Monday, April 5, 2010

My other fantasy muses

Yeah, Dungeon! my favorite boardgame cast a strong spell on the way I saw fantasy growing up in the 80s. And of course the box sets of D&D (and the accompanying illustrations) were also very influential. But there were a handful of other books, toys, movies, etc.--cheesy as they may have been. ;)

Man I played the hell out of Crypts of Chaos on my 2600. I never did have Adventure--and the official AD&D game was for the Intellivision (lame!). C of C not only sported awesome cartridge art featuring Luke and Leia stand-ins in a dream-like dungeon of weirdness--it was a FIRST PERSON GAME! The corridors of the dungeon would move toward you and wandering monsters would attack. You had mere seconds to get your wand or magic ring ready...which was usually out of charges. And I think the cart art still freaks me out....
Dragonslayer was one of the first full-length fantasy films I remember seeing and being impressed by. I saw it on VHS first and the scene with the baby dragons always made me quesy. Could have done without the page boy haircuts, but it still has one of the great wizard v. lizard battle scenes. Before this film, my idea of an amulet was a big, gaudy jewel--instead of the small, glowing crystal packed with white-hot magic featured in the film. Neat stuff!

Forest of Doom is a wonderful playset made by Dimensions for Children (a now defunct toy company) in a series of other great playmat-with-plastic-figures format sets. Reis O'Brien at Geek Orthodox has blogged extensively on the set which was part of the Dragon Riders of the Styx figure line. I can't say much more than Reis has on the subject, except that from my own experience I loved the iconic figures. They represented to me the basic monsters, wizards, and knights that make up the storybook "fantasy" template. I still have the set in it's original box and I've featured figures from it in the past on Spellcard.

Dungeon of Dread by Rose Estes was my first choose-your-own-adventure type book (TSR called their line "Endless Quest"), of which I later graduated on to the Zork books. The adventure itself is pretty basic, but the great Jeff Easley cover had me conjuring up adventures in my imagination for years to come.

Finally we come to the D&D cartoon, which I know a lot of OSR gamers detest--but I had great fun watching it when I was young. It also represented several AD&D classes as characters on-screen for the first time, so I had a good visual of what they were capable of (even though the cavalier didn't have a sword!). Anyway, I picked up the box set when it came out a few years ago and wasn't disappointed. It even came with a game scenario starring the main characters.

I also had many of the D&D toys, including this bad boy:

...The Fortress of Fangs! It was filled with crazy booby traps and was a great companion to Castle Greyskull.

Anyway, those are just a few of the fun relics. What's in your vault--games, books, movies, posters? Anything off the beaten path that inspired you back in the day? Feel free to list in the comments.

Update: Reis has taken down his blog, so here are some other Dragonriders of the Styx resources out there:


biopunk said...

Mine were pretty similar. Except:

My fave video game was
Akalabeth on the Apple II,

Rose Estes' Revolt of the Dwarves, was my first Endless Quest.

I never heard of the Forest of Doom playsets before. This castle playset, which had working catapults and all kinds of cool bits with it, was what I'd play with.

Dennis Laffey said...

I had some similar inspirations, which I've blogged about before

and here

One more inspiration from toys I had would be the Crossbows and Catapults game.

biopunk said...

Crap, I forgot to mention Groo!

Good old Groo.

Jay said...

I've not played Akalbeth--but it looks very similar to Crypts. More advanced even!

And YES, I had the Crossbows and Catapults game (the original) and loved it!