Thursday 26 July 2012

What's Your Story? - Cush1978

The weeks are flying by and it's time to get to know one of our fellow adventurers once again.

If everyone gets together and chips in some CAPs, maybe we can afford to get Cush1978 a face

My home country is... The United States.  I'm in Virginia on the east coast.

My age is... 34.

The first adventure game I played was... King's Quest II.  I remember two important things.

1.  A world that could be freely explored.
2.  I had no idea how to save your game (or that you even could).

The second caused me to panic every time the "There's a bad guy on the screen" music blared out of my no-volume-knob PC Speaker.  I played the game on a Leading Edge Model D.  640k memory.  4.77Mhz processor.  20MB HDD.  CGA monitor.
I'd read "the door" in the game so many times, that I memorized what it said.  In order to save trips across the chasm, I decided to skip reading the door on subsequent attempts.  It was a long time before I figured out that you have to read the door in order to make the mermaid appear.

Cush1978 played King's Quest II on hardcore settings. Respect!

My favourite adventure game is... Quest For Glory.  It was Hero Quest when I bought it.  I still have the box somewhere.  I played this game on the above-mentioned system.  I installed it to the HDD (after figuring out how to clear 3MB of space).  The game still ran slow though; I developed a unique method of combat that basically involved me inputting commands seconds in advance.  Threw me off when we finally got a 286.  This game combined unique role-playing aspects within a Sierra adventure game.  Playing the different classes was both fun and diverse.  I wish there were more games like these.  I actually never finished Quest For Glory 4.  I tripped a bug near the very end that caused the game to crash when you performed a necessary task.  Eventually a patch came out that invalidated my saved game.  I need to dig up my old character and play 4 (and 5) to completion.

When I’m not playing games I like to... play guitar.  I was in an acoustic duo a couple years ago.  Now I frequently sit in with one of the local talents.  I also love a good game of disc golf.  I suck at "real" golf.  I also make mead as a hobby.  Right now I have vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, and peach meads all in various stages of completion.  I also enjoy reading; mostly fiction.

I like my games in a... retail box all the way!  I find that it matters less these days.  The last few boxed games included a disc with a printed piece of paper telling me that the manual was on the disc in PDF format.  I still have my guides to the Famous Adventurer Correspondence School, issues of Space Piston magazine, and yes, even some peril-sensitive Joo Janta sunglasses and a bit of pocket lint.  I wish more games included those kinds of things without a $100+ "Collector's Edition."

They sure don't put this much effort into documentation anymore

The thing I miss about old games is... the immersion...clues weren't a website away.  We've covered dialing into the Sierra BBS in your blog.  Games weren't nearly as plentiful either.  You were probably playing the same game for months instead of moving on to the next in the "pile" when you got bored.  I had a friend whose parents would allow them to look up a single hint (via the invisible ink hint book) for a game after an entire month of being stuck.  Anyway, there aren't too many games that really draw you in these days.  I think the rise of the indie gaming scene is changing that; there are some great games that have gotten my attention there.

The best thing about modern games is... accessibility.  There are a lot of free browser games, indie games in indie bundles, plus reasonable prices on acquiring newer games.  No  more IRQ settings, install procedures, memory configuration, etc.  Regardless of platform and content, I usually just have to launch and enjoy.  You also have entire walkthroughs, FAQs, and even company support (usually via forums) for any kinds of issues you may encounter.  Nearly every game comes with a "community" to experience the game and share your thoughts with.

The one TV show I never miss is... Mad Men lately.  As a kid, it was In Living Color and Married With Children.  In college it was Batman Beyond.  You know a show is good if a college student is getting up at 8:30 on a Saturday to catch up.

Batman Beyond: Brought the darkness that Christopher Nolan is now making millions off

If I could see any band live it would be... Pink Floyd.  I did see them once in 1994 and hoping the opportunity presents itself again.  It's really a unique experience.  I've see The Who three times and with the announcement of a North American tour in 2012, I may make it four!

My favourite movie is... Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I still think it's among the best, if not the best action movie there is.  It's a nearly-perfect movie that never gets old on subsequent viewings.  The truck chase, in particular, is an excellent part of the movie that has no comparison in my mind.

One interesting thing about me is... that I used to work in the game industry.  Not computer games, but I worked for the "other" guys in the CCG arena back then; Decipher for three years.  I stumbled into the job via a temp agency while looking for summer work.  My choices were making doors in a warehouse or cutting film frames for Decipher.  At the time, they were working on the Hoth expansion.  The art director would look at the frames on a 70mm film projector and "tag" them with a bit of colored tape.  My job was to go back and cut those frames out, replacing each one with a blank frame.  The films were 1st generation copies from the master film.  A temp job turned into a summer internship and then turned into "permanent part-time" employment while I was in college.  I ended up involved with the art department, customer service, tournament director, play testing, and web development.  Definitely a unique experience with a lot of great stories to share.

I'm so glad I never knew about Decipher's collectable card games. They look like bank account destroyers!

Interested in sending your answers and getting 20 CAPs for you trouble? Email


  1. Funnily enough, Cush1978 sent me his more detailed answers mere hours before I started putting this together. Good timing Cush!

    1. Yeah, I had no idea I was next. I'd read the last one and remembered "Oh yeah, I need to give more complete answers!" Good timing indeed.

      I'd left Decipher before they did the Lord of the Rings CCG, but was pretty involved with their Star Wars and Star Trek games.

    2. I still have some sealed Star Wars boosters, waiting for them to go up in price... ;)

      This reminds me that I should send some more complete answers for myself as well.

    3. Oh man, I have 2 full binders of Star Wars cards. I wonder how many of them you worked on? I always wondered how they made the images of props and such that I know weren't in the movie, but looked exactly as if they'd come from it.

    4. I cut film frames for everything from the Hoth expansion through Endor. These images were scanned in, printed into an image "bible", selected for cards, and sent off for approval. There was a lot of heat between art and product development. Art was responsible for making cards look interesting and product development was responsible for making the game functional. It wasn't uncommon to find it difficult to place both on a single card. I was cutting film and making the "bibles" AND I actually understood/played the game. I had a grasp of both points of view, so I was able to marry game play functions to aesthetic images for cards. So in that sense, I worked on a significant number of cards, but I didn't conceive any of them from the ground up. I was less involved with the production of cards starting with the Special Edition set.

      Some of the images you don't see in the movies came from photograph archives. We were sent CDs full of images of props, actors, etc. for use in the game. I'm pretty sure some of the lightsabers and other weapons were replicas we had. Some cards were CGI. I know the card templates were actual cast models that were made. They were huge; about 2' x 3' if I recall.

      Ha, Zenic, that's cool. I don't think I have anything sealed from any of the games. If they're from the unlimited set, they're probably worth more. The unlimited print run was the smaller of the two.

      A little Googling found this. See page 19:

      That explains some of the creation process, has a picture of the aforementioned card templates, and has David Prowse unveiling the A New Hope expansion aboard Norfolk's American Rover.

    5. That sounds really cool. Unlimited was the white border ones, right? None of mine are sealed, but all are in very good condition; Only played once, and I only took them out of the card sheets to sort them when I got more.

      That is really cool; I think I mostly collected them before Hoth, but I could be wrong; This would be from, oh, grades 4 to 6 I collected them I think? I was young, and my Asperger's made sorting them very pleasurable. I'd put on something to listen to (Basic Black, a CBC radio show as I recall) and spend hours getting them in perfect order based on arcane criteria I'd invent. Sadly, I never really figured out the rules, and only even tried to play once.

    6. Wow, sorting cards with silly criteria. That takes me way back, and I didn't have any form of autism. Maybe I was just lonely. :p I apologise if as prefers isn't on the spectrum btw. Im just assuming it is from memories of a book I once read. The curious incident about the dog on the night time. If you've ever come across that canageek. Is it a reasonable look into an aspergers persons mind?

    7. I've not read that one myself, but yes, that behaviour is very typically Aspergers.

  2. I never managed to watch all of Batman Beyond, but I enjoyed what I saw. I do remember doing the same thing with Avatar The Last Air Bender though!

    1. Same here. Korra doesn't have the same attraction, but I'm still watching, hoping it gets better.

    2. I thought Batman Beyond was going to be a stupid "Kid Batman" show. I just happened to be over at a friend's house when it premiered and he had the TV on. Turned out to be as good as the original animated series. Oddly enough, Batman Beyond isn't/wasn't canceled. It was put "on hiatus" when the same team started work on Justice League. There's a Justice League episode (Epilogue) that does "kind of" wrap up the Batman Beyond story.

      I've heard good things about Avatar. I've been watching TV series with my son (We've covered Voltron: DotU and Transformers G1). Avatar will have to be soon.

  3. I've also hoped for a long time to see Pink Floyd, but seriously doubt I'll ever get the chance bc of the cost. If you haven't had the chance to see it before, though, there's a traveling Pink Floyd 3-D Laser show that's amazing in a psychedelic way. Here's one good video that I found, since the person put the special glasses onto his/her camera.

    (I'm a longtime regular from CRPG Addict's blog, but have been too busy to follow any blogs the past 2 months.)

    1. I'm not sure they'll ever tour again, especially with Richard Wright's death. If they tour, I'll do my best to be there! I recently saw this show that pairs a band with local symphonies to do Pink Floyd music:

      I'll have to keep an eye out for the show you linked; I haven't heard of that before.

  4. I'm pretty sure I've played Quest for Glory 1 through 4, but I don't think I ever played 5. It's weird that I remember playing 1 and 2 very clearly (not the details, just playing it), but not much at all about the later games.

    It probably says more about where my priorities were at those times in my life rather than the quality of the games. Does anyone else find that with some of these series? You remember the originals vividly, but not the later ones, despite having played them more recently?

    1. I clearly remember the settings of the first and fourth. I remember not getting anywhere in the second before of the full parser interface. I have no memory of the third or fifth.

      I can't say that's always the case because I actually remember the later Final Fantasies more than the originals, but later series tend to be this way.

    2. Can't really think of any series where that's the case, for the sierra ones I've played through QFG 1-4, KQ 1-6 and SQ 1-5 many times each. I actually own copies of QFG5, SQ6 and KQ7... but can't motivate myself to play them (will play along when you reach them I think). QFG5 in particular I played about 30mins of, and didn't like what I saw at all.

      I guess I don't play many other long running game series... the only other one of note I can think of is Ultima, but for that series I've played U4-U8 (and UW1+2), and they were all quite memorable.

      Final Fantasy I played from the fourth to the eighth, but only finished FF7 (and it's the only one I remember in any great detail).

    3. I know I've never played 5. My computer at the time was one of the first Pentiums that was still running Windows 3.11. I didn't meet the system requirements and it wasn't worth messing with.

      I barely remember 3 and 4. I just remember 3 being pretty short and fairly poor. I distinctly remember 1 and 2, but that's because those are the two I played multiple times.

      I guess there's also the case for things you THOUGHT you remembered. After you got past Day 1 in Manhunter: New York, it was nearly a new game to me. I didn't remember most of what you blogged, but could've sworn I played and beat it. Now I'm not so sure.

    4. I completely understand the "THOUGHT you remembered" when I started looking into Quest for Glory. I thought the 4th one was the 3rd, and realized I have no memory of 3. I guess I completely overlooked that one.

  5. Massive adventure game sale on GOG. The 11th Hour, Simon the Sorcerer 1,2 & 3, The Feeble Files, The Journeyman 2 & 3, Dreamfall and The Little Big Adventure 2 all going cheap. I can recommend Dreamfall, but only if you've played The Longest Journey already. Haven't played any of the others.