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Strip 566, Volume 4, Page 45


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< Piro >

that other site...

"down to Texas..."

Thursday - June 3, 2004

[Piro] - 10:04:00 - [link here]

Just a quick rant today, more to provide information than anything. I will be leaving for Project A-kon in Dallas, Texas this afternoon. According the the schedule, the Megatokyo panel is at 2pm on Friday - I don't really expect too many people to be able to go, but we'll be there. If you can make it, please do - it'll probably be a nice, small, casual little thing. :) Other than that, I don't think there are any other panels or events we are going to be involved with, so... I'll just spend my time doing what I usually do at conventions - sit and draw stuff for people :)

I won't be at the Wizzywig booth in the dealer room like I've been doing at other conventions this year, instead we will have a table... somewhere. Not sure where yet, not sure if its in the artist's alley, or hidden under a stair somewhere :P Anyways, you'll have all weekend to find us :) If you are looking for MT stuff, be sure to stop by Wizzywigs first - they will also know where Seraphim and I have been hidden. :P

Now I have to head off and finish fridays comic - just two drawings left to finish and to scan and stuff. Shouldn't be a problem to update tonight at the more or less normal time. :P As for Monday next week, expect a late comic, either late late monday or early Tuesday, but after that I'm home for a while so I should be able to get back on schedule.

< Dom >

Yari houdai SRPG!

"Crossing deadlines"

Thursday - May 27, 2004

[Dom] - 00:00:00 - [link here]

So. They're not only re-releasing Disgaea, but they're giving out a free artbook with purchase. That's nifty. It's nifty enough that if I didn't already own the Japanese limited edition, I'd get the re-release of Disgaea for it, because I'm tired of Sony America being dicks about limited editions and not allowing package sizes to be any larger than the standard.

Screw you, Sony, I want gigantic packages with oodles of goodies! Gimme the Koei treasure boxes for the Dynasty Warrior games! Gimme ridiculous amounts of coasters and a parfait spoon! Gimme calendars and art! Hell, I don't care, give me that princess dress that came with Princess Concerto (warning: Japanese link). It doesn't matter to me, I just want SOMEthing. Yes, I'm a limited edition whore. I don't mind.

Sigh. Oh well. I'll just stick to Japanese games.

But speaking of American games, I just got an e-mail from Trebor himself (known to the mundanes as Robert Woodhead) that I'd like to relate, just to complete the whole Wizardry saga and give everyone an important gaming history lesson:

One of my many spies has informed me that in your May 19th column,you quote Robert Del Favero as saying:

"Woodhead was little more than a contract programmer"

Needless to say, my perspective is a little different.

Before Andy and I started working together on Wizardry, I had writtenand published a couple of Apple II programs (Infotree and GalacticAttack). I was looking for a new project to work on and came up withthe idea of doing a computer RPG.

I was well into the design of this game, which I called Paladin, whenI heard that Andy Greenberg was doing something similar. I knew Andybecause we were both heavy users of the PLATO computer assistededucation system.

We got together, compared notes, and realized that we could do abetter job as a team than we could apart. The final design forWizardry combined features in his original BASIC game and the Paladindesign.

I did almost all of the programming of the original Wizardry game andthe scenario editors that created that database it ran off. Andyused those editors to create the first few scenarios, and he and hisfriends, including RDF, playtested them. This was an obviousdivision of labor since I had a lot more time than he did, havingbeen kicked out of Cornell for a year for fooling around too much onthe computers and neglecting my grades. And finally, my companyreleased the program onto the market.Had Andy and I never gotten together, most likely his Wizardry wouldnever have evolved into a marketable product, because of all theother demands on his time, and my Paladin would probably have made itto market but would not have been nearly as good as Wizardry was,because of his story skills and the efforts of his playtesting team(who it would not be unfair to credit as the "third" author of thegame). Fortunately, it was one of those "right people in the rightplace at the right time" kind of things.

That said, RDF is entirely correct that your statement that "BrianFargo and Robert J Woodhead pretty much created the American RPG" iswrong. I assume you mean computer RPG, btw.

The Computer RPG had its real genesis on the PLATO system in themid-70s. By 1977 or so, PLATO was featuring real-time multiplayerdungeon games, not to mention real-time spacewar, IM, chat, email,netnews, and a host of other things we now take for granted. Allthis on high-resolution plasma panel terminals connected at 1200 baudto twin Cyber 6600 supercomputer. Now you understand why I waskicked out of Cornell for a year; PLATO was crack for computer nerds.

Wizardry (and Paladin and the original BASIC Wizardry) were ourattempts to see if we could do something similar on the puny personalcomputers of the day. For example, the idea of the 6-character partywas a way of simulating multiplayer interaction when in fact therewas usually only one person playing the game. But at the same time,the fact that only one person was playing the game allowed us to putin a story (and lots of cute ornaments) that raised Wizardry beyondthe "hack-hack-kill-kill-loot-loot-run home" style of game.


I consider myself educated. I seriously need to find a book about the early days of computer gaming like Game Over has the beginnings of Nintendo and The Ultimate History of Video Games has for the arcade and console industries. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm interested in hearing them.


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