Discuss your latest vintage Amiga finds!
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Pool of Radiance

by intric8 Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:08 pm

After a nearly 2-year search, I finally - finally! - not only found the crown jewel of SSI Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games - Pool of Radiance - but I found a copy so pristine it looks like I just walked out of Babbages with it in a plastic bag ready to head home and play.
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I've literally been looking non-stop for that amount of time - two whole years. And when I did get the game on my radar last month, I was seriously dreading what would be wrong with it after I actually won it. There had to be something. Everything looked too perfect. And why weren't more people bidding? It made no sense to me. I largely expected to wake up one morning to be told I'd lost the auction that concluded the night before. I was mentally prepared and completely expecting that to happen.

Not to mention all of the copies I'd seen show up previously, either in the UK or Australia or Germany, but with what looked like NTSC prints. And all of them had ridiculous prices or were obviously incomplete packages (or crushed boxes, etc.). Or, in the Australian examples, weren't in typical Gold Box format at all, but in small hard plastic enclosures, which I found curious to say the least.
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In any event, not only did I finally score this amazing high-watermark game, I got a mint copy! While the Gold Box games were an amazing concept in packaging, the honest truth is that the gold ink is extremely fragile and easy to scratch or flake off. Most Gold Box specimens out in the wild look like they've been on a few adventures themselves, and most look like they barely survived.

Guys, this PoR is absolutely mint! And not only is it 100% complete, it actually goes a step further as the owner had the extra Clue Book included, which back it the day wasn't cheap. When I got it and pulled everything out of the box, literally every piece was in its own individual bag for preservation purposes! Totally amazing.
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And. For the curious. I snagged this Pink Panther for only $40! I can't believe it.

It shall soon be displayed on my Amiga desk most proudly. When I was getting into these games deeply last year, I not only played them all the way through but I even found their (teen-fiction level) novels and listened to them on Audible to really get in the mood while playing the games. The acting wasn't the greatest, but the stories were a nice distraction.

Don't judge. ;)
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

Re: Pool of Radiance

by Shot97 Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:49 am

I miss the gold disks most of all. We had two large floppy disk holders, where the bulk of the games went, and almost full before my huge regret in tossing half of them. We had several other smaller floppy disk holders, a couple of them held most of the application software, one held lil Shot's educational games (lots of those), and my dad dedicated one of those to nothing but Gold Box games! For those, he had all the originals. I'm just getting into Battletech at the moment, the game I give credit to birthing my love for CRPGs; but that one was amongst the pirated collection.

Of course when my dad chose to be a pirate, he went all the way, copying the complete manuals and any other goodies that could be printed. He was even known to take apart a few of those code wheels from time to time, print them, and put together his very own copy. No cracks, just full copies.

I talked to someone on Twitter who mentioned his love for Battletech, but noted he was never able to complete the game because his legit purchased copy did not come with the manual, which featured several much needed maps. Blew my mind that he actually purchased the thing but got screwed out of winning because it lacked a manual. I was a little sad for Infocom there, but it turns out in Europe they got a budget release at some point that was not handled by Infocom.

I felt bad when I told him my dad pirated that one, but we still had the full manual... Anyway; Battletech was my favorite as a kid, because I was able to figure out most of it and have a lot of fun. But it's impossible for me to think about the Amiga without thinking about the many Gold Box games. They were all above me until the late 90's, but we had so many of them, and they were so time consuming. Hand mapping it all the way, the "3D" street view, the 2D areal map to get your bearings, and the seemingly endless tactical combat. No body did combat better, ever. All those games and none of them blur together either, I vividly recall each individual game he played. Those gold disks... He always made copies of the originals, but you could always see them staring at you through the floppy disk holder. The manuals... Battletech has a great manual with lots of backstory, and indeed a few required pieces to play the game; but it's so hard to believe a game like Pool of Radiance had any pirating presence in Europe with cracks; even if you could play the game without the manual, why would anybody want to?

These days I do still have a few of my original Gold Box disks and manuals, manuals are falling apart though... Lots of use. They are amongst the few games I would be interested in getting a hold of in-box, they just mean a certain something extra both personally and historically. Glad you got a hold of an original SSI American release, I too have seen the high prices for the European ones, which often times mess with the box to various degrees. You're never going to any of the Gold Box games populate most big sites or personalities top games lists... They are all making a grave mistake. These games are what being a nerd is all about, you can't make that many of them without having quite a commercial thirst, and nearly all of them were best on the Amiga (especially this first one). Hard, but for the determined there's nothing quite like winning one of these games.

One of my favorite games of all time, one of my favorite Amiga games by extension, and while there's never been a single video or written review of mine that I wasn't proud of both on release and to this day, there are a few that are extraordinarily special to me personally given the unique nature of those games and where I decided to go with them. It was first video where I threw all of the extras I could get a hold of into it. I had long read a review or two from magazines of the era, and certainly showed off a manual or two... But there was no way I could cover this game without really getting into that manual. I made a stand on hand mapping the game, showing people the ease of that in not such a nice way, the point where several people hit the dislike button I'm sure. Started it all off with a sincere shoutout to one of the few people covering CRPGs.... Shared a lot of personal stories about my dad in that one. On the written side I went off the beaten track with some topics with the goal of eventually getting back on track, only having firmly cemented in the readers minds (I hope) the deep passion and love I held for the game. Much the same point as these ramblings. I never get tired of going in-depth on this one. I had so many pictures, it was quite a task putting 2/4/6 pics in one just to the first examples of anything but the start of the game shown online and in NTSC mode.

It was never easy getting all the videos edited together, taking real pictures along with the video... Forming some kind of narrative around it all... Honestly more work than anybody with a hundred thousand viewers ever puts into it all, and not only do I not have the views, I know for a fact many hate my style. But it's not about making friends for me, it's all about being personally proud of it. You're going to turn off a lot of stiffs who don't appreciate your strong opinions, but you will find one or two, even a few others who might get absorbed in your passion and come out of it thinking you're damn near a real friend. Eric; we've had a couple minor, but heated disagreements in the past, just thinking about them I can feel it has never exactly healed. I once invited others to send me their self promotion, where you linked a brand new forum of not even 10 members, only you active. I loved the concept of this place at first sight, and felt touched that my NTSC ramblings in videos had helped spur development. Beyond stepping up to be an active member, I kind of felt it wouldn't be a bad place to drum up some video views for myself... But I could never just simply link my own video, it feels wrong on so many levels... So I decided if I was going to advertise my own stuff, I had to give this place something substantial in return. 4/5 page reviews with pictures galore... I had no idea it was in me...

Nothing was ever the same. You have been a blessing and a curse to me... Once upon a time I got one video out a week, on occasion maybe a 2nd one. This stuff takes time, but I've never been more proud of both the videos and the writings, they fuel each other and keep me wanting to cover more and more things. While I certainly helped myself to find new purpose, it couldn't have been done without this site, and one of its members. There was a friendship there, a bonding, at times even a drive to one up you. Anytime you say your stuff is in-depth, it magically and competitively causes me to want to show you what in-depth really is. But there's always been a deep respect there. Thanks for pointing this place out once upon a time. I'll never forget those early days when it was mostly just us talking to each other. For better and for worse, there's a lot more discussion here these days. Congratulations on giving this forum your all until it got to this point. I've always had strong opinions on this place, because it really has meant a lot to me. Those opinions are sometimes at odds with yourself, but this is your baby, and it must live or die (hopefully live) with you. Unfortunately the forum has gotten a bit too active for my writings, so I've been sending them to a graveyard where nobody visits. There's a lot going into those, and just to have someone else make a new topic that could very well spell the graveyard for views here anyway, I've felt quite on my own...

All that blabber so I could get back 'round to saying it's posts like yours here where I still feel like we're completely in-sync. I don't know anybody else that even wants to mention this game on the Amiga, let alone devote over a years worth of their time to finding it complete in-box. It gives me hope that the truth about the Amiga, at least in America, will indeed get out there someday. It was not about the platformers here, little arcade action, it was about massive games that ate out much of your time... Games much of the Amiga world today might call boring, games others have obviously never given a fair shot to. But history stands a chance with people like you loving this stuff enough that you've got to get the original box. Thank you for your Amiga Love.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: Pool of Radiance

by intric8 Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:09 am

Man, Shot (Chris), I think that's about the nicest thing you've ever said to me ... that anyone has said to me in a long while. Kind of choked me up a bit I'll be honest. Your contributions here mean the world to me. I'm glad we've been able to stay friendly after that bump in the road we bounced over and share this deep passion of ours somehow. I miss those early days, too.

And I love watching your videos! Honestly your Winter Games one really fired me up and got me to drop some coin on a joystick (the Ergostick) I'd never even heard of before. I've never strayed from my 8-bit joysticks before until now.

I'm not the most vocal over on YT as I don't want to intrude too much on your space, but I watch. And when you posted your Three Stooges thing here? I was floored. I realize it was a re-post but I don't care. I see what you do and all of the effort and - while I may have helped you find your writing voice - you've also helped me get the courage to step in front of a camera and blabber on (sometimes incoherently) about my favorite past time. By the way, I think your writing has greatly improved over time, too. The structure, the flow and the content.

Amiga forever, baby. And thanks for all of the kind words.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: Pool of Radiance

by intric8 Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:38 pm

I can't wait to publish my IN-DEPTH review of Dungeon Master. Haha! :)
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

Re: Pool of Radiance

by Shot97 Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:35 pm

You get the glory with that one for awhile. Not on my immediate radar, despite Stygian requesting it... I requested it before her, and I'm not currently in the mood to deal with that games torch and food system right now. :P

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