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October 2015 Retro Gaming Article

October 28, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Could Dirk the Daring be heading to a theater near you in Dragons Lair?

How many of you remember helping Dirk the Daring rescue Princess Daphne? Those familiar with Cinematronics' revolutionary 1983 arcade game Dragon's Lair will want to check out a project involving animator Don Bluth. He and producer Gary Goldman have collaborated on several animated projects and are helping to take this story to the big screen in the form of a full length movie!

Dragon's Lair arcade marquee A Dragon's Lair Kickstarter campaign is already underway, but be certain you understand it's goals and purpose. Most crowd funding for such a project results in backers receiving a copy of the film. As you may know, animated films are time consuming and costly to create, thus the Kickstarter will fund a ~10 minute short film that will later be used to entice investors into bringing in the big bucks. Be aware of the risks as the movie industry is a whacky place with no guarantees.

That aside, I'd love to see Dragon's Lair adapted to fit in at the multiplex! Bluth was the animator on the arcade original, so his involvement in bringing it to film would be a definite asset.

Playing Dragon's Lair

When Dragon's Lair came to the Electric Playhouse in 1983, we were excited to line up and give it a try. As arcade fanatics in the early 80s, we were accustomed to the look and feel of vector and sprite-based games. While displaying wildly different game play options, these games all had a distinct visual. Dragon's Lair changed that!

Dragon's Lair was closer to the animation you might see on TV than playing a video game. Full motion video hadn't made it's way into arcades of that era. We were stunned by what we saw on it's screen. Most games needed a lot of processing power just to fly a small ship around a screen full of attacking enemies. We stood in that dimly lit arcade wondering how they achieved this animated game.

Dragon's Lair - Dirk It would be several years before I was aware of Laser Discs, but as soon as I understood the concept, I bought an LD player. This initiated the long and costly process of replacing my favorite VHS titles with those big shiny, double-sided discs (then DVD came along). The clarity was so amazing to me, that I was willing to accept that one could not record onto these discs.

I had a large collection of my favorite shows recorded onto VHS. It wouldn't be until the advent of DVD that television shows would be released as complete seasons. Changing (incompatible) technology has altered my world with each new advance - some good, others not so much.

When I had a better grasp of the LD technology behind Dragon's Lair, I was far more appreciative of what they had achieved. While some video games used cassette or 8-track players to add specific sounds, Dragon's Lair used the A/V capabilities of Laser Discs. Pretty cool!

Dragon's Lair was the first commercial arcade game to charge 50 cents per play. At the outset, we would have paid anything to get in front of that machine. Everyone at the arcade was stoked to get the chance to drop 2 quarters. It's novelty in our pixel world was worth the extra cost. All these years later I have vivid memories of playing Dragon's Lair and I'm not alone. There is a huge following for this innovative game and many of them would love to see this movie made.

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