Tag Archives: video gaming

“Have you played Atari today?”

A little while ago, after reading “Ready Player One” again (Spielberg is making a movie!) and after seeing a couple of tech talks by old Atari game programmers, I was lamenting that I sold my old Atari VCS so many years ago.  Well, Darlene jumped on this comment, found a bundle someone was selling on eBay and surprised me with an early birthday gift.  Yup, an old Atari VCS/2600 (four switch version), a set of controllers and a bundle of game cartridges. Sweet!  (I think my brother and I actually had the six-switch, Sears-rebranded version, but still very cool!) Thanks, Darlene!

I immediately had to go fill out the set of 40 cartridges with a couple of other games I remember us playing a lot.  Of course then was the challenge of hooking it up: the Atari outputs an analog RF TV signal… on an RCA-plug cable.  You can use an adapter like this one to go from RCA plug to coax TV cable input.  I don’t have a TV tuner, so rather than pulling a VCR out of a box in a closet, I hooked it up via my old USB EyeTV tuner/video converter to my MacBook – success!

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Yeah, you can play any of these games via emulation on a modern computer, or even a smartphone/iPad, but there’s something very different about jamming the physical cartridge into the old physical console and handling that classic Atari joystick.  (And having to use cotton swabs and alcohol to clean the contacts on all of the Activision cartridges to get them to work again!)

It’s been fun to pick these up and rediscover old visual/procedural memories, like the admittedly-simple path through the Adventure maze.  Some titles are only vaguely familiar until you plug them in and see the game again and then go “aha!!”

So… to paraphrase Atari’s old marketing… have you played your Atari today?

to_be_continued

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Red Alert! Shields Up!

Got some friends together on Sunday to try out Artemis — a “spaceship bridge simulator” game where each person takes on a different role and we work together to successfully complete the mission: helm, weapons, science, engineering, communications, command.  We did have some “technical difficulties” and some “minor disasters” (our ship sometimes completely destroyed) but everybody enjoyed the experience — it was a lot of geeky fun!

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Darlene was busy working but she was there in spirit — particularly after she sent a photo of herself in uniform.  (Yes, those boots may not be “Starfleet regulation” — but I wholeheartedly approve!)

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The Wrath of Denethenor

This is a fantasy adventure game I designed and wrote for the Apple II in 1984-85.

A print magazine advertisement.

I began writing the game in my last year of high school and finished it up during my first year of college. A friend from high school, Kevin Christiansen, helped out by building the graphics routines for the Apple II version.  At Sierra On-Line’s request, I ported the game to the Commodore 64 — which was only possible since it shared the same processor family — but required redoing all the graphics routines. Continue reading »

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Almost worried there

Whew!  I was almost getting worried there… it had been almost a year since I last received any fan mail!   Thanks Nathan!  It’s always great to hear from folks who really enjoyed the game!

Date: April 4, 2012 3:23:29 PM PDT
Subject: Wrath of Denethenor
 
 Chris, I am sure you have received this type of email before. But, I was talking with a co-worker this week about how we all got hooked on computers. I told the story of my commodore 64 and my first computer “crack” called Wrath of Denethenor. After all of these years and many adventures, it is still the first magic that I have been trying to relive since.I decided to look and see if it was still surviving in some fashion and ran across your website. So, I wanted to send you an email and thank you for creating a game that made such a lasting impact on it’s players. Enjoy your adventure!
 
Regards,
Nathan
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Geek Club Meetup – Arcade Gaming

Pictures from a meetup with “The Geek Club” for “California Extreme” – a terrible name for a video game arcade convention:

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Yay, more fan mail!

Date: May 4, 2011 1:46:31 PM PDT
Subject: Thank you!
for making Wrath of Denethenor waaaaaaaaaay back in the mid 80s. It
was my first fore into RPG games in general.found your website via google and just wanted to drop you a line and
say thanks! WoD had a huge impact on me as a kid and it’s still one of
my all-time favourite games. Maybe one day you can update it for a
modern PC if time ever allows. I’d love to play it again.Anyhow, take care Chris. Just wanted to express how much I enjoyed the game.

jeff
 
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“Huge fan”

Date: January 10, 2009, at 9:20 PM PST
Subject: Huge fan of Wrath of Denethenor

Hi. My name is Franco and im a 33 year old video game junkie. Today I was trying to remember the first computer game I ever played and all I could think about was this really cool RPG game back when I had an Apple IIc but couldnt remember the name of it. So i started googling Apple II RPG games and went thru a whole list of them until I saw a title that stood out and looked familiar.I clicked on the link and it brought me to your page and right when I saw the screen shots you posted I knew I had found the game.I have often thought of this game through the years, it emersed me into a whole other dimension and was my very first rpg game i have ever played. I want to thank you for giving me an awesome gaming experience that has stayed with me after all these years.Is there some way to play this game on an emulator? i know its a very dated game but I know it will bring back many memories of staying up late at night when my parents thought I was in bed and playing hours and hours of this game.

Hi Franco,

It’s great to hear that you enjoyed my game.  I have seen the game run in emulation for both Com64 and Apple II but I haven’t gone looking for the disk images to download in a long while.  So I know it’s possible but I don’t have any tips as to where to get them.

Thanks again for writing though!

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Wrath of Denethenor

On May 26, 2008, at 12:43 PM, space aliens may have forced Andrew Darovich to write

Hey there. I was recently poking around at Lemon64.com, a Commodore 64 site and came across Wrath of Denethenor….

I googled it a bit and came across your actual website!

…. Do you happen to have source for the C64 still that would be viewable? I’m a fledgling C64 programmer and always wanted to look at Ultima style games’ source codes!

Thanks for reading!

—-Andrew

Hi Andrew,

Sorry, no source code available… besides, you might want to look into a more modern system and/or language! I did the Wrath in 6502 assembly!

Good luck,
Chris

Oh, but thats the point!   I’m a young kid (20) that grew up in the wrong decade!  I’ve gotten myself really into the C64, and have been reading all sorts of 6502 assembly books, haha!

It’s a backward step from the C/C++ that I usually do things in.

Thanks for your reply!  :)

—-Andrew

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Denethenor was great!

On Feb 19, 2008, at 7:23 PM, space aliens may have forced Mike to write:

Hi Christopher,

I have great memories of playing your game on the C-64 and I still rank it up there with Bard’s Tale, Ultimas, Might and Magic, Magic Candle, etc. I was thinking about game-playing 20 years ago and happen to google upon you and your site. Just wanted to say thanks for a great game and can’t believe you were so young when you did it! Still waiting for “Return to Denethenor” and hope you made a little money for your effort. I’m guessing you never wanted to make any other games?? Wish you had more info on your web site re. the making of the game… I’m a 52 year old guy who played alot of RPG’s back in the day on C-64’s and Amigas and just wanted to say thanks! Find some free time and post some more info about your game… it had just the right balance of rewards and frustration. Thanks, (and enjoyed the many pics of your life and travels).

Mike

Thanks Mike!  It’s always great to hear from people who enjoyed the game.  I did enjoy writing it but I’ve been pretty preoccupied with my work on the FileMaker product family ever since and I rarely feel like doing any additional programming on a game or something in my free time.  Who knows though, maybe someday….

Again, thanks for writing!

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Ski Weekend in Tahoe

Another fun ski weekend with the Bay Area Outdoor Adventure Club – at Squaw Valley and Northstar.  Click through for the full gallery of images — including some amusing video clips of Matt and Rajin trying to knock each other out in Wii Boxing:

  

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Wrath :D

Date: Thursday, April 12, 2007 9:36 AM
Subject: Wrath :D

Wow, I never thought I’d find reference to Wrath of Denethenor anywhere ever again.  Was one of my favorite RPGs back in the good ol’ Commie-64 days!  Wish there was a PC version for old times sake.

Thanks!  It’s always great to hear that people enjoyed the game.  Sorry, no PC version, but you might be able to find an emulator for the Com-64.

Cheers!

But that would be piracy. :D  (I can’t prove I owned the game, though I probably have the box somewhere stored at my mom’s house back in California, heh)

– ModemMisuser

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Never Finished

My name is Nathan and I am a student at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.  I once owned an Apple II C and a copy of all literally “floppy” discs of Wrath of Denethenor.  However my father was in the Army in Fort Ord in 1986 and we moved in 1988.  During the move, one of the discs got damaged and I was not able to complete the game.  This has bothered me for 18 years.  I have looked for your game repeatedly and it is almost impossible to find.  I knew a MOD would not cut it so I decided to find you instead.  I was wondering if there is any place you know where I could find a copy of this game.  I still have my original apple II C.  Any advice would be much appreciated.  I need this closure in my life.

Thank You,
Nathan

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The Wrath of Denethenor

Dear Mr. Crim:

My name is Marc.  My Grandmother bought me The Wrath of Denethenor game when I was 13 years old(1987).  I instantly got hooked.  When our computer went down in 1990, I haven’t been able to play since.  I have, however, been looking to see if the game was made adaptable to other computers.  Was the game ever made for compact disc?  I have a Mac Computer, and wonder if a disc version was made available so that I could once again play what I consider the best role-playing game ever made.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Marc S.

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Denethenor Lives!

— On 11/10/06 11:16 PM, space aliens may have forced Steve M. to write:

 Hi Chris,

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed Wrath of Denethenor. It was my favorite game for the Apple IIe. I got the IIe when I was in 7th grade, more than 18 years ago. I played it for hours (until the wee hours) and eventually finished it. I really had a lot of fun with it.

I have a few confessions to make though….I remember figuring out that I could cheat the towns by using a “anger management disk” when leaving a town or social area after attacking and robbing them. If I swapped the floppy right before exiting the town, the disk would store their anger and tempers towards my character and when re-entering the town, I would insert my all is good “clean” disk…and they would be happy to see me. Invariably I would just rob them again, which didn’t always seem fair…and they would be none the wiser the next time. I racked up a lot of resources that way. I felt pretty proud of myself that I’d figured that one out.

One more thing, I didn’t pay for the game L I downloaded it from some AE/Elite board on my 1200 baud modem at midnight some school night no doubt when it was late enough that I could use the phone like for multiple hours for downloading. Squinty O’ Toole’s Elite BBS, or something similar. How times have changed with the Internet. I was in 7th grade I think… How much was the game in the store? I’d like to pay you for it now. Let me know and I’ll paypal you the cost. Seriously J

Continue reading »

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“I say let his WRATH be REBORN!”

Date: June 12, 2006 4:34:21 PM PDT
Subject: I say let his WRATH be REBORN!!!!

Hello Christopher,

Found your website on yahoo doing a search (just for the hell of it) for Wrath of Denethenor – a game that I still enjoy and that ranks high on my list…

ULTIMA III: EXODUS
FINAL FANTASY VII
WRATH OF DENETHENOR

Every other game I have played (I’m 33 now and still enjoy RPGs but hell, they don’t pay the bills!) just is in my mind either a cheap immitation, or just don’t do it quite the same.

I still have my old Apple IIc (the damn thing still works!) with working copies of Wrath– and Uhh… I just beat it again a few weeks ago, except now I’m just too damn good at it.

Continue reading »

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Denethor or Denethenor?

Hey, Chris!

I just came across your website in the most bizarre of ways.. let me explain.

First let me say I was a huge fan of your game “Wrath of Denethenor” way back in the day when I was living in Vermont and using my old Apple ][+ exclusively (I still have it, and it still works, if you can believe it).  Having been completely blown away by the Ultima series, I decided to try your game, and loved it.  So, hats off to you for that.

Now fast forward – to what?  20 years?  Has it really been that long?  Wow…

I was recently on the D.C. metro heading to work, reading the Lord of the Rings “Return of the King” for the first time ever, and the character “Denethor” was introduced.  Soon after I read about “Denethor’s wrath” referring to his attitude regarding the declining state of his army, his son, and his kingdom in the midst of a war. I thought to myself – wait a minute, that sounds familiar… except that the arch-villain was “DenethENor”.  Coincidence?

So out of sheer curiosity I googled Denethenor, came across your site, and figured I’d ask you, introduce myself, and let you know there are people out there who, 20 years later, have not forgotten that wily bastard who comes after you. ;)

Cheers to you my friend, a true pioneer of the early era.

Darren

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