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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

A trip down Gaming Lane

Posted by garrett Monday March 1 2010 at 7:46PM
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I wanted to talk about the Non-MMO world of RPG style games for a minute this week. Next week it will be full on GDC for Jon and I so we will bring you all the goodies then.

For now, I thought to talk about the gaming landscape from the old school. By old school I am talking 70s, 80s, and 90s. These three decades, while not having much to do with MMOs, had a ton to do with RPGs. So lets go on a journey through gaming past.

1974 - I was 2... However, in this year a movie called "The Golden Voyage" of Sinbad came out. If you have not seen it, you should. It is bad ass, even with the Ray Harryheusen effects. Why is this obscure Sinbad movie so important. Well, the movie plays out like a clear D&D adventure. In 1974 the early stages of D&D were formed. Chainmail was launched and the concept of the RPG was born. Oh to live in those days again.

As big as Warcraft is now, D&D was it's Dark Lord Grandfather back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. By 1982-1983 there was a saturday morning cartoon and a TV movie called Mazes & Monsters, with Tom Hanks no less, playing a game like D&D and going crazy because of it. Movies like Dragon Slayer and Krull topped off the rise of fantasy as we know it today, did I mention a small movie named Conan in there? Oh, sorry. My other old time favorite is Beastmaster. Not the lousy TV series, the 1982 movie.

This goes down as one of the big three in my opinion. The biggest of the three. D&D made it all possible. D&D set the stage. D&D is still fun on a weekend night with your friends.

The second game of the 1980s that remains a major influence was Warhammer and Warhammer 40k. The idea of RTS battles on a table with miniatures was nothing new in the 1980s, the early gaming groups were doing it a ton back in the 1970s which led to D&D. Somehow though a group of guys in England came up with this game that had a sense of humor, despite being set in a brutal, unforgiving, medieval setting. There are many great table top miniature games, but Warhammer in fantasy or future takes the cake. The Squig cake actually. 

Last but not least, 1994, I was in college by now and drinking far too much to care about gaming. Then one weekend on a trip home I went to a game store with a friend. I asked at the counter for a game that did not take too much time and was fun to play. Enter Magic The Gathering to the scene. CCGs were pretty much invented at that point and  the world had never looked back. I was so addicted to Magic my senior year in college I spent every dime building decks upon decks. Gosh, my White/Blue deck would be worth over $10k now. Yes I had all of the power nine with the exception of the Mox colors I did not play. I sold my deck and collection for almost $2k at a game convention in NJ. I used the money to pay bills back then. Quite an investment when you look at it. I wish I kept that deck.

So that rounds out the big three games that had major influence on me growing up. I did fail to mention some of my other all time favorites: Awful Green Things from Outer Space, O.G.R.E, G.E.V., Barbarian Prince (solo mini-game), Star Frontiers, Gamma World, and Demon Lord.

If you have the time, research some of these old classics and see where our virtual worlds had come from. It is always cool to take a trip down memory lane. So I ask you this many of you still play any of these games? 

spookydom writes:

Great article. Brought back some memories. Here are some of my fave's I  want to throw in .The classic games workshop board games from the 80's like Talisman, Chainsaw warrior(still have original boxed game with all the bits.), Bloodbowl and Battlecars. Also Steve jackson games Car wars and FASA's renegade Legion. Loved them all.

Mon Mar 01 2010 8:06PM Report
Codenak writes:

Anyone remember Traveller?

Tue Mar 02 2010 2:37PM Report
Senadina writes:

I also had a Magic the Gathering addiction, which I spread to all my friends. I still think it was the most perfect game ever created due to the constant discovery of card combos and the ability to truly personalize your deck ( as long as you weren't  just buying single cards to copy the uber- deck of the moment).  I LOVED this game, too bad WoTC ruined it thru sheer greed and game breaking mechanics like tribal decks.

While I don't specifically play D&D anymore, I am still involved in a tabletop RPG every other Saturday, and I was born in 1965. Never gonna grow up, nope.

Tue Mar 02 2010 8:43PM Report
Khalathwyr writes:

I'm 5 years younger than you Garrett (well, 4 years younger in about 20 minutes). I've given up playing CCGs though I still have some Magic and a good deal of Wyvern and Jihad/Vampire decks. I worked for Games Workshop retail for a year so, yeah, I have one of most of the 40K armies (pieces from all of them), an Empire, an Ogre Kingdoms and a Dwarf army for Fantasy. 

As for D&D, still playing it man. My group doesn't play anything past Advanced 2nd Ed. now having tried all the newer versions. We also keep Gamma World around as well as Vampire TM and TR. We have a host of other tabletop RPGs as well.

More games (RPGs and MMOs) that fall back on these early gaming roots. There's still alot of us out there that love the style and complexity of those games versus the new stuff.

Tue Mar 02 2010 11:44PM Report
LexStriker writes:

[grins]... Bought my first wargame [Gettysburg by Avalon Hill] in 1962 at the age of 12. Movement was by inches in the advanced game. Miniatures with cardboard counters.

As a side note, I still remember playing a guy in Washington, DC area back in 1975 in Napoleonic cast-metal miniatures. He had this waxed handlebar mustache... exactly like his French Old Guard figures had.

I guess I have seen a lot of things come about since then. I got into D&D and Chainmail in 1974. Even played AH's Squad Leader using a program loaded by tape into a TRS-80 Model III in 1981. Finally got into the PC games in 1984... and have not looked back since. The first computer RPG's were not very complicated... where most board games (RP or military chess types) usually came with a quarter inch thick rule book. Squad Leader eventually had a three-ring binder. Now I am into EVE Online, Battlefield Bad Company 2 (dropped COD after MW2), Mass Effect 2/Dragon Age, and the Total War Series. EVE Online comes with an inch thick rulebook that even the CCP Dev's do not know where it is.

It has been an interesting ride. Wish the new and good stuff was not on the tail end of my life... oh well, enjoy youngin's. When I get my butt handed to me by some young whipper-snapper, I just use the excuse that I was not born with a joystick/controller in my hand... just a single six-sided dice.


Wed Mar 03 2010 7:11AM Report writes:
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