Stop Everything: The Gold Box Dark Sun Games are on GOG
If I was listing the games that defined my taste as a gamer, there are very few games that deserve more credit than the Gold Box SSI Dark Sun games. I don’t remember exactly when I first played it, but it’s hard to convey exactly how different Dark Sun was back in 1993 compared to other games that I played. Admittedly, the Ultima series was in full swing at that point (Ultima VII Part 2 came out the same year). Still, the first Dark Sun game was released in 1993, the same year that the Second Edition of the Dungeons and Dragons setting of the same name was released. It was different than anything I had ever seen, odd parts Tolkien and Mad Max: A world that had been destroyed by magic leaving behind a blasted wasteland filled with god dragons that walked among the people. Bonkers. I’m sure other games had done it before, but Dark Sun was the first game that I played in the mold that would go on to define Fallout and Baldur’s Gate. Except Dark Sun: Shattered Land was released in 1993, four years before Fallout and five before Baldur’s Gate. It was an isometric roleplaying game with full leveling and dialogue trees and it was unlike anything else I had played to that point until I played Shadowrun on the SNES (released the same year). The Dark Sun games were beautiful and brutal. I don’t know that I ever played very far into the games, honestly, but they made me reconsider what a roleplaying game could be and they introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons, generally (not coincidentally, Dark Sun and Shadowrun were my first two loves in the tabletop RPG world). How do they hold up? I have no idea, but they’re now available for $9.99 (for both) over on GOG. As a step in the CRPG DNA, I get the feeling that they are not as widely known and appreciated as some other games in the lineage, so I’m really glad some people may get their first look at these games now.