Serendipitous. That's the word that springs to mind when I think of The Lords of Midnight. There was no reason why I should have encountered it at a rather young age. I can't see it having been sold in Toys R Us or my local indie gaming store. By the time I owned a Commodore 64, the system was dying a slow death and shops only really stocked budget offerings from Ocean or Codemasters. As an eight or nine year old, I didn't care that I had a dated system though. I had games to play! That's all that mattered.
Mike Singleton's classic 1980s fantasy role-playing game The Lords of Midnight has been released on Windows PC.
Developer Chris Wild has reflected on the release of the iOS version of classic Eighties fantasy role-playing game Lords of Midnight, created by influential British programmer Mike Singleton who died last year following a battle with cancer.
Mike Singleton, considered by many to be the father of home computing, died last week.
The thing everybody remembers about Lords of Midnight is the scale it managed to evoke. Placing the fate of an entire realm in the hands of the player, Mike Singleton's gigantic roleplaying-strategy-wargame-adventure hybrid unfolded across 4,000 locations and featured scores of characters - all controlled through keyboard shortcuts. Beginning with four absurdly named champions (Luxor the Moonprince, Morkin the Moonsprog, Rorthron the Wise and Corleth the Fey), further Lords had to be swiftly united under your banner lest the hordes of bad-geezer Doomdark engulf the world.
Going by the rather nifty title of Witchking of Midnight, Doomdark has unleashed a wave of cold (handy for coding purposes, because it means everything is white), and only the Free Lands can prevent perpetual winter. Should they falter, one hope remains; if Morkin can destroy Doomdark's favourite ice-crown, the sorcerer will pack in the invasion plans in a huff and go sulk in a cold corner.
So far, so Lord of the Rings. Indeed, this title made no secret of reimagining the vast scope of Tolkien's novels. Like those books, players would either dismiss the fantasy piffle or become utterly engrossed by it. Given little more than a short back story and the controls, would-be heroes were thrust into the game with no other help. This sink-or-swim approach was brutal, but cemented the feel of a bewildered group of defenders against an army of darkness. As forces clash upon the plains, the player has the freedom to do as he pleases; seeking allies, exploring the realm or simply dispatching packs of pesky wolves and trolls.