RPO Replay: Dungeons of Daggorath

The Ready Player One Replay is an ongoing exploration of the games that inspired the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Love it or hate it, there’s value in revisiting our geeky roots.

Quote

“Daggorath” (with two “g”s) could refer only to one thing: an incredibly obscure computer game called Dungeons of Daggorath released in 1982. The game had been made for just one platform, the TRS-80 Color Computer. — Ready Player One p. 85

Game Play

Dungeons of Daggorath is a straightforward dungeon crawl in which you, from a first-person perspective, navigate a basic, line-drawn 3D interface. Armed with a wooden sword, shield, and torch, you face off against spiders, humanoid monsters, and other threats as you try to descend to the lowest level of the dungeon. The entire time your digital heart beats in the middle of the interface, its sound speeding up as you exert yourself.

A simple line-drawn dungeon
Torch? Check. Sword? Check. Sense of Impending Doom? Check.

Impressions

Damn, this game is old. And damn, is it hard. Thankfully, there’s a quick demo that shows how to light a torch, equip a sword, and move through the dungeon. It took me a little bit to get the hang of it, but once I did so, I ventured forth.

I moved down a corridor, turned a corner, and ran into a spider.

Which killed me.

So I tried again. And died again.

And again.

And again.

If I knew there were a few billion dollars on the line (as is the case in Ready Player One), I’d be inclined to delve deeper. I’ve played a ton of games like this, though admittedly, none as hard as this. It’s a fun bit of 1980s trivia, and folks who played it back then will undoubtedly enjoy trying it again, but for me … I’m ok with moving on to the next game in the Reply.

A humanoid monster and a spider threaten the viewer.
Death waits on the first level of the dungeon. I didn’t make it to the second one.

 

High Scores

  • My High Score: I died. Early and often.

Resources

Where to Play

Commentary

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