Debuting in 1983, Cinematronics‘ Dragon‘s Lair Arcade expanded and redefined our definition of video games away from just crudely drawn flickering blocks, with the advent of fresh, detailed, cinema-style animation. Leaving the squared bits of quarter-munchers behind, developer Advanced Microcomputer Systems, along with animator Don Bluth, utilized the storage capacity of the laserdisc format to essentially produce the first interactive cartoon. Even today, Dragon‘s Lair is a movie that plays like a game or, perhaps, a game that plays like a movie.

While not as revolutionary as the arcade‘s interactive-movie formula but no less adventurous, CSG Imagesoft‘s Nintendo Entertainment System port of Dragon‘s Lair also experimentally probed the boundaries of play control until it was no longer just a transparent aspect of gaming. Through restricting the movement of the on-screen character, the gameplay of the NES Dragon‘s Lair is not a blemish on developer MotiveTime, Ltd., but a link to the film-inspired arcade counterpart, its comedy relief, and a visual personification of Dirk‘s geeky personality.

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