Saturday, October 19, 2019

I don't know about a Dark Tower board game reboot

So I heard that there is a Kickstarter campaign for some company wanting to reboot the old 1981 electronic board game Dark Tower.

I've written on this before.  Owing to the lawsuit that shut down production, and the shape of the game which made storing it a pain, and led to the majority of games likely thrown into the wind like my copy, it was one of the holy grails of old retro games.

When I pulled strings to get a working copy, I wondered if my boys would like it or if the hype they had been exposed to for their entire life would make it impossible to live up to.  As I said here, it turns out they like it.  It is what it is.  They love the brutal randomness of it.  No attempts at AI here, it's all random.  You can go the whole game and have nothing bad happen, or get plastered every turn.  That's half the fun.

They also appreciate the effort and quality that went into it.  As they said, it's like the moon landing.  Folks say a cell phone has more memory than we had for the first moon landing.  And yet today we seem to have no end of problems that they were able to overcome back then with more efficiency.  Something about the more tech we have, the less good we are at using the tech we have.

Nonetheless, much of the fun is just playing a game they heard so much about.  For me it's pure nostalgia and fun with the boys.  The game play is almost incidental.  Truth be told, we play it once every few months because that's all the time we have anymore, plus much more and I think it would wear out its welcome.

A recent game with a few of the boys

A close up of the quality that met the consumer in the fantasy heyday of the early 80s

A brand new version?  I don't know.  Some fear it would just be a shell with updated or - worse - PC variations.  For instance, the famous sound effects - including the Bazaar theme - might be dropped, and that would be a shame.  Or it would be rebuffed with female this or make sure you have all demographic assignments represented or such that.

Not to mention, on the practical level, you just can't go back.  You can visit, but not go back.  To have an actual copy of the original, enjoy it with the family, and see the boys relish in the chance to play this artifact of great worth is one thing.  But just to play it?  In 2020?  A version just released with nothing more to it than any other hundred games on the shelf?  In a world where you can get a thousand variations of a fantasy game, board or otherwise, and find millions of texts and graphics illustrating the same? I don't know.  Maybe.  But it might just become a piccolo in an orchestra of fantasy tubas when all is said and done.

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