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First Time Playing

The first time I played Doriath, I probably wasn't much older than ten.  For some reason, this particular game appealed to me on a number of levels.  The elaborate labyrinth, the ability to acquire new spells, the ability to direct those spells (a bit of a rarity in those days) and the puzzles with the fungata mushrooms, cloronar flower, and scroll fragments.  Then of course there is the music.  Those hypnotic notes of "In the Halls of the Mountain King" kept me glued to the monitor.  I would play for a day or a week, and then leave the game.  Yet over the next four to five years, I kept coming back.  Because I could never quite remember if I had beaten Doriath.

 

Me around age 10

Of course, the computer of choice back then was none other than the glorious Commodore 64.  The disk drive is about the size of today's CPU towers, while the processor was built right into the monstrous keyboard.  Occasionally a letter would stop working.  When "E" conked out, it became rather difficult to finish my school reports.  (I was probably one of the very few in my elementary school who handed reports in typed -- with my not-so-stellar handwriting, I'm sure my teachers appreciated it).  In Doriath, there was no saving games, and I swear I was always about to get the last scroll fragment when one of my brothers claimed it was his turn (or worse yet, they would trip over the power cord).  However, this all added to the challenge that was Doriath.  
 

Some people today might argue that the c64 is still the best system money can buy.  (Who am I kidding, they'll adamantly state this as fact!)  Besides the dubious nature of such a claim, one thing is for certain:  the c64 is the most loved computer system ever made.  The reason?  Games like Doriath.

 

The Maps

My older brother used to play the Ultima series, and mapped out absolutely everything (dungeons, towns, and even the land areas in between).  So when I started playing Doriath fifteen odd years ago (mid-1980s), I decided that I would do the same!  

It began with crudely drawn lines and labels for items and spells.  Then I moved onto graph paper.  The problem this time involved the fact that I was trying to squeeze 256 rooms onto one piece of paper.  Sadly (perhaps "thankfully" is the better word) all records of these early attempts have been lost (perhaps "destroyed" is the better word).  Next, I used four pieces of graph paper, thus enabling me to include all of the intimate details.  Finally, I re-copied the maps, this time with colour-coded rooms!  You can see the fruits of my young adult years here.

Maps and mazes have always fascinated me.  Thus making these maps never felt like work.  They were more of a labour of love, a project to complete.   It was a project I never quite finished.  Until...

 

Click to see all images

Revisiting Doriath

Ten years passed.  Then a friend of mine told me about the wonders of emulators.  On my PC (call me a traitor to the c64 if you must) I took screenshots and pasted all 256 rooms together.  I still had trouble recalling how far I had gotten in the game, or if I had actually beaten it (in fact, I'm _still_ not certain).  But I did remember there being a spell I could never get (that would be the Quasilin amulet), and a room that seemed impossible to reach (that would be room A11).  I figured it was time to remedy the situation! 

My quest had been lain before me.  The holy grail must be found.  The darkness of the world must be defeated.  It was time to face my destiny.  (Or rather, time was something I had a bit too much of that week).

In the end, there was no Quasilin amulet.  And room A11 turned out to be as exciting as watching those water drops fall from the stalactites.  But, for better or worse, I had finally solved the riddles of Doriath.

 

Okay, I admit it, this shot was staged

YOU HAVE ABOUT AS MUCH CHANCE OF GETTING THE QUASILIIN AMULET AS YOU DO SURVIVING THIS. 

 

A Lasting Legacy

What am I up to today?  In addition to writing stories and novels (visit www.leebeavington.com), I work as a biology lab instructor at Kwantlen University College.  Also, I was previously a director with the Rainforest Reptile Refuge Society, and volunteered as their webmaster.  Other sites I've created are Gilliam's Grail, dedicated to one of my favourite films, The Fisher King, and a tribute site for my late Aunt Betty Lambert, a remarkable woman and playwright.

To this day, In the Halls of the Mountain King (from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite I) remains one of my favourite pieces of music.  As you can see from the Fan Submissions and Fan Comments page, there are still many Doriath fans who are alive and kicking (and who have hopefully upgraded their computer systems --  I still have boxes of 5 -inch floppies lying around somewhere).  Through people all over the world, the memory of Doriath lingers on.  It's for all of you that I created this site.  Enjoy!

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