Sunday, 25 February 2018

His Dark Majesty

His Dark Majesty is like a nerd dream come true. Provided this nerd is a bit inclined toward retro games and attribute clash delights. And also an amateur of strategy games.

The polish group of devellopers behind this masterpiece have been painstakingly coding a real functional game for the Atari 8 bit line of computer, and what a very fine game!

Click picture for download page

Homebrew is a term that cover the modern practice of creating games,demos or any other kind of program, for "exotic" closed computer system. Generally old defunct computers or game consoles.

Indeed, there is no real purpose to it, except the love of the craft and a nostalgia for shiny pixels from your past. Basically, it's "art".

I was born in the seventies and my golden youth in the 80s was spent dreaming on inaccessible clunky computers. Most of the time these computers had exotic display systems that forced them to use ridiculous resolution, often marred by attribute clash.

Believe it or not, attribute clash is what gave these old games their nostalgic charm, and I remember the time spent in my bedroom, looking at blurry screenshots in magazines and trying to understand the limitations and how I could use it to create the games of my dreams.

Of all these computers, the Atari 8 bits were among those with the most intriguing graphics, I never quite understood what mysterious rules governed those 256 colours graphics until now.

It turns out the main graphic modes make a heavy usage of screen interrupts to change the color registers between consecutive lines. The most used modes for example allow 5 or 6 colours per lines, chosen among 255 (that was considered as a huge palette in the early 80s). That gives you an opportunity for very good looking graphics, on condition that you possess the required talent and patience. And that's exactly what happens here.

The devs have meticulously created a lot of pixelatr screens that you can aadmire in the intro and intermissions.


As for the game itself, it plays like an early wargame. That means exactly like what a domestic computer could offer  twenty years ago. It is a bit clunky at time and the gameplay is limited, but at the same time these limitation seem to increase immersivness.

Thanks to the emulator you can save your games by using save states.

The game is not too difficult and I found myself progressing at good pace once I found out how to properly use each of my units capabilities. The level where you must enter a city for example, becomes really pleasant once you understand that you have to send a few cavalry charges from a side and use sniping tactics from your bowmen hidden in the forest on the other  side.



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Last Updated (Sunday, 24 November 2013 05:50)