Once I started playing Dungeons & Dragons as a kid, I voraciously consumed anything related to the game. One of my “holy grail” items was a copy of Mattel’s Dungeons & Dragons Computer Labyrinth Game and one Christmas there it was under the tree. I was ecstatic and spent the entire winter break playing it. There is even some vague recollection of me playing it alone at the kitchen table while my family was celebrating new years even in the living room.
Why was I obsessed with this game? Well, besides the print ads for the game, there was this magnificent commercial. They stopped running it before I got my copy, but how could you forget an ad like this?
In the game, a player moves on an electronic board trying to find the treasure and bring it back to a room. Along the way you will encounter walls, other players (in 2 player mode) and of course the dragon. The game was pretty easy to jump into, but I remember it took me a while to really master it. My big issue was the dragon. You just could never tell where it was going to be and in 3 hits, it could slay you. Yes, they did include an incredible dragon figure, but that was only to approximate where it was and more than not, I was way off.
While the game board and figures were beautiful, it was really the sounds that made up this game. As you moved around the board, the pressure you place on the square you landed on would trigger a sound. In a quiet room, you could actually sense the building tension from these simple sounds as you grew closer and closer to the dragon. This tension is something I rarely get in modern video games, outside of jump scares in horror games, and it is a very memorable use of simple technology.
My copy of the game died in the late 80’s. As the time, I wasn’t playing it much, so it moved to the back of the closet and eventually into the basement. At some point my sister threw it in the trash. Not a huge loss, even if now it makes me sad. One bright spot, she only through the game board out. So my figures survived and that amazing dragon is still in my possession and has been used in several pen and paper gaming sessions over the years. The Dungeons & Dragons Computer Labyrinth Game is the game that just keeps on giving.
Gamescience started releasing dice several months ago, but recently Lou Zocchi and is legendary dice company have started to release the classic colors and professionally inked numbers that have made this company so well-respected. I had considered writing about this a few months ago, but I was patiently waiting for the production line to really get cranking, but now new colors and styles are being released every week. It is a great time to be a gamer!
So do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a setup of a set of dice that are as iconic as the game they are used.
Visit Gamescience Dice Online and/or Follow them on Facebook.
Note: If you wan to buy me a set, I will be happy to take them :)
Right before the Retroist Forum closed a discussion began about a book that I really wanted to get my hands on, “The Dungeons & Dragons Choose your Own Adventure Sticker Book”. I have attempted a few purchases online since then, but have been outbid every time so far. I imagine it will be only a matter of time before I get one, but I am happy pretty happy with what I have in the meantime. Just last week I got an email from a reader of the blog and former forum poster containing scans of every page of the album. This of course just makes me want this album more, but it is great to get a full sneak peek at what I will eventually own (and of course be able to share it here).
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.
I am a lifelong player of RPG games, but I must admit for most of that time, I have hardly used miniatures for the actual gaming. While they help the players get an idea of setup and logistics, I always found that part of things also slowed the game down and took it out of the realm of imagination. That does not mean I did now own miniatures. I owned quite a few and even spent some time trying to learn to pain them.
I would use them when I was the DM to set the mood for the game, putting them out on the table for people to move around. Which sadly often resulted in them getting damaged. So then I would only use them for display or in the rare instances when I got to be a player. Then I would pick on that most closely resembled my character and would bring it to the gaming session as my companion.
Grenadier made a lot of great miniatures and the RPG shop near my home carried them almost exclusively. It was a shock to me when the company went under in the nineties, but it is nice to know that their original molds still live on.
As I’ve mentioned before on the site I was very fond of Dungeon and Dragons in my youth and in my later years I experienced one of the most epic campaigns I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. A FIVE year campaign. If that isn’t the epitome of epic I just don’t know what is.
In my youth while visiting our local mall I would frequently come across the magazines Dragon and Dungeon while browsing through the bookstore. I would flip through them, Dragon in particular, but never actually started picking it up until I was much older, they were filled with supplemental info for D and D, had advice columns, and a few comics. Dragon began publication back in 1976 and would continue until 2007 when Wizards of the Coast turned it into an online only periodical which lasted until 2013.
Dragon #120 image courtesy of the Museum of Computer Adventure Game History.
Dungeon was more focused on offering a Dungeon Master play-tested modules to help expand the adventures of their players. So while I was always a player in a Dungeon and Dragons game I never felt compelled to pick any of those up.
While as I said I didn’t pick up the magazines when I was younger I would constantly find subscription advertisements for them, like you see at the top of the post, in the role-playing games I was purchasing like Marvel Super Heroes, Star Frontiers, and Gamma Word.
Our celebration of the art of this wonderful book continues. Over the last few weeks we have looked at the Babylonian Mythos, American Mythos, the Arthurian Heroes and the Celtic Mythos, today I would like to show you the art from the amazing section, Central American Mythos.
I ran an adventure as a DM that borrowed heavily from this section with a group of elf, dwarf and gnome adventurers finding themselves in a human dominated Central American mythos-based world. I didn’t know a ton about the history or even the mythology outside of “Deities and Demigods”, but I used my imagination and popular culture to fill in the blanks. It would become a very memorable set of adventures and one that the survivors would talk about for years afterwards.
So now, lets take a look at the art that inspired these adventures…
I have really been enjoying the Retroist’s recent stroll through some of the amazing artwork and characters that could be found from the original Dungeons and Dragons books. Which led me to wonder just what types of merchandise were made available for the 1983 animated series and that is how I stumbled across the existence of this 1983 View-Master set entitled “Castle Venger”!
Not only does it feature our familiar cast of Heroes and Villains from the CBS animated series but it also squeezes in the likes of Strongheart, Ringlerun, Mercion, and best of all…Elkhorn…who totally finds an amulet that wards off Umber Hulks. Which automatically gives this View-Master set a +5 to being an awesome collectible.
Now to be fair I should have said it seems they squeeze the kids from the D and D cartoon into this View-Master adventure and there are things that are a little different from the animated series…you know…like Venger controlling Tiamat.
Image courtesy of the D & D cartoon Encyclopedia.
A big thanks to the Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon Encyclopedia for the awesome card artwork!