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Old November 30, 2017, 00:54   #1
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What are you into? Rambling rant on my historical bent.

I feel like providing some background info on me as it relates to my interest in Angband, since I've been playing it so much of late. Here goes a rather rambling rant:

I grew up never getting interested in Dungeons and Dragons. Not sure why. Part of it is I was born a bit late for that generation. Somehow, several years ago I discovered original Rogue/Roguelikes and was somewhat intrigued. But it was Angband's LOTR lore, {ego} and {splendid} items and Artifacts and the overall excellent writing in the game that really grabbed me.

I grew up on games like Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. Doom was my all time favorite for a long time, and I only stopped playing it regularly a few years ago (how strange, after playing it basically nonstop for two decades!).

I really like Netflix's Stranger Things series due to its LOTR and D&D references, the great performances of the kids and Hopper, and the 80s/synth vibe. While I've never played D&D, I have a respect for it because, one, it was inspired by Tolkien (from what I understand) and 2) Doom drew inspiration for some of its design elements from D&D. The makers of Doom played D&D. And I guess I should since I like Angband so much.

I'm not really sure the purpose of this rant. I guess I'm curious if there is anyone else out there who is coming to Angband from at least a somewhat similar trajectory as me. Or maybe I'm hoping to gain more insight into why I like the things I do; what is it about Tolkien and Angband that intrigues me? Are they similar to other things that have had a great influence on me? Lately I've been trying to find more music like what is in Stranger Things but really haven't found any good synth music. I'd like to make my own, but means investing in a keyboard, a real computer, software and then being disciplined and working at it to get good (not sure I'm *quite* that motivated).

As a big fan of Bobby Prince's Doom music I was delighted that his music is on Spotify. So I decided to play some of his non doom tracks (some from Rise of the Triad). I was quite tickled that one of the tracks was called Shards. I see another track here called "I choose the stairs." Maybe I've just been playing too much Angband of late, but it's hard to think the second track is not a reference to original Rogue games from the late 70s early 80s.

I recently read Masters of Doom (I highly recommend reading it if you haven't already!) I enjoyed this book supremely. There is some interesting stuff in it about D&D, how John Carmack was quite an awesome D&D master and world builder. Bobby Prince wasn't mentioned much in the book (not as much as I thought he should have been). I'm not sure if he was part of the id Software D&D clan or not during the masters of Doom's early pre-id days of Keen and Wolf3D. But it's fun to see how things I was interested in as a kid are connected to Angband, which is connected to D&D that I *wasn't* interested in as a kid/teenager, and never had exposure to, but kinda wish I had been! It's like I have nostalgia for something that I never even got to experience. Very weird, but very cool, which is partly why I liked Stranger Things so much.

While I love the 80s vibe of Stranger Things, I'm a 90s kid, and for me all the coolest stuff came out of the early nineties, specifically 1992 through 1994. I didn't even like the 80s. All I remember from E.T. was being vaguely traumatized about why E.T. was dying. I didn't watch the Goonies. I was introduced to Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee.

And I'm not nostalgic for the 90s. My appreciation for the early 90s is purely merit based, not colored by my experience of the early 90s.

It's strange to me that so much awesomeness could come from such a small period in time. But, really, Doom is still one of the greatest games of all time. I've written long essays about why I think so on but won't bore you all with that here. Basically, it boils down to blazing action, awesome atmosphere that is abstract and original; superb sound and music and sublime art direction and design. That all combined with one of Doom's greatest features/accomplishments in its striking a perfect level of simplicity and sophistication: The game engine is complex enough to make interesting and atmospheric levels, but simple enough that you could have blazing action and tons of monsters on screen at once. Quake had great atmosphere, but that was it; going "true 3D" meant a slower game experience. Everything else since, all the way up to today, just can't compete with the sheer joy in gameplay and artistic direction of Doom.

I still feel like the best cars come from the same time period. I drive a 1992 Honda Civic VX hatchback with over 300K miles on it, and just don't have any desire to get a newer car. They're heavier, have worse visibility and are less practical. I fold the seats down in my Civic and can get my bike in the back. And my car gets 50mpg, too. Like Doom, cars from the early 90s struck the perfect balance between modern technology, good looks, and practicality. Today's cars have tiny windows, terrible in cabin controls, miserable touch screens etc.

And of course 1994 saw the creation of the Mclaren F1, still one of the greatest supercars ever, 23 years later. I haven't driven one, but if the resale value on these cars is any indication ($10,000,000) yeah, something about cars from the early 90s. And I didn't even discover the McLaren F1 until I played Need For Speed High Stakes in 1999. I also didn't discover my Honda Civic VX Hatchback until like 2007. So the halo I put around the early 90s isn't just because I was coming of age then. I didn't realize just how good this time period was until about only 5 years ago.

Anyway, what are some of the things that were important to you/defined you growing up? How do they relate or connect to your interest in Angband?

One last thing. While I'm not super versed in all things Tolkien, I feel strangely very much connected to the Lord of the Rings, and feel Tolkien's contribution to the world is still under-appreciated. Both the books and the movies had a deep impact on me. It's cool that Tolkien is being seen with greater and greater respect now than when LOTR first came out, where critics thought it was just a nerdy professor geeking out on escapist fantasy. I really enjoyed Tolkien's Letters and Humphrey Carpenter's biography on Tolkien. Tolkien: myth-maker of the highest order.

Last edited by Grotug; November 30, 2017 at 00:55. Reason: clarity
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Old December 1, 2017, 20:12   #2
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My "old honda >> new honda" commiseration: I still drive a '99 CR-V. Mine looks like crap because I've let the paint job go, but even so I regularly get people stopping me in parking lots saying how much they love the old CR-V's.

I played a little D&D when I was pretty young (~10-12- and a little bit later). Also some sci-fi game with hex grid that I've forgot it's name. I had a small group of friends kind of like in Stranger Things. I moved out of state in 6th grade. There was a D&D club at my new school but it wasn't the same, and I didn't stick with it. Read a lot of fantasy, sci-fi, stephen king in middle/high school. I re-read LOTR and Hobbit a lot, but I don't think I got into Silmarillion and other writings until college. Most video-gaming was on 1st gen Nintendo.

Sophomore year got introduced to Angband, and yeah, I think I connected with it a lot for the nods to Tolkien. The treasure-hunty feel in general, and of finding artifacts and uniques in particular, after having recently read Silmarillion to figure out who Fingolfin and Feanor were, was pretty great. I didn't have a mac version of Angband, so I had to play on my housemates' pc machines- i had my own copy on a 3.5" disk. We played some Doom, also Warlords and Dune, plus Magic cards.

Stranger Things definitely turns the nostalgia up to 11, but the Duffer bros pull it off in my opinion because the story and acting are so good that the atmosphere adds and doesn't step to the foreground too much. It's interesting because I think the Duffers are closer to your age, but they somehow tapped into the childhood experiences of people a few years older.

I'm not sure I'd say Tolkien is underappreciated. Everything in fantasy is compared to him and Middle Earth. Game of Thrones is nothing like LOTR but GRRMartin gets called the Next Tolkien or some b.s. It's hard to put a finger on why Tolkien has such staying power- the stories and writing are far from perfect but there's something so convincing about the world that it feels like it's an important part of our real world history rather than a crafted experience.
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Old December 1, 2017, 20:34   #3
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Originally Posted by bio_hazard View Post
It's hard to put a finger on why Tolkien has such staying power- the stories and writing are far from perfect but there's something so convincing about the world that it feels like it's an important part of our real world history rather than a crafted experience.
Lord of the Rings was Tolkein setting a story in the world he'd spent so much effort on building. He was a worldbuilder first, and a storyteller second. Not many authors are willing to construct multiple conlangs and a remarkably complete history and mythology just to give a setting for their stories.
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Old December 1, 2017, 23:00   #4
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I love Doom but not as much as you I think! I play a few times a year, it and Doom 2. I use Zdoom so I can have easy mouselook. I haven't explored the mod scene or even tried brutal doom yet... I just like replaying the originals on ultra-violence. I cut my teeth on Wolf3d as well.

As for synth, I like the music from the game Hotline Miami and its sequel. There's a band called Perturbator that has some cool stuff online that I stumbled upon from the soundtrack, and some other bands from the game as well. It's not really my go-to genre but it's good for getting work done. I suppose that's kind of like synth.

I enjoyed Stranger Things too. I recently binge watched all the Black Mirror episodes on Netflix and it is really good too. Each episode is stand alone but all of them have some kind of really dark tone or subject matter.

If you are looking for a shooter than can get into your head like Doom can, try Devil Daggers. I really love Devil Daggers but I burned out sometime early this year trying to hit 500 seconds.
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Old December 24, 2017, 00:46   #5
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Mushroom, you should definitely download some of the custom levels. Some are very good. There's a lot of great mapsets that try to emulate the original levels, too, such as the Doom the way iD Did series.

I checked out some youtube videos of devil daggers; I like the look of it, I may check it out at some point.

I watched an episode of Black Mirror awhile ago; was pretty creepy.

Biohazard, I agree with you on Stranger Things. I haven't played Magic but I like Hearthstone. The current cardset in Hearthstone is called Kobolds and Catacombs. Lots of nods to Roguelikes. Kinda fun how one favorite game is making a nod to another favorite game.
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