Gaming in Middle-earth
There have been a number of computer games based on Tolkien's world. The games range Interplay's LotR series on CD-ROM to online gaming in MUDs and MUSHes.
Interplay's Lord of the Rings and The Two Towers
Game maker Interplay planned to make a trilogy of games; however, only two were ever released: The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1 (1990) and The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 2: The Two Towers (1991). Return of the King, scheduled for 1992, was canceled due to poor sales of Vol. 2.
Although the graphics are dated now, they are still two excellent games. Unfortunately, the 11-year old Vol. 1 no longer works on my computer, although Vol. 2 did last time I checked. At the time, I was able to beat both games. All they deviated from the plot in various sub-quests, the games were still very fun to play. Vol. 1 ends with rescuing Frodo from the Witch-king in Dol Guldur. Here is a screenshot from The Two Towers:
The Two Towers MUD
MUDs (Multi User Dimensions) are online roleplaying games. The Two Towers is the best Tolkien MUD, in my opinion. You control a character from one of the following races: Sindarin Elf, Silvan Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit, Dunedain, or Dunlending. Your character can then be one of the following professions: Warrior, Thief, Assassin, Wizard, Ranger, Sheriff. You advance in levels by killing evil creatures to get experience, and complete quests. There are thousands of rooms in which to explore Middle-earth. It's really a lot of fun. My character, Ben, a member of the Amruin (Riders of Rohan) Guild, was active from 1996 to 1999. I don't play any more, due to the demands of the website and message board here. For more information visit Angband.com.
Fellowship of the Ring for X-Box
Good news! It seems like Tolkien fans will be finally seeing a Lord of the Rings videogame again! Fellowship of the Ring, published by Sierra and developed by WXP Inc, will be hitting Microsoft's next-generation console X-Box in 2002! Check out IGN's coverage of the game here.-From xbox.ign.com:
Fellowship of the Ring is a third person action/adventure where you play as Frodo Baggins as he begins his quest to destroy The One Ring. Through eight large areas (comprised of about twenty-four sub-levels), Frodo will travel from The Shire, through the Old Forest, rest in the Prancing Pony in Bree, battle the Nazgul at Weathertop, meet with the Elves at Rivendell, encounter unbelievable terror in Moria, enjoy the beauty of Lothlórien, and finally encounter the river Anduin.
Even though the game is relatively linear in that there are set "levels", when you are in an area you are pretty much free to do what you want. If you just want to run around and kill monsters for a while you can, but if you wish to progress past the next "checkpoint" you'll have to talk to people and perform certain actions to trigger the next story progression.
Speaking of the levels, each one will be pretty large with about a fourth to a half a mile of actual ground to explore. Also, even though the levels are big, load times will be practically non-existent in the game as they are streaming data from the DVD, to the hard drive, and then into the game as people play. The only time when the game experience will really be brought to a halt is when there is a cut-scene, so you don't have to worry about seeing an annoying "Now Loading" screen to interfere with your game time.
The main gameplay screen of the game isn't too cluttered. When you look at the top right hand corner youll see a circle that shows your health and spirit power. Your spirit is used for actions, which are connected to the icons to the other side of the screen. In the top left hand corner are three icons. The top one is for runes, which are basically magic spells that can do things such as healing you, making a firewall, creating a shield around you, or enchant your weapon with magic. In the center is a button for your items, which will be thing such as healing herbs and possibly even The One Ring. Next, the bottom icon will summon a member of the Fellowship at the cost of some spirit points as well as allowing you to camp where you can save your game and talk to members of the Fellowship about what quests you are currently working on. Finally, the team is planning on adding a auto map on the screen, but that hasn't been implemented at this point.
Speaking of the Fellowship, since the book is the first of the series, Frodo will be alone at the beginning but as he explores he will meet the other members of the team. For example, when you arrive at Bree and go into the Prancing Pony, you will encounter Aragorn/Strider who will then join your party. Then you are able to call upon them during the game so that they can use their special abilities to help you out, but it will cost some spirit points depending on whom you use. While Aragorn slashing up a monster wont use up that much spirit, having Gandalf fry a bunch of enemies with a big spell will use up quite a bit.
You may also want to know that the game is completely based on the book, and is not affiliated with the movie. According to the X-Box IGN staff, seeing the Old Forest in the video game was like seeing it being ripped out of the pages and brought to interactive life on the X-Box! Sounds like this game is going to be great. Also, make sure to go to the link to see the great looking trailer for the game! It looks fantastic.Board games
Lord of the Rings Board Game
The LotR board game, originally developed in Germany, was created by Reiner Knizia. The object of the game is to defeat Sauron. The game is considered to be very challenging. It features five boards: The masterboard, Moria, Shelob's Lair, Helm's Deep, and Mordor. Visit LordoftheRings-BoardGame.com for more info.