Pass over

King of Dragon Pass

King of Dragon Pass is a 1999 computer game published by A Sharp. Set in the fictional world of Glorantha, it depicts the lives and fortunes of one of several barbarian clans, settling the untamed lands of Dragon Pass over the course of several decades. The clans bear some similarities, such as fyrds and lawspeakers, to the Iron Age Nordic peoples.

The most distinctive features of the game are its greatest oddities. KoDP contains no animation whatsoever, instead depicting people and events with lavish hand-drawn artwork. The game's genre is somewhat unclassifiable and anachronistic — it has elements of strategy, construction and management simulation, and role-playing, even though it offers no proper alter ego.

The player controls the seven-member clan ring leading the clan, providing leadership to the clan in all aspects of its life from rituals to diplomacy. The ring can make two macro-level decisions per each of the five seasons in the Gloranthan year. Random events are drawn from a pool of hundreds and are often influenced by previous decisions. In battle, the player determines the goals and preparations, and possibly chooses the actions of his nobles at pivotal moments.

To succeed, a player must balance the various needs of survival and prospering, as well as manage the problems presented by the setting or the clan individuals - a lack of food might be solvable by clearing more farmland, but when the forest responds by sending a talking fox to urge leaving the trees alone, a wrong choice could bring the clan hunters to war with their environment. Likewise, should a member of the clan act in a selfish and foolish manner, action needs to be taken to stabilize and defuse the situation, if necessary.

Longevity

King of Dragon Pass is a cult classic, extremely far from being a mainstream game in its age, and its fans are few but devoted. Unlike most games, KoDP is proving to be virtually immune to loss of appeal from aging, possibly because of its low-technology approach – already at the time of its publication, it was set apart from other published games by its 2D graphics, text-based content and lack of flashy action sequences. While these anachronistic factors certainly contributed to the game's lack of popularity in the mainstream, they did come with the benefit of immunity over obsolescence via rapidly advancing computer technology, as the particular genre had already matured (and even all but vanished) years before.

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