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     It looks like I’ve been a bad boy this month.  I’ve hardly done any blogging at all.  I’ve done even less writing.  So, you’re probably wondering, “What’s he been up to, anyway?”  At least, I hope that’s what you’ve been wondering.  So, let’s go down and see what I’ve been doing.

     First, if you’ve ever read my blog before you know that I’m stuck in some melancholy loop that revolves around the 1980’s and the computers of yesteryear.  Well, I dusted off the old Atari 8-bit emulator and thought I could finish some games that I never finished before.  Then I remembered just how many games that I started that I never did finish.  And that’s a lot of them.


Dunzhin – By Screenplay

     I am one of the few people I know that bought Dunzhin.  All right, I’m the only person I know that bought it.  I loved role playing games and the idea of running around a dark dungeon with a sword.  The graphics are, um, functional.  Even for the Atari 8-bit, they were a bit lacking.  But that’s not the important part when it comes to RPG’s.

     The premise of Dunzhin is that you’re sent into the Dunzhin to find an object and then bring it back.  An awful lot like the games Nethack, Moria, Rogue, and a few dozen others.  While searching different rooms for your quest object, which I must add was a randomly chosen thing with ridiculous names like “The Screaming Hand of Obyxx,” you could run into a variety of trouble.  Pits could open beneath your feet, you could fall flat on your face tripping on a trip wire, noxious gas could fill the room, or you could be attacked by enemies.

     Ten minutes after starting Dunzhin I remembered why I never finished it.  It’s insanely hard.  Your character is very weak when you start and, unlike many games, you have different body parts that can be attacked and each part has its own health.  While, overall, you may have 35 hit points, your right arm may only have two.  So, if you were unlucky enough to get scratched on your right arm, well, then it’s game over.  And that happens a lot.  If that weren’t bad enough you frequently get teleported all over the place.  Some disembodied women decides she doesn’t like you and bam!, you’re off somewhere else.  Usually deeper in the

dungeon where you don’t stand a chance of surviving.  And just when you think you’re getting a handle on all of it, bopping dwarves on the head, lopping off zombie arms, and whatever, you wade into battle and have your sword bust on you.  And that happens a lot, too.

     Don’t get me wrong, though.  Dunzhin really is a good game.  In battle you can target different body parts of the enemy, and some enemies have some nasty weak spots.  For instance, a zombie won’t have any armor on his right arm, so if you start fighting one that’s where you want to aim.  But if it wasn’t for the “Save State” feature of Atari800win Plus or Atari800 I think I would have given up a long time ago.  Again.

     Perfect example.  I just started it up so I could get a screen shot.  I walked about ten steps before being attacked by four zombies.  My first attack missed.  A zombie’s first attack hit my neck.  Whoops!  Game over.  Total time spent in game before dying?  One minute.

Kaiv_Box Art Kaiv – By Screenplay

     Dunzhin was the first game in the “Warrior of RAS” series.  Kaiv was the second.  Since I actually did like Dunzhin, despite keeling over dead the moment I walked into it, I picked up Kaiv as well. 

     Kaiv is similar to Dunzhin in that the game play is nearly identical.  Some differences are that instead of walking through a dark dungeon, you’re walking through a dark cave.  The graphics for the walls are different, too.

     But it does have some interesting points that make it an evolution over Dunzhin.  For one, you can buy more than one sword.  So, when your sword breaks you can switch to a back up.  You also have to buy your own armor.  And, unlike Dunzhin, you need to buy torches.  You can probably guess that your torches have a tendency to be blown out frequently.

     There were two other games in the “Warrior of RAS” series: Wylde and Ziggurat.  I’ve never seen them for sale, though, or else I would have bought them also. 

     There are a couple of other games, but I’ll get to them later because they’re much bigger and grander.

     Joost.com has a bunch of episodes of the television show, “Have Gun – Will Travel” starring Richard Boone.  I’ve been watching a lot of these and, despite the fact that I don’t care for Westerns all that much, I have to say that I consider this one of the best shows ever written.  The character of Paladin is just amazing: part scoundrel, part nobleman, part Robin Hood.  Some people may be surprised to know that Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) was one of the writers for this show.

     The stories aren’t just “gun slinger kills guy” stories, either.  There’s a lot of subtlety in how he goes about his business.  They’re old, from the 1950’s, but I highly recommend them.

     So, there you go.  A minor update into what I’ve been doing lately.