Thursday, May 07, 2015

A _SnarfQuest_ Adventure Game is on the Horizon

I've been a fan of SnarfQuest for quite some time. Larry Elmore's comic tale of a young warrior's quest for fame and fortune as he aspires to become king of his tribe is one of the classic comic strips of Dragon Magazine's heyday. The character first appeared in issue #75 of Dragon. That issue also included a breakdown of some of the Nine Hells and a brief Orcish to Common dictionary for use in your D&D game.

Looking back at that issue today, I'm struck by how good this era of Dragon was. Like the first 100 issues of White Dwarf, this era of Dragon magazine was in a period of "pre-professional" creativity. That doesn't mean the magazines weren't professional in presentation, they were, rather than they included content from fans as well as who would become reliable designers in the future. Magazines during this period were melting pots of creativity, and remind me of the Old School Renaissance and Savage Worlds communities. It was also a time when you might find gaming articles written by Fantasy and Science Fiction authors like John M Ford or Katharine Kerr. Many of today's authors discuss how D&D shaped their literary development and allow their creations to be used as game settings, but early gaming was also shaped by authors in a very direct way.

SnarfQuest isn't a perfect comic. It's snarky and plays around with Fantasy tropes and featured a less than noble hero. Sometimes the humor works, sometimes it doesn't, but it was clearly a labor of love and I enjoyed it's high concept story filled with Dragons, Orcs, and Androids.

This week, I noticed an advertisement on Steam promoting an adventure game based on the classic comic. The initial graphics capture the feel of the strip pretty well, as can be seen by the image below, and the adventure game format is one I enjoy.

I am mildly concerned about some elements of the game, from a "will it be fun?" perspective. While the character modeling captures the whimsy of the comic, the animations of movement and dialogue seem a little off in the game play trailer for the game. Speaking of dialogue, the voice acting for the characters in the trailer is not at all close to what my mind's ear created. The dialogue is delivered in an almost emotionless fashion. If this game is going to capture my imagination and get repeated play, that will need to be fixed. The game will get my money regardless, as I want to see a good Snarf game, but it may not get my fervent recommendation if it doesn't change the voice acting. I'd rather just read the dialogue than here the current actors.

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