As a longtime Mac user I struggled especially hard to find games that were to my liking. Warcraft, Doom, Escape Velocity and Marathon are wonderful non-RPGs but my love for the Exile series by the indie company Spiderweb Software was/is unrivaled.
The first game (Exile: Escape From The Pit) was released in 1995. This month a remastered version of the original (retitled Avernum) was made available for the computer and iPad, a first for the company.
I remember emailing creator Jeff Vogel when I got stuck, like “hey, is it even possible to defeat the golems in Exile III?” And he’d personally respond to my nerdy ass, answering as best he could.
The thing I really love about these games is the writing. Even though you play as a group of hopeless individuals tossed into an impoverished subterranean world that is riddled with bandits and mystical creatures that are mostly intent on murdering you, the game maintains a biting sense of humor.
That’s why I like Oblivion better than Skyrim, while Skyrim is the polished and beautiful version of previous Elder Scrolls games it lacked character depth and comedy. Gimme Vahnatai, Slithzerikai and Nephilim any day (Somebody please write a “Gimme Slithzerikai” Rolling Stones parody NOW).
After being asked where his creation fits in amongst the Bethesda and Bioware creations of today, Seattle-based Vogel told TheBitFix: “You seem to assume that there is no longer a demand for an in-depth, tactical role-playing game with a rich world and storyline. Luckily for me, this is not the case.”
“As the big AAA publishers have decided to only make RPGs that are action games with stat-building stuck on, I have continued to cater to the old-school role-playing game fan. Those people totally still exist, even if the big publishers have forgotten about them.”
Knock yourself out, download the demo and other great Spiderweb Software games HERE. Be sure to give your characters ridiculous names. That’s the only way to do it.