Posts Tagged ‘dungeons & dragons’
This week Fred is again solo, but fear not because he will have his faithful companion Jam back for the next episode. This week he’s discussing the origins of the Japanese Role Playing Game or JRPG and the genre’s eventual journey to the West. From humble roots in the early 80s to the powerhouse genres of the 90s, it’s a wild and crazy road.
This week we ring in the new year with guest Gary Butterfield from duckfeed.tv and the Watch Out For Fireballs podcast to discuss video games based on tabletop games. Of course the big one, Dungeons & Dragons, takes up a chunk of the conversation but there are others that make their way in. We also track the history and progression of taking earlier stat-based games and being able to integrate them properly onto the screen.
As the article implies, there are plenty of things that parents have to be scared of in terms of what content comes in contact with kids today. This is nothing new. In the 50s it was rock & roll, in the 90s it was video game violence, but in the 1980s the seed of evil was none other than D&D (Dungeons & Dragons for those not familiar with the pen-and-paper role playing game). I am always fascinated by the counterculture of what parents fear and what kids get heavily involved in. Of course, like all other concerns of the past, as time moves forward all world-ending plagues on the youth come off extremely tame in hindsight and this is no exception. The wonderful people at the BBC have documented the rush of D&D fever in an article aptly named The Great 1980s Dungeons & Dragon Panic and I highly recommend anyone who’s interested in the stories behind pop culture check it out (link in the article title).
Originally hitting arcades back in 1993, Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom was quite the oddity. It prominently featured gameplay similar to that of its other brawler brethren, specifically the combat system of Final Fight mixed with the license quality of titles like The Simpsons, but also with the added benefit of being part of the complex D&D story. Not only was the game addictive but mild RPG elements, power-ups, and branching paths that had you etching a unique campaign were almost unheard of in arcades. Unfortunately this gameplay style and a long branching campaign required two important things: time and money. It probably costs somewhere between $5-$10 in quarters to conquer the first game, and probably twice that to take on the sequel Shadow Over Mystara and at least an hour of your time. As it stood, I never completed this game as a child, either due to lack of time or money, and I always wondered how fun it would be to have this title at home. Well finally Capcom has decided to bring this classic arcade duo in digital format and finally give free rein to a pair of arcade games that are among my favorite of all time.