"It is an enigma, a maze, a treasure chest, an arena... and it is also a quick death for the unwary. It is... TELENGARD."
Thus reads the box of this true classic computer game which I just added BACK into my collection of Commodore 64 games thanks to my good friends at eBay.
This baby is still sealed and in near-mint condition and since I don't even have my C64 anymore I haven't even cracked it open yet - but I'm going to. Check out the awesome box art of the dragon with the hapless adventurer in his talons - one of the cool gifties inside the box is a full-size poster of that art. That's going up on the wall in the Commodore 64 corner of my gameroom - when I repurchase a Commodore 64 that is - and uh - get a gameroom to put it in. Details...
Telengard was released on several different systems back in the early 80's, but I played and loved the DEFINITIVE version (might be a little fanboyism showing there) on the Commodore 64. It is a real-time (more-or-less) dungeon crawl RPG where you are an adventurer who is exploring a dungeon filled with treasures, traps, all sorts of crazy magical items, and a variety of monsters that may do one of two things - like you and reward you with mystical gifts or, as is more often the case, really want to kill you and/or take your stuff. Let me tell you, nothing is quite as frustrating as seeing an Elf pop in in front of you, steal your Armor +40, and then disappear into the darkness before you can do a damn thing about it. Well, possibly more painful is being unexpectedly transported down to level 50 when you are still a young level 2 adventurer and meeting a Dragon who just crushes you in the wink of an eye - that's a little worse.
|Good dragon... nice dragon....|
The game was stored on a data cassette and I clearly remember starting my C64, typing the command to load the game, pushing play on the datasette, and then going into the kitchen to get something to eat, maybe watch TV etc. while I waited the eternity it took for the game to load, calculate all the monsters and rooms, and finally let me get started. I turned the volume on the TV (my monitor) up loud enough so that I could hear the tell-tale gong that signaled that the game was finally loaded and ready to go.
I've heard some folks call Telengard a "roguelike" game or a Rogue variant or clone which I consider a bit of a slap in the face since Telengard's production actually predates Rogue. Daniel Lawrence wrote DnD on a PDP-10 mainframe at Purdue in 1976. In 1978 he ported it to the Commodore Pet and changed the name to Telengard. Then in 1982 he sold it to Avalon Hill for commercial release on multiple systems. Rogue was developed in the early 1980's on a UNIX mainframe at U.C. Berkley and was later included with U.C. Berkley's BSD UNIX package that was distributed to universities across the country so it became very well-known. Epyx tried to publish the game in 1983 and was a commercial failure. So to that "Telengardlike" game I say bah!
|Rogue on Unix - aka Telengarbage|
If you don't have a C64 but would still like to check out this all-time classic game I recommend you try the emulator CCS64 (download HERE) and grab the ROM at Gamebase64 HERE and give it a whirl. These days it is an extremely simplistic game that probably won't hold your attention too long but I assure you that back in the day it was awesome and took up many hours of my time. In the words of Matt Barton in his book Dungeons & Desktops "What is Diablo but Telengard with better audiovisuals?"