By Cinematronics/Starcom

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  • While Don Bluth has been given the lion's share of the credit for Dragon's Lair, many individuals actually contributed to the stunning success of the first commercial U.S. laserdisc arcade release. Rick Dyer, then of Advanced Microcomputer Systems, invented the technology used in Dragon's Lair's laser disc operation and initially approached Bluth's animation studio with the idea of animating a medieval-themed adventure game. Bluth was so excited by it that he and his fellow workers immediately started working overtime on the project. They all worked without getting any money PAID TO THEM, but the company received one-third partnership of Starcom (A.M.S. owned another one-third, and Cinematronics, which manufactured and marketed the game completed the trio.)

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  • For those who have never tried Dragon's Lair, the game basically lets you take control of Dirk the Daring through 38 rooms of a booby-trapped castle in an attempt to rescue his girlfriend Daphne from the clutches of an evil Dragon. You control the outcome of each cartoon scene by correctly entering the right move at each decision point, via the joystick and action (or sword) button. In other words, Dragon's Lair requires memorization and timing in order to succeed, and that's the problem: it's little more than a well-animated cartoon that arcade dwellers view in a series of permutations by simply pushing a button at selected intervals. This denies game players the one element that has always defined their interest in videogames: INTERACTION. Dragon's Lair is epitomized the first generation of computerized laser disc games in that it was too simple and tedious. Pushing the single play button sent the laser trotting across the surface of the internal disc to the appropriate frame and broadcast it onto the monitor. You just don't have enough control over the actions of Dirk the Daring.

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  • Because it was the first, Dragon's Lair captured the imagination of gamers everywhere with its novelty. But because of its repetitive nature, it can only be considered revolutionary from a technological standpoint.

  • Digital Leisure is now making DVD versions of Dragon's Lair, Dragon's Lair and Space Ace. There are two versions, one for home DVD players and one for PC-DVD players. Although some sort of a "special edition" with commentary and pre-production sketches and cool inside information would have been nice, it's nonetheless nice to see exact replications of these classics translated to the home.

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