Title The Bard's Tale Game Type RPG Publisher Electronic Arts (1987) Players 1 Compatibility All? HD Installable Yes? Submission Mike Landers Review RPG games for me are pretty much take it or leave it affairs, but for some reason, "The Bards Tale" by Electronic Arts is one of those I played for countless hours. The premise is the usual D&D type setting, the town of Skara Brae (probably named after the real-life prehistoric place in Orkney) is the home for a merry band of adventurers that you generate and recruit. You guide your charges around the streets, into pubs, shops, churches and behind certain doors, into the dungeons beneath. The action is presented simply, with your first person viewpoint at the top left, a quick reference to the state of your band (health, hit points etc) on the right and the bottom taken up by various information messages. Fighting was turn based (you hit them then they hit you) and the whole thing was controlled by the keyboard. So why did it grab so many people, enough to spawn several sequels and a Construction Set? In short, atmosphere. ABT combined simplicity of gameplay with a large playing area which gradually got harder and harder. Whether through accident or design, you didn't manage to find the lower levels of the dungeons until your band was strong enough to cope with the inhabitants. The little touches drew the player into the world, with atmospheric music in the pubs and churches, as well as passing of day into night - and Skara Brae became a much more dangerous place at night. Later sequels added bigger maps and more complexity, but they couldn't detract from a brilliant idea superbly executed.