Happy Anniversary ‘Dragon’s Lair’
June 20, 2013

Apparently yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the revolutionary video game Dragon’s Lair.   What made Dragon’s Lair different is that instead of it using computer graphics, it was a fully 2-D animated cartoon from Don Bluth studios that ran on a laser disk.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Dragon’s Lair:

Dragon’s Lair is a laserdisc video game published by Cinematronics in 1983. It featured animation created by ex-Disney animator Don Bluth.

Most other games of the era represented the character as a sprite, which consisted of a series of pixels displayed in succession. Due to hardware limitations of the era, artists were greatly restricted in the detail they could achieve using that technique; the resolution, framerate and number of frames were severely constrained. Dragon’s Lair overcame those limitations by tapping into the vast storage potential of the laserdisc, but imposed other limitations on the actual gameplay.

The success of the game sparked numerous home ports, sequels and related games. In the 21st century it has been repackaged in a number of formats (such as for the iPhone) as a “retro” or historic game.

It is currently one of only three video games (along with Pong and Pac-Man) in storage at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.[2]

DragonsLair1

I still remember when the game was released they did a story about it coming to my hometown on the evening news.  My dad knew I’d love to see and play the game, and I think was fascinated at that new technology himself, so he drove me to the one QuickTrip in downtown Tulsa, Ok that had the game first so I could  play it.  There was a huge crowd there and everyone wanted a look at it.  It was the first game I can remember that cost $0.50.  We got in line and waited… for a long time.   But finally I got to play it.  And I was terrible, but you knew this was a leap forward in video game technology.

Yes, I DO have a full set of the action figure series from the short lived AnJon company.  I have them at my office at work.   I thought that appropriate since I work for a video game company.

Now technology has advanced so far in the 30 years since I have the exact ROM of this game playable on both my phone and tablet.  To this day when ever I play Dragon’s Lair I remember that Saturday 30 years ago.

Thanks Dad.

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website www.ActionFigureInsider.com. Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on MSNBC.com, Wired.com, Fark.com, Boing-Boing, Gizmodo.com, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.

 

 

 

3 Comments »

  • Shellhead says:

    I loved that game! I sucked at it, but I loved it! What was especially cool was that watching someone else play was entertaining. Kinda like watching a choose your own adventure cartoon.
    To this day, I don’t think I ever actually beat it.
    Space Ace was also a blast.

  • The release date on Wikipedia is wrong. Most news reports of the era peg the release to early July. The date of the game’s release to arcades is actually July 1, 1983, which Don Bluth himself mentions in newspaper coverage of the game.

    So, a couple of weeks still to go. Still, you’re right, an amazing game at the time. I have an article on the history of the game and for the laser game craze as a whole on my site, The Dot Eaters:

    http://thedoteaters.com/?bitstory=dragons-lair-and-the-laser-game-craze

    I’m wondering if you could post some pics on your DL action figures. I’d love to see them.

  • demoncat4 says:

    scary that dragon’s lair is the big three oh now.for i remember playing the game when it was around in the arcade and how scary the laugh was when dirk gets killed. and also seem to vaguly recall an animated series of it too. figures never knew they got made.

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