2012 15 Jul

Old school gaming: The days before internet

Categories: General

Our company Coreplay is a German studio and although we do have some team members from other countries most of us did learn English as a foreign language. And the way we actually learned it was through playing games on our home computers.

Imagine the following: You have a C64 and your uncle buys you a game for your birthday. The game is called Curse of the Azure Bonds. The year is 1989 and you are 9 years old. You do not know one word of English. Imagine the learning curve of the experience! Even with your uncle helping you out now and then.
Another scenario: You are a teenager. You know Lord of the Rings inside out. On your shelf you have those expensive books from the fantasy shop in the big city that is a bus ride of nearly two hours away labeled Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. And then there is that game coming out for your C64: Pool of Radiance. AD&D rules in a computer game. You don’t even have to get your friends come over to play!

The Gold Box games were for some of us among the first games we ever really had to sink our teeth into. Character creation alone was something that you could spend hours with. If you were not already an expert on AD&D you went to seek out the knowledge of the one geek in your school you could explain to you how that THAC0 worked. You would spend each break on the schoolyard discussion with others how to build the most efficient party and you would start the game over and over again going through different combinations of classes.

Those were the days long before there was an internet connection in every house. Actually there wasn’t even an internet to connect to. Puzzles could stop you from progressing through the game for days or even weeks. Still everyday you could exchange the experiences of your ventures into the unknown on the schoolyard. What loot did you get fighting those goblins? How did a poison cloud save your whole party from wiping out.
It’s hard to capture that feeling today. Too many things have changed. First of all there is the internet which offers an endless resource of information. You got stuck? Google will help you out. Then there is the development of games over the last decades that resolves around making things if not pick up & play so at least frustration proof. Your party wiped? Reload and try again.

A lot of the design of Chaos Chronicles revolves around finding a way to include some of the elements mentioned above in a game that is released today into a world where people may not enjoy creating a whole party worth of different characters or might not accept that losing a party member might be part of the experience. A world were even the slightest irritation might make you pick up one of the million other games in the same genre.

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