Monday, October 6, 2008

A Brief History Of Rogue & ONE HUNDRED POSTS!!!

Ever heard of a little game called LEGEND OF ZELDA? Ever heard of a game called GAUNTLET?

Ever played a video game in your life where in real-time (not turn-based time) you moved some little nebbish through a maze to retrieve some treasure at the bottom and brought it back up to the surface?

If you've ever done anything like that in your life, hang loose for a second. I'm devoting my 100th post to telling you about the first computer game ever devised with that premise.

We're talking about the computer game "Rogue", the first 3/4 view (or at least that's how later 8-bit versions were rendered) dungeon-crawler video game ever.

Rogue was developed in 1980 by Michael Toy, Glen Wichman, and Ken Arnold. It revolved heavily on a library of routines developed by Ken Arnold that allowed direct cursor positioning, a library he called "curses". I didn't even know about the previous two guys until just now, mainly because the Apple II version (the one I used to play of course) was made directly by Ken Arnold himself.

Despite it's simplicity, it had endless replay value because every aspect of the game was randomized. No matter how good you were at the game, there was always the chance that a roll of some invisible dice would throw you into a completely doomed situation. That concept has always appealed to me.

Gauntlet was the first arcade release that truly captured the feel of Rogue - wait, no I'm lying. Berzerk would probably be better suited for that role. Oh, and Venture... man that game sure was underrated.

My favorite true-to-the spirit "Rogue" based game also turns out to be one of the last, "Dragon Crystal" for Sega Master System/Game Gear (game footage above). Not only do the mazes change each time you play, but each time you start over, all the items in the game are unlabeled and are just designated by colors, and you have to figure out by trial and error what is helpful and what is harmful. If I was stuck on a desert island with just one game, it would probably be Dragon Crystal (I'd find some way to smuggle Clash At Demonhead out there too, tho.)

Well, on that note, ONE HUNDRED POSTS!!!

P.S. If this blog interested you at all check this out. These guys are working hard to make sure every classic version of Rogue remains compatible with current computer systems.

They're Gonna Kill Opus!!! =[


I've LOVED the Bloom County comic strip series since I was 8 years old, and have been doodling him on book covers and homework assignments equally as long. It was literally a halfway point between the political commentary of Doonesbury (which I was a bit too young to understand, but was trying to with MAD Magazine) and the whimsy of Calvin and Hobbes.

Now it seems Berke Breathed, the creator, is ending his third installment starring the plucky penguin ("Bloom County", "Outland" and now "Opus") by literally killing him off.

“With the crisis in Wall Street and Washington, I’m suspending my comic strip to assist the nation. The best way I can help is to leave politics permanently and write funny stories for America’s kids. I call on John McCain to join me.”

Anyone familiar with my comic book series knows about my penchant for killing off characters and bringing them back with no explanation. It's a comic book staple.

But from what I'm reading, Berke seems pretty serious. I wouldn't put it past him to pull a John Darling on us. (Google it. I'll wait.)

In the interview he made for "Fresh Air" on NPR earlier today, Berke related that he was surprised by how sad he felt drawing the last strip.

It doesn't surprise me at all =[

Opus' last comic strip is November 2, 2008.

Zombie Versus Shark!

You know this is exactly what you were waiting to see all day, even if you didn't know it yet.

What can I say? I aim to please!

Admin Note: This clip is from the Lucio Fulci movie Zombi 2.

Updated Admin Note (05/2010): An imitation/overdub travesty of this viral vid is in the new Windows 7 commercial.