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Incline PLATO RPGs, or why Wizardry and Akalabeth are posers

felipepepe

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I've been recently granted access to cyber1, a fully functional PLATO network. For those who don't know, those were mainframe terminals that universities used for teaching in the 70's. They were waaaaaaay ahead of their time and could beat any unwashed Apple ][. More interestingly, they were also were the first CRPGs appeared. The crpgaddict made a post about this before.

And man, they are fucking awesome (for teh time). And they are fully preserved at cyber1, with even multiple versions to choose. Even better, dnd has a detailed telling of the entire PLATO CRPG that I'll just paste here:

t31AdpP.png

Also, a lot of drama and accusations against Woodhead (paging Dr. Crooked Bee) and Telengard:

jSMgoMk.png

I don't really think it's fair to call Wizardry a clone of those games, as they added stuff like multiple party creation and all that, but this is the kind of thing that I get so butthurt about our lacking curation of history. If not for the guys at Cyber1, this would all be dead, erased, forgotten.

Anyway, now that I can play those games (and you can too, just apply for a license), I'll be posting here my impressions. I would do a LP, but I'm too busy dying and re-rolling. :P

BTW, some of those games, like Avatar, feature even multiple players at once. So you can log in, find me in the mazes and kill join me for epic adventures! Huzzah!
 

GlutenBurger

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This looks great.

Do know whether any of the signon groups have particular significance for RPGs? I need to make sure I'm rubbing digital shoulders with appropriate stock.
 

PhantasmaNL

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from digital antiquarian

http://www.filfre.net/2011/08/the-first-crpgs/

CRPG fans have, some exceptions aside, generally not shown anything like the same dedication to documentation and historical preservation that marks the modern interactive-fiction community, which has perhaps prevented an accepted canon of historically significant works from appearing amongst the former as it has amongst the latter.

Those CRPG PLATO guys were probably the first hackers, using a system created for education for their own recreational purposes
The earliest of these games were created without proper authorization from PLATO’s administrators. Thus they had to hide out on the system under unassuming, workmanlike names such as pedit5 and m199h, with word of their existence being passed around in secret.

I remember when i was at the Dutch equivalent of highschool, there was a special room with a computer, a very large machine with the computing capabilities of a modern microwave probably. Still it was regarded as the ultimate geek innersanctum. Only those with an extraordinary talent for logical thought and abstraction were allowed in, to indulge their passion for bits and bytes. Happy days. *tear*
 

felipepepe

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I wonder how much they "updated it". Seriously, the original one starts you in the middle of a huge maze-like town, with barely enough money to buy a dagger and a torch. You need a lit torch to be able to see anything in the dungeon, so my first 15 minutes can be summed up as "buy torch, go to dungeon, kill 2 enemies, grab gold, run back to surface to buy more torches, rinse and repeat".
 

PhantasmaNL

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PLATO was a revolutionary system if you look at the innovations list. Touch screen and soundsynthesizer by 1972, check. Also it basically used a client server structure which became an IT buzzword much later. If you look at the development tools, the plato author language, the possibilties for game progamming are not obvious. It required out of the box thinking and creativity. Of course the graphical features of the system were inviting and for the time also spectacular. When i read its history i wasnt surprised when i learned the earliest PLATO development was military funded. A lot of innovation has its roots there (for good and bad..).
 

Lyric Suite

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I used to have an account for the PLATO emulator but i never did much with it. Most of the genres we associate with PC gaming started there. Text adventures, RPGs, rogue likes, simulators, strategy games (a couple which could be played over the fucking internet), you just name it. PC master race had a much more illustrious beginning than many imagine.
 

Infinitron

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Robert Woodhead talks about PLATO at the end of this episode:

 

Doctor Sbaitso

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Does anyone actually have interest in watching this guy, replete with horn holster, taste and describe beer? Everything is bitter but not too bitter, fruity a little bit and pretty good but not his favourite. Maybe it's me but I don't get it.
 
Last edited:

Ninjerk

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Does anyone actually have interest in watching this guy, replete with horn holster, taste and describe beer? Everything is bitter but not too bitter, fruity a little bit and pretty good but not his favourite. Maybe it's me but I don't get it.
You actually watch his beer thing?
 

Doctor Sbaitso

SO, TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS.
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Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands
Does anyone actually have interest in watching this guy, replete with horn holster, taste and describe beer? Everything is bitter but not too bitter, fruity a little bit and pretty good but not his favourite. Maybe it's me but I don't get it.
You actually watch his beer thing?

I mostly just watch to cringe when he dorkily holsters his horn.
 

ghostdog

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:lol: that's just his silly routine to get free beer. He fights the good fight for crgps, so I bear with the guy.
 

Zarniwoop

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Shadorwun: Hong Kong
I remember Oubliette being on Symbian smartphones too, back in the day.

I see it's on the Android Market too now, but that's some new version with graphics

:popamole:
 

Curious_Tongue

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Does anyone actually have interest in watching this guy, replete with horn holster, taste and describe beer? Everything is bitter but not too bitter, fruity a little bit and pretty good but not his favourite. Maybe it's me but I don't get it.
You actually watch his beer thing?

One of them turned me on to the idea of pumpkin beer.
 

Bester

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This looks great.

Do know whether any of the signon groups have particular significance for RPGs? I need to make sure I'm rubbing digital shoulders with appropriate stock.

I second that question.

Edit: nevermind...

Thank you for registering for a signon with Cyber1! Each registration is reviewed by a human being before being approved. Cyber1 is a volunteer operated system and that means that each staff member works a regular full-time job and most of us travel for our jobs. We currently process registrations weekly. If someone does not contact you within 7 business days please send an email to our support staff.

Sigh.
 
Last edited:

MicoSelva

Packs laden with loot are often low on supplies.
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the original one starts you in the middle of a huge maze-like town, with barely enough money to buy a dagger and a torch. You need a lit torch to be able to see anything in the dungeon, so my first 15 minutes can be summed up as "buy torch, go to dungeon, kill 2 enemies, grab gold, run back to surface to buy more torches, rinse and repeat".

felipepepe, you should make an LP, you lazy hack! Or, since you are now a games journalist, do you require a doritos & mountain dew bribe first?
 

felipepepe

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You're out of touch with the times, bro. Patreon account, I'll make one update per month after you guys raised enough money for me to stop working.

On a serious note, my LP would suck. The games are incredibly random and you can die at any time. Like start game, first monster is a Lv 5 demon. The only one I've managed to make some progress is Avatar, as I'm now Lv 3 and have recruited 2 guards into my party. Since all the games have permadeath, I'm playing like a coward. :3
 

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