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Another Sunday means another episode of 1001 Video Games You
Must Play Before You Die, the (hopefully) weekly series where I play through
all of the games listed in the book - 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You
Die. If I played the game before, then I will share my memory of the
experience. If I haven't played the game before, then I find an online version
or an emulator and I play the game (for at least 30 minutes). This is a book
every gamer should have in their library, and if you're interested in
purchasing it, you can find it here.
Last week showcased Chuckie Egg, a game I hadn't played or
even heard of. It was from the 80s and I described it as a cheap (really cheap)
Donkey Kong knock off. You almost have to be skeptical of any game where you
play as Hen House Harry. But played it I did, and marked it off of the list of
1001 video games I must play before I die I did. Let's see what this week holds
for us. I have to turn the page to see it.
This week's featured game is...
Dragon's Lair is a
laserdisc video game published by Cinematronics in 1983. It featured animation
created by ex-Disney animator Don Bluth. Most other games of the era
represented the character as a sprite, which consisted of a series of pixels
displayed in succession. Due to hardware limitations of the era, artists were
greatly restricted in the detail they could achieve using that technique; the
resolution, framerate and number of frames were severely constrained. Dragon's
Lair overcame those limitations by tapping into the vast storage potential of
the LaserDisc, but imposed other limitations on the actual gameplay.
Dirk the Daring is a
knight attempting to rescue Princess Daphne from the evil dragon Singe who has
locked the princess in the foul wizard Mordroc's castle. The game displays
animated cutscenes, and the player executes an action by selecting a direction
or pressing the sword button with correct timing in order to clear each quick
time event (QTE). The comedy aspects of the game stemmed not only from the
bizarre-looking creatures and humorous death scenes, but also the fact that
while Dirk was a skilled knight, he was somewhat clumsy in his efforts, as well
as being a reluctant hero, prone to shrieking and reacting in horror to the
various dangers he encounters. (Source: Wikipedia)
Dragon's Lair, ah...sweet Dragon's Lair. This is a game I've
played, but admittedly - not well. I was just a wee lad when this game released,
and while I understood the idea of timing your movements at precisely the right
time, I can honestly say I don't know that I ever made it past the first
sequence. This was a popular game at the local arcade where I spent a lot of my
time as a kid, and I would absolutely love watching some of the best players
play this game. We talk of Quick Time Events, and I think this game was the
very first game I can ever remember playing that used this type of feature.
What's not to love about Dragon's Lair? The game was amazing
- almost like watching a cartoon. Dirk the Daring was an awesome character and I'd
be lying if I said I didn't think Princess Daphne was stunning...for a video game
character. As a kid I used to think this was the future of gaming...that all
games would have graphics like Dragon's Lair. While that never really happened,
I do think this game was perhaps the most technically advanced from back in the
day. The audio and visual effects were untouchable.
Dragon's Lair has quite the trophy case of awards and
accolades to be proud of. Rumor has it Dragon's Lair is currently one of only
three video games (along with Pong and Pac-Man) in storage at the Smithsonian
Institution in Washington, DC. It's been ported to all sorts of different
platforms and has even had a few sequels. I don't think I've played anything
other than the original arcade version. One of the things I remember the most was
the many different death scenes for poor Dirk.
Dragon's Lair is
featured in Wreck-It Ralph. It was among the video games seen at Litwak's
Family Fun Center & Arcade.
And apparently they are making a Dragon's Lair documentary.
Inside the Dragon's
Lair is a feature documentary film about the game which is currently in
production and is slated for release sometime in 2014.
I can say emphatically that Dragon's Lair is without a doubt
an absolute must to be on the list of 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You
Die. Even though I was never very good at the game and haven't played it since
the 80s, I have such fond memories of it, and it was such an innovative game,
it has rightfully earned its place in the video game history book.
I'm not sure what game is up next week, so be sure to check
back and see if it is something you've played or not. Until then, enjoy the
rest of your weekend and have a great week.
Episode 1: 01 - 05 (here)
Episode 2: 06 - 10 (here)
Episode 3: 11 - 15 (here)
Episode 4: 16 - 20 (here)
Episode 5: 21 - 25 (here)
Episode 6: 26 - 30 (here)
Episode 7: 31 - 35 (here)
Episode 8: 36 - 40 (here)
Episode 41 (here)
Episode 42 (here)
Episode 43 (here)
Episode 44 (here)
Episode 45 (here)
Episode 46 (here)
Episode 47 (here)
Episode 48 (here)
Episode 49 (here)
Episode 50 (here)
Episode 51 (here)