Renga in blue

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Missing history

Quiz time: what game is being referred to in these quotes?

In essence, the animals would do to each other anything that they could do to or with you. So we would constantly have animals interacting in ways that had never been progammed or envisioned.

Also . . . you could interact with the animals in ways we'd never thought of. So people would constantly be writing to us telling us they'd done things that we never thought of, and didn't realize the game was capable of.

STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, perhaps? Or possibly The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion?

Nuh-uh. These quotes are from Veronika Megler in an interview on the site L'avventura รจ l'avventura.

They are referring to The Hobbit, first published in 1982.

It wasn't a poor seller (over half a million copies sold in Europe). However, it seems to have fallen out of the gamer consciousness.

Certainly, if one pokes about at the various histories, Beam Software (the developer) and Melbourne House (the publisher) make it in. However, most details I've seen (on those companies specifically and in general) tend to be on the companies themselves, rather than innovations in game mechanics. There's a lack of material on the actual content of games, so a student looking for a particular element needs to start from scratch; there's an intimidating number of works to plow through if someone is searching for a mechanic rather than a plot theme.

I find a real need for the sort of history work done with art and music history, with details about content that go past "in the old days, there were more mazes than there are now" so a future scholar can pick out that obscure game from 1980s that advances his or her point.