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Elovia

The Bard's Tale

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Posted (edited)

Anyone here remember playing the original Bard's Tale trilogy?  I do and it came out before some of you were even born (provided you were born after 1985).  Punks!   Well, apparently the original series is getting remastered.  I'll be keeping my eye out for it over at GoG (Steam will have it available, too).

I suspect this is being remastered and released to go along with the upcoming release of The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep.  I've been keeping an eye out for this one, too.

And to be sure, as confusing as all this is ... these are not the same as Bard's Tale, The that has been out for a number of years (since 2004).  I rather enjoyed this one because I do favor snark.

/discuss

Edited by Elovia

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Thanks! Heard of this but was before my time I guess (being 4 to 5 in 1985). As much as I am not a graphics whore, I do have some limits so glad to see they are remastering it so I can give it a real go.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah ... last weekend I installed the original Might and Magic through the magic of DOSBox to see how it has aged. Not good. I backed away after about a half hour because the graphics and gameplay were much too rough. I remember playing it for hundreds of hours back in the day on a monochrome screen CRT... from 5.25" floppy disks.

I guess I do have standards after all and have been spoiled a bit by the modern-day state of gaming.

On the other hand, I installed Might and Magic 2 and found it to be much more tolerable.  I played it for a few hours, and will return again soon. :D 

Edited by Elovia
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2 hours ago, Pasanda said:

Steady on there fella!

It's a rough pill to swallow for me.  I've been playing video games since their inception. I got into computers back before PC's were known as such; back then as far as assembling electronic circuit boards using resistors and capacitors, etc., bought at the brand new Radio Shack in town. I remember my first real personal computer (I had access to mainframes at the local university - but this was way different) was an Elf kit - no storage capability and programs were entered via hundreds of lines of hex key codes (note: don't mistype a line or you'd have to start over). The first program my friends and I used was a dice throw game (we'd call it an "app" nowdays) to augment our pen and paper games (e.g., dungeons and dragons).

Since the humble beginnings, I've always found merit and entertainment in almost all computer games. Simple games such as Might & Magic (not so simple back then) were worth hundreds of hours of entertainment for me and my friends as we hunkered around the one computer, each of us rolling and claiming (making game play decisions for) one of the party characters. One person would enter commands as called out by the others. One or two people were responsible for hand mapping the dungeons. Those running spell-casting characters had copies of the manual so they could reference their spells. And we'd play into the wee hours of early morning light fuelled by our imaginations and not a little soda. These new video games easily replaced our pen and paper gaming sessions and removed the tedium of being DM (the game assumed that role) while we slipped into our characters and revelled in roleplay and the underlying story.

Going back in reality doesn't match nostalgia in this case. I may not have been in the right frame of mind to appreciate the experience again.  But my fond memories playing way back then still override my more modern disappointment. I will likely try again because I still can. Who knows ... maybe I'll create new fond memories. I'm only limited by my imagination ... and I may need to dust it off a bit since modern games allow one to get lazy.

/soapbox off

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Posted (edited)

Adults lose the ability to fill in missing information with imagination.  Neither do we have the time or inclination to do so.  Life makes us realists.  Experience wakes us up and allows us to see what was not visible before.  You can never go back and recreate what was only perceived to begin with as we can not see as we once did.  Innocence does not re-spawn.  You can not relive the beginning, you only have control over the ending.

I have found that nostalgia is best experienced as a short moment of reflection and fond memories.  Reach any further than that or try and re-create the moment and you destroy it.  Also that trying to provide the same experience for our kids is just as often a failure.  They see the world differently than we did.  Make new moments, don't try and live your glory days through them.

Not saying you are, just a short philosophical rant.  Sorry to waste some the few precious moments you have left on this earth. :P

Edited by Jag
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The game is being sold as a trilogy.  The first Bard's Tale game of the trilogy is being released now, with the promise that the second will come in the fall of 2018, and the third will come near the end of the year (also 2018).  The second and third will be free additions to the first.

So ... does purchasing it now mean you are pre-ordering for later?  And if you had a "no pre-orders" policy, would that make you a hypocrite?

... asking for a friend.

*nerdgasm*

Edited by Elovia
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6 hours ago, Elovia said:

The game is being sold as a trilogy.  The first Bard's Tale game of the trilogy is being released now, with the promise that the second will come in the fall of 2018, and the third will come near the end of the year (also 2018).  The second and third will be free additions to the first.

So ... does purchasing it now mean you are pre-ordering for later?  And if you had a "no pre-orders" policy, would that make you a hypocrite?

... asking for a friend.

*nerdgasm*

You will have to look deep within your own soul and answer that question for yourself. Then tell me what you think and whether worth a buy. :P

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Good news: the game is relatively inexpensive compared to other recent releases of remastered old games. They have no illusions that this is a $60 AAA title.

I bought it last night and quickly downloaded the install package from GoG. The download was small (~200+meg) and the install quick and painless. I don't remember whether the original game came on single side floppy discs or other type (double side or high density, etc.), but I find it remarkable in the file size growth over these past years.

Game play was much as I remembered it ... consider I barely remember what I ate for breakfast so take that for what it's worth.

You can start out either playing a pre-configured party of characters, or you can roll your own. The game does not feed you much information about the relative pros and cons for the choices you're about to make when creating characters. First choice: gender (male or female). Second choice: race (human, elf, dwarf, hobbit, half-elf, half-orc, gnome ... IIRC). Third choice: class (the list of available classes is restricted by your first two choices).

You can have up to seven characters+summons+mercenaries in your party. General strategy is to have a party of six characters and leave a slot open for one of your magic users to fill with disposable summons or to fill with wandering NPCs you meet in your adventures.

Rolling characters can be as tedious as pushing the same button hundreds of times until you get a reasonable mix of randomly rolled stats for the class you're creating. This may drive min/maxers nuts.

Once you have your party in order ... which reminds me ... the modern interface is incredibly much better than the legacy game interface. You can now perform commands and actions using your mouse and/or keyboard. For example, you can reorganize your party order by drag-and-dropping characters in the party roster. This is a nice touch.

You can create as many different characters as you want and can save combinations of them in individual party roster configurations.

The modern graphics capture the spirit of the old game while breathing new life in them. The new automapping is also greatly appreciated.

I spent a couple hours playing last night and reluctantly put it away so I could get in sleep before work today. In that time, I explored probably 15-20% of the town, saw enough combat to raise all seven of my characters to second rank, and to end with my hunter being dead (it's a temporary condition - at least until I decide not to pay for his ressurection at the temple).  All my characters are kitted out with basic gear (you start with none).

Is it fun? Yes, to us old farts who played the original. Younger players may get wound up over the arguably less refined gameplay and interface compared to modern games. So far from as much as I've seen of it, I think the level of modernization is appropriate and enjoyable.

Younger players also may be frustrated that there is no manual providing guidance along the way. As you adventure out in the world, you will find scraps of an old adventure guide with clues and helpful suggestions. Discovery is built into the mechanics ... so just try and see. (note: some things in the interface have very helpful roll-over descriptions and tooltips, but unfortunately not all).

Is it worth $15? I think so, considering you (eventually) get all three original titles representing many hundreds of hours of gameplay.

Edited by Elovia
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Game manualz?  Wee don't neeed no stinkeeng game manualz!

Oh wait, maybe we do.

Here's a link to the original Apple II manual (thanks to Google who knows all).

Now some of your character creation decisions can be made more knowledgeably.  Use this newfound knowledge for good, not evil.  *bahdum-tish*  I'll just show myself out ...

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