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Ernie's House of Whoopass! March 6, 2015
March 6, 2015

'Til Men Of Old, For Blood And Gold, Had Rescued Skara Brae.

I don't really know what set me off this little wander down memory lane, but for some reason this morning I got a wild hair up my ass about Electronic Art's 1985 smash hit The Bard's Tale. For those of you without as many grey hairs as me, The Bard's Tale was one of the first RPG games for the computer and certainly the most sucessful dungeon crawler of its era. The Commodore 64 version of The Bard's Tale was given a 'Sizzler' award and rated at 94% by ZZAP! 64 Magazine, in the 1986 Christmas Special edition. The inn, the blacksmith, getting healed in the temples, wine cellar, the catacombs, gambling for gold pieces, Baron Harkyn's Castle... I remember traipsing around Skara Brae quite fondly. Well, mostly fondly.... as you leave the inn on Main Street and head south on Rakhir, you run into an animated statue of a Samurai who used to beat the ever loving shit out of my low level characters.

One trick I specifically remember as a remedy for that -- and by trick, I mean cheating -- was to have a low level character adopted into a group of experienced players. Back in the sixth spot, he was safe from melee attacks since only the first three character spots could suffer or inflict non-magical damage. From there we'd wander over to Baron Harkyn's Castle and using magic, teleport to a certain location in his castle where we were immediately attacked by 4 groups of 99 Beserkers. One single cast of Mind Blade and it's wipe out all 396 Beserkers in one round. Teleport back down to the main entrance, teleport back to the Beserker location and due to a glitch in the game, all 396 of them would be good to fight again. Lather, rinse, repeat and inside of twenty minutes or so your new inexperienced character will have accumulated enough experience points to advance up fifteen levels or so; something that otherwise would have taken weeks of gameplay.

In the 7th grade, our Social Studies teacher tasked each student with inventing their own country, complete with laws, currency, maps, government, all that shit. Me? Yep, I "invented" Skara Brae, right off the back of the Bard's Tale box and scored an A- for my effort. It wasn't until a few years ago that I was stunned to learn that the imaginary setting of Skara Brae is based upon an actual Neolithic settlement from the era 3180BC–2500BC. Yes, one morning spent browsing through these maps and suddenly I'm a pimply faced teenager eating Hot Pockets again. Good times, man. Good times. How the fuck the original Bard's Tale didn't end up headlining this list of the best exploration games of all time, is beyond me.

There was a re-release/reinvention of The Bard's Tale as recently as 2004, but it just doesn't have the same nostalgic feel to it. The graphics look like a series of really shitty photoshops, and from what I can tell, the gameplay would be on par with Id Software's disappointing Doom 3 remake back in 2004. That is to say the perfect embodiment of newer doesn't always mean better. Long Live Skara Brae, and what the hell, long live Mangar, too.

Soooo, lock your door when going through the African Safari adventure drive through. Jon

Never stayed there but it's gotta be Bally's South Tower as it's closest to the strip and with a room on the South side you'd be pretty much right up against Paris's property. The North Tower is the one right on Flamingo Road and further back from the strip and wouldn't have that view. Tom

Good Afternoon Ernie. The curvy broad in the picture is looking at a 1/3 scale model of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. She is not at the Paris Hotel though, she is across the street at Bally's facing south. This picture is a little old because those buildings across the street are finished now. Keep up the good work . Eric R

I do love a good cup of coffee and I've heard nothingbut good things about a place in New orleans called Cafe Du Monde, although technically they have around eigfht locations now. I have looked through all sorts of artwork based upon the Cafe Du Monde, but have been unable to find anything about this piece of artwork. Which location is is based upon (if any?) and where can I get my hands on a print of it?

You can pick up various standard capacity Glock magazines for $20 each, when you buy 5 or more with free shipping. And there are not piece of shit KCI Korean knockoff mags, either. We're talking brand new factory original Glock mags with a hardened steel insert which protects the magazine and prevents deformation, even when dropped from a great height.

Okay, for those of you lacking in photo challenge kung-fu, here's a softball. Where can I pahk my cah? Hint: It's not Boston.


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