1997: The Final Revelation

So, I did a sweep of my records, updating everything with its release date as reported by mobygames. 1Except Wizardry III, which I’m already committed to treating like it was released in 1986. The year listed with mobygames search results generally seems to be the date of the earliest release on any platform, so quite a few items on the Stack have been shifted back on that basis alone. But there were also quite a few outright errors in my listings, both forward and backward. There was never any good reason to list Dust as 1997, for example: even the specific edition I have isn’t a 1997 release. (Its readme gives instructions for installing it under Windows 98, which really should have made me realize this sooner.)

This done, I had two adventure games listed for 1997: Tex Murphy: Overseer, the last of a series that really epitomizes the 90’s FMV genre, and Egypt 1156 B.C.: Tomb of the Pharaoh, one of Dreamcatcher Interactive’s numerous ancient-civilization-themed pixel-hunts. I chose the former.

Overseer is unusual in that it shipped on CD-ROM and DVD together. The original packaging contained a double-width jewel case containing four CDs, and a single-width case containing a single DVD (and a fifth CD). I still haven’t removed the shrink-wrap from the double-width case, as the DVD version is just the obvious way to go here, both for the superior video quality and for simply not needing to swap discs during play. Unfortunately, it also depends on the same the lost technology as Tender Loving Care did: the MPEG2 decoder card, or at least a software driver capable of acting like one. Fortunately, unlike TLC, the Tex Murphy games have a fanbase. There are websites and message boards, some with fresh activity now that the CD version of the game is available on GOG. There were links to patches and DVD drivers, and after some looking, I eventually found ones that weren’t broken. The Overseer intro movie, if nothing else, has successfully played on my system.

But in the process of looking, I found claims that Overseer was released in 1998. Checking mobygames again, I saw that, although the search results list it as 1997, the detailed game description says March 1998. So I don’t know what’s up with that. They’re at least consistent about Egypt, so let’s try that tonight.

1 Except Wizardry III, which I’m already committed to treating like it was released in 1986.

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