Friends, on the Diary of an Arcade Employee podcast as well as on the Facebook page itself, I have mentioned constantly that I am no historian, not like in the case of Earl Green or Willie from Arcade USA. While growing up to witness the boom of the video game craze in the late ’70s and the Golden Age of the arcades in the ’80s does allow me plenty of opportunity to share with you my memories of those days… I am an amateur when it comes to knowing pretty much everything about a certain home console or an arcade title. Which is why when one of Earl’s latest Phosphor Dot Fossils videos was uploaded about a week ago – it made my jaw drop. On a past Diary podcast episode I covered the Top Five Imagic titles for the venerable Atari VCS or Atari 2600 home system – one of those games on the list happened to be for 1982’s Dragonfire. Designed by Bob Smith, this is one of my personal favorites – straightforward if extremely addictive gameplay elements keep Dragonfire‘s popularity going strong today – even at the arcade I work at. Here is the thing though – while I knew that Imagic ported a version of Dragonfire to the Mattel Electronics Intellivision system, thanks to Earl’s video we now know a version was released for the Apple II back in 1984.
One of the differences between the Atari 2600 version and the Intellivision version was the addition of an archer upon the castle where the Dragon guards it’s treasure hoard. A Player has to attempt to cross the bridge of the castle, ducking and leaping over the fireballs that are spat out from the Dragon within the castle itself. No mean feat when you are able to get to later levels – but with the Intellivision version you have to worry about that archer letting loose one of his deadly arrows into the Player. It seems however after watching the Phosphor Dot Fossils video that the Apple II version really ramps up the difficulty – as you will not only have to worry about the fireballs and archer… but a sliding drawbridge as well as the dangers of misjudging your leaps to plant face first against the side of the Dragon’s castle itself.
The dangers naturally do not stop once you’ve entered the castle and attempt to steal the Dragon’s treasure – as in the 2600 game you must dodge fireballs hurled your direction by the angry dragon. In addition though with the Apple II title is the added threat of a sword wielding minion in later levels and even arrows being fired from murder holes in the castle walls. As Earl points out himself in his video for this 1984 version of Dragonfire for the Apple II – the graphics are quite impressive – I very much love the Atari 2600 version but this one is far more impressive without a doubt.
So without further ado, take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and check out Earl Green’s Phosphor Dot Fossils video for Dragonfire!
For even more pop culture related goodness by Earl – make sure to check out his own website, the Logbook.Com – absolutely one of the best and longest running sites for all your retro needs.