I woke up this fine Sunday morning overlooking beautiful Mt. Hunter in Hunter, NY. This scene flashed me back to some of the beautiful shots of a snowy village in Oblivion. Then of course, I started to think about older versions since today is an Old School Sunday.
I wanted my first OSS to be the first and most influential role playing game ever! I present to you, The Seven Cities of Gold!
The Seven Cities of Gold by EA – 1984
Before the days of Oblivion, Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior, there was the Seven Cities of Gold. Being only 8 years old at the time, my video game resume consisted of shooting down asteroids, gobbling pellets or climbing ladders to rescue blond princesses. My parents starting noticing a trend here and made the investment in this edutainment game. At the time in school, we were studying the fascinating world of Vasco De Gama, Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci. Infusing this game at this particular time opened my mind to imagination, wonder and peaked curiousity. The sheer brilliance can be appreciated once one plays and keeps, 1984 in their mind.
The game begins with the player having been given an exploration fleet by the Spanish crown, consisting of four ships, one hundred men, and some trade goods. Afterwards, you embark on your quest to discover new land, interact with hunting tribes, discover rivers, marsh jungle and build forts. Pioneering video games in 1984, the software considered sensitive, socio-political issues as well. Did the explorer want to take the friendly approach and trade with the natives? Or did you choose the aggressive, take over the world approach and conquer all! The latter approach would prompt the King to scold you, however he would still insist on bringing more gold to him crown. (Based on True Historical facts)
The most compelling aspect of the game was how far ahead of its time it was. The “New World” had details such as the Florida Keys and most well known rivers. The technology to load these features wasn’t around at the time. The publisher stated, “Our only way out was to use technologies we didn’t have until we were forced to invent them.”The game used a streaming system to allow the map to be loaded in without interrupting game play. The game also includes a world creating engine that allows the user to build a truly new world, saving it to a user supplied disk. I remember building new worlds on blank discs that I had.
The wonder of role playing is the aspect of anytime anywhere anything can happen. This is an