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Default Betrayal at Krondor - Retrospective Review

October 5th, 2019, 16:21
The Digital Antiquarian looks back at Betrayal at Krondor:

Betrayal at Krondor

During the 1960s and 1970s, a new type of game began to appear in increasing numbers on American tabletops: the experiential game. These differed from the purely abstract board and card games of yore in that they purported to simulate a virtual world of sorts which lived behind their surface systems. The paradigm shift this entailed was such that for many players these games ceased to be games at all in the zero-sum sense. When a group came together to play Squad Leader or Dungeons & Dragons, there hung over the plebeian kitchen or basement in which they played a shared vision of the beaches of Normandy or the dungeons of Greyhawk. The games became vehicles for exploring the vagaries of history or the limits of the imagination -- vehicles, in other words, for living out shared stories.

In retrospect, it was perhaps inevitable that some of the stories generated in this way would make their way out of the gaming sessions which had spawned them and find a home in more traditional, linear forms of media. And, indeed, just such things were happening by the 1980s, as the first novels born from games arrived.

Needless to say, basing your book on a game you've played isn't much of a path to literary respectability. But for a certain kind of plot-focused genre novel -- the kind focusing strictly on what people do rather than why they do it -- prototyping the whole thing as a game makes a degree of sense. It can keep you honest by forcing your story to conform to a simulated reality that transcends the mere expediency of what might be cool and exciting to write into the next scene. By pushing against authorial fiat and the deus ex machina, it can give the whole work an internal coherency -- an honesty, one might even say -- that's too often missing from novels of this stripe.

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October 5th, 2019, 16:25
Still one of the best computer games of all time, and one I often replay. It hasn't aged all that well, compared to some others, but still well worth playing if the story and combat style are to your liking. One of my all time favourites!
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October 5th, 2019, 17:46
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
Still one of the best computer games of all time, and one I often replay. It hasn't aged all that well, compared to some others, but still well worth playing if the story and combat style are to your liking. One of my all time favourites!
Yup, one of my favorites of all time as well. And I agree, it has not aged well.

I remember with particular fondness how the characters sort of "skated" around during combat as if they were on ice. The combat was still fun, as was pretty much every other aspect of the game.
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October 5th, 2019, 18:12
Loved this game, too. I even played it on CD! With speech! I seem to remember that was quite the novelty at the time. It was really good, though I seem to remember the story went badly down hill a bit at the end.
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October 5th, 2019, 21:43
It was a masterpiece.
Today, it sadly can't be, everything in it is pretty much outdated.
It needs a serious remake that would not be just nice looking boredom but would keep the spirit that made the game amazing back in the day.
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October 5th, 2019, 22:07
I've played it and replayed it quite a few times, and yeah, I'd be eternally grateful if the game ever got a remake/update. Even if that never happens though, I'll still love and play it.
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October 5th, 2019, 22:55
Still my favorite game of all time.
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October 5th, 2019, 23:07
Was one of my top games of all time until I tried a replay about 2 years ago. Just unplayable. Might be worth breaking out an old Win 98 rig to play it for a week or so.

Note: I have to break out my win 98 rig to pull some data so BAK might move the task higher om my todo list.
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October 5th, 2019, 23:29
Originally Posted by Dajjer View Post
Was one of my top games of all time until I tried a replay about 2 years ago. Just unplayable. Might be worth breaking out an old Win 98 rig to play it for a week or so.
Do you mean it was unplayable because of how it's aged, or do you mean it literally wouldn't run? If it's the latter, why not just grab the GOG version?

I've tried playing it several times over the years, but it's just too dated for me.
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October 6th, 2019, 00:58
I loved the puzzle chests… I'm surprised we haven't seen them in other games.
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October 6th, 2019, 01:33
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Do you mean it was unplayable because of how it's aged, or do you mean it literally wouldn't run? If it's the latter, why not just grab the GOG version?

I've tried playing it several times over the years, but it's just too dated for me.
It would barely run and I was running the GOG version. But even if I got it to run smoothly, Like you, the game was just too dated for me. However I am totally down for a remake. Perhaps the guys that did Enderal might give it a shot.
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October 6th, 2019, 01:47
I pretty much like all the in-depth retrospective reviews from Digital Antiquarian. Danke, @HiddenX, for publishing them.
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