In a Montrose-area apartment, a local video game developer is writing his version of a love letter.
Eric Kinkead has devoted nearly a quarter century of his life to video games.
"QuestLord" is his tribute to that proud history, a flashback to the frontier days of virtual entertainment.
== Rose-tinted nostalgia ==
"It's a game that is in the style of the legendary classic role-playing games that you would play on the computer," Kinkead said. "It's done in the style that you would remember in the 80s or 90s."
Anywhere else, you might think your smartphone or tablet is acting up. In "QuestLord", the cobbled pixels and crude animations are a callback to the days of floppy disks and dusty computer monitors.
Cell by cell, players will explore a variety of pixellated settings, including dank dungeons, frosty mountains, murky swamps and small towns. In them, you'll find a variety of non-player characters, friendly and not-so-friendly. Hint: for the latter, shoot a fireball first and ask questions later.
Players can choose to play as a Human, Dwarf or Elf. Each race has a different starting point, equipment and character stats. Kinkead assured me the player is free to choose their own path as they progress.
"There are a lot of mobile games that are real bright and colorful and just kind of one-offs. You pick up, you play it, that's cute, it's a time-waster, I'm done. But there wasn't really anything on the mobile device for me that was role-play enough," Kinkead said.
== How old becomes vintage ==
When 3D graphics and high-production values are the norm, who buys a game like "QuestLord"? Plenty, Zeboyd Games' Bill Stiernberg said.
"… A lot of people that are in their 20s, 30s and 40s grew up in the 16-bit console generation," Stiernberg said. "After that generation evolved into 3D polygons and everything else, a lot of the games we played growing up fell by the wayside. That doesn't mean they're necessarily bad. They just don't make them like that anymore."
The former lawyer-turned-game developer said the market is, in fact, its best supplier. Thanks to low costs and digital distribution, some of those 20, 30 and 40-year-olds have become game developers, fueling their nostalgic habit.
== Last-minute polishing ==
In the meantime, Kinkead has a few bugs to quash out and some fine tuning here and there. During our "QuestLord" session, the message "No string attached" would occasionally pop up. He assured me these were easily fixable.
"QuestLord" should launch sometime in December.
The game will be priced at $1.99 for Apple iOS devices, the Amazon Kindle, the Barnes & Noble Nook, and Google Android devices. There are no plans for Windows 8 devices, yet.
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