“The game they said would never be finished...”
August 9, 2017 10:52 PM   Subscribe

After two decades of delay, 'Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar' is available for play. [Motherboard] “The next time you miss a deadline, take comfort in the fact that you're almost certainly doing better than Cleveland Mark Blakemore. His RPG Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar [Trailer][Steam] was first supposed to hit shelves in 1997, but for two decades Blakemore missed deadline after deadline. To put that in perspective, George R.R. Martin first published A Game of Thrones in 1996. But the wait is over. Grimoire is here. So much time has passed that Grimoire now looks like a relic—something not unlike 1992's Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant. (In fact, Grimoire started life as a cancelled Wizardry sequel.) The good news for Blakemore is that this means it's free to cash in on nostalgia, and it wastes no time doing so.”

• Grimoire, the RPG 20 years in the making, is a crazily tough nut to crack [Rock Papers Shotgun]
“It’s not the brutal defeats, but rather the unwieldy interface that has proven to be my most daunting enemy, however. The initial inscrutability I can fiddle and research my way through, but even once I’d done that, I found that almost every action and interaction involved too many steps, too many tiny buttons and/or otherwise takes too long. I’m not sure this would be anything like the mooted 600 hours with a lessy doggedly DOSian UI. (I’m taking that 600 hours on faith, by the way – I will never get anything like that far into Grimoire, though I’m sure I would be singing a different tune were I a Wizardry true believer). None of this is to say that a game that was for some years accused of being vapourware is any way a disaster – merely that, rather than being the shining resurrection of a golden age, it’s preaching only to the converted. It swaddles the good stuff in so much timelost inaccessibility and unhelpfulness that it’s never going to be heard far outside the old school RPG echo chamber.”
• Grimoire dev thinks his own game is the “greatest roleplaying game of them all” [PCGamesN]
“As the author, I know what people have not discovered yet. They are on the tip of an iceberg and Grimoire runs into deep, deep waters. The density they see now is only a fraction of what they are going to find as they push further into the game. A play of only a few hours will not even break the surface. The familiar area of the original demo, the Avian Mountains, is now only a single drop of rain in a cyclone compared to how much they will discover when they leave this area. Rather than tell people of the Dirge ... or of Waterport ... or of Bahomet Megalith ... or of the Necropolix ... or of Black Pierre ... or of the Raven Wildes ... or a hundred other areas ... or of the vast story that awaits them ... would only spoil the fun. I prefer to let word of mouth do that for me, the best kind of promotion of them all.”
posted by Fizz (73 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Fizz: you forgot to mention that the developer is... well... a little to the right of the hardestcore John Birtcher.
posted by aspo at 11:42 PM on August 9 [16 favorites]


Holy crap, aspo. This guy is completely off his rocker.
The ruling classes don't want dead beasts taking up natural reserve land. It seems a waste to them that cattle should wish a box and a marker after death, it's all too much to bother for a mere domesticated beast.

Keep watching for more of this propaganda. I heard it was mentioned at the last Bilderberger meeting as a big tick on the Agenda 21 implementation. No more holes for dead beasts. It's a waste of perfectly good land. Up the smokestack you go. Remember, when the Nazis did it, it was wrong. Reminds of the end of George Orwell's ANIMAL FARM.
Holy crap, what? This stuff has absolutely no basis in the article he's linking to.
posted by brundlefly at 12:21 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


I don't have time for this game, but those screenshots certainly do press my buttons.

I do have time for more of the creator's personal life, though, so I am about to do a deep dive into his blog. If you don't hear back from me, tell my family I love them.
posted by Literaryhero at 1:07 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


He used to post a lot on quartertothree, in a style that can best be described as hunter s thompson meets mack bolan meets the grand high wizard of the KKK. he has his own fallout shelter, and advises that he has cultivated an indestructible exoskeleton which he has road tested by being run over by a car.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:14 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


It is SO CLOSE to going back to beta testing. My standards have been
so high for this game at every stage of its development, I have tried
to NEVER compromise on even the smallest detail until I got the
appearance and mechanics that I wanted. I might as well be one of
those monks in the middle ages who spent his adult life carving the
heads of pins with scripture. You will see shortly what I have wanted
from the beginning and how I have finally gotten it in the latest
revision of the interface ...

Cleve Blakemore The Real One 6/14/02
posted by Sebmojo at 1:18 AM on August 10


From the developers the blog (the previous blog entry from this one is about getting onto steam): "Civilizations are established to organize the protection of women and children, to keep them safer with the help of other males than any one male could do on their own. To protect them from invading hordes bent on rape and pillage. Once civilization becomes like Sweden, it isn't civilization at all anymore and males can consider the social contract broken. I would laugh at a Swedish policeman telling me to obey the law. If the law is designed to expedite the rape of my wife and daughter it doesn't apply to me anymore. I don't recognize any such "law" imposed on me. Those of you who think socialism is a good idea in any country don't know how it always ends in every country.

If you've been paying attention you will notice any society where "feminism" gets a foothold, women end up in rape camps whether they are pornography studios (for which they receive a small gratuity for their ordeal) or in rape camps in the streets. The more feminism, the less value each individual female life until their worth to society approaches zero. Luciferian ideology strips them of their sacred roles as wives, mothers and daughters and they become just hanging chunks of meat ... which is exactly what they are referred to by many of these newcomers. Somebody somewhere is interested in bringing hell to earth instead of the other way around.
"

Please do not buy this game. I get why the press above can make the game sound interesting to certain kind of nostalgic gamer, but this guy is not someone you want to support.
posted by aspo at 1:33 AM on August 10 [35 favorites]


Yeah, tackling Might & Magic, Grimrock and the like sounds like a better proposition.
posted by ersatz at 2:04 AM on August 10


So... #batshitinsane?
posted by runcifex at 2:21 AM on August 10


What is it with Scandinavia being a completely contradictory bogeyman to these people? Sweden is fucked up because if you (obviously a straight, cis, white man, because you're being talked to like a person, not about like an animal or thing) so much as look at a woman and she decides after the fact to withdraw consent, you'll be charged with rape. Ridiculous! Also it's full of rape camps and women are treated like bunks of meat, utterly unprotected by law. And this means the social covenant is broken for males - after all, your wife being raped is an insult on a whole different level to what the woman actually being raped experiences.

It's not even internally consistent or coherent. Seconding aspo - do not support this shitstain or his product in any way.
posted by Dysk at 2:41 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


This is so weird. I remember this guy as the pre-twitter version of dril and I still can't believe he was sincere or that this game is real in any way. I think I have to just forget this came out in order to save my sanity.
posted by selfnoise at 3:15 AM on August 10


Is this the game adaptation of the Eye of Argon?
posted by acb at 3:15 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Love these kind of quixotic endeavours, like the sort of thing Herzog would make into a documentary. The game reminds me more of Cheval's Palais ideal than a modern AAA title with the edges filed off. The agonising fussiness of the menus! The smorgasbord of esoteric races to choose from! That said - I definitely don't have the patience to play it, so I'll wait until someone has a let's play that really delves into the pixelly esoterica.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 3:19 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


I had no idea about this guy's horrid political views. Now I feel bad for linking and creating this post. That is not something I would personally like to support. Ugh.

2017: just assume everyone is a milkshake duck
posted by Fizz at 3:58 AM on August 10 [32 favorites]


I don't blame you Fizz, and honestly the game itself looks like it was tailor made to my tastes, but like I said before I just don't have the time. Plus, there is no way that his worldview didn't seep into the game narrative, and no way am I going to subject myself to 600 hours of that.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:05 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Fizz, you're getting too hard over yourself. FPP !=> endorsement.
posted by runcifex at 4:07 AM on August 10 [13 favorites]


Oh I get it. But these things also matter to me. I realize it's not an endorsement but it is still a kind of free marketing or attention that is thrown his way. He doesn't warrant that. Although maybe it's good people are talking about it. So there is that. Others can make their own informed decision at least.

It's just very disappointing to know he has those views. Because the idea of this game being in development for 20 years is interesting to me. It's why I created the post.
posted by Fizz at 4:13 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I'm surprised anyone remembers the message board flamewars of a prior generation. Particularly since economic realities limit most people writing about games for money to a maximum age of about 14. Would anyone at Kotaku, for example, bat an eye before posting an article about D***k S***ts new game?
posted by selfnoise at 4:18 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Particularly since economic realities limit most people writing about games for money to a maximum age of about 14.


That's a ridiculous and patently false claim. Can you point to even one reviewer under the age of 15? Because it's trivial to list dozens and dozens of people in their twenties and thirties.
posted by Dysk at 4:26 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


...a style that can best be described as hunter s thompson meets mack bolan meets the grand high wizard of the KKK. he has his own fallout shelter, and advises that he has cultivated an indestructible exoskeleton... -- Sebmojo

Why didn't he make this game?
posted by rokusan at 4:36 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Steamspy lists it at 2,307 ± 1,301 owners which, even if not entirely accurate, indicates not much of a payday for more than 20 years of work.

Some more context including some insight into Cleve's rather "special" approach to software development.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:52 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


That's a ridiculous and patently false claim. Can you point to even one reviewer under the age of 15? Because it's trivial to list dozens and dozens of people in their twenties and thirties.

You know, it's possible to ignore my jokes if you find them obnoxious.
posted by selfnoise at 5:11 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Had you not posted this, I would never have heard of this game, this author or his otherwise crippling mental infirmities, so it's a service in any case. Now I just have to decide whether his game or his ROTHSCHILDS HUNGER FOR BABY FLESH rants are better value for my entertainment dollar.
posted by delfin at 5:13 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


Some more context including some insight into Cleve's rather "special" approach to software development.

That whole thread, just, whoa!
posted by filtergik at 5:17 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


By the way: people generally assumed for a long time that his claim of working on a Wizardry game (and that he designed a, well, penis monster for it) were bullshit, but it turns out maybe not?
posted by selfnoise at 5:24 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that thread. The first quoted section from the dev ends with him basically claiming to have defrauded the military to bankroll his game.
posted by Dysk at 5:24 AM on August 10


That whole thread, just, whoa!

Whoa indeed. I thought a younger me would have played a pirated version using cheats, so perhaps I might try that at some point. And then I reached the part of that thread that mentioned hard drives being accidentally reformatted by the game's anti-piracy checker...
posted by erdferkel at 5:25 AM on August 10


I have no time for games like this but came here to see what kind of a person takes two decades to "develop" anything in an industry where standards change every 3 years, and I'm not disappointed.

On his blog I learned that everything I knew was wrong:
The Earth is not moving
Mesas are tree stumps

And on and on it goes.
posted by Laotic at 5:32 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


There's someone commenting in the RPS thread who is new to the site and has suspiciously similar views and talking points to Cleve (bringing up IQ, "progressives" etc) but I'm sure it's totally not Cleve.
posted by vanar sena at 5:46 AM on August 10


If this sounds like your kind of oddity, but you figure you'll just snatch it up at a heavy discount, beware - Cleve says the 10% launch discount is the only sale the game will ever have.
posted by Kortney at 5:54 AM on August 10


I would like to go on record right now that I am not the very brilliant Cleveland Mark Blakemore, but I wish I were, because I hear that guy is awesome.
posted by Etrigan at 5:54 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


You know, it's possible to ignore my jokes if you find them obnoxious.

And how are we supposed to know it was a joke ?
posted by Pendragon at 5:58 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


The patch notes are my GOTY 2017.

Sapiens thinks if you have a clinically tested IQ of 183 it means you're better at solving the jumble in the newspaper. This is what Sapiens actually believes.

There are other things you can do with a super powered atomic brain nearly 6 full derivatives greater than the intellectual distance between the ordinary man and Koko the Sign Language Gorilla...


(Background: Cleve Blakemore believes he is a Neanderthal and that Homo Sapiens are a lesser, invasive species)
posted by rodlymight at 6:10 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


Oh, is this what happened to the Time Cube guy? Now that would have made a killer video game!
posted by I-Write-Essays at 6:21 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


(bringing up IQ, "progressives" etc)

This is sadly not unusual among a certain set. I have a friend from college that could've written the same comments (though he would abbreviate "progressives" as "progs").
posted by Jpfed at 6:21 AM on August 10


How did this dude pay his rent and eat for 20 years?
posted by dismas at 6:24 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


If it's the same story as another well known dev/troll whose name I dare not post without asteriks, his wife has a steady job.
posted by selfnoise at 6:29 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Do not ask questions to which you REALLY don't want the answers.
posted by delfin at 6:29 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


How did this dude pay his rent and eat for 20 years?

According to the Neogaf thread:
"At one point I was working three separate full-time jobs as a contractor to support Grimoire. All three clients believed I was working solely on their project. At one stage I was working for the military, the public sector and a private sector company and channeling a lot of the money to payments for subcontractors working on Grimoire."
posted by uncleozzy at 6:32 AM on August 10


Wow.
posted by dismas at 6:34 AM on August 10


If the game was produced as a result of embezzlement, then Steam should remove it from sale. That said.... yeah I got nothing.
posted by selfnoise at 6:39 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Helpfully, Cleve has a CV on his linkedin page, along with other information of interest to potential employers:
Most people consider me a polymath who is very strong in a variety of disciplines but a master of none.
...
I have a proven record of writing software that operates 24/7 in hellish surroundings without requiring maintenance, configuration or even a display/input device on computers that cost less than a dollar with no writable storage. Anything built by me will cost less than what you spent on lunch per unit and will look like it should be running in the Batcave on ancient web browsers released twenty years ago.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:43 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Whoever compared this guy to Gene Ray wasn't wrong. Between the excerpts here and his obvious Scott Adamsing in the RPS comments you half expect him to claim he is wiser than all gods and scientists.
posted by dismas at 6:50 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Anything built by me will ... look like it should be running in the Batcave on ancient web browsers released twenty years ago.

Ah, so that's why he waited twenty years to release it. To ensure that it would look like twenty-year-old software. I get it.
posted by Naberius at 6:58 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


you half expect him to claim he is wiser than all gods and scientists.

Well, he has unmasked Stephen Hawking as an imposter (WARNING: link goes to Cleve's blog. Don't say I didn't warn you.)
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:59 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


That LinkedIn quote is insane...
posted by Pendragon at 7:02 AM on August 10


Well, he has unmasked Stephen Hawking as an imposter

He's starting to remind me of that guy who insists that Stephen King killed John Lennon.

Except he's one of the world's best coders and all around most brilliant people, so if he says Hawking was replaced by a double so the government could keep using him as a propaganda tool, then it's probably true.
posted by Naberius at 7:22 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


This story is a poster child for whether you can separate the art from the artist in video games.. I mean, at least Notch had the decency to move on from Minecraft before going full-bore asshole.

From what I've read of the game it's very retro and not very good. Idiosyncratic, speaking politely. But not political ranty survivalist idiosyncratic. More unhealthy 90s nostalgic idiosyncratic. OTOH life is short and I have plenty of games to play from people who aren't assholes.
posted by Nelson at 7:27 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


He's starting to remind me of that guy who insists that Stephen King killed John Lennon.

His name is Steve. He was a regular at the book store on Haight I worked for twenty-odd years ago. Haven't seen his Lennon Murder Truth van in nearly that long, but it's great that he's still out there preaching the good word.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 7:32 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


He should port this to TempleOS.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:33 AM on August 10 [11 favorites]


Just want to reiterate that I'm totally ok with how this thread has evolved. While much of the discussion has shifted away from his 20 year game development process, and the game itself, I appreciate the information regarding his political/social views.

Our money has influence and it shapes how the industry responds to the games we play and the people who make them. I had no real plans to purchase this game, but knowing what I know now, it seals that deal. I shall not be funding him in any capacity. And I'll be sharing this information with anyone I come across who asks me about the game.
posted by Fizz at 7:53 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


The game they said would never be finished

I'm reminded of an old Muppet Show scene in which Fozzie is presenting.

FOZZIE: Uh, moving right along with our exciting and entertaining award show — the show a certain frog said couldn't be done…

KERMIT: (offstage) Shouldn't! I said it shouldn't be done!
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:10 AM on August 10 [31 favorites]


Thanks for posting it, Fizz. I probably would have bought this at some point because I love the wizardry games, but I won't now from what I've learned here. Like Nelson said, plenty of games to play that aren't made by jerks.
posted by BeeDo at 8:12 AM on August 10


Wow, fascinating stuff on the political side. But also it makes me remember how much 13-year-old me loved playing the first Wizardry in 1983 when I discovered it.

What I really want is a port of that first game, or something new like it, for Windows, which is what I am using now. Does anyone have any recommendations? I tried the first Grimrock, but it was more explicitly a Dungeon Master update than a Wizardry update. Does anyone have something else to point me towards?
posted by seasparrow at 8:48 AM on August 10


Well, he has unmasked Stephen Hawking as an imposter

Wow first McCartney, now Hawking. I'll be durn.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 8:50 AM on August 10


What I really want is a port of that first game, or something new like it, for Windows, which is what I am using now. Does anyone have any recommendations? I tried the first Grimrock, but it was more explicitly a Dungeon Master update than a Wizardry update. Does anyone have something else to point me towards?


There is Might and Magic X, a recentish classic style Might and Magic game. And GoG.com has a few Wizardries and Might and Magics. The 2004 Bard's Tale action rpg comes with the original Bard's Tale trilogy as well.
posted by rodlymight at 9:05 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Wow. Been quite a week for toxic masculinity in gaming. Again.

Anyways, a while back I set up DOS Box on my machine and starting goofing around with Wizardry I: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord. If I want an old-school, fiddly grind experience, I can get it that way.
posted by nubs at 9:09 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


Never thought I'd see Cleve here. It truly is the End Times.
posted by Splunge at 9:35 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


There's a new Bard's Tale coming out soonish. Can't remember the exact release date, but sometime next year maybe?
posted by dismas at 9:48 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


User Reviews
Overall: Mixed


I guess quality is in the... Eye of the Beholder!

Haha! Get it? Because... It's a reference... I'll see myself out.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 10:43 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


an old-school, fiddly grind experience

Psst: have your Bishop identify item #9.
posted by Nelson at 11:14 AM on August 10


You are in a twisty maze of conspiracies, all alike.

> Inventory

You have:

* compiler
* graph paper
* tin foil hat
posted by delfin at 11:33 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


I remember being amused by this long, rambling video Cleve made about Grimoire for his 2012 IndieGoGo campaign which has more of an awkward goofy crackpot vibe than any of the right-wing garbage that I'm super bummed to hear about.
posted by straight at 11:36 AM on August 10


Psst: have your Bishop identify item #9.

Oh, I know about item #9. The point for me was trying to do it without it.
posted by nubs at 11:51 AM on August 10


don't miss my forthcoming Zork: Nemesis non-remake,

Bovinus: Winged Likker of the Bred-God

or my other titles in production:

Lexicallus: The Fateful Gripthreads of Fronk
Pahoehoe: Deontological Thraps of Wickedness
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magicka Obscura
posted by radicalawyer at 1:05 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


So, he has made between $22 and $78K according to steamspy, most likely around $50K. ($35.99 per copy, with steam keeping around 30%, and 2,307 ± 1,301 sales)

That would be really good for one year of work. $22K is about what I make per year as a grad student, and $78K is very respectable. For 20 years? Considering he claims to have spent $210K on it? Ehhhh.

Lets see, if he is being truthful about how much he has spent, he would need to sell about 6,900 copies at full price just to make back what he spent on it. More if you consider that he spent that money over 20 years, so interest and all that.
posted by Canageek at 1:42 PM on August 10


Oh, sorry, he got ~$10.5K off IndieGoGO, so he would only have to make back $200K. Also, I think I typed something into my calculator wrong before. I think he needs to sell about 8,500 copies to break even, if any of his claims about how much he spent are correct. Not counting for inflation.
posted by Canageek at 1:55 PM on August 10


Well, this is coming right off my Steam wishlist.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:24 PM on August 10


There are other things you can do with a super powered atomic brain nearly 6 full derivatives greater than the intellectual distance between the ordinary man and Koko the Sign Language Gorilla
For example, one might use it to remember the correct term for "standard deviation".
posted by Horkus at 4:21 PM on August 10 [5 favorites]


I keep thinking I've encountered peak Dunning-Krueger, and then being proven wrong.

I guess that means I overestimate my own ability to detect peak Dunning-Krueger.
posted by flaterik at 5:00 PM on August 10 [9 favorites]


Okay, I'm not a Windows guy, so forgive my ignorance, but...

"And then I reached the part of that thread that mentioned hard drives being accidentally reformatted by the game's anti-piracy checker..."

It that fucking a thing? Can you install a game that accidentally reformats a hard drive without a popup saying, "Are you sure you want to reformat this hard drive?"
posted by brundlefly at 12:27 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


On rereading, I realised that this was a joke from the NeoGAF thread. Sorry for worrying you. (But in principle, this would be possible. A very bad idea, and reason to be kicked off Steam, but possible in principle. I should have realized that this would be getting tons of press if it happened.)
posted by erdferkel at 1:04 AM on August 11


Yes, that happened with a game once. Ruins of Myth Drannor would delete C: drive if you installed it on a drive that wasn't C: drive.
posted by Canageek at 10:59 AM on August 11


Software installations run with elevated privileges and can do harm if the author is malicious or incompetent. The game itself would run with normal (non elevated) privileges, at least in the post-XP era. So it depends on how old the story is and when the checker runs.
posted by Horselover Fat at 12:35 PM on August 11


« Older the breath of life   |   Diminished Chords Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.