Friday, February 14, 2014

"TWO GAMES THAT PUT YOU IN YOUR PLACE", NES, 1991.

In case you were wondering what the Hillsfar box art looked like, here's a peek at its incredibly generic art. (And here, an incredibly generic ad design: we are selling two games -- here is what their boxes will look like on store shelves.) Yes, three years down the line, these games found their way converted to the NES, for better or for worse. Hillsfar probably suffered less in the conversion, excepting of course that it could not realise its raison d'ĂȘtre, importing characters from Pool to buff for later export back to Pool. Here, as in most games, the grinding would just have to be an end unto itself.
TWO GAMES THAT PUT YOU IN YOUR PLACE
NOW YOU HAVE TWO OFFICIAL AD&D FORGOTTEN REALMS WORLDS TO CHALLENGE!
The Walled City of Hillsfar!


Ride your horse past the gates of Hillsfar and find that it's been conquered by Maalthir, who rules with his powerful magic and his ruthless guards. Stripped of your weapons, you must use your wits to overcome the obstacles in your path.
  • More than 2 megs of memory
  • Long-life lithium battery saves play positions
  • Game missions change depending on character selection
Find the Pool of Radiance!
The legendary pool, said to give warriors tremendous strength, may help your band of adventurers restore the ruined city of Phlan to its former glory. Drive out the terrifying armed guards who have taken over, destroying minotaurs and orcs along the way.
  • Over 4 megs of playing power
  • Long-life lithium battery saves play positions
  • Based on the internationally-known AD&D PC game


The ad copy is strange stuff. The headline suggests punishment, but where is my place? Is my place the Forgotten Realms? The blurbs emphasize the games' plot, something that the computer-version ads really skipped lightly over. But then you hit the virtually identical bullet lists of hardware features: long-life lithium batteries and 2 megs of memory (vs. 4 megs of playing power -- an important distinction that I cannot instinctively unravel.) My recollection of Pool is that the legendary pool gives powers to the game's antagonist, not to the party of heroes: also, how curious to present it as a game in which players destroy minotaurs and orcs, specifically. (Hillsfar is the one most closely associated with minotaurs, as we have seen, and yet it goes unmentioned here. Go figure.)
I do like the way Pool of Radiance's logo is outlined groovily, while Hillsfar gets stuck with a more conventional typography. How can we make these boxes consistent and distinctive?
I'll take a momentary break from AD&D tomorrow to talk up something topical!