While poking around online, I discovered that I was late to a very cool party. It seems that Good Old Games managed to hunt down and secure the licensing rights to the classic “Gold Box” games from SSI built around the Dungeons and Dragons world. Now, to many of you, this means nothing. To me, however, this ushered in a surge of memories from my youth.
I played the “Pool of Radiance” series (as I called it”) on my Commodore 64 from the time the Gold Box Series came out until well into my college years. Holy smokes. Stopping to think about that, I just realized I played that series starting in 1988 (freshman year) up until a couple years after my wife and I got married. We married in 1991, but I played the game at least until 1993 or later.
I loved the game. It was based on REAL D&D rules, regs, characters, stats… It combined two of my favorite things: computers and D&D. I fired up the game and began creating my characters and building a party. The first character I created was a female fighter. She was awesome from the very start. She had pixelated flowing blonde hair, was a tough character through stats, and became the undisputed leader of the party. I named her Angelica. She led battles, did most of the speaking for the group when put into such situations, and remained throughout the entire series – though others had not.
I have to admit, the temptation to resurrect Angelica from the depths of memory and plop her down at the beginning of a new tale, a new adventure, excites the nostalgic kid in me like you would not believe. Thanks to Good Old Games, I could do just that. They took the games, reworked them a bit, and created virtual DOS machines in which to run them. Oh, to fire up the games again and create a new band of adventurers in all that 8- or 16-bit glory…
Alas, it is not meant to be. You see, if I do buy the revamped games, I don’t think I could bring myself to create a new lead female character bearing the name and likeness of the one I had grown so fond of, the one who survived each of the games into which we could move our characters, allowing them to keep growing as new challenges arose from the disks contained inside those gold box games. No, you see, sometimes you play with a certain character in a game series so long that when the time comes for that character to rest (she never died, the series just ran out and time moved on and I eventually got rid of all my Commodore 64 stuff), you let the character rest. Creating another wouldn’t be the same. And, if the replacement didn’t live up to the same level as the original, then the memory of the first is forever tarnished.
Angelica lives in my heart and memory the way she was: strong, fierce, pixelated beauty.
Get the games here: https://www.gog.com/game/forgotten_realms_the_archives_collection_two