The Firing of Matt Millen … In the Style of the Bard’s Tale Clue Book
Sep 24th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Note from Ice Cream Jonsey:


Long have I awaited thy coming of age. Our town of Detroit doth slowly wither under the cursed sorcery of Mangar, spawn of demons. Many hath challenged his power, only to encounter their doom.

One man didst nearly succeed. Matt Millen, the former general manager of the Detroit Lions, became imprisoned here through Mangar’s evil spell of winter. He failed, but in his failure lies the way to thy victory. Millen did keepeth a journal, and Mangar is either unaware of its existence, or believes it to have perished along with the impudent viscount. But the tome didst survive, and came into my keeping.

The path thou must follow doth with danger abound. Go, and take with thee the journal of a brave knight, and the prayers of an old man.

(signed) the dark and gritty… Ice Cream Jonsey!


From the Journal of Matt Millen

It is not to be tolerated! I refuse to kneel to the evil that has made its home in Detroit.

All of the brave knights who protect this town have vanished, leaving frightened serfs, women and children to face unprotected the hordes of strange beasts and ruffians that now inhabit the streets. My brave party and I can do little to reduce their seemingly infinite numbers.

We must destroy the wizard Mangar, surely the source of the evil invasion, and of the ungodly and impenetrable winter that imprisons Detroit.


The Sewer  

We are in a muck-drenched stinking sewer, and the beasts and blackguards who attack us here are too numerous to be described. Here we gain much wealth, and our skills are honed like fine steel blades. As we explore, we discover strange writings on the walls of this foul hole. I will record them faithfully here — their value will perhaps become clear later in our travels.

        “Pass the light at night.” A cryptic verse indeed. I believe I will take this advice to heart, and embrace my recent hirelings: Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, and Joey Harrington. We shall pass much, indeed.

        “YM EBD SI A RCAERAC.” I am no scholar, but neither am I a stranger to lore and letters. I can perceive no sense here.

        “Golems are made of stone.” Is this meant to lighten our hearts against a fear of encountering a golem made from the draft picks I could have received for trading the mentally-defeated Barry Sanders while he could still perform, instead of stubbornly holding on and robbing America of the joy of watching him play?

We shall venture further into the maze.


Harkyn’s Castle, Level Three

We encountered a doddering old fool who barred our path until we told him the name of the tavern on Archer Street. The answer, Naked Tavern, was found to be disquieting to some members of our party, though not Joe Cullen.

Ah, pride before a fall. Once again we are challenged to the utmost of our abilities, and emerge not unscathed. The Internet trolls! They attacked in an endless flowing stream, to slay them akin to holding back the tide with a bottomless bucket. We found out (too late!) that our recently abandoned green robes my own seppuku, my own life taken from my own hands using a sword that I alone pushed into my wheezing abdomen, would have rendered us immune to attack. At last we stumbled, blind with weariness, over hundreds of corpses, four of our, proud, slain warriors (Robert Porcher, Roy Williams, Jon Kitna and Jason Hanson) lying hidden beneath stinking mounds of Baron Harkyn’s dead legions. We can spare no time to hunt for them — may the gods forgive us.


Mangar’s Dungeon, Level Five

We are defeated at the last. The silver shapes were the key to entering the main chamber wherein resides a gloating Mangar. We are trapped like rats in a tiny room where even now the wizard sends his minions to storm the door.

But we are given wise counsel by Charles Rogers, who advises us to try to get this journal to Clark Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, and an expert in the futility of a general manager in his own right… in the hope that he will pass on the experiences written here to one capable of defeating Mangar and firing Carl Peterson. One final spell, cast by Mike Williams, using the life forces of Charles Rogers, Marty Mornhinweg, Kevin Jones and myself, will render Joey Harrington invisible for a time, enabling him to escape this place with the journal. Yet it is evil magic. Everything we have accomplished will be rent from the fabric of time and destroyed, and as the spell burns itself out, Joey will be consumed.

I embrace my companions, and taste the salt of Joey’s tears. Mike Williams has asked for my dagger — he has no wish to be captured alive. As he prepares the spell, I can but reflect that no man could wish to die in better company.

Mike begins. They come.

Fire Matt Millen

Civilization vs. the Bard’s Tale
Jun 4th, 2008 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Let’s break down the Civilization games versus the Bard’s Tale ones. I am intentionally not including the Xbox Bard’s Tale game from a couple years ago, nor am I considering any of the billion Civ expansion packs, because humans only get 99 years. Let’s go!

Civilization vs Bard’s Tale I: Advantage: BARD’S TALE. Do you know anyone still playing Civ? The original BT is still a fantastic game. Creepy, claustrophobic and deadly.

Civ 2 vs Bard’s Tale II: Advantage: CIVILIZATION. It’s close, very very close. The Bard’s Tale might be the best sequel of all time — in terms of following a truly great original game, I mean. If the original Civ was a little better than perhaps we wouldn’t have all been monkeynuts for Civ 2.

Civ 3 vs Bard’s Tale III: Enormous Advantage: BARD’S TALE. BT3 is difficult, what with most of your helper buddies like Garth and Roscoe being dead (spoiler). I don’t know anyone who liked Civ 3 over Civ 2. Or who liked Civ 3.

Civ 4 vs Bard’s Tale Construction Set: Enormous Advantage: CIVILIZATION. JC Fun Fact: When I moved to Colorado I picked between developing Chicks Dig Jerks or what would have been a mod made with the Bard’s Tale Construction Set. I actually got fairly into the scripting language before ditching it and settling on Inform 6. Which was great, as I learned how to program through I6. If there had been more of a community in 1998 for Bard’s Tale games I guess nobody currently here would currently be here. On the other hand, I’d have a lot more moral support for continuing to show up to work and this website drunk.


Alpha Centauri vs. Wasteland: Enormous Advantage: BARD’S TALE. The games use pretty much the same engine as their predecessor and you need to consult reading materials to make any sense of either of them: for AC you need… you fawking NEED… the map on your wall. For Wasteland you need to read from the manual to get the game’s story. Which would you rather play, though?


Lack of Adolph Hitlers vs. Getting Fucking Bombed In a Video Game: Advantage: BARD’S TALE. Every year there is some guy who fucks up picking a fantasy baseball team. This guy is already unwittingly deciding what round to take Cory Lidle in, he just doesn’t know it yet. Anyway, Adolph Hitler not being the grandmaster and Civ Head of Fake Game Germany in any of the Civ games is a goddamn travesty picked by the same kind of clueless moron. I’m sorry the most evil man in the history of the world happens to be the one leader everyone thinks of when it comes to Germany. Everyone except for Sid Meier, I guess. Leave Mein Fuhrer out of the German version of the game, I don’t give a crap. But don’t treat us (or THE U.S.!!) like mouth gaped, gap-toothed children. The Bard’s Tale demonstrates that getting nicely buzzed is important in getting anywhere in life and that lesson is paying dividends for me even today. “Ha, ha, more jokes about drinking” – nobody’s fucking joking. I would not have anything I currently value if I couldn’t imbibe the occasional glass of wine… and reflect. Eat shit, Sid.

So in my ultimate opinion, I’d take the Bard’s Tale and its direct sequels over Civ and its. Although if I were stuck on a desert island, I’d definitely be fucked because after finishing the first three Bard’s games, I’d be stuck waiting for someone to show up and play whatever I made in the construction set.

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