Lords of Midnight

Just picked up on a Lords of Midnight Article that indirectly talks a little about the atmosphere of Midnight.

However, despite its strong sense of location, there was little impetus to idly explore the countryside. While the land of Midnight has a stark beauty, the limited range of elements leaves little room for any surprises. If you’ve seen one mountain you’ve literally seen them all, so the few times the game does surprise, the impact is all the more for it. One of the more spellbinding moments came late into the game, when I felt like I was further north than any other man had ever been, and I saw ahead of me distant tower. Except that it nestled safely behind the frozen wastes. Having become accustomed to the frozen waste’s role as the implacable edge of the game, this seems like a mirage. Or a bug. Any thought about the campaign at hand was put to one side as I explored this anomaly. And so it was: in one corner of the world it was possible pick a path through the wastes into a little oasis of land. It’s a small, unremarkable thing, but when I was there, surrounded by the claw-like peaks of the frozen wastes, it felt like a real discovery.

I gave it a little thought and wondered what it is about the game that has drawn me to it for 20 years. I think that the beauty of Midnight is in the atmosphere of the imagination. For some reason that game landscape just allowed the imagination to run free. Once I started playing the game I would just get lost in the story of it. I still do. Which is one of the reasons whyI set up the wiki to try an realise all the information that we know about, and create so much more that we don’t. I want the place to be real, I want the place to live. Yes, the story is full of typical fantasy cliches but there are so many oppurtunities to iron them out and create a very interesting place that more people could inhabit. I am closer to the characters of Midnight, than probably any book that I have ever read. Would I rather have Midnight or Lord of the Rings? Midnight every time!

Wayne Britcliffe caught the mood just about right in my Retro Gamer Article..

Even when actually playing the games your imagination takes you beyond, especially in the case of the original’s 8-bit limitations, what you are actually presented with. Swords clash, men scream, the plains fill with marauding enemy armies and smoke rises in the distance as snow begins to fall. Lord Blood dies surrounded by those he has slain in the gatehouse of his overrun Keep – a valiant defence against impossible odds. Shimeril escapes by the skin of his teeth only to have to turn and fight before his Citadels walls.

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2 Replies to “Lords of Midnight”

  1. I have to disagree with one part – to me a very large element of the attraction that LOM has had for me over the years is the exploring. Even though the graphics were reused repeatedly, the landscape was still utterly believable.

  2. I also find that exploring was really exciting. The exaltation of coming across yet another lord; we tried to extrapolate from the keyboard how many lords we were missing… And it wasn’t just one and the same mountain, but there were all different names and combinations.

    Otherwise it’s abit like saying there’s only some 250 elements. Once you’ve seen a water molecule you’ve seen ’em all. And the landscape has been beautifully crafted. This is something that DDR never reached; the names were too similar, the landscape lacked distinctive features, and the exploration was hampered by all those stubborn characters getting in the way.

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