Nov 30, 1998 - Dec 4, 1998

As we enter the final act of 1998, I wonder if lightning can strike twice. One game has already come from out of nowhere this year to rock the gaming landscape. Sure, Half-Life carried the time-worn Sierra pedigree, but these new cats called "Valve" may have just been lucky. Is it possible that yet another complete unknown -- in this case a company known as "BioWare," whose pedigree to date is the completely forgettable Shattered Steel -- can come to the rescue of the ailing CRPG genre in the same way that Half-Life seems to have breathed new life into the largely dull landscape of FPS games (see: Sin)?

The likely answer is: definitely not.

Maybe it's just the lingering memory of the X Files movie, but I Want to Believe that this week's Baldur's Gate is a harbinger of things to come. Tragically, I'm having trouble imagining that suddenly D&D and computers are going to get all chocolate and peanut butter with each other after such a long, depressing drought, particularly in the hands of this upstart BioWare. The most I can manage to hope for at this point is that Baldur's Gate is an entertaining distraction. I don't expect Gold Box quality, but it'll be nice to dabble with Magic Missiles and saving throws on my computer again.

Either way, I don't want close out what's been an amazing year with skepticism or pessimism. I could comfortably hang my hat on any year that provides games like Half-Life, Unreal, Grim Fandango and Fallout 2. I know there are a number of you who will add StarCraft to that list, and so for you it's a pretty good week with the release of the Brood War expansion pack. I don't count myself among your cult, ever the Warcraft 2 purist that I am, but I recognize that it's something of a big-deal release. Add to that an inventive shooter called Thief that also releases this week, and there's a lot of possibility hitting the shelves, if not so much certainty.

Going back to my desire to end on a positive theme, I'm going to give the nod for Game of the Week to Baldur's Gate. Hopefully years down the road we'll be talking about this moment as the year when role playing games became popular again. Hell, living in a state that just elected Jesse Ventura, I gotta believe anything is possible.

Comments

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Mystic Violet wrote:

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Whatever happened to Bill S. Preston, Esq.?

Not sure about this Gate of Baldur, doesn't look all that promising. No FMV, no 3D, no first-person view. It's clearly a labor of love, but too conservative and outdated. The AD&D implementation is nice, but no one will remember it in a few years. Except for niche groups of diehards. The recently released updated version of Battlecruiser 3000AD, on the other hand, is a future of gaming.

I wonder if my old core duo would be able to handle this game...
And what is this 'Valve' company they are talking about?

Ok, who pressed the button?

Wait....if it's 1998 the only gaming websites I'm allowed to visit are Gamespot and Nintendorks. Sorry, guys, I'm outta here.

Good lord, I'm 12 again... the heady days of thinking I was the smartest person alive. I miss those days...

Gods below! There are people here that make 18 year old me feel old!

Wow, you're really only 18?

Dude, I've played videogames older than you. Lots of them!

Malor wrote:

Wow, you're really only 18?

Dude, I've played videogames older than you. Lots of them!

I think he meant he was 18 in '98
Unless you were also doing a '98 joke

...this thread is freaking confusing.

FedoraMcQuaid wrote:
Malor wrote:

Wow, you're really only 18?

Dude, I've played videogames older than you. Lots of them!

I think he meant he was 18 in '98
Unless you were also doing a '98 joke

...this thread is freaking confusing.

Either way, I suspect it's accurate.

I ... uuh .. what?

Where am I?

Temporal traveling may cause disorientation. Beware!

Please. They'll elect a black man president before RPGs are good again. At least until Ultima 9 comes out next year.

Baldur's Gate 2 Complete just hit GOG.com.

stauf7 wrote:

Baldur's Gate 2 Complete just hit GOG.com.

GAAH! Favorite game ever! Be right back.

Oh boy! There are misses and then there are MISSES!

"Is it possible that yet another complete unknown -- in this case a company known as "BioWare," whose pedigree to date is the completely forgettable Shattered Steel -- can come to the rescue of the ailing CRPG genre in the same way that Half-Life seems to have breathed new life into the largely dull landscape of FPS games (see: Sin)?

The likely answer is: definitely not."

So all these donation drives were about funding research for a time machine? Money well spent!

If it's 1998 I'm 16 and playing the sh*t out of some Chrono Trigger.

Wait, I'm almost 29 now and I still go back and play Chrono Trigger.

I'm 20 and in college. StarCraft won't be on my radar until next year, but after reading about Half-Life in one of those glossy gamemagazines like PCZone or PCGamer, I'm buying it the moment it comes out! Thanks to some hard work and a contributing dad I just got a new PC and it's a beast! Pentium II 400Mhz, 128megabytes of RAM, Riva TNT videocard from this new manufacturer called nvidia and a 19 inch monitor, yes, I repeat a 19 inch monitor... Good times...

I don't expect Baldur's Gate to add up to much, either. But my brother knows a guy whose cousin is working on a new game called Ruins of Myth Drannor. It's a Pool of Radiance sequel, and I 100% guarantee it's going to be completely awesome. There is no way I can be wrong on this.

Dear god, and I'm 25, and still classify as a Gamer with a Job...

'98, cashed up, still single (sort of) and buying everything SONY can push my way. Tekken 2? Why not, and throw in that steel base arcade stick while you're at it my good man.

Those were the days...

We will be talking about this day twelve years from now. What an awesome day to be a gamer!

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

Can I just give a quick shout out to the Times New Roman? Truly, the king of fonts. Wut Wut!

I don't know. I just discovered this font called Papyrus, and it's pretty sweet.

El-Taco-the-Rogue wrote:

..And in a year and a half, I got my first console, a Gameboy Colour. Man, I wish I'd experienced '90s PC gaming in it's prime..

You should check out that Pokemon game everyone's talking about. I just found a ROM for it.

Anyway, I just got a car. Screw you jerks, I'm going to go make some terrible dating decisions.

This just goes to show that Elysium's taste in games was sh*te back in 98 also!

InspectorFowler wrote:

Wait....if it's 1998 the only gaming websites I'm allowed to visit are Gamespot and Nintendorks. Sorry, guys, I'm outta here.

Screw you, console jerk. PC Gamer's website is going to functional any day now. Same with Boot--though I guess they just changed their name to "Maximum PC." Whatever.

No time for games, dorks. I'm 23 again!

Apparently, I'm 9. Concerningly enough, I was living here, and getting on the bus to go to the same school I'm putting Kannon Jr. on now. (Though, he's going to a much younger grade than I was.). This is not helping my head asplodiness.

Sorry guys, I'm to young to be using the internet.

a/s/l?

Hey, I heard that StarCraft is coming with LAN support, a spawn installation and optional online play via something called battle.net. Those Blizzard guys really know what they're doing!

This brings back memories of high school. I wonder if I can do things better this time.