Created by Philip Price, the Alternate Reality series of games started in the 1980s. The original games were designed for the Atari 8-Bit Computers. The first in the series, Alternate Reality: The City, was ported to several other systems. Extremely ambitious for its time, it supported 64 colors (Although only 4 on each line), a ray casting engine, and the ability to move between different installments in the series. Unfortunately the developers were only able to make the first 2 of the planned 7 games, before the company went defunct.
The character is abducted by aliens, and walks through a gate with many numbers (which is to say, game statistics), into a fantasy world. The world was a first person RPG a bit like Wizardry without a party, where the player character wanders around killing monsters.
Alternate Reality: The City had several places where the player was told to put in an expansion disk; unfortunately, nothing was ever made except for the second part (Alternate Reality: The Dungeon). Unlike the City, the Dungeon had quests and goals for the player (The City was literally just wandering and mapping). The trip from the City to the Dungeon was one way, contrary to the original plans.
Plans were to reveal the game world to be a virtual reality and to have multiple endings, some where the character continues on and some where he returns home.
Philip Price intended to create a MMORPG called Alternate Reality Online in the 90s, but this never got off the ground.
Provides examples of:
- Adjective Animal Alehouse: One of the places you can get a good night's sleep is the Lazy Griffin Inn.
- Bottomless Bladder: The game simulates needing to eat and drink, but none of this.
- Breakable Weapons
- Empathic Weapon: The intelligent weapons found in the dungeon are a good example. Just don't get them angry.
- Evil Weapon: Just as there are good weapons in the dungeon there are bad ones.
- Game-Breaking Bug: Some squares in the City were accidentally laid out so that the character could get trapped in them and be unable to leave. The Dungeon also shipped with a copy protection bug that caused characters converted from the City to be killed by FBI agents, and the disks had to be mailed in and exchanged in order to be able to transfer characters.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: The world the player is stuck in.
- Mooks Ate My Equipment: As a way to keep the inventory from getting too full.
- Old Save Bonus: actually sort of averted. While you could transfer characters from the City to the Dungeon, characters created in the Dungeon gained stats as they levelled up that were so much better than the stats on old characters that transferring made no sense.
- Spiritual Successor: In 1998 there was an attempt to revive Alternate Reality as a MMORPG. The project ended up becoming The Matrix Online.