Thursday, June 26, 2008

Press F5 to construct an adventure

As a pale youth, I spent many an hour perfecting my DC Universe-themed game on Adventure Construction Set, one of my favorite programs for my trusty Commodore 64.

This program allowed you to essentially design your own top-down RPG. It had a metric crapton of tile art that you could repurpose for your gaming needs, and with time and effort, you could even share your completed game with friends.

I was hoping to replicate the then-relatively recent Crisis on Infinite Earths maxiseries. Trying to rename characters and choosing semiappropriate tile graphics took so long that by the time I'd get to renaming locations, I was getting punchy.

I never quite got to the finished stage, alas; too many details kept cropping up. I'd polish up a bunch of stuff, get impatient and let the program finish designing the adventure for me, and then when I played it, I'd get things like Green Lantern entering the Fertile Crescent and being attacked by a snake or something goofy like that.

I also had the pinball and music construction sets, but this one was by far the most played.

Here's an example of the intro and a demo that highlights some of the features. This version is for the Apple II, but it's close enough for our purposes here.

Just thinking about this program makes me remember all the sounds the computer made. Closing the disc drive, listening to it whir, and thinking that you could gauge the progress of the loading by the sounds it made.

It's over 20 years later, and I still have yet to play a kickass Crisis on Infinite Earths game. Maybe I should bust the ACS out again...