MAUS MERRYJEST THAWS THE LEGACY
1984 was an interesting year for gaming. In May of that year we saw the release of the first King's Quest game by Roberta and Ken Williams, which was essentially the birth of the graphic adventure genre. In June Donkey Kong 3 slid down the vine to grab Nintendo some more revenue, but even more momentous was Pajintov's creation of Tetris- though the U.S. would not see it for two more years. Paperboy and Gauntlet appeared and dominated the arcade scene, and Apple started the tradition of high-end super-advertisements in the Superbowl with its iconic “1984” commercial which drew on Orwell's book.
It was also a year after the infamous 'Video Game Industry Crash' in the United States- a crash caused by a glut of poor titles from hastily financed start-up companies that quickly saturated the market. The crash explains why there were so few offerings in the video game market worthy of notice in 1984. All the crash did, however, was to clear away most of the chaff and leave the strong contenders standing for the second Renaissance of the industry. Nintendo would revitalize the industry with the release of its Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, and Sierra would inject some serious life into the PC gaming scene with their King's Quest series alongside their Space Quest, Quest For Glory, Police Quest and Gabriel Knight series- which in turn encouraged Lucasarts to enter the market with Maniac Mansion, Loom, the Monkey Island and Indiana Jones adventure series... There were giants in the earth in those days.
Standing among the giants, however, was a company that would make its own mark on gaming history: FTL Games (comprised of Bruce Webster, Nancy Holder and Wayne Holder). During FTL's all-too-short 14 year career, its games were consistently number-one sellers and received the highest critical acclaim and industry awards. The company would create the grandpappy of all realtime 3d roleplaying games: Dungeon Master, in 1987. Dungeon Master changed the industry and became the Atari ST's best-selling game of all time... but three years before that, FTL released its first offering for the Apple ][ into the still-turbulent market. This game was known as Sundog: Frozen Legacy.