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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #86: Dungeons & Dragons Computer Labyrinth Game

This game represents the most intimidated I've ever been in my life. I've met presidents, carried the football against bigger and stronger defenders, and submitted novels to distant literary agents. At no time have I felt more out of my depth than in the early 1980s, maybe seven or eight years old, sitting in the basement trying to figure this game out. It was, and probably remains, beyond me.

The game itself was this plastic castle surrounding a playing surface of touch-sensitive red panels. These panels are part of the labyrinth the name refers to, randomly generated by the computer each time you turn it on. Your player, represented by a little figurine, blunders around in the maze, banging into walls, looking for the treasure. Somewhere, a dragon lurks. Your goal is to navigate the labyrinth and find the loot before getting smoked (or before your opponent does). There are spooky digital sounds that warn of dangers and dead ends.

At least, that's how it was supposed to work. In practice, I could never wrap my tender childhood head around it. I'd mash buttons and turn it off and on in comprehensive confusion, eventually rage quitting in frustrated tears. Just looking at the picture of the box makes me want to throw it against the wall. I wonder if anyone ever figured the damned thing out.


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