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The Digital Antiquarian

The Digital Antiquarian A history of computer entertainment by Jimmy Maher

  • An Independent Interplay Takes on Tolkien
    by Jimmy Maher on May 26, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    When Brian Fargo made the bold decision in 1988 to turn his company Interplay into a computer-game publisher as well as developer, he was simply steering onto the course that struck him as most likely to insure Interplay’s survival. Interplay had created one of the more popular computer games of the 1980s in the form […]

  • The Many Faces of Middle-earth, 1954-1989
    by Jimmy Maher on May 19, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    The transformation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings from an off-putting literary trilogy — full of archaic diction, lengthy appendixes, and poetry, for God’s sake — into some of the most bankable blockbuster fodder on the planet must be one of the most unlikely stories in the history of pop culture. Certainly Tolkien […]

  • The View from the Trenches (or, Some Deadly Sins of CRPG Design)
    by Jimmy Maher on May 12, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    From the beginning of this project, I’ve worked to remove the nostalgia factor from my writing about old games, to evaluate each game strictly on its own merits and demerits. I like to think that this approach has made my blog a uniquely enlightening window into gaming history. Still, one thing my years as a […]

  • From Wingleader to Wing Commander
    by Jimmy Maher on April 28, 2017 at 11:53 am

    No one at Origin had much time to bask in the rapturous reception accorded to Wingleader at the 1990 Summer Consumer Electronics Show. Their end-of-September deadline for shipping the game was now barely three months away, and there remained a daunting amount of work to be done. At the beginning of July, executive producer Dallas […]

  • From Squadron to Wingleader
    by Jimmy Maher on April 21, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    At the Summer Consumer Electronics Show in June of 1989, Origin Systems and Brøderbund Software announced that they wouldn’t be renewing the distribution contract the former had signed with the latter two years before. It was about as amicable a divorce as has ever been seen in the history of business; in this respect, it […]