Monday, March 7, 2011

Dark Castle Adventure

Does anyone else remember an old DOS game called Castle Adventure? Follow this link to jog your memory. I remember playing this game many years ago on a friend's Tandy1000 PC - a great, chunky, noisy, utilitarian looking beast of a thing, and it was in many ways one of my earliest introductions to the joys of video games.

The memory of Castle Adventure itself was triggered in a bit of an unusual way. Let me preface the story with a promise that it does not contain gross stuff: I was using a friend's toilet. I hadn't used it at this point, but was in the process of intending to (a detail which is imperative to the following), when the particular combined aroma of their scented toilet paper and their chosen brand of deodoriser was like some B-movie flashback sequence trigger. Memories of Tandy1000-Friend's toilet some 20 years previously, and more critically an unrelated (albeit bizarrely connected) series of vivid memories of playing these old computer games accosted me with such force that I briefly forgot what I was in there for.

Sometime later, and in a great deal more comfort than I had been previously, I found myself Googling a huge list of old video games that I hadn't thought about in years. Ultima, Bard's Tale, Digger, Eye of the Beholder, and of course Castle Adventure being some of the more noteworthy ones. Castle Adventure in particular. Not that I can clearly explain why it has so much appeal to me. Maybe it was the mix of Pacman-like labyrinthine escape gameplay, exploration, and (simple) puzzles. Maybe it was also a bit to do with the antiquated graphics and the need to fill it in with imagination. I expect it's something like the passion that drives Nethack players, but in the "...For Dummies" version.

And then, as I'm wont to do, I was hit with the overwhelming urge to pay it homage - to attempt to capture the essence of it in my own way, which is kind of a nice way of saying "rip it off". Here are my early efforts:

It's is a bit of a weird way to get back into the creative contract, so forgive me for being particularly underwhelming, but I'm really excited about this in a weirdly nostalgic and childlike way.

Also, the art is way easy to do (LOL).


  1. I approve of this message. Are you going to go the whole hog and make a full game of it?

  2. That's the goal. At any rate, it's now one of my many work-in-progress projects in my "Creative" folder. I have a few screens designed, I'm going to start on the character tomorrow. I'm making the art more complicated than it needs to be, but I figured I'd go for a NES level of detail/palette/resolution.

  3. Oh I didn't mention in the post, but the image is actually an in-engine screenshot. It's built up from a sprite sheet, and all of the collision systems are working, so I just need to create a character and figure out the room-to-room portal/zoning system and I'll be able to make some (dull) videos.

  4. I don't know if you know about this, but it seems to be what you're craving...and it releases this week!