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When I Was Your Age We Had to LARP Uphill Both Ways in the Snow!

A bit of artwork from the cover of Swordquest, featuring the twin adventurers whose names I forget.

So apparently there is a new fantasy-reality show coming to Disney+. It’s called The Quest. Here’s the teaser trailer.

My initial reaction was twofold. One, I wondered how much of what we’re seeing was seen by the kids on the day and how much was, as Thespia put it, “tennis balls on sticks.” I personally think it’s as practical as possible but enhanced in post. And it appears they did try to get kids with a good imagination, so I’m sure they handled it fine. Two, I wondered if these kids were going to properly appreciate this crazy experience.

Just like I think kids need to watch some pre-MCU movies to properly appreciate how far we’ve come in regards to comic book movies, I think these kids needed a primer of how my generation were playing fantasy.

You know, if your parents weren’t scared into keeping you away from such.

A bit of the cover art for the telefilm Mazes and Monsters, with four people dressed like fantasy characters, one of whom happens to be Tom Hanks.

The book Mazes and Monsters, and its TV film adaptation, showed the supposed dangers of role playing. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up like Tom Hanks, right? He went so crazy he wound up dressing up as a woman to get a cheap apartment! (Pretty sure at least somebody’s parents said this for real. Also, please note: it was 1982. We didn’t know Hanks was an Oscar-winning actor with a ridiculous range yet.)

The closest thing I remember to something fancy like The Quest was…well, Swordquest. Four proposed video games with puzzles to be solved that could lead you to actual treasure. Each game’s prize was created by the Franklin Mint and worth around $25K ($73.5K to today’s bucks). I remember playing the first of the games: Earthworld.

A screen grab from the Atari 2600 video game Earthworld, which is so very boring I'm actually doing you a favor by ending this description now.

Actually, let me say: I barely remember playing Earthworld. I look at screenshots and I think, “Yeah, I was there. I remember that bit.” But I don’t remember anything about the gameplay, except that I was bored out of my mind with it. I could watch a video of somebody playing the game to refresh my memory, but even though I plan to download my consciousness into a machine and live forever…life’s still too short. Turns out the first two games were released and stuff was given away, but then things took a turn. You can read the entire sad story of the fate of the prizes here.

But hey, the games had mini-comics in them that were written by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas with art by George Perez and Dick Giordano, so that’s something right?

Anyway, kids. The point is: you don’t know how good you’ve got it. Pretty sure every fantasy nerd my age is envious as hell. You go quest the living hell out of that show, you hear me?