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A Dragons Lair Report Below....
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This page to give a brief history or game play and graphics of the different classic games as you click on their hyperlink. There is a lot of information to learn about each game. Like a retro games history lesson in the making. Have fun.

                                

Year Developed Game Title Manufacturer



1974 [Pong] Atari/Nolan Bushnell
1979 [Asteroids] Atari
1979 Asteroids [History]
1980 [Pac Man] Midway
1980 [Tempest] Atari
1980 [Star Castle] CinemaTronics
1980 [Battle Zone] Atari
1980 Battle Zone [History]
1980 [Centipede] Atari

1980 [Missile Command] Atari
1981 [Donkey Kong] Nintendo
1981 [Gorf] Atari
1981 [Stargate] Midway
1981 [Scramble] Konami/Sega
1981 [Galaga] Namco/Midway
1981 [Frogger] Konami/Sega
1981 Frogger [Play Game]
1982 [Moon Patrol] Irem




1982 [Dig Dug] Namco/Atari
1982 [Mr. Do!] Namco/Atari
1982 [Q Bert] Gottlieb
1982 Q Bert[Play Game]
1982 [Defender] Williams
1982 [Joust] Williams
1982 [Robotron] Williams
1982 [Track/Field] Konami
1983 [Spy Hunter] Midway
1983 Spy Hunter[Play Game]
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Film And Television: Video Game Film Festival announced 
Posted by Spike Wyatt @ 6:55 

An interesting, and historical idea which just arrived in my inbox - a Video Game Film
Festival. Here's the info:

"In the last 25 years of film and TV viewing, video games have been the focus of countless
feature films, TV commercials, game shows, news clips and special features, all heralding
the cultural impact felt by these new marvels of space age technology. 

For the first time, the historical legacy created by these film and TV appearances will be
celebrated with a special event called the 1st Annual Video Game Film Festival, which will
take place during the 2001 Classic Video Game World Championship, Saturday, June 2, 2001,
at the famous Funspot Family Fun Center in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire. Co-sponsored by
Funspot and the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard, the Festival will treat the viewers
to a wide sampling of short features, full-length films and broadcast news clips that define
different periods in the evolution of the video game. 

Among the pieces to be viewed is Hollywood Zap, a little-known feature film that was shot in
arcades around Los Angeles in 1983. It reached very few screens before it made its way to
videotape and is now nearly impossible to find. Produced by the late Ben Frank, who also
starred in the lead role, the story depicts the adventures of a Wall Street stockbroker who
leaves New York to find the "Zap," the world's greatest video game player, who is famous for
playing the game Zaxxon. 

Other historically significant pieces to be viewed are the "That's Incredible Ms. Pac-Man
World Championship", which was broadcast on October 11, 1982, and the "North American Video
Game Olympics", which was co-produced by That's Incredible and Twin Galaxies on January 8-9,
1983. This Olympics is now viewed to be video game history's first video game world
championship. 

Dragon's Lair - 1983
The highlight of the event will be the screening of the special "Dragon's Lair" episode of Starcade - The Starcade television show was history's first and only Video Arcade game show. This special episode focuses solely on Dragon's Lair, a laser game hotline, a champion Dragon's Lair player that completes all screens, a Space Ace Hotline and a 30-second Starcade commercial that you don't want to miss." -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dragons Lair Marquee
DRAGON'S LAIR 3D: RETURN TO THE LAIR SHIPS TO STORES NATIONWIDE
Dragons Lair Marquee
Dirk the Daring Returns in an All-New, 3D Adventure for the Xbox and PC SAN FRANCISCO, CA - November 18, 2002 - Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair for the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft and the PC has shipped to retail stores nationwide. Developed by Dragonstone Software, Dragon's Lair 3D features the same fun, pick-up-and-play gameplay that made the arcade version a blockbuster hit in 1983. Now gamers will be able to experience Dragon's Lair 3D with the highest quality graphics and sound available today. Dragon's Lair 3D is rated "T-Teen" and is available for a suggested retail price of $49.99 on Xbox and $29.99 on PC.
Dragons Purple Dragon
"Dragon's Lair is a classic, landmark game that has always pushed the gaming industry's limits in terms of graphics and gameplay," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment. "Dragon's Lair 3D is now the FIRST Xbox title to feature 1080i HDTV compatibility, breathing vibrant color to the characters and environments that jump off the screen!"
Dragons Lair - Save Daphne from the clutches of the Dragon
The Legend Continues! True to the classic arcade phenomenon, Dragon's Lair sets players against the menacing dragon Singe and the evil wizard Mordroc to save the beautiful Princess Daphne. With full control of Dirk the Daring, a valiant but clumsy knight, Dragon's Lair 3D players fight their way through the castle's treacherous, labyrinthine-like halls to overcome new monsters and obstacles lurking in the shadows. Incredible new gameplay includes jumping over flaming pits, climbing ropes to fly across chasms, and battling swarms of the wizard's minions with Dirk's sword and crossbow. Other game features include: " 18 large, detailed, action-packed levels featuring more than 40 environments to explore and 250+ rooms with numerous puzzles, traps, power-ups and hidden secrets to uncover " A real-time, 3D modeled and hand painted, textured world features new next-generation visuals" The first Xbox title to feature 1080i High Definition TV graphics mode, along with 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen support " New intro and ending movies hand-animated by legendary animator Don Bluth "Dragon's Lair is a franchise loved by fans all over the world for more than 20 years," said Rick Dyer, president and CEO of Dragon's Lair, LLC. "Reinventing this franchise into a three-dimensional world utilizing the most powerful game graphics ever will be a treat for Dirk fans everywhere." About Ubi Soft Entertainment Ubi Soft Entertainment is an international producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products. A leading company in the multimedia industry, Ubi Soft's strong and diversified line-up has grown considerably, as has Ubi Soft itself. As well as steadfastly continuing to partner with several high-profile companies, Ubi Soft has also confirmed its presence on the global market by developing its own exceptional properties. Founded in 1986 in France, Ubi Soft is now present on every continent, both through offices in 22 different countries including the United States, Brazil, Morocco, Germany and China and through sales of products in over 50 countries. The group is dedicated to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge video game titles to consumers around the world. To learn more, visit www.ubi.com. About Dragon's Lair LLC Based in San Diego, California, Dragon's Lair LLC is a joint venture between Digital Leisure and the original creators of the 1983 arcade smash hit Dragon's Lair. Dragon's Lair LLC is comprised of legendary animation professionals Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy, as well as veteran video game creator Rick Dyer. Rounding out the partnership is multimedia industry veteran David Foster, president of Digital Leisure Inc. and the publisher of the Dragon's Lair 2D versions. Dragon's Lair LLC is committed to creating state-of-the-art interactive titles that are supported by motion picture, broadcast and toy ventures. 2002 Ubi Soft Entertainment. All rights reserved. Ubi Soft Entertainment and the Ubi Soft logo are registered trademarks of Ubi Soft, Inc. The Dragon's Lair name, logo, characters and indicia are either registered trademarks, trademarks, or copyrights of Dragon's Lair LLC and Don Bluth, and are used under license with permission.
Dragons Lair 20th Anniversary New release in 2002
The Dragon's Lair 3D game 2002 Dragon's Lair LLC and Don Bluth. All rights reserved. The original Dragon's Lair game 1983 Bluth Group Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Xbox is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Player 2 Stage 6: Laser Daze Link The following information is provided by the following author: William Hunter The site name is The Dot Eaters: Video Game History 101 Link The link is http://www.thedoteaters.com And the link directly to the page with the Dragon's Lair info is Link http://www.thedoteaters.com/p2_stage6.php In 1982, the arcade videogame industry makes three times as much money as the movie biz, with double the number of videogame arcades than there were in 1980. While there's no dire disaster like with their home console brethren, arcade gaming faces a slump in 1983. Even though hits like Star Wars, TRON and Zaxxon keep collecting quarters, business is down some 40%, and it is estimated that up to 1/2 of the arcades formed during the boom will close this year.
Dragons Lair Fire
One wonders if perhaps the creators were also inspired by the 1981 fantasy film "Dragonslayer", starring Peter MacNicol and Ralph Richardson. Daphne herself bears more than a passing resemblance to Marilyn Monroe, and her looks are rumoured to be inspired from the pages of Playboy. At each of the 800 decision points in the storyline, the player must use either the joystick or the sword button to direct the on-screen Dirk to make a move. If it's the correct one, the laserdisc scans to the next part of the game.
New Dragons Lair
If it's the wrong one, a death scene is displayed and the player loses a life. The gang at Bluth Group, with a staff of 70, logs hundred of unpaid hours of overtime to finish the animation. Dragon's Lair consists of a total of 27 minutes of animation, or 50,000 drawings. Played straight through without making a mistake, playing time is a total of six minutes. Each second of screen time takes 24 hand-painted cells, a number higher than the industry standard, and the total animation budget comes out to 1.3 million dollars. Although there are 42 different rooms in Singe's castle, the player only has to survive 18 of them to win. To keep the game from becoming too repetitive, the system cycles randomly through the pool of rooms. Keeping costs down rules out professional voice acting; talent is culled from the staff. Dirk himself is practically mute, save for his occasional grunts of effort, Homer Simpsonish yelps, or screams of anguish during the numerous and frequently gruesome death scenes. His exultations are provided by assistant editor Dan Molina, and clean-up animator Vera Lanpher is the breathy voice of Daphne. Chris Stone is responsible for the brief musical stings and bridges in the game.
Dragons Lair Spider
1983 Into the Dragon's Lair Cinematronics releases Dragon's Lair in 1983, which was the first arcade game to feature laser-disc technology. As such, the game was also one of the first to incorporate stereo sound and actual human voices. The animation staff--former Disney artists--use their own voices for the characters. After four years of development, Dragon's Lair is released to arcades July 1, 1983 as the first marketed game to feature laserdisc technology. Cinematronics manufactures and markets the game, and by doing so phase out their vector game projects. Since the units cost arcade operators an unprecedented US$ 4000 dollars each, twice the cost of a conventional cabinet, it becomes the first game to cost 50 cents to play in many arcades. At the time, I remember being incensed by this increase; in a decade or so, among games costing $1.00 or more, I'll be thinking back to how good I had it at 50 cents. The game is the first arcade system with filmed, animated action, but it is barely interactive. While the compelling attract mode lures passersby with the promise of the ability to "control the actions of a daring adventurer", a player can merely decide when and where Dirk should move or use his sword. But despite the price hike and the lack of deep interaction, Dragon's Lair causes a sensation in the arcades. No one can certainly complain about its rich, beautifully drawn images, harkening back to the classical animation days of yore.
Dragons Lair Dirk the Dragon Slayer
At its peak, Dragon's Lair brings in on average around $1400 a week, about 80 times the amount of a conventional game at the time. In the first eight months of its release to the arcades, the game grosses 32 million dollars worth of quarters. Huge crowds gather around the machines, causing operators to install additional monitors on top of them to appease the thronging masses of players vying for a look. Starcom sells 43 million dollars worth of systems. Dragon's Lair also makes the biggest inroads into popular culture since the Pac-Man bonanza. Lunch boxes, board games, books, trading cards, and a moat-load of other merchandise hits the streets. Perhaps best cementing its status as an early 80's icon, ABC's cheese-fest human interest show "That's Incredible!" features Dragon's Lair in an on-air contest between champion players. It makes another TV appearance as a permanent prop on NBC's popular sitcom "Silver Spoons", debuting in September 1983. Featuring Ricky Schroder as a young kid who moves in with his rich father, seeing his Dragon's Lair (along with Asteroids, Tempest and Gorf) sitting in the background unused drives me crazy with jealousy. It goes on to receive the San Diego-based comic convention ComicCon's Inkpot Award for the First Interactive Laser Disc Arcade Game, as well as an Arkie Award from Electronic Games magazine for Best Arcade Audio/Visuals. It's also profiled in an all-Dragon's Lair episode of the videogame TV show Starcade. The game also sparks a debate along the lines of "Why is the Mona Lisa smiling?", as people wonder what Daphne whispers in Dirk's ear to illicit such a reaction at the end of the game.
Dragons Lair throne
But even as the game becomes a cultural phenomena it is apparent there are problems, both technical and conceptual. The first Dragon's Lair games contain the Pioneer PR-7820, one of the first lines of laserdisc players, released in 1979. They are notoriously unreliable and unsuited for the rough-and-tumble environment of the video arcade. Pioneer produced 25,000 of the units, with a majority of them ending up in every GM auto dealership in the U.S., used for training mechanics and demonstrating their 1980 model lineup. 5,000 are purchased by Cinematronics, and another 5,000 used for parts since the 7820 had been discontinued by the company. The units had been gathering dust in their warehouses until Dragon's Lair takes off, creating a huge demand for them. They are eventually replaced by LD-V1000 players from Pioneer, first introduced to market in 1983, which are more reliable but still skittish. The nature of Dragon's Lair is inherently frustrating to players learning the ropes (literally and figuratively), relying on split-second timing and sometimes obscure on-screen clues on what to do. Therefore, when a player protests a seemingly correct move ending in one of many death scenes, a swift kick or jostle of the game easily knocks the disc player out of alignment, rendering the game inoperable until it is repaired. Thus, many Dragon's Lair cabinets spend more time with "Out of Order" signs taped to their faces than actually working. When the game IS operating, it does suck up many a player's quarters, but critics point out that its gameplay sucks as well. While it tends to happen between game episodes and not in the middle of crucial moves, there is an annoying 2-second blackout while the scanning heads of the player find the next track, breaking the flow of the story. As well, the game is highly repetitive, extending the length of play by simply reversing the image of many rooms. Gameplay relies on rote memorization of the patterns and sheer reflexive movements of the joystick and button, keeping the player on a "rail" from which they cannot deviate. This also leads to the game's problem with "coin drop". Once someone knows all of the moves necessary to play, they can tie up the machine for all the time it takes to play through to the end. Thus is anyone else prevented from dropping in their two bits, limiting the amount of players and infuriating arcade owners.
Dragons Lair Green Monster
The animation for the sequel is started almost as soon as the Dragon's Lair artwork is finished. With a budget increased to 2 million, the sequel is named Space Ace. Its story, written by Shannon Donnelly, details the exploits of the dashing, heroic title character who's girlfriend Kimberly is kidnapped by the evil Commander Borf. Wielding the diabolical Infanto-ray, Borf zaps Ace into the nerdly Dexter and is threatening to turn everyone on Earth into a squealing ankle-biter. Dexter must race to save the girl and the planet before Borf infantizes the universe. As well as a new story, the game also incorporates some new design concepts. There are three different skill levels available to players: Space Cadet, Space Captain or Space Ace. Playing Cadet level, gamers miss about half of the animation in the game, while playing Ace covers the whole story. In addition, while Dexter is the main hero, at certain points in the story the energizer button on the game's control panel will flash, allowing the player to transform Dex into the muscle-bound Space Ace and complete the scene as him, turning back into Dexter at the end of the sequence. During the creation of the animation, actual models are built of Dexter's space ship StarPac and Ace's Space Cycle, which are then filmed and incorporated into the hand-drawn cells to be recoloured. This is done to aid animators with aspects of prospective and depth perception. Once again, the voices are done by staff members, including the processed voice of Don Bluth as the nasty Borf. Space Ace has 35 seperate tracks for sound effects, compared to only 14 in Dragon's Lair, and Chris Stone returns to compose a complete musical score for the game. Gameplay is much more frenetic, placing more moves closer together during a scene. However, there are also more flashing light clues to alert the player to the required move. With Dyer's company now known as RDI, they refine the technology, allowing Space Ace to access information on the laserdisc 50% faster than its predecessor. But as in Dragon's Lair, the action still offers only limited interaction for the player, as well as numerous scenes repeated in reverse mode. Hoping to defer the hefty cost of the Dragon's Lair units, arcade owners had been assured that any sequels to the game would be available as upgrade kits, allowing them to avoid the cost of purchasing a whole new game. This turns out not to be the case, however, and Space Ace must be purchased as a new unit. By the time the game is released late in 1983 by a newly renamed Magicom, the laser game fad is already losing steam, and Space Ace sells only 13 million worth. After its demonstrations at the A.M.O.A. in 1982, Sega decides that the technology in its revolutionary Astron Belt still needs work, and the game heads back to the drawing board even as its conception inspires a craze in laser games in the arcades. It is released in Japan mid-way through 1983, and when the U.S. division of Sega is bought by Bally/Midway the new owners keep fine-tuning the system. It is finally released in U.S. arcades late in the year. It offers more playability by letting the player freely control a computer generated spaceship from a chase view, superimposed on top of a filmed playfield. It must do battle against charging spaceships while soaring through space, across an alien landscape and through the tight metal corridors of a mother ship. While the attacking ships are on film, their laser fire is computer generated. A timer can be set by the operator to allow players 60 seconds of indestructibility, past which they will start losing lives. The video is culled from a combination of films, primarily from the Japanese science fiction movie "Message from Space" from prolific Toei Studios, probably most famous for their campy Godzilla flicks. Released in 1978, the film features American actor Vic Morrow and is a thinly veiled ripoff of Star Wars, which hit theatres only a year earlier. Both "Message" and another movie whom Astron Belt borrows footage from, the low-budget Roger Corman SF quickie "Battle Beyond the Stars", details the exploits of eight intergalactic mercenaries trying to defend a planet.
Dragons Lair 20th Anniversary - Dirk Fights King
The plot for both movies borrow liberally from Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai", as did indeed Star Wars. A TV series based on "Message" is produced by Toei, seen in America under the name "Swords of the Space Ark". Yet even more footage is taken from the "Genesis" sequence in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". And additional images are also created specifically for the game. Absent are the nagging blackouts from other laser based games, but the refined technology comes at a cost: the game misses most of the Dragon's Lair-fueled boom in the arcades. Using even more footage from "Message", along with some created for the game, Bally/Midway releases similar film-shooter Galaxy Ranger in 1984. It offers the innovation of allowing players to choose at certain parts in the action which path to fly during the game. Laser games rapidly split into two factions: limited decision animated stories, and video footage shooting games. Following the tradition of the later is M.A.C.H. 3 by Mylstar, a division of Gottlieb. Its play is similar to Astron Belt, but instead of cheesy movie visuals, MACH or Military Air Command Hunter features professionally shot arial photography with the player's computer generated jet aircraft superimposed. After inserting their 50 cents, gamers have the choice to face off against enemy planes and ground targets as a fighter, or to fly at high altitude over arial targets as a bomber. Using an elaborate flight stick, they can fire a machine gun at the targets as well as launch missiles as they infiltrate the enemy landscape. Targets to be destroyed are surrounded by a computer generated yellow box. The fighter sequences are generally low-flying affairs as the player must avoid the scenery while blowing up ground targets and shooting oncoming enemy planes and missiles. Taking the other choice, the bomber drops its payload on ground targets and destroys enemy fighters with its machine gun fire. Players are warned of approaching planes by a red warning signal at the top of the screen. Since the enemy country seems to have had some kind of nuclear mishap, the game later provides radioactive clouds for players to avoid. If they can survive till the end, the game takes 15 minutes to complete with a finale airport landing. All of the footage is filmed by a special aerobatic plane with cameras in its nose and belly. Available in a sit down cockpit and stand-up version, the game is a popular hit and is rated the #1 Player's Choice in RePlay magazine.
Dragons Lair Coiled Snake Attack
At the time M.A.C.H. 3 comes out in 1983, Gottlieb is enjoying a big hit with its "conventional" arcade game Q*bert, featuring a furry, big-nosed creature jumping through a M.C. Escher inspired playfield turning tiles different colours while being chased by a coiled snake. The lead designer of the game is Warren Davis, and he is tapped early on in the project to produce a MACH sequel that will be available as a conversion kit for the original. It is the idea of Dennis Nordman, who goes on to Williams/Bally/Midway to designs pinball games (Blackwater 1000, Party Zone, Whitewater, Indy 500, Dr. Dude, Demolition Man, Elvira and Scared Stiff), to develop a laser game that would replicate the feel of a 1950's martian movie. He writes a script around the premise with Gottlieb art director Rich Tracy and with the project titled Us Vs. Them the team begins to put together the footage. The story deals, as one can surmise from the title, with aliens attacking Earth. From a central command, military leaders send out pilots to fight the invaders from multiple points around the world. Utilizing the unique process of showing multiple views during a battle, the skirmishes take place in such locations as over the skyline of Chicago (home of Gottleib), a desert, a forest, and a final showdown in the alien mothership. A production company shoots all of the outdoor photography excluding the Chicago footage, using planes and helicopters. Nordman and Davis personally supervise the Chicago shoot, with a steadicam operator hanging out of a helicopter during a brisk, -26 degree Chicago day. They also are present during a shoot in a forest in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Inspired by the Endor forest scenes in "Return of the Jedi", the footage is taken as the steadicam operator moves through the dense trees. Sets are built in Chicago for between-wave cinematics taking place inside the control room and in the fighter cockpits, with Davis acting as co-director. A music soundtrack is composed by Gottlieb's in-house sound designer Dave Zabriskie, who conducts an orchestra for the score. Davis programs the game, as well as edits the footage together. Jeff Lee creates the computer overlay graphics of the player's fighter and enemy ships, and Dave Thiel does the sound; both had worked with Davis on Q*bert. While the game does wonders with the laserdisc shooter genre, by the time Us. Vs. Them is released, the laser game market is beginning to tarnish. Orders for M.A.C.H. 3 dwindle, reducing the market for its sequel, and Gottlieb enters into a lawsuit against its distributors. Us Vs. Them is eventually released in 1984, but never has a chance to succeed. One of the many animated game contenders is Cliff Hanger, licensed by Stern Electronics from Taito in 1983 for release in North America. It tells the story of Cliff Hanger, master cat burglar. In a resoundingly familiar plotline, his girlfriend Princess Clarissa is kidnapped by the evil Count Drago, and our hero must blah blah blah.... But wait! Our "hero" is actually using an alias! His real name is Lupin III, star of an immensely popular anime movie and TV series in Japan. Starting as a manga comic series in the late 60s by Katou Kazuhiko a.k.a. Monkey Punch, it is then developed into a TV series by Tokyo Movie Shinsha Co in 1971. Lupin's first appearance as a video game comes with Taito's Lupin III, released in 1980. In his laser incarnation he is accompanied by his longtime companions: Jigen, Goeman, and Fujiko. The animation comes mainly from 1979 Lupin film "The Castle of Cagliostro", with additional footage from 1978's "The Mystery of Mamo". The dialog for the game is changed in the English dubbing, turning Lupin into the daring Cliff. While it may not have a particularly original storyline, it does offer a new way of playing: the control panel contains a joystick and two buttons. One to control Lup...er, I mean CLIFF's hands, and the other his legs. When the action onscreen requires it, players must hit the correct button to perform the needed move. The graphics may not be quite on par with Dragon's Lair, but this is still a nice indoctrination into Japanese Anime which at the time of the game's release is very rare to find in America. Available to operators is a dip switch inside the cabinet to allow on-screen clues for the players to follow. And there is also another alteration made available for the game soon after its release. If the player fails in his mission and loses a life, a scene is shown of Cliff getting hanged from a gallows. Cliff. Hanged. Cliff Hanger. Get it? Even though Cliff appears in a pale blue tux at the end of the sequence to pretty much say "just kidding", watchdog groups are not amused and a modification is made available to skip the neck-stretching. Another child safeguard is designed into the game, although this one probably inadvertently: a scene with Cliff fighting a band of Ninjas is so incredibly difficult, with a rash of moves jumbled on top of each other in rapid-fire sequence, it prevents most kids from making it to the end and seeing what has to be one of the most gruesome finales in videogame history. Even so, only 550 machines are sold by Stern, and the game quickly drops off arcade radar screens.
Dragons Lair Dauphine
Are you seeing a pattern yet? When the Space Ace animation is completed, Bluth Group starts right in on the Dragon's Lair sequel, "Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp". The story has Dirk and Daphne married with 13 kids, and Daph is unsurprisingly kidnapped by Dirk's old nemesis Mordread. This requires our man in tights to use a time machine and chase the old crone through famous periods in time. Highlighted are even more graphic death scenes than the original. But as the market for the game collapses Cinematronics pulls the plug with a heartbreaking 80% of the animation work finished. Determined to see the game's release, Bluth continues to work on the project.
Dragons Lair - Dirk Becomes A Bunch Of Bones
After meeting Morris Sullivan, a dealer in classical animation, they form Sullivan Bluth Interactive Media, and under that development label the game is eventually released to arcades by Leland Corporation in 1992. Also released is a conversion kit to put the new game into Space Ace cabinets, but the laser days are long gone and the game sinks amid a myriad of Street Fighter clones. In 1984 Bluth gets the rights to make a Dragon's Lair movie, and a script is written to chronicle the events of how a teenaged Dirk and Daphne meet. Called "Dragon's Lair: The Legend", the subject matter is much darker than the game, and this combined with the fact that studios are skittish about the rapid demise of the laser market creates an acute lack of financing for Bluth and company. But both Dragon's Lair and Space Ace do make it out of game cabinets and into living rooms in TV cartoon versions done by cut-rate animation house Ruby Spears.
Dragons Lair - Octopus Tentacles
"Dragon's Lair" lasts one season on ABC between 1984-85, featuring Dirk's repeated rescuing of Daphne from the clawed clutches of Cinge (note the name change). It is an unusual entry for a Saturday morning show as each program has Dirk making multiple decisions for his actions, which in some scenarios would lead to his demise. In true Wyle E. Coyote fashion, however, Dirk would soon appear unmolested. The Space Ace version airs as part of CBS's saturday morning toon show Saturday Supercade in 1984, with Ace's segment replacing Pitfall Harry who apparently falls into the blackened pit of the home videogame crash. Kimberly is voiced by Nancy Cartright, who also does voices for NBC toon shows "Snorks" and "Pound Puppies" before ending up as the voice of Bart on "The Simpsons". Saturday Supercade itself gets the axe in August of 1985. In 1984 yet another laser game concept is created by Bluth Group, called "Sea Beast and Barnacle Bill". It ends up shelved along with Legend.
Thayer's Quest
Dyer and RDI are still kicking, producing another arcade animated laser game called Thayer's Quest in 1984, offered as a conversion kit for Dragon's Lair and Space Ace cabinets. The game mechanics are truly unlike anything seen in the arcades before. Instead of a joystick and buttons, the game features a membrane keyboard for players to input their actions. It is the first realization of Dyer's long obsession with the Shadoan project that spun off Dragon's Lair. Taking place 1000 years in the past, the five kingdoms of Weigard, Illes, Iscar, the Far Reaches and Shadoan live in peace under the auspices of the benevolent Elder leaders. But throwing in with the dark forces of Shadoan is the evil wizard Sorsabal, who overruns the five kingdoms and destroys the Elders. Realizing their approaching demise, the Elders preserve their power by breaking up the Hand of Quoid (pronounced kwode), a powerful amulet that is the source of all magic in the kingdom. Each of the five amulet relics are hidden in each land. The player assumes the role of Thayer Alconred, last in the bloodline of the Elders, in his quest to reunite both the amulet and his fallen homeland. The game, however, contains only three of the five lands: Weigard, Illes and Iscar. Along the way Thayer finds various magic items, all listed on the keyboard, and Players must realize where and when to use each item. Thayer's Quest is a remarkable attempt at recreating the feel of a role playing game in arcade game form.
Dragons Lair 20th Anniversary
When gamers first start the game, they are given an opportunity to enter their first and last name on the keyboard. When they are finished a voice synthesizer says their name, and if people are unhappy with the pronunciation they are allowed to try another spelling to improve how it sounds. The player is then called by name throughout the game. The various items retrieved by Thayer are stored on his person, and players can look at them through an inventory review system. Other features include such innovations in the laser game field as multiple points in the game where Thayer can heal himself, as well as a game save feature. When players lose one of their lives, they are resurrected at a point near when they died. When they lose their last life, the game ends and saves their game. With the game's ability to save up to ten games, the player is able to continue if he is one of the last ten people to play. If they make it to the end, the game promises that the story will continue on a second disc, which unfortunately never materializes. Even though laserdisc games succumb to a thousand Dirk-like deaths, Dragon's Lair lives on. 14 years after the original is released, it ends up as one of only three videogames in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., alongside trendsetters PONG and Pac-Man. Approximately 109 million dollars has been made through the years by the various Dragon's Lair spin-offs. There are at least 30 translations of the game to such platforms as the Commodore 64 and Amiga, Atari ST and Jaguar, Apple IIGS and Macintosh, 3D0, CD-i, Nintendo NES and SNES, Sega CD and IBM PC DOS, CD-ROM and DVD. In a startling move, the Coleco ADAM version is licenced by the company for an incredible 2 million dollars. Direct sequels of the concept have titles like Escape from Singe's Castle, and The Curse of Mordread.
Space Ace
Even a Color Gameboy version is announced by Dyer, developed under the Dragon's Lair LLC banner in partnership with Digital Eclipse. Practically every scene is to be fully rendered for the portable device, and the game is scheduled for release by the end of the year 2000. Theaborted Dragon's Lair movie seems to have been taken off the shelf and dusted off, as rumours begin surfacing at the end of the millenium of its development. And Bluth and Dyer have created game production house Dragonstone Software to create a new generation of games, including new 3D remakes of both Dragon's Lair and Space Ace. Their first is called, unsurprisingly, Dragon's Lair 3D. The game is to be distributed by Blue Byte Software, best known as the makers of the Settlers series. Scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2001, the game features state-of-the-art graphics and finally offers players what they've been waiting 18 years for: full, free-roaming control of bumbling Dirk the Daring in his eternal struggle through the castle to reach his perloined princess. Lead on, adventurer...your quest awaits! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Manufacturer: Cinematronics Year: 1983 Class: Wide Release Genre: Adventure Type: Videogame Monitor: Orientation: Horizontal Type: Raster: Standard Resolution CRT: Color Conversion Class: unique Number of Simultaneous Players: 1 Maximum number of Players: 2 Gameplay: Alternating Control Panel Layout: Single Player Ambidextrous Controls: Joystick: 8-way Buttons: 1 Sound: Unamplified Stereo (requires two-channel amp) Description Dirk The Daring travels, searching through a castle for Princess Daphne who has been kidnapped by Singe The Dragon. Cinematronics' first laserdisc game done by former Disney animator, Don Bluth. Very popular. Cabinet Information This game has a unique three-sided marquee. Instead of being silk screened, the graphic was printed on cloth and then glued on to a frame. In the back of the cabinet, there is the standard access door, as well as a seperate drawer in the bottom that holds the laserdisc player. Score, lives, and credits are shown on an LED display above the screen. Cheats, Tricks and Bugs For a complete set of strategies go to: http://www.dragons-lair-project.com/community/moves/lair/easy.asp Conversion It is possible to convert this game to Space Ace by swapping the laserdisc and the EEPROMs.
Dragons Lair - Dirk Becomes A Bunch Of Bones
Game Introduction In this animated laserdisc game, the player assumes the role of Dirk The Daring, a heroic knight armed with a sword, who searches through the Haunted Castle in an attempt to rescue the beautiful Princess Daphne from the evil Singe The Dragon. In order for Dirk to accomplish his goal, he must get to The Dragon's Lair. As he travels, he will have all kinds of obstacles to overcome and he will be confronted by all kinds of fearsome fiends like The Lava Monsters, The Giddy Goons, The Crypt Creeps, The Lizard King, The Smithee, The Grim Reaper, The Black Knight and others. The joystick is used to give Dirk directions and the button is used to have Dirk strike his sword. Wrong decisions by the player cause immediate death to Dirk, but the right decisions give him miraculous survival. When Dirk has reached The Dragon's Lair, he will find Daphne trapped inside The Magic Bubble and guarded by Singe. The key to The Magic Bubble is tied around Singe's neck, so Dirk must kill him to get it. Dirk must avoid Singe and then get to The Jewel Stone where The Magic Sword is embedded in. Afterwards, Dirk must pull The Magic Sword from The Jewel Stone and use it to kill Singe. If Dirk succeeds, he will get the key and unlock The Magic Bubble and free Daphne. After Daphne has been freed, she leaps into Dirk's arms, he catches, then she kisses him and he grins modestly while she smiles lovingly at him. Afterwards, the game is over. Problems/Repairs Shown also is a picture of a PR7820 laser disk player that was inside original Dragons Lair cabinets. Game Play In Dragon's Lair, you do not control Dirk, rather you direct him in what to do. Areas on the laserdisc are accessed according to which command is given. The game has 38 to 42 different episodes with over 1,000 life-and-death situations and over 200 different decisions to make. It has been comfirmed from a video taped game that it takes about 12 minutes to complete the game if you know all the moves. The object of the game is to help Dirk reach The Dragon's Lair, slay Singe and rescue Daphne, but once you complete this task, the game, the quest and the story are all over because there are no higher levels of difficulty. Basically, there is really no reason to obtain a high score, even though points are scored based on how far you can get and how well you can do. From an objective viewpoint, the game looks a bit rushed in places, with a lack of logically flowing animations (the snake room, and the tentacle room, for example). A few scenes were not shown or played in the game, including the drawbridge, the "Ye Boulders" sign before the rapids, and the scene after the battle against the Knight. The European release of this game differed in gameplay. The scenes were played in the order they are stored on the laserdisc, and the game started on the drawbridge scene that was cut from the North American version. However, in a laserdisc classic trilogy pack for home computers entitled "The Dragon's Lair Deluxe Pack" that contained Dragon's Lair, Dragon's Lair II, and Space Ace, the missing scenes where put back in.
Space Ace
Contrary to popular belief, both Dragon's Lair and Space Ace did contain diagonal movements. In some cases, these movements were simply the combination of two acceptable moves, while in other cases the diagonal move was distinct (for example, during the whirlpool segment, moving to the right or left is acceptable, moving diagonal up-right or up-left is acceptable, but simply moving up results in death). In all cases, the diagonal moves were optional, and there was always a 4-way alternative. The '91 re-release of Space Ace contained some diagonal moves that were required. Miscellaneous WWW: http://www.emuunlim.com/doteaters/play2sta6.htm Technical Early in the production run, the PR-7820 laser disc player was used. The game PCB uses a Z-80 processor and will have either 4 or 5 ROMs. Trivia When Dragon's Lair was first released, not only was it the first animated laserdisc game (it was actually the second game to use a laserdisc), it was also the first video game to look like a movie and be treated like a movie.After all, it was animated by Don Bluth and other animators who used to work for Disney. The animation for this game took six years in the making. The animation staff used their own voices for their characters instead of hiring professional actors, in order to keep the costs down. In fact, the animation alone cost over a million dollars. They also used several Playboy magazines as a reference guide for drawing Daphne. Fixes The laserdisc player is a limited-life device and it should be treated as fragile at all times. A kit is available by a company called Hi-Tech Mechanical/Electronic that allows the original Pioneer LD-V1000 or PR-7820 to be replaced with any one of the latest Sony LDP series laserdisc players. The LDP-1200, LDP-1450, LDP-1500, LDP-1550 and the LDP-2000 are the most common compatable Sony LDP series laserdisc players. For more information on the laserdisc player conversion kit please visit: http://www.hi-techmechanical.com/ Legacy Dragon's Lair Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp Dragonís Lair: 20th Anniversary Edition Link ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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