Dragon's Lair

Dragon's Lair (arcade)  1983

First interactive animated movie, first game to use professional animator (Don Bluth (ex-Disney),first professional voice actor (Michael Rye)
, first Quick time event video game, first ingame cheat


Arcade system: Atari Laserdisc

Dragon's Lair

Gameplay video

Dragon's Lair Laser disc
Laser disc with Dragions lair
Dragon's Lair

This screenshot shows first ever blood in previously absolutely bloodless videogames.

Dragon's Lair
Dragon's Lair
Earliest Magazine review -Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games (1983)

Magazine commercial - Computer & Video Games (1985)

Magazine review-Electronic fun (1983)

Magazine review-Electronic fun (1983)

Magazine review- Electronic Games (1984)

Magazine review - Videogames (1984)

Magazine review - Video Games Player (1984)

"HOLLYWOOD, July 25— The cozy relationship between Hollywood and video games has moved a step closer to marriage. ''Dragon's Lair,'' a coin- operated laser-disk video game with stereophonic sound and real animation, reached arcades two weeks ago and has become an instant sensation.
''I've never seen a game this crowded,'' said Lance Boyd, assistant manager of Castle Park Arcade in Sherman Oaks, where ''Dragon's Lair'' is earning twice as much money as ''Pole Position,'' the game in second place. ''There have literally been 15 people crowded around the machine.''
At Captain Video's in Los Angeles, a television monitor lets customers watch others play the game while they wait their turn. In Boise, Idaho, patrons are taping $5 bills instead of quarters to the machine, signifying their intention to play game after game before relinquishing the machine. The game - which costs 50 cents to play, double the usual price - is averaging more than $1,000 a week per machine around the country.
If laser-disk games are successful, they will be a shot in the arm for the wilting video-arcade industry. Arcades are currently saturated with games, and auctions of game machines from arcades whose owners have gone broke have increased dramatically. 'Sagging Fortunes'
The manufacturers are hurting, too. According to a June report by Christopher Kirby, a video-games specialist with Sanford C. Bernstein and Company, an investment research company in New York, about 200,000 video-game machines are being shipped this year, less than half the 480,000 shipped in 1982. However, the Kirby report also sees laser-disk technology as one way of lifting the ''sagging fortunes'' of the arcades.
According to industry analysts, arcade income has dropped some 25 percent from last year's $7.3 billion nationwide. The Atari division of Warner Communications, last year's stock-market darling, reported a second-quarter loss of more than $310 million last week. Much of Atari's loss came about because of steep competition in the still-thriving home-video game arena.
The laser-disk arcade games now being introduced will begin to show up in homes a year from now. Coleco Industries, a leading maker of electronic games, has purchased home- video rights to ''Dragon's Lair'' for $2 million, for example.
''Dragon's Lair,'' a sword-and-sorcery adventure in which Dirk the Daring tries to rescue a captive princess, is the first laser-disk game to reach the arcades. A second such game, Sega's ''Astron Belt,'' has been introduced in Japan and is now being test-marketed in San Diego. Player Makes Choices
Because of its random-access memory, a laser-disk game does not follow a preset pattern. In ''Dragon's Lair,'' the player makes choices that change the course of the adventure. Whether the player ''drinks'' a potion or ''dives'' through a wall determines what happens next to Dirk the Daring. And the seemingly endless rooms and corridors full of lizard kings and metal thorns, or the collapsing wooden bridges, rarely come up in the same order twice. ''Dragon's Lair'' is, in essence, a mini-movie that must be played to determine its ending.
''Astron Belt'' uses 25 minutes of special-effects film footage of planets and space cities on a laser disk as background while the sequence changes from game to game. The spaceship piloted by the player is not a part of the film and the game play is similar to many current shoot-'em-up arcade games, though more realistic.
Until now, movie studios have licensed their movie titles to game companies, as Walt Disney Studios did with ''Tron,'' or they have created games using a movie's title and some plot point, as 20th Century-Fox Games has done with ''9 to 5.'' Sega's ''Star Trek'' game and Atari's ''Star Wars'' also use synthesized voices repeating dialogue from the movies. The laser-disk technology, however, will require movie-making skills.
Sega, which is owned by Paramount Pictures, is already searching through the Paramount film library for action stock footage for future laser-disk games. ''But we'll never find exactly what we want, so we'll also have to go out and shoot a stock car race for a race game,'' said David Rosen, Sega's chairman. Score Written for Game
'' 'Dragon's Lair' is a crack in the door,'' said Don Bluth, its animator and co-creator. ''We used a musical score written especially for the game, animators, photographers and script writers.''
Mr. Bluth, a former Disney animator, turned to creating ''Dragon's Lair'' after his $6.2 million full-length animated feature, ''The Secret of NIMH,'' was a commercial failure last year. He not only anticipates making considerably more money on ''Dragon's Lair,'' but he also hopes to help resuscitate an ailing animation industry by creating five 25-minute laser-disk animated movie games a year.
''We've had 7,300 purchase orders from arcades and distributors on 'Dragon's Lair' since July 1,' '' Mr. Bluth said. ''At $4,000 a game, that's more than $29 million already. We also used 14 animators and 36 artists. Laser-disk games will be an enormous shot in the arm for the animation industry.''
''The visuals in arcade games will have to take a leap forward,'' he added. ''No more computer-generated dots and sticks. All the current machines will be obsolete.''
Mr. Rosen of Sega disagrees. ''Laser-disk technology offers the ability to go into realistic mini-movie adventure-type games, but it won't make obsolete nonlaser-disk games,'' he said. ''The real problem with the arcades is economic. Novelty and freshness are very important to the entertainment industry. Arcades must constantly have innovative games. But, at $4,000 each, the arcade owners can't afford to buy the new games they should. The key to survival of the arcades is convertibility.'' Disks Are Replaceable
Laser-disk games have convertibility since the games are inscribed on replaceable disks. The phonograph- recordlike innards can be taken out and a new game put in without the arcade owner having to buy a new cabinet. Replacing the game disk and cabinet decals will cost approximately $1,000. Mr. Rosen said that Sega will also introduce a new system next January that will give convertibility to nonlaser-disk games.
''Dragon's Lair'' has already returned the approximately $3 million it cost to create and manufacture. Mr. Bluth raised $1.2 million. Rich Dyer, who created the original technology, and Cinematronics, the machine's manufacturer and distributor, raised the rest.
To convert ''Dragon's Lair'' to home use, Coleco will have to create some kind of video-disk adapter for its Colecovision game machine.
It is too early to tell whether ''Dragon's Lair'' has what the movie industry calls ''legs,'' the ability to entice customers month after month. Although the game has 22 minutes of adventure choices at approximately one every one and a half seconds, the right choices can eventually be learned. And the screen disconcertingly blanks out for a few seconds every time Dirk leaves a room or fights a battle.
Even so, the industry believes that laser-disk video games are definitely here to stay"."

Published: March 27, 1984
"NOT only is it fashionable to have a personal computer these days, but the electronic industry is every bit as trendy as the haute couture. This year's spring showing appears to focus on colorful graphics.
Graphics simply means the ability to display and manipulate pictures instead of words and numbers. While this does not seem startling to a generation that has grown up with home video, it is a major feat in personal computing, one that will probably not be fully realized for at least another decade.
Sophisticated graphics require a great deal of computer memory and a more powerful central processing unit (C.P.U.); that is, one able to deal with more bits of information at a time, than has previously been available in a personal computer. Although it may seem strange that it takes a more powerful C.P.U. and greater memory to quickly draw a simple stick-figure person, cow and barn against a green meadow and a blue sky than to instantly divide the square root of 14 by pi, that is in fact the case.
Besides a mightier C.P.U. and lots of memory, a computer usually needs a special circuit board, generally known as a graphics board, along with a high-resolution monitor. All these things are expensive and take a long time to be developed. In an industry rushing to meet the future before it arrives - with the least expensive product possible, at that - it is not surprising that graphics has been kept on the back burner.
Recently, however, through a combination of declining computer chip prices and a search for new marketing angles with which to meet the consumer's question of what to do with a personal computer, graphics has begun to come to the fore.
Systems such as Apple's Macintosh and the even newer Mindset, from a new company of the same name, represent the first step in this trend toward improved personal computer graphics.
I have had only a brief look at the Mindset computer, and no real chance to operate it, since the machine is not yet being shipped, but it promises to be an interesting model for those in search of better graphics display. It appears to offer all the components needed to be competitive in today's cutthroat personal computer market, from a mouse-style pointing device to I.B.M. compatibility, plus color rather than black-and- white graphics.
The Mindset is not, however, 100 percent I.B.M. compatible; it cannot run such widely circulating programs as Microsoft flight Simulator 1.0. I hazard the rough guess that 50 percent or more of all the I.B.M.-PC owners have at least tried their hands at flying their computers with Flight Simulator. As crude as its graphics might appear to the uninitiated, this program is a software tour de force, and it is probably the most popular graphics program available for the I.B.M., which leaves me with a nagging doubt concerning the increasing hoopla over personal computer graphics.
For a whole panoply of specialized applications - from bar charts in a school report to free-lance book designing to architecture and engineering - this graphics capacity will seem a godsend. For the rest of the world, everyone who is simply looking for a good word processor, for instance, I don't see much need for graphics.
A COMPUTER picture is neither art, it seems to me, nor necessary for the purposes of conveying information. My negative feelings on the matter extend, especially, to all those pie charts one always sees the obviously successful business executive pondering with a smile in computer advertisements.
Frankly, I don't know that charts like that necessarily say more than a few chosen words would. Nevertheless, people do want pictures, or so the computer manufacturers seem to believe. Who am I to argue with instant multimillion-dollar successes - and failures?
Let's face it. Video games in all their irrationality are what spawned the personal computer industry. The so-called graphics in such primeval versions as Pong didn't merit the use of the word by even a minimalist. After all, it's pretty hard to think of a bouncing ball and a couple of lines as a picture.
Yet Pong was a real achievement, both technologically and, in a sense, intellectually, as it proved to be a new idea for emptying America's pockets of quarters.
The realization that graphics really will come to dominate personal computers in the next decade swept through my mind as I passed the game arcade in Penn Station.
A herd of commuting executives had gathered around a young player whose mastery of Dragon's Lair, the first interactive video disk computer game, was obvious. The enrapturing video display had the quality of a movie cartoon, if jerkier in its sequence shifts.
Visually, the difference between Pong and Dragon's Lair is the difference between playing with match sticks at a bar and controling the actions in a movie. And as the Xerox machine catapulted our culture into the paper-swirling mentality of making six copies of everything just in case they might be needed, personal computer graphics will probably drag us all into a wretched visual excess where a thousand pictures will replace a single meaningful word."

1) The game consists of animated scenes, during which the player has to press direction buttons or the sword button in the right moment to trigger the next segment of the movie.
2) Featured animation by ex-Disney animator Don Bluth.
3) Sound Engineer, Dan Molina was the voice of Dirk the Daring. Vera Lanpher, head of assistant animators, was the voice of Daphne.
4) It is currently one of only three video games (along with Pong and Pac-Man) in storage at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
5) Princess Daphne was met with mostly positive reception. She has been cited by several publications as one of the most attractive characters in video game history. UGO included her on their 2010 list of top 50 "video game hotties", stating: "When the game was released, Daphne was the best-looking video game heroine around, so we still have a bit of a soft spot for her today."
6) The production company could not afford to hire models for the Daphne character so they used pictures from Playboy magazine for inspiration.
7) A version was released on home CD-based consoles (Sega CD, 3DO) that included an extra scene/stage.
8) A scene cut from the game would've involved Dirk fighting a series of Gargoyles who would throw spears at him, as he navigated through some stepping stones and would finally find an exit inside a treasure chest. It got as far as pencil tests, and could've been remastered for the home video releases, but the scene just wasn't fun to play and remained cut.

9)  Arcade game uses a laser-disc player made by Philips (model 22VP 932/00) and a Z80 microprocessor to generate the images and action required for game play.

10) 22 minutes of full animation is cost of 1.3 million dollars.

11) First ingame cheat - unlimited Lives : On some versions of Dragon's Lair the programmers left a secret that allows you to have unlimited lives. To access it, wait for the Attract Mode to begin, then hold the joystick UPLEFT and press the Sword button while inserting your quarters. Release the joystick and then select 1 player. You will now have unlimited lives until you complete the game.( First ever game with cheats (trainers) is Wizardry (1982),
12) Director Don Bluth would regularly view the progress of animation on it's original film format while editing on both a one inch display and in a full sized movie theater screen. Because of that, he was always disappointed with the picture quality of the subsequent versions of the game because the quality was never as good as it's film version until the HD versions was released.

13) Princess Daphne's animations were not only inspired by Playboy magazine pictorials, but showed nipples, as described by Don Bluth himself in the DVD edition of the game. Bluth resorted to extense "documentation" for crafting the character poses, and while animators almost always remove nipples even if their characters have skin-tight clothing, Bluth left them in making an entire generation of videogamers very happy indeed.

14) Quick time event (QTE) is a method of context-sensitive gameplay in which the player performs actions on the control device shortly after the appearance of an on-screen prompt. It allows for limited control of the game character during cut scenes or cinematic sequences in the game. Performing the prompted action improperly or not at all results in the character's failure at their task and often in an immediate game over (Watch Shenmue for more).

15) Emulated in: Daphne

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