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Humble Book Bundle ends on 9/11/2019

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    Still, from a historical point of view, it’s important to see where we were to understand better where we are going. 😉

    Humble Book Bundle ends on 9/11/2019


    to “high level” os’s where you only have to decide between “yes” or “no”? 🙂

    “do you like to write a letter?”
    “do you like to paint a picture?”
    “do you like to play a game?”
    “do you like to play poker?”
    “do you like…”

    That won’t end up well.

    But to be honest i guess for certain behaves we aren’t far from such, i played a space themed browser strategy game, just because i was curious.
    It was a lame shit to play, each and every action was pre- and descripted, “now click here to activate this, then click here to activate that”, it was boring and shows where a “high level” UI leads to. I guess a player shoud be challenged by something and a game should be no walk throgh where you can occasionally buy progress. “point and click” is already like a walkthrough and to show what you have to click kills the last bit of fun.
    If i have to explain a player where a player has to click with the mouse something is wrong, either the player is an idiot or the game is shit.

    The topic here is a different one, the idea was to show off some really bare boned games from the aera of the Atari2600 respectively a year before its release. Maybe it shows why the VCS was so successful if we look at the early competitors.

    But the early ’80s was a fast progressing time, i guess faster as it’s today for the changes in available and affordable chips to design your hardware.
    Unlike today in a frequency of months new processors was developed, the computer wars had only started and the field for new developments was open (even when it was later for good or not swallowed all by one).
    Atari proftited from the year difference to the “Studio II” as well as “Intellivision” profited from another year and the latest competitor of the first generation “Coleco” left all far behind in power it would have offered (but it was left often unused).

    To show off a brillant game which didn’t made it unfortunatly past the “video game wars” i like to post a clip of


    It was ment as third licensed to the “AD&D” brand of role playing games for the Intellivision but left “incomplete” and unpublished.
    It was released 1986 by the INTV corp. (who bought the rights on Intellivision from Mattel) as “Tower of Doom” (without the trademarked prefix AD&D).
    They fuinished or polished the game somewhat but in general it’s the same procedural generated role playing game.

    And that’s what makes the game so special it’s through and through procedural generated, the idea wasn’t new neither when it was made, there existed already procedural generated text based role playing games, but i guess it was the first time to do this for a graphical role playing on a game console.

    just as example that not all games from this genearation was as simple and as stupid as the above examples, while we have to take in account that between “Star Wars” and “Tower of Mystery” was at least four years of noteable progress.
    “technically we could have made pitfall even in 1978, but not only the hardware evolved even we developers evolved with every game”.

    Here’s a short clip of “Tower of Mystery” which i intentionally made to show that this game isn’t as “unfinished” as it’s descripted.
    It isn’t pre-atari neither it’s space related but it’s a wonderful and challenging role playing game.


    In this game nothing is prescripted and not much described, you have to find out yourself what the purpose of treasures, magical items and potions is, also this will change from game to game. A flask of a certain color can heal you one time the next time it will kill you. And certainly no “now click here” but ticker messages like “hey, they’re looking good” which meanings you have to discover yourself.


    I have to admit Gernot, for it’s time, that’s damned impressive. In fact the only other game I can think of, of that period, to better it was the mighty Dungeon Master and that only ran on 16 bit computers, very expensive back then in comparison to the likes of the Intellivision. That it also had procedural generated dungeons also, perhaps brings it even with Dungeon Master when I think about it! Yes very impressed with that Gernot, a real gem you found there. 🙂


    Truely it is Geraldine, because i guess i was the first who spendet enough attention to it.
    Since “Tower of Doom” exists as published game players didn’t put much attention to its predecessor, especially not collectors because there is nothing to collect except the binary image.
    “IntelligentVision” who provides the image didn’t offers no description to it and what the community knows about this game is based on the few informations on “Intellivision Lives!” resp. on the website of the blue sky rangers as well as on an interview with the developer Daniel Bass.
    Especially in this interview (it was made decades after) he figured out that the game was only to 80% complete and won’t be to finish, that INTV picked up the lose ends and completet it (he claimed, maybe he didn’t liked to belittle the devs of INTV).

    To be honest i never played “Tower of Doom” its very long instructions kept me from exploring this as well brillant game, which differs only in a few things from “tower of Mystery”, it has different missions, different tower depths, fixed or random level layout, fixed or random item colors, it also offers different characters to choose from an unarmed waif to a fully armed warlord. this offers a wider range in skill from easy to very hard and adds “bosses” like to find a grail or to beat a magician. but it’s also more prescripted and leaks completely of the possibility to enter a seed to regenerate a certain build (while i still have no idea how the “magic number” works for this game, i’m sure Daniel Bass intented it to be a part of the game to find a way to decipher it, this is the final mystery of the tower).

    However it was unattendet being a “unfinished” prototype to “Tower of Doom”, everybody assumed it is truely “unfinished” and who would like to play such a long timer just to discover that it will possibly end with a crash.

    Gernot of course, i picked up the unreleased games and took a closer look at them, and as for “SPACE SHUTTLE ?” which is far less complete but also not as incomplete as described.

    It costed me a little to convince them of certain behaves of the games because it isn’t noted in any instruction or wherever.
    As for “Air Strike” for which is stated that this unfinished game has no enemy planes, yes no enemy PLANES, but enemy helicopters which you have to call by pressing of a key, this isn’t officially noted somewhere (additionally there exists a hack with smaller helicopters which attack you steady and i assume most thought i mean this hack).

    Same for “Space Shuttle” which is broken but far more playable as stated.

    “Number Jumble”, was unreleased but has been released by IntellivisionRevolution as a cartridge, this game runs fine and i like it to, it’s a not to underestimate educational game, from easy equations like 0+1 to more advanced like (53×21)-15, it’s basically a shoot ’em up (the developer liked to create a shoot em up but was hired by the educational division, so he made the best out of it) which isn’t easy to play at maximum skill level.

    “Tower of Mystery” was the next i discovered and it’s truely a discovery even if the enthusiasm is in limits except for me.
    Personally i nearly think it’s sad that i broke the spell. It was a sleeping beauty who slept a 100 years to wait for the valiant hero to free her from the spell. Unfortunately i broke that spell and now it’s obvious that it’s playable.

    But like i said to me the real quest has only begun, i have to decrypt the way to get to the “magical number” which will give me the key over the game and which is certainly ment as the final reward and the evidence that you mastered the “Tower of Mystery”.

    “Quest” would be another “D&D” game, it’s basically “AD&D Treasure of Tarmin” (or Minotaur), but with changed gameplay, like “Minotaur” the playfield is quasi 3D (rooms, corridors, doors) but the batteling has changed from round based to action which i think was a good decision because still many find it sad that “Minotaur” has round based battles. Additionally it has limited voice support, which made the game first interesting to me because i inherited a Intellivoice. But “Tower of Mystery” had a more powerful magic and i’m a victim to its secret now.

    It was planned to have voice support for “Tower of Mystery” as well but it seems it didn’t turned out as planned by the devs, what i can read always is that the last two years was a haste to complete games for which the merchandising had bought licenses, they had licenses but no games to offer, for a couple they just changed some graphics (i.e. Scooby Doo’s Maze Chase, the game wasn’t intented to use a dog, but they quickly changed it to say “look we have finished it and it’s even an educational game as promised”) to get away from fines.

    Besides all AD&D are more or less procedural generated but none as consequently as “Tower of Mystery”, even “Cloudy Mountain” (simply AD&D) had already a random scattered map and generated caves. For “Minotaur” they used it to position the items and their varying colors/functions.

    I can only assume, i’m not afiliated to TSR Hobbies, that the “Advanced” prefix was ment exactly for such procedural generated role playing games,
    “Dungeons & Dragons” (which is a trademark of TSR as well) we have many, but only little “Advanced”.

    Certainly all three “AD&D” games are oustanding (if we count “Tower of Doom” as AD&D, which it was but INTV spent no money for licensing), still often played and suggested to be played.


    For sure Gernot, there was a lot of dodgy dealings going on back then between game devs and publishers. Of course this ended somewhat in the great video game crash of the early 80s in America. Many Atari games for example ended up going to landfill sites.
    Of course things were not so bad in Europe, especially in the UK & Germany. It seemed like it was us who kept the video games industry going through this difficult period. I recall well from back then a great many, now vanished, machines in the shops and games to go with them. But then that’s another story. 😉


    another thing you will certainly remember is this demo, decle converted it for the intellivision, a whoppy 450kb of program, so nothing which would have ever been released.


    That’s an amazing achievement Gernot! 😮 It just goes to show what the Intellivision could have done had it advanced a bit. This might not be the most stunning looking demo I’ve ever seen, well….actually it still is, but, far more importantly, for the sheer technical prowess of getting it to run at all with so little resources leaves me speechless!


    hyperspace jump to another decade.

    thanks geraldine for the link, i didn’t heard of this burial before, how many copies of E.T.?
    i must say i never played that game and as more bad critics i read about as more i wonder if it really was this bad.

    all the movie franchises doesn’t worked so well those days i guess, tron (all of them) was neither a success, ok the movie itself wasn’t successful.
    but i liked it, i guess i have seen tron once but i haven’t forgot the story, i was fascinated and can’t understand why it was rated so bad.
    while e.t. as movie was a commercial success and i found the movie lame, i couldn’t see it back then as sci-fi for real,
    to me it was a sentimental story, but maybe that was the success of it.

    intentionally i liked to post a clip of “wendetta”.
    but i watched a movie today i like to share with you, most probably you know the movie and will have seen it more then once (?)
    i was very impressed of it and my first thought was of geraldine when i watched “The First of the Few”.
    it’s really a fine movie and to know it was made in ww2 makes it even better if i imagine the conditions under which it has been made.
    david niven plays his role brillant as always with a lot of humor (which was certainly strongly needed)

    so this is totally off topic, it’s rather a historical movie and has nothing to do with space neither with computers (but with aviatics).
    of course one has to watch the movie in the context, it’s entertainment and propaganda and a lot of story and prob. less history.
    but if one likes airplanes one will like it – no, one must like it.

    so here’s the link, even if i assume you will know this movie since childhood.

    next post will be an console space shooter again, i promise, right here it is
    it’s a quite new game under development for the intellivision and for my choice something of the best ever made for it.
    not really new but neither really old.
    the controls suit perfect to the disc controller of this console.
    the dudes work hard to squeeze the last bit out of this old console.


    That ship looks familiar! 🙂


    Oh! You asked how many copies were dumped Gernot? According to that article:
    “Though it was believed that millions of copies of E.T. were disposed of in the landfill, Atari officials later verified the numbers to be around 700,000 cartridges of various titles, including E.T.”
    I will try Google translate, forgive me
    “Obwohl angenommen wurde, dass Millionen von E.T.-Exemplaren auf der Mülldeponie entsorgt wurden, bestätigten Atari-Beamte später, dass die Zahlen bei etwa 700.000 Patronen verschiedener Titel lagen, einschließlich E. T.”
    Hope that helps Gernot, although I don’t trust Google translate very much! 😮

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