Jan 11

Book Review- Managing for People Who Hate Managing by Devora Zack

I have no aspirations to become a manager at either job I presently work at. I would, however, like to become a team leader, or the closest thing my primary job has to one. And so it was with this in mind that I tackled the fourth book I read from the Humble Win At Work Bundle (The link is to the Humble Bundle homepage; the specific bundle is no longer available), Managing for People Who Hate Managing by Devora Zack.

The first thing to note is Zack’s writing style, which is rather heavy on humorous asides and jokes and the like. I found this welcome, as it kept me reading through a book that (Like a lot of “self-improvement” books, if I’m being honest, this one being the worst example I’ve read) was probably longer than it really had to be, even at a scant 176 pages for the Kindle Edition.

As for the book’s goal, it begins by discussing various reasons why people hate managing (Chief among them is that managers can feel like they’re not tangibly adding results to the group. It also changes the relationship between co-workers.). It then goes on to essentially divide people into two groups along a spectrum: Thinker versus Feeler, and discuss how the two groups use language, how they treat their jobs, etc.

One thing I was shocked to discover was that, according to the (Admittedly brief, and maybe not very scientific) test early in the book, I’m actually slightly on the Feeler side of the Thinker/Feeler spectrum. The book has a couple other exercises that I actually tried to do this time around–one gets into how males and females are perceived as managers based on whether they’re thinkers or feelers, another asks you to think of the best manager you had and their traits, and a third makes the point that positive people are better to be around for various reasons.

The book’s main point is that being a good manager involves deducing whether your reports are thinkers or feelers, and tailoring your language to suit their style. The two approach things very differently, to the point that it can feel like they speak different languages. One exercise that Zack had two teams do involved (One of “thinkers”, one of “feelers”) writing down how they would fire somebody. The feelers were, by and large, more concerned with the feelings of the person being fired, while the thinkers were more concerned with discussing procedure (severance, etc). While the thinkers were reading out their results, one of the feelers stood up and said roughly “That’s ridiculous! How would YOU like to be fired like that?!”. To which the thinker replied “What do you mean? this is exactly how I’d want to be fired.”

I think this point is the most useful one in the book, even if you don’t have managerial aspirations. Even if you stop and do the exercises in it, the book is a quick read, and Zack’s writing style makes it pleasant to go through. I’d recommend it to anyone who has to lead a team of any kind, regardless of if they’re officially a “manager” or not.


Dec 26

More Mini Game Reviews for #IndieXmas

Some brief mini-reviews of games I’ve played the past week or so:

Disclaimer: All games were obtained through Indie Gamer Chick‘s #IndieXmas event. Codes were provided by the respective developers of the games. You should follow IGC on Twitter here.

Gunmetal Arcadia Zero– Developed by Minor Key Games, Gunmetal Arcadia Zero is a prelude/companion game to Gunmetal Arcadia, a procedurally generated action-adventure platformer. IGC pitched it as “Looks like Zelda II, plays like Castlevania”, and while there’s truth to that, it reminded me more of a more linear Wonder Boy game. There are items and upgrades to buy, and you acquire more life as you progress through the game. There are just enough offshoots and tiny branches without the game going into Metroid-esque territory in terms of exploration. In short, I loved this game and would highly recommend it. Quibbles with the game included a few parts that crossed the line from “challenging” to “cheap” if you weren’t prepared for them, and the fact that candle powerups and chests seemed to be completely random. It makes sense as a prelude to what the developers call a “roguelite” in Gunmetal Arcadia, but I wasn’t a huge fan of it in terms of trying to complete the “speedrun the game” achievements. Also, without using the CRT simulator, some of the cinematics are kind of Uncanny Valley/offputting.

Arcadecraft– Developed by FireBase Industries, this is an arcade management simulator where you’re dropped into 1980 to try to run a sustainable arcade. I enjoyed the few hours I played of this one. There are enough real-time elements to keep the game from getting too boring, ranging from addressing angry customers to keeping tabs on how full the coin boxes on your machines are. I’d recommend this game if you’re already into management sims like SimCity or Rollercoaster Tycoon, or if the concept of owning your own arcade really appeals to you. The downside? It’s incredibly hard to survive the start, to the point I wouldn’t recommend it as a first management sim. Imagine SimCity, except your starting cash is a loan, and instead of installments, you have to pay THE WHOLE LOAN AT ONCE back, plus interest, in two years, while also paying city maintenance costs the whole while. That’s basically the start of Arcadecraft.

Cursed Treasure 2– Developed by Armor Games, I admit to cheating a bit on this review. You see, the Steam version of the game effectively wouldn’t run for me, forcing me to fall back to the free Flash version found on their website. That actually ran rather slowly, too, but it did at least run. I attempted the first few levels of the game in the Flash version, and liked what I saw. Cursed Treasure 2 is a Tower Defense game with some RPG elements such as experience and leveling up your three main towers. As for my issues with running the Steam version of the game, I try not to be too harsh on games for having problems on a 5-year-old laptop, even if there shouldn’t be anything super-advanced tech-wise about running a Tower Defense game. In short, I’d recommend this as well, and just wish I could run it “at speed”.


Dec 11

State of the Emptyeye- December 2017

About a month and a half ago, I wrote that I wanted to change some stuff about my life. Six or so weeks later, how am I doing? Let’s find out!

Physical Fitness– This is going pretty well. It’s actually been a bit longer than 2 months since I realized I needed to lose some weight, but as of right now, I’m down about 7 pounds (6.6, specifically–from 159.6 to 153) from that point, about halfway to where I want to be weight-wise. I’ve also been going to the gym pretty consistently four times a week–an arm day, a back day, a leg day, and a cardio day.

As far as drinking soda goes, I’m doing better than I was, although not great. I’m averaging about 5 and a half diet sodas of various kinds a week, which is a lot better than the multiple cans of soda a day I had been drinking, although it’s probably still too much in terms of “crap I’m putting in my body”. From a bit of research, it looks like the jury is still kind of out on whether diet soda contributes to diabetes due to the studies about it being flawed (In short, they don’t know if the people who drank diet soda and got pre-diabetic drank regular soda for years upon years before the study or not), but it’s probably doing me good to put less artifical sugars/etc. in me.

In place of the soda, I’ve been drinking more coffee, and fat-burning protein shakes (Which have some caffeine in them). I generally drink two cups of coffee a day–one either regular or a half-caf (Regular and decaf blend) in the morning, then a cup of decaf in the afternoon. I’m not trying to cut out caffeine from my diet altogether, but I also don’t want to overload myself with it like I had been doing.

General Betterment– I’ve read a few books, which you can see reflected in the last several posts I’ve made here. I’m currently working my way through Managing for People Who Hate Managing, trying to actually do some of the exercises in it (Unlike with First Things First), which makes it a bit slower going. The writing in it is actually pretty snappy; in terms of the style, it might be my favorite of the books in the Humble Bundle I got it from so far.

Weaning Myself Off of Twitch– Okay, this hasn’t been going so well. This is part of a more general problem, though, basically boiling down to “Once I get home from work and the gym, I don’t generally want to do anything, and watching Twitch streams is my way of unwinding”. I do want to at least try and improve in this regard, I swear!

Doing More Creative Stuff– Related to the above, this actually isn’t going great either. Hopefully the next two weeks will be fruitful in this regard.

And I think that’s about it for now.

Nov 28

Book Review- Hustle Away Debt

Similar to the previous book I reviewed, Hustle Away Debt: Eliminate Your Debt by Making More Money by David Carlson is the product of a blog. In this case, the blog is Young Adult Money, a millennial-focused website about saving money and, more importantly, making more of it. The central conceit of the book is making more money through “side-hustles”, which is pretty loosely defined. Specifically, it’s “anything that makes money that is not your day job”, or to use his phrasing, your “9-to-5”.

Interestingly, even though the book is primarily about “side hustles”, one of the first things Carlson advocates is “See if you can get more money at your 9-to-5”. After exhausting that option, Carlson then goes into various sorts of potential side hustles of varying “hustleness”, for lack of a better term. He starts by mentioning various potential part-time jobs you can take on (Which is less a “side hustle” and more just “A reality for an increasing portion of the US”, if you ask me), before going into things like starting a blog, using some of your 9-5 skills in a freelance capacity, and so on.

The book’s biggest strength is also its biggest weakness. There are no get-rich-quick promises here–Carlson acknowledges that in the case of some side-hustles, such as the blog, it may take awhile to actually make money. Indeed, you may never make money becoming, EG, a Youtube personality. Yet it’s a bit disingenuous to claim you can hustle away debt (Or make any money at all) with some of the side hustles mentioned in the book. To me, the book’s main value is less in the specifics of some of the suggestions, and more in the general way it makes you think about being able to monetize skills you may not have thought of in that capacity before.

I mentioned on Facebook that if I took one or two concepts from each book I read, I’ll have considered said book a worthy investment. And as I mentioned above, the book did get me to think about ways I might make money outside of either of my two jobs (I guess I’m side hustling already!). But truthfully, of the three books in the Humble Win at Work Bundle I’ve read so far, this was the one I enjoyed the least, and found the least useful. If nothing else, though, the Young Adult Money blog is now something I know about, which isn’t nothing.


Nov 17

Game Review- Haunt the House: Terrortown

(Disclaimer: I received this game for free as part of Indie Gamer Chick‘s Indieween event)

Haunt the House: Terrortown is a 2014 expansion of a 2010 game by SFB Games, who recently released Snipperclips Plus for the Nintendo Switch. In this game, you play as a ghost trying to scare people out of various locales (Despite the name, most of these locations aren’t actually houses).

To do so, you can possess various objects, and there are a lot of them. Each object has several different effects, which are unlocked as you make the atmosphere of the immediate area creepier by scaring people. Eventually, as you continue scaring people, they become so terrified that they run out of the locale. Maybe. More on that in a bit.

The main thing to enjoy about this game is the aesthetic. It’s fun and whimsical, despite the plot. Everything is drawn in a fun, cartoony style, and some of the “hauntings” have silly and unexpected effects. The soundtrack is also appropriately old-timey, and was apparently all played with a live band as opposed to made on keyboards. As such, the game is pretty darn fun, when it works.

It may just be my old computer, but in the 2-3 hours (It’s somewhere in there according to Steam), I had the game freeze on me three times. The game constantly keeps track of your progress, so restarting it didn’t lose me anything, but it was still annoying. In a separate instance, one of the people I was supposed to scare out of a locale simply disappeared, forcing me to start the level over (Thankfully, it was fairly early on in the level).

There are some other issues that are really “questionable design decisions”. While you can pick any of the four levels from the start, the full tutorial is actually in the level that’s the second out of the four options on the main screen. While the game does tell you “There’s a more full tutorial in the Terrortown level”, it still would have been better to simply make the Terrortown level the first option. I expect this is because the “first” level in the version I have was originally DLC, but I don’t know why that wasn’t then the “last” level on the screen. An unrelated issue is that the “S” key is the “default” a lot of the time–you use it to possess objects, and it typically confirms selections on menus. The use of the “S” key to do this isn’t my issue here, but the fact that “S” is also “Start a new game” means I very nearly deleted a save file, only being saved by the “are you sure you want to do that” screen that thankfully pops up when you start a new game in a level with a save file.

The other frustrating part is that I’m not sure there’s an actual coherent strategy for scaring people away. As you scare them, they react more than more, eventually devolving to running open-mouthed after screaming in terror. But where they move after that appears to be random. You can scare someone and they may leave right away, or you may chase them around the locale for minutes on end, accomplishing nothing. I eventually settled on “get a person into a state of terror, then leave them alone and let them run out of the scene” as my strategy, but I have no idea if it actually worked better than following them around constantly, or if I just wanted it to. I did make sure to play through all four levels at least once, which, as mentioned, took between two and three hours according to Steam. In that time, I’m not sure I got any “better” at the game, to be honest.

Overall, though, Haunt the House: Terrortown is a fun way to spend a couple hours, if for no other reason than to see the various objects and hauntings you can pull off. The actual gameplay is fun, when the game works, and the graphics and music are lighthearted and amusing. To re-use a phrase from my review of Akalabeth, I’ve spent more time playing worse games and had less fun than I did playing this. I just wish I could’ve figured out what the heck I was doing in the meantime.


Nov 15

Some Quick Mini-Reviews of Stuff I’ve Been Playing

Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars (Demo)– Played through the demo after seeing a deep discount on the Nintendo eShop, but missed the window to actually get it at that price. A 3D dungeon crawler with socialization elements, probably superficially similar to Persona (Which I’ve never played, honestly). The method of party member creation is basically sex in all but name, right down to the main character and their lady acting all awkward and nervous about it. The actual dungeon-crawling is fun enough, and the battle system is neat. Would probably have picked up the full game if I beat the demo quickly enough to get it at the sale price (The game retails for $29.99 US, but was on sale for something like $5.85).

Haunt the House: Terrortown– Got this as part of Indie Gamer Chick‘s Indieween event. You play as a ghost who possesses objects to try and scare people out of various locales. The game is fun, when it works, though I’m not sure there’s actually any coherent strategy to scaring people out as quickly as possible. I’ve played it for a little less than an hour (47 minutes according to Steam), and in that time the game softlocked on me twice, and one of the victims I was supposed to scare simply disappeared, preventing me from completing the level. Still, fun enough in short bursts, and the game saves constantly, so it’s great for killing 10-20 minutes at a time.

Torchlight– Finally started this after hearing about the developer shutting down, and wonder why I didn’t do this sooner. It’s basically Diablo with a ton of little quality-of-life improvements (Most notably in my first five hours of playing according to Steam, you have a pet you can send back to town to sell the tons of crap items you’ll inevitably pick up and continue exploring the dungeon while they do that). This makes sense, since the studio was formed by ex-Blizzard employees. I also have Torchlight II on GOG, and I’m looking forward to that once I finish up this one. I’m playing on the Normal (second-lowest) difficulty, which is pretty tame and good if this is your first Diablo-esque.


Nov 10

Book Review- Notoriously Dapper

When I first considered the Humble Win At Work Book Bundle, one of the titles that intrigued me was Kelvin Davis’s Notoriously Dapper. I just couldn’t decide if the intrigue was positive or not. Maybe because I didn’t fully read the subtitle (“How to be A Modern Gentleman with Manners, Style and Body Confidence”), but part of me expected this to be a “Here’s how to be an ALPHA BRO DUDEBRO!!” type of book, with advice like “Be a complete jerk to ladies, they like that.”

Thankfully, this book is not that at all. Indeed, Kelvin Davis is one of the first male examples of promoting body positivity. As for the book itself, “How to be A Modern Gentleman” is certainly an accurate description of a lot of the book. Funnily enough, being a modern gentleman, according to Davis, isn’t that different from being an old-fashioned gentleman. Doing simple things like holding the door for people, or complimenting someone on their clothing, can make one a modern gentleman. He also notes how unfortunate it is that it can be difficult to be a nice guy (I don’t mean the internet “nice guy” where being nice to a woman [Or another man, if that’s your preference] is used as a method of getting into their pants, but a true gentleman, where you compliment E.G. a woman’s dress simply because you like the dress) to someone without the other person assuming nefarious motives. “Common manners” really aren’t very common anymore.

Even though “style” is in the title, the book isn’t really a style guide as such, although one chapter does contain a list of 12 items he feels any male should have in their wardrobe (I’m happy to say I independently figured out “dark denim” looks good. Especially since I’m the sort where, when faced with the “visual” portion of a create-a-character option in a video game, I fiddle with it for five or ten minutes before hitting “Randomize All” and going “Yep, looks like a keeper!” regardless of what it spits out.), which is a great starting point on that front.

My main issue with the book is that it sometimes reads like a series of blog posts (Which does make sense), as opposed to an overall “book”. By this, I mean that we’ll get a piece of information about, E.G. Michele, Davis’s wife. I’m totally cool with that, but I get a sense of deja vu when I read “My wife, Michele” two chapters later. Like “Yes, I know she’s your wife, you just told us that.” In fairness, this could be an editing issue–I don’t know the order in which the chapters were written, nor how far apart, nor if that order was the same as the sequence that ended up in the book. And besides, it’s a pretty minor thing in the grand scheme of things. The somewhat modular nature of the book means you can skip around from chapter to chapter, only reading what interests you, which further mitigates this (Though I read it all the way through).

Still, overall, I enjoyed the book, and it’s a pretty quick read. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about being a modern gentleman (Or lady, for that matter).

Lastly, I had to make my own attempt at being Notoriously Dapper. Ignoring the white socks, what do you think?

Full-Body Shot of the Review as a Young Man


Nov 01

Book Review- First Things First

Co-written by the same person who wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, First Things First has an interesting thesis, boiling down to “Traditional time-management approaches are flawed. Yes, they’ll help you get more stuff done quicker…but is that stuff really the important stuff?”

The meat of the book discusses how tasks and activities can be broken down into 4 “quadrants”:

  1. Tasks which are both urgent and important
  2. Tasks which are important but not urgent
  3. Tasks which are urgent but not important
  4. Tasks which are neither urgent nor important

Of these four, the book argues that Quadrant II (Important but not urgent) is one that not enough time is spent in. It also discusses “urgency addiction”, where people live for the rush of metaphorically putting out fires and saving the day when some allegedly urgent task comes up. It notes that this won’t necessarily bring you fulfillment.

The book then basically challenges you to come up with some things that you think of as Quadrant II, and to rethink how you approach your day by adhering to some of the principles, called “true north” principles, derived from Quadrant II. Some of the examples of this are fascinating, particularly a company that, of all things, shut down. Instead of a top-down edict, the company involved employees of all levels when they were going through financial difficulties. It soon became clear that the operation was unsustainable–the company was, basically, obsolete. Realizing this, the company shifted their focus to finding future employment for its workers. The media came in to cover the company’s last day expecting a demoralized war zone, and instead got a giant farewell party where everyone was truly as happy as they could be given the circumstances.

Was the book worth it? Content-wise, I’d say yes–while I didn’t specifically perform any of the exercises, it did get me thinking about things I want to do that are important that I’ve been neglecting. Format-wise, though, is another story. I bought this as part of a Humble Book Bundle, and downloaded the Mobi onto my Kindle. Now, it’s possible I’m just too old for this whole “eBooks” thing, but the book mentions worksheets and appendices and other things that didn’t seem to be in my electronic version. Additionally, there were other minor issues–visible formatting characters, things are were/weren’t bolded/etc that should/n’t have been, etc. that served to temporarily take me out of the lessons the book was trying to teach me. And let’s not get into the fact that the title of the book is wrong on the top of each page in the version I read (It’s missing the “s” in “Things”). Still, I mentioned on Facebook that if I can pick up a useful concept or two from a book like this, it’ll have been worth it, and I can say I did that with First Things First.


Oct 26

Time For a Change

Over the last several years, probably since about 2011-2012, I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of my time on Twitch.TV, either streaming myself or watching other people do so. Indeed, I’m watching/listening to a stream as I type this.

I recently realized that this has to change.

I don’t know what the exact trigger for this was, though the Humble Win At Work Book Bundle was a contributor (I bought the $8 tier, if you’re curious, because that contained the one book I’d actually heard of, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Also, this link will be broken in about a week’s time [It is October 26, 2017 as I write this]). Being given additional responsibilities and deadlines at my primary job was also a factor. I don’t want to say that it’s make-or-break time for me, but changes are coming that I think will represent an opportunity for me.

I’m also 34 years old now (Note to self: Update the roughly 10 year old picture on the “About Emptyeye” page), and have been streaming in some capacity for over five years now, starting way back with the “point-a-webcam-at-a-TV” method. I don’t mean to say that I’m too old for this or that streaming is only for “kids”, but it is something of a young man’s game, and I’ve tried to “make it big” for that time without success. Call it giving up if you want.

I also recently had a doctor’s appointment, where I was told basically “lose weight and stop drinking so much soda”. This was another factor in my having an “a-ha” moment. I’m working on cutting my soda consumption from 2 cans a day (Which was what I told my doctor, and was truthfully probably an underestimate) to a couple a week. I’ve also started going to a gym 3-4 times a week, which is making me feel better and more productive combined with the reduction in soda. I’ve begun drinking black coffee (One cup in the morning, and sometimes some decaf in the afternoon) to get my caffeine fix, but coffee has other benefits besides the caffeine kick.

But mainly, I’ve realized that I have a bunch of other things I just want to do. I want to create things–music, games, etc. I want to read more, both in the self-improvement realm (Honestly, “Humble Self-Improvement Bundle” is probably a better term for the book bundle I bought than “Humble Win At Work Bundle”) and in terms of fields I want to explore, particularly personal finance. I’d like to write about these things more here. And I can’t do that if I’m whiling away hours on end watching Twitch streams.

I won’t lie. I’ve had a lot of fun watching Twitch over the years. I’ve even had a lot of fun streaming over the years, and playing games “for other people” got my to sit down and play games I never would have done otherwise. I’ve met a bunch of cool people on Twitch too. But at this point, for my quality of life, I need to cut back on the Twitch much like I’m cutting back on the soda.

I just hope I can pull it off.


Sep 28

The RPG Lounge- The Bard’s Tale

Welcome back to the RPG Lounge, an occasional retrospective/review series about the RPGs I play through, most of which will be livestreamed.

In the 80s, especially in the early part of the decade, there were two computer RPG series vying for supremacy with one another. At first, Sir-Tech’s Wizardry, one of the earliest dungeon-crawlers, was king. As the decade went on, though, and the Wizardry series started showing its age, Origin Systems’s Ultima series took the crown.

The “why”s of the Wizardry series’s rise and fall are fascinating, and beyond the scope of the RPG Lounge today–I recommend this Digital Antiquarian post for a bit more about that. But suffice to say that, as the time between Wizardry III and IV grew longer and longer, other people took it upon themselves to design a “next-generation Wizardry” in all but name. Enter The Bard’s Tale.

First released in 1985 by Interplay (Developer) and Electronic Arts (Publisher), The Bard’s Tale is the story of a town called Skara Brae. In this town, an evil wizard named Mangar has cast a spell of eternal winter, trapping the citizens inside the city. Mangar is holed up in his tower on the corner of the city, and it’s the job of your party to “persuade” him to undo his spell.

To do so, you create a party of six characters, similar to Wizardry. The Armor Class system, the 8-item-per-character limit, the seven levels of spells, it’s all very Wizardry-esque. In fact, the systems are similar enough that you can import Wizardry 1-3 characters from the same PC architecture into The Bard’s Tale. As a tribute to its immense popularity at the time, The Bard’s Tale also allows imports of characters from Ultima III, despite its character advancement being almost nothing like Wizardry or The Bard’s Tale.

Once you’ve assembled your roster, or selected the pre-existing party, you’ll exit the Adventurer’s Guild and find yourself on the streets of Skara Brae. Yes, that’s right, instead of a single dungeon, there’s a whole city to wander about, filled with temples, taverns, and towers. Of course, figuring out how to get into those towers is a lot of the challenge.

Another good portion of the challenge is simply getting started. The city is not a safe place, as monsters wander the streets and take up residence inside of buildings. Plus, while battles themselves are turn-based, the game proceeds in real-time. You’ll be minding your own business in the streets, possibly looking at your map, and suddenly find yourself in battle with a pack of mad dogs. Double battles are more common than they should be. The game does offer a pause function to prevent this, which you’ll need.

More than that, though, recovering damage is expensive in the early game, recovering from death even more so, and you have no way around paying for those services until you gain a couple levels. Indeed, going in blind, this may be the hardest start I ever had in an RPG. The manual for the game, besides offering a tip or two on where to begin your search of the city, also instructs you, basically, “Just delete a dead Level 1 character and create another rather than paying for resurrection. Also, go ahead and quit the game without saving if things go really badly; just be aware that you’ll lose any progress since your last save.” Suffice to say I did both of those, particularly the first…and made sure to poach the character’s equipment and gold before deleting them too.

Get past that beginning, though, and The Bard’s Tale becomes a good deal more forgiving than Wizardry (Disregarding the fact that, according to comments on this Digital Antiquarian post, almost no one even back in the day played Wizardry “honestly”). For one, instead of level-based spell charges, your spellcasters are given a Final Fantasy-like pool of MP to do as they will with (Yes, several years before Final Fantasy was a thing). For another, if you’re unfortunate enough to fall victim to a total party wipe, your bodies are transported back to the Adventurer’s Guild, making resurrecting them a good deal easier than in Wizardry–you’ll still need to make additional characters (Or use a pre-made one) to get your characters to a Temple to revive them, but the trek is much less harrowing than in Wizardry, and revival will always succeed provided you have the cash for it. For a third, enemies themselves have fairly low HP for most of the game, meaning you can use spells to easily take them out. Once you get a few levels in your characters–which will probably involve deleting and recreating them several times–the game feels much more “fair” than Wizardry. My perception of this, of course, may be aided by the instruction manual all but encouraging you to manipulate things to be more favorable for you at the start, as I mentioned earlier.

I played the Apple ][ GS version included as a bonus in the 2004 Bard’s Tale. From what I can find, though, even the original Apple ][ version is a step forward graphically from Wizardry, at least in terms of the Wizardries that were out at the time. It’s also a step forward musically from the early Wizardries, in so much as the game has any music at all. The Bard’s Tale, in this way, integrates its biggest innovation (The Bard class wasn’t something seen in computer RPGs to this point) into its presentation, as the Bard can sing or play various songs that have beneficial effects on the party.

Overall, The Bard’s Tale does an admirable job advancing the “Wizardry formula”, moreso than Wizardry itself did for the longest time. This paid off handsomely for Interplay and Electronic Arts, as the game would go on to become one of the biggest selling titles of the 80s. With its multiple dungeons, and overall more forgiving difficulty curve once you get past the sadistic beginning, it’s definitely worth a try if you like dungeons crawlers at all.