles” that were unleased on you. Fortunately, they took forever to reach you (they never did actually reach me), so you had plenty of time to deal with them.

    I’ve used “attack turtles” in my message room chats before. 😉


  3. raladnahs

    Ultima III and IV, Alternate Reality: The City and Dungeon, many Infocom text adventures and a bunch of SSI stuff like Wizards Crown and The Eternal Dagger. Oh, and Pool of Radiance, which I think was the first game that had TSR’s backing all those years ago. Good times, good times….no sleep…nothing has changed 🙂


  4. Cordovan

    I loved the text adventures, but it was the early graphical adventures on the Apple IIe that really cemented my love of these kind of games. I loved the games like The Quest, Mystery House, Transylvania and the like. I loved the Adventure Construction Set (or whatever it was called), where you could make your own graphics and then add the text options.

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  5. stucklogan

    U nailed it with leisure suit larry, loved those games, I played up to number 5, which was actually called 6, something about lost tapes or something for number 4. Sierra made that game and for a while I was addicted to Sierra adventure games from King’s Quest(especially KQV), Quest for Glory and Space Quest to Gabriel Knight… Then there was my love hate relationship with TSR’s Eye of the Beholder. Loved it could never get anything done in it. Gotta love the good ol days!


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