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Trying to solve a mystery of a distant memory

hunterjwizzard

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Mar 21, 2020
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Something has been driving me nuts for the past few months and I'd really like to get this solved.

When I was a kid way back in the 90s, my dad had a copy of this video game lying around. Some coworker had given it to him and he brought it home(at the time, our computer had no CDrom drive). My dad's never been a gamer, so he put the game on a shelf and left it there. I was always curious about it, and years later I took the game and tried to play it. By then I couldn't get it to work(its probably a very early dos game) and its bugged me ever since that I never got to play it.

I held on to the game for years after dad gave it to me. But somewhere in the intervening decades it has been lost. I never consciously got rid of it, so it may still be laying around in a forgotten box.

Here is the problem: I cannot remember what the game was called. I would recognize the CD case cover instantly if I saw it again.

Here's what I know:
-it was fantasy-themed
-it came in one of those cardboard an plastic jewel cases instead of the standard plastic ones
-the disk itself had no printing on it
-It was probably old by 1995-96, so late 80s/early 90s timeframe.

I know archive.org has a good repository of old game stuff but without a name I can't narrow it down. I'm wondering if there's some kind of very thorough list somewhere of early CDrom games I can dig through? I might even recognize the name if I saw it.
 

Trixter

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That's not enough information to identify the game, sorry. There were hundreds of cardboard+plastic jewelcase shareware/shovelware games in the 90s. You'd have to provide at least something else.
 

Plasma

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Here's what I know:
-it was fantasy-themed
-it came in one of those cardboard an plastic jewel cases instead of the standard plastic ones
-the disk itself had no printing on it
-It was probably old by 1995-96, so late 80s/early 90s timeframe.
Well you can look through mobygames...

Are you sure the disc had no printing on it? Early 90s would have been pre consumer CD-Rs. The only commercial discs I have seen with no printing are "double sided", which are pretty rare.
 

hunterjwizzard

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Well you can look through mobygames...

Are you sure the disc had no printing on it? Early 90s would have been pre consumer CD-Rs. The only commercial discs I have seen with no printing are "double sided", which are pretty rare.

Whatever it was, it was definitely not well-known. I keep trying to find games from that era and just get the same list of the same six most well-known early fantasy games.

I know it definitely pre-dated consumer CDRs. Its possible there was some printing, I mainly looked at the case. There can't have been a ton of commercial CDrom games dating from the era where barely anyone had a CDrom drive(the game was definitely 386/486 era, possibly older).

That's not enough information to identify the game, sorry. There were hundreds of cardboard+plastic jewelcase shareware/shovelware games in the 90s. You'd have to provide at least something else.

I know its a longshot, I am sure no one can identify the specific game. I am just trying to find some resources that can help me narrow down a list of early CDrom games. So far I can find lists by genre which include every single game on any platform, or specific lists of just CDroms but they only cover the most well-known games of the era. Its very frustrating. Maybe I'll just tear the house apart looking for the disk.
 

Trixter

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Look at everything in the link Plasma posted; that would be every adventure/fantasy that came out on CDROM before 1996, so maybe they will jog your memory.
 

Timo W.

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I doubt you can find a game that you never even played back then. Not with that little memory you seem to have. You don't even know the genre? (fantasy is just a setting and could be anything)

Also, sorry to say, but no game was *ever* released on a disc that had no printing on it. Starting with the fact that it was a legal requirement to have the "Compact Disc" logo on it, as well as copyright and trademark information. And no publisher would produce CDs without the title printed on it.

Yup. Working my way though it, found one or two possibles so far.
And there is your issue: you can never be sure what it was. I guess: "I would recognize the CD case cover instantly if I saw it again", did not work out for the candidates you did find so far.

It's also highly unlikely that it was "late 80s/early 90s" when it came on CD. It would put it into 1993/94 at least.
 
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hunterjwizzard

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Eh, I knew it was a long shot. This is going to haunt my dreams until the next time I stumble on the case.
 

hunterjwizzard

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I opened the Moby Games search up to just "anything on CDrom" and worked my way forwards with no luck. I'm guessing this game was some combination of extremely rare and extremely forgettable. I've also torn both houses apart in search of it, its just gone. Along with my World of Warcraft CDs, the break out cable to my last ATI AIW, that slot1 motherboard, and my original playstation. So many casualties of my poor organization.
 

Plasma

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It could have been a compilation/shareware CD. In which case, the publisher could have used their own art, and the game may have originally been distributed on floppy.

Also not every game is on Mobygames. I have at least a few Windows 3.1 games that aren't listed (and these are commercial boxed games).
 

hunterjwizzard

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It could have been a compilation/shareware CD. In which case, the publisher could have used their own art, and the game may have originally been distributed on floppy.
That's my thinking based on the packaging and age. Seemed odd that a game listing a 286 as the minimum CPU requirement would come on CD.

Also not every game is on Mobygames. I have at least a few Windows 3.1 games that aren't listed (and these are commercial boxed games).
Also true. Somewhere amongst my many lost things is a civil war CD game I also never got to play that was purchased from Scholastic.


To further expand my search I went on eBay and typed in "vintage CDrom game" and scrolled through the entire results. Still didn't find anything familiar. The search will probably continue since I'm too depressed about life in general to work on much else.
 

Frio

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There is a reddit channel dedicated to identifying old/rare/odd games, people there are absurdly good I have to say. I would give that a try.
 

hunterjwizzard

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It wouldn't be Myst by any chance, no?
If it were that obvious it wouldn't be such a mystery. Myst is one of the most iconic and recognizable games of all time. It wasn't Ultima or Diablo, either, or anything well-known(else I would have recognized it one of the last 3 times I found the disk). I seem to recall the name began with either a U or an O because I had thought it might be Ultima at one time. It wasn't. That was probably around when I took the disk.

The really frustrating thing is I know I found the disk sometime late last year, along with my original World of Warcraft CDs. And then somehow that box got lost before I started packing up to move.

There is a reddit channel dedicated to identifying old/rare/odd games, people there are absurdly good I have to say. I would give that a try.

I've not touched reddit before, how friendly is this community to randos popping in out of the blue with very difficult challenges?
 

Frio

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Location
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If it were that obvious it wouldn't be such a mystery. Myst is one of the most iconic and recognizable games of all time. It wasn't Ultima or Diablo, either, or anything well-known(else I would have recognized it one of the last 3 times I found the disk). I seem to recall the name began with either a U or an O because I had thought it might be Ultima at one time. It wasn't. That was probably around when I took the disk.

The really frustrating thing is I know I found the disk sometime late last year, along with my original World of Warcraft CDs. And then somehow that box got lost before I started packing up to move.



I've not touched reddit before, how friendly is this community to randos popping in out of the blue with very difficult challenges?
Fair enough, I guess I didn't know how well you knew the early days of CDROM games, so it was worth a shot...

RE: Reddit. I was one such rando asking for information on an obscure arcade game and sure enough the mystery was solved within a few hoiurs...
 

hunterjwizzard

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Mar 21, 2020
Messages
472
There is a reddit channel dedicated to identifying old/rare/odd games, people there are absurdly good I have to say. I would give that a try.
What exactly is the channel called? There seem to be a lot of channels dedicated to retro gaming. is it

/r/tipofmyjoystick ?​

 
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