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The Bard's Tale: A Blast from the Past

posted Dec 4, 2009, 6:39 AM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Apr 9, 2010, 4:58 AM ]
In which "Hillside Chronicles" remembers a favorite old game...

Over the TG weekend, I spent some time at my parent's house collecting some of my things to bring back with me to NoMi. One of the items I found was an old PC game that request 256K (which was really fast at the time) called "the Bard's Tale." The long story short, this was one of the first D&D style computer games that allowed you to have 4 characters at once, with cryptic instructions. Let me tell you, I was swept away with nostalgia when I found this game!

Here is one of the best "The Manual," it has descriptions of the characters, one of which is The Bard. This is the description word for word: "The Bard make magic by playing music. He needs an instrument, of course. He can play in combat or during exploration, with different effect. Only one tune at a time. And one tune for every experience level. Then he needs to get a drink from any nearby tavern." Okay, maybe subconsciously this is where my concept of the Journeyman Guitar-Player was formed....well, at least the last part! Well, I have my instrument.

As I read on, I couldn't help but relate to background: "Bards were once warriors, and can still use most warrior weapons." I mentally checked that one off. "But they turned to music instead and now play songs with an almost magical effect on other characters...." Check again. "Any true Bard has 6 tunes on his lips...Bard songs vary according to the difficulty of the dungeon. When the going gets tough, the Bard goes drinking." I swear that it say that...and remember, it was a teenager's game from 1985!

Okay, so aside from the drinking references throughout the Bard description, the one thing that occurred to me (besides the gender-specific orientation of the game) was that this minstrel was expected to be able to play six songs at any given moment to create "magic." Well, I thought, I'm one song short right now (though I know where the nearby taverns are located!!!).