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

Shoot! I don't have time for Baldur's Gate! Anyone want to play MW2 Mercenaries with me on Kali! Gooooooooooooooooo LAN Emulator!

You know that game your friend is always playing? When you're too busy chatting on battle.net, ignore maidenskiss and the other so-called "ladies" and hang out with wprincess1 — you two eventually hook up and get married. Also, there is this game called EverQuest coming out — I know she'll be playing with friends, but by golly, get her to the Bristlebane server ASAP. Also, be nicer to Saben.

burntham77 wrote:

Sorry, I have no idea what "MMO" means.

Ultima Online had already been out for a year in 1998. I took part in the Beta but felt the game wasn't ready for release (has there ever been an MMO where beta testers didn't feel this way?). I think it wasn't until Everquest (1999) though that the MMO as a genre gained widespread recognition.

misplacedbravado wrote:

But will it run on my computer?

Steve Jobs keeps saying that Mac gaming is about to take off, but it seems like Marathon is still the only Mac game worth playing. (And the PC-compatibility I paid extra for is practically useless.)

Oh please. Everyone knows Apple is terminal. You shouldn't bet on PC's either, pc gaming is DEAD!

Your guys' signatures are weak.

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[color=blue]Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.
Jawaharal Nehru
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IMAGE(http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a239/frogdance/noselfesteemforyou.gif)

[color=red]Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
Mother Teresa
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IMAGE(http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-devil06.gif)IMAGE(http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-devil06.gif)IMAGE(http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-devil06.gif)IMAGE(http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-devil06.gif)IMAGE(http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-devil06.gif)IMAGE(http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-devil06.gif)

I am so sorry.

burntham77 wrote:

Sorry, I have no idea what "MMO" means.

Short for "MMORPG," like Ultima Online and the upcoming EverQuest.

What do you guys think about the new Star Wars prequel that's coming out in 6 months? Last week, I went to the theater and saw a new poster with a kid that had Darth Vader's shadow. (He must be Anakin.) I think it's gonna ROCK!

Pfft, you can all keep your fancy 'graphics' and 'MMORPGs.' I've played a MUD for years and I don't see any reason that would change any time in the future.

1998 is so far the worst year of my life. But Baldur's Gate looks awesome, and I can't wait to play it. I participated in an IRC chat with the developers, and it sounds really cool.

Message to the November 1998 me.

Do not enrol for the university course, play guitar for 4-6 hours a day instead. It's going to take you too long, cost too much and distract you from the path you want to be on.

How about that last kickass Batman movie! I can't wait for the next George Clooney masterpiece

Dec '98. Freshman year of college, first semester of finals. Wow. Just placed 2nd in a Goldeneye N64 tournament in the dorms a few weeks ago.

RPGs? Meh. Guys, Starsiege Tribes just came out TODAY and it's AWESOME! I know it's a weird spinoff of that mech game, but trust me, this is the future. Every game from here on out will have jetpacks and awesome aerial combat. Come and join me. I'll be on the Pickled Zombies server.

On another note, it seems I may get to try that Goldeneye game that all you console losers keep raving about. My mother let slip that she finally got me an N64, with the latest bundle that comes with the game and a red controller.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

Message to the November 1998 me.

Do not enrol for the university course, play guitar for 4-6 hours a day instead. It's going to take you too long, cost too much and distract you from the path you want to be on.

On the other hand, maybe university could teach you to spell "enroll."

Grady wrote:

RPGs? Meh. Guys, Starsiege Tribes just came out TODAY and it's AWESOME! I know it's a weird spinoff of that mech game, but trust me, this is the future. Every game from here on out will have jetpacks and awesome aerial combat. Come and join me. I'll be on the Pickled Zombies server.

On another note, it seems I may get to try that Goldeneye game that all you console losers keep raving about. My mother let slip that she finally got me an N64, with the latest bundle that comes with the game and a red controller.

Whatever. I like MechCommander.

Hey guys, if you're in the market for a house in the next few years, might I suggest a nice fixed rate mortgage? Something tells me that might be important.

imbiginjapan wrote:

Hey guys, if you're in the market for a house in the next few years, might I suggest a nice fixed rate mortgage? Something tells me that might be important.

Whatever - I'll be able to buy an amazing mansion with all my PETS.com stock!

Have you guys seen the trailers on the Apple Quicktime website for "The Matrix"? WTH is that supposed to be about? Is there really an audience for Keanu Reeves in a Sci-Fi movie? Doubtful. No one is going to pay to see that.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

The Dreamcast will be the most dominant console ever produced. Write it down, baby.

I'm buying it launch day. Count on it. Sega is the best console maker. I love my Saturn and I know the Dreamcast will kill the Playstation and Nintendo 64.

My eyes hurt.

Nevermind.

And I'm still dead. Can we take a ride back to the mid 60s, you know, my glory days?

F**k this! I'm going back to playing UO!!

Also, i have this idea called Napster...

Stay at 3DO for another 3-4 years. When the stock hits $17, sell it all.
Buy stock or try and get a job at Google.
Introduce myself to wife. (6 years earlier)
Note to self, tell Florida Democrats that butterfly ballot is a really dumb idea!

Man, cruising around campus and picking up chicks sure is hard in my 1984 brown Ford Tempo. Freshman year's not exactly off to a great start.

[font=comic sans ms]I will say this, the site is loading a lot faster for me now.[/font]

Chairman_Mao wrote:

[font=comic sans ms]I will say this, the site is loading a lot faster for me now.[/font]

Maybe after the whole 4chan / tumblr battle we decided to streamline.

Chairman_Mao wrote:

[font=jokerman]I will say this, the site is loading a lot faster for me now.[/font]

[font=jokerman]FTFY.[/font]

casual_alcoholic wrote:

My eyes hurt.

This.

Grubber788 wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

[font=jokerman]I wIlL sAy ThIs, ThE sItE iS lOaDiNg A lOt FaStEr FoR mE nOw.[/font]

[font=jokerman]FTFY.[/font]

[font=jokerman]DoUbLe FtFy[/font]