[ Fuzzy Memory ] Thy Character is Too Powerful

June 2nd, 2010 by Benj Edwards

Fuzzy MemoryEvery once and a while, I receive emails from people looking for a certain game, electronic toy, or computer from their distant past. I then pass it on to intrepid VC&G readers to crack the case.

Our latest Fuzzy Memory seems similar to our last one in some respects (a top-down D&D like game with RPG elements), but hails from an earlier time. Can you help Aaron figure out what it is?

The Clues

Aaron writes:

Your site has such a great record of identifying games from fuzzy memories, so I thought I’d see if it could work for me.

Back around probably the late 80s, I spent a night at the house of some of my mom’s friends. I didn’t really know them, but they had a son who had a computer with a D&D-like game. I loved computers and D&D, so this was really exciting to me. Unfortunately I don’t remember much about the game…. I recall it would let you create your own character, and I tried putting in all 18’s (max) for the stats (like Strength, Intelligence, etc.), and it gave me a message like, “Thy character is too powerful” and it made me put in different stats to be more reasonable…. The rest of what I remember is even fuzzier, and could be just about any D&D-like game…. It seems like there was a store where you could buy arrows and stuff. The play screen was like a top-down dungeon, and it seemed to be turn-based rather than real-time, but I’m not certain of that.

My memory of this D&D game is so fuzzy that if I try to describe it too much, I may be going down the wrong path, because I could be remembering parts from a different game…. But it seems like there was only one player character rather than a party — or at least I only created one character and sent him to the dungeon….. The graphics may have been tile-based. I seem to remember seeing lines that represented dungeon walls, and there were doors which may have required keys to enter…. And maybe I saw a treasure chest in one of the rooms. And an orc. I think there was an orc, heh.

I’m not even sure what type of computer it was. From that time period, it could have been C64, Apple, Tandy…. who knows. Knowing what type of computer could help narrow down the search…. And I do remember another game he had. It was some kind of movie creating game, where you would choose a background, then pick different little “actors” (almost like colored stick figures) or bits of scenery and move them around with the joystick. The game would record the things’ positions in real time as you moved them around the screen, and then you would play back what you had recorded so far, and add another object in, one thing at a time, and record its movements too. You could also change the size of the actors or objects, making them smaller or larger. I distinctly remember picking a castle background and putting a bunch of tiny people dancing around in front of it, then I put in a giant-sized person and had him throw a boulder at the tiny people, to make it look like they were having a fight.

I remember the games were in nice, bight color. The movie-maker game definitely was anyway.

So… that’s two games and one computer to identify, heh. I think identifying the movie-making game might be easier, and that might lead to knowing what type of computer it was, which might help narrow down what the D&D-like game was!


The Search Begins

It’s up to you to find the object of Aaron’s fuzzy memory. Post any thoughts or suggestions in the comments section below. Aaron will be monitoring the comments, so if you need to clarify something with him, ask away. Good luck!

Have a memory of a computer, video game, computer software, or electronic toy you need help identifying? Send me an email describing your memories in detail. Hopefully, the collective genius of the VC&G readership can help solve your mystery.

5 Responses to “[ Fuzzy Memory ] Thy Character is Too Powerful”

  1. Gothmog Says:

    Accepted Answer

    I’m pretty sure, tho its been a LONG time, that the game you’re talking about is ‘Temple of Apshai’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Apshai
    I played it on my Commodore 64, tho it was available on the Trash-80 and Apple II as well, I think.

  2. Aaron Says:

    Ya know, I think it must have been one of the Apshai games. You people are fast. I had looked at Apshai before when I was trying to hunt down this game, but I had downloaded the DOS version and played it, and decided that it wasn’t the game I was remembering…. But the DOS version is UGLY. Now looking at some of the C64 and Amiga screenshots, I think that very likely may be it (though I could have been playing Temple of Apshai, Upper Reaches of Apshai, Curse of Ra, OR the Temple of Apshai Trilogy, all with different graphics!). The brown floor in the Amiga version really seems familiar… though the C64 one also has some brown floors. Hm, the pastel colors in the C64 one somehow don’t see right though. But the “old english” style text in these Apshai games is just what I remember….

    Was there a movie making game for the Amiga?

  3. Aaron Says:

    I’ve been playing around with the Apshai Trilogy, and I found out the message I was trying to remember doesn’t happen if you put in all 18’s for your stats (it will let you do that without a problem). It actually happens if you try to put in like a billion for your Experience Points. It will then say, “THY CHARACTER BE TOO WORLDWISE. FIND ANOTHER,” and it will make you redo your character. The DOS and C64 versions give that message, but the Amiga and Atari ST versions just tell you that some of the values you entered were not legal, so they were changed.

  4. Rick D Says:

    Well, one Movie making program, not really a game is Electronic Arts “Movie Maker”.

  5. barbie fu Says:

    ya, kick apshai outa there, i played hella rpgs back in the day…..try the early might and magic games…….. but i feel ya on the tag….i definately played an rpg that stated just that “thy character would be too powerful”. Besides m&m, i also played ultima and the official d&d ones, but those were parties, not a lone adventurer, i think that the early m&m was a loner. I played all of these on a 286 pc. gotta go to work or i’d wiki or google it.

Leave a Reply