Discworld (video game)
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Discworld is a point-and-click adventure game developed by Teeny Weeny Games and Perfect 10 Productions in mid-1995. It stars Rincewind the Wizard (voiced by Eric Idle) and is set on Terry Pratchett's Discworld. The game's plot is based roughly on the events in the book Guards! Guards!, but with Rincewind substituted for Sam Vimes. The game contains elements of Moving Pictures.
There are four other Discworld games: a direct sequel to Discworld, titled Discworld II: Missing Presumed...!?, Discworld Noir (a stand-alone story starring an original character), a text adventure called The Colour of Magic which strictly adheres to the events of the first Discworld novel and another game based on The Colour of Magic released on mobile phones titled Discworld: The Colour of Magic.
Discworld has been praised for its humour, voice-acting and graphics, though there have been criticisms concerning its gameplay and puzzles. Discworld has also been noted as being extremely challenging.
Discworld is a third-person point-and-click graphic adventure game. The PlayStation version is compatible with the PlayStation Mouse, as well as the normal PlayStation controls. However, the Saturn version is not compatible with the Saturn Mouse. Rincewind, the player character, moves through a scrolling background, with an overhead map that appears when leaving a city that allows the player to go straight to a location. Items can either be examined or used, and can either be stored in Rincewind's pockets or in the Luggage. In order to progress in the game, Rincewind must collect items, talk to people and solve puzzles.
A secret brotherhood summons a dragon from its native dimension, so as to cause destruction and mayhem across the city of Ankh-Morpork. The following day, rumours of the dragon's rampage across the city reaches Unseen University. Since the Archchancellor wishes the involvement of at least one wizard in the matter (so that people don't question their usefulness), Rincewind is summoned to handle the problem. After acquiring a book to learn what is needed to track the dragon to its lair, Rincewind searches the city for the various components needed to assemble a dragon detector and brings them back to the Archchancellor. After the Archancellor lets slip that the dragon's lair is stocked with gold, Rincewind snatches the dragon detector from the Archchancellor, searches the city, finds the lair, and takes all the gold within it. Just before he leaves, the dragon stops him and requests his aid in removing the brotherhood's hold upon her, claiming they are using her for evil and are planning to make her go on a major rampage.
To do this, Rincewind is told to discover who they are, and recover a golden item from each, since these items are what they use to control the dragon. Learning that a book about summoning dragons had been stolen from the library at Unseen University the night before, Rincewind gains access to L-Space, allowing him to journey into the past, witness the theft, and follow the thief back to the brotherhood's hideout. After gaining entry in disguise, Rincewind learns that each member holds a role in the city — Chucky the Fool, the Thief, the Mason, the Chimney Sweep, the Fishmonger, and the Dunny King — and seeks to change the city so they can have a better future for themselves. Acquiring their golden items, Rincewind brings them to the dragon, only to learn it will not return to its dimension but seek revenge on the brotherhood before coming after him. Wishing to stop this, Rincewind decides to prevent the summoning book from being stolen, by switching it for one that makes love custard. In his efforts to be recognised for stopping the dragon, Rincewind gets into an argument with the Patrician over the existence of dragons, summoning the very same one back to Discworld. An annoyed Patrician tasks Rincewind to deal with it.
Learning that a hero with a million-to-one chance can stop it, Rincewind searches for the right components to be that hero, journeying across the city, the Disc, and even over the edge, to find the necessary items, including a sword that goes "ting", a birthmark, and a magic spell. With the components acquired, he returns to the city's square, where Lady Ramkin, the owner of a local dragon sanctuary, is tied to a rock to be sacrificed to the dragon. Despite having what is needed to combat the dragon, Rincewind fails to stop it, and so seeks out an alternative method. Taking a swamp dragon called Mambo the 16th, and feeding him hot coals and a lit firecracker, Rincewind tries again, but Mambo stops working when he becomes infatuated with the dragon. Rincewind then throws a love custard tart at the dragon. The dragon falls in love with Mambo, and the two fly off to perform mating dances. Rincewind heads to the pub for a pint to celebrate the end of his adventure.
- Eric Idle: Rincewind.
- Rob Brydon: various.
- Jon Pertwee: various.
- Kate Robbins: various.
- Tony Robinson: various.
Terry Pratchett has a non-speaking cameo appearance in the crowd scene (next to Dibbler) at the end of the game.
Ideas and themes
The game was titled Discworld: The Trouble with Dragons while it was in development.
There is a subtle easter egg in the game that is activated by double clicking on the sheep in Nanny Ogg's back yard. Many more secrets can be found throughout the game. In another easter egg, Rincewind states that he "want[s] to be the first person in a game to say fuck". A similar, albeit censored line is also hidden in the sequel.
The game was originally released on both floppy disk and CD-ROM, with the CD-ROM version featuring full voice acting for all characters. For the Japanese release on the PlayStation and Saturn, all the voice acting was redone by a prominent Japanese comedian, which was a major selling point for the game in Japan.
After the release of Discworld II, a second CD-ROM version of the game, codenamed the Director's Cut, was developed. This new version was made using the sequel's improved TINSEL game engine, and also fixed several outstanding bugs that had not been fixed by any previous patch. It also included a missing "future-cut-scene" for the butterfly effect that never made it into the original game due to time constraints. However, this version was never released, since the publisher assumed that large sums of money would be required to test it, even though that wasn't the case since the game's logic (written using the TINSEL language) remained the same.
Around 2005 it was announced by Terry Pratchett that a source code and freeware release is in preparation, but it took until 2008 until the source code became available to the ScummVM developers, who integrated the code in few month into the ScummVM.
The game was reviewed in 1995 in Dragon #223 by David "Zeb" Cook in the final "Eye of the Monitor" column. Cook's summary of the game is as follows: "Give Discworld an "A" for content and an "F" for mechanics. Great tongue-in-cheek script. Delightful parody of heroic fantasy and computer adventure games. Faithful, even inspired translation of Pratchett's world and comic voice into a computer game. Great voice performances. Exceptional art and animation. Crappy testing, quality control, and tech support." Entertainment Weekly praised the voice-acting of Eric Idle, but criticised the PlayStation version of the game, saying that it was difficult to navigate without the PlayStation Mouse and that the text was too small. In their review of the PlayStation version, Electronic Gaming Monthly similarly commented that the PlayStation mouse is required for full enjoyment, but highly praised the voice acting, humor, and graphics, with all four of the reviewers scoring the game 8.5/10. IGN gave the game a 7.0 out of 10, calling it challenging and long, but criticising the long loading times. Adventure Classic Gaming called it "rewarding but challenging", and suggested skipping the floppy disk version of the game as the voice-acting (not available on the floppy disk version) was excellent and an integral part of the game's humour. Sega Saturn Magazine gave the Saturn version a 72%, citing overlong dialogues, poor graphics, and "largely non-existent" animation.
Computer and Video Games gave the game a 5.0 out of 10, complimenting the backdrops and saying that the voice-acting and plot give "a feature film feel to the whole affair". However, they criticised the gameplay, and said that Discworld was "an entertaining yarn, with a gameplay vehicle attached to it". Adventure Gamers praised the voice acting, graphics, humour and story, calling it "a wonderful game", but noted that "it stops short of being a classic simply due to its sheer difficulty and the unwieldy nature of the game". Adventure Gamers also called the music "serviceable at best, and fairly forgettable". In 2009 Eurogamer's Will Porter reviewed the game retrospectively, praising the game's cartoonish graphics and voice-acting, but criticising its puzzles and noting that "Discworld commits every point-and-click crime you'd care to mention".
Discworld was ranked at No. 4 on Adventure Classic Gaming's "Top 10 retro graphic adventure games of all time from PC to consoles" in 2006, and was listed on Altered Gamer's "The Top 5 Best PC Adventure Games" in 2011. In 2013 Retro Gamer cited Discworld as one of four examples demonstrating that British developers produced a disproportionately large number of overly hard video games.
- Will Porter (26 June 2009). "Retrospective: Discworld". Eurogamer. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- David Tanguay (15 October 1997). "Discworld". Adventure Classic Gaming. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
- Rob Michaud (1 July 2005). "REVIEW: Discworld". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
- "Discworld". Entertainment Weekly (310). 19 January 1996. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- "Discworld Review". Computer and Video Games. 15 August 2001. Retrieved 24 April 2011.[dead link]
- IGN Staff (21 November 1996). "Discworld". IGN. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
- "The Discworld Game Pages : 1.2 How many Discworld games are there?". The Discworld Game Faq - V3.00. au.lspace.org. 2000.
- "Adventure Gamers' Forum".
- "New Games Frenzy!: PlayStation Expo". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine (Emap International Limited) (2): 122–3. November 1995.
- "Dave Johnston, Lead Programmer Discworld I & II, about the Director's Cut of Discworld 1". 2005.
- "ScummVM forums thread".
- "Additional information on Discworld Version 2: The Directors Cut, see section 2.8". Archived from the original on September 12, 2011.
- Freeware releases "The rights situation has been resolved, and Terry Pratchett and his agent Colin Smythe have approved the source release and future freeware re-issuing of the game. We are currently awaiting receipt of the engine source code." on adventure-treff.de (2005, in German)
- Discworld Source Code Retrieved – ScummVM Developers Thrilled and Already Coding by James Woodcock (May 2008)
- discworld-revisited on onlyagame.typepad.com (2008-07)
- "Discworld". GameRankings. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- "Discworld Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly (76) (EGM Media, LLC). November 1995. p. 48.
- Cook, David "Zeb" (November 1995). "Eye of the Monitor". Dragon (223): 63–66.
- Bright, Rob (June 1996). "Review: Discworld". Sega Saturn Magazine (8) (Emap International Limited). pp. 70–71.
- Darren Franich (5 April 2010). "'Perfect Dark' hits Xbox Live Arcade: What other classic games deserve a resurrection?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- Anurag Ghosh (17 April 2012). "Top 5 Adventure PC Games". Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- Locke, Phil (December 2013). "Creating Chaos". Retro Gamer (122) (Imagine Publishing). p. 71.
- Discworld at MobyGames
- The Discworld Game Pages, LSpace
- ScummVM MIDI Music Enhancement Project, James Woodcock's Blog