All Hallows' Eve


Chris Horseman had been my boss in the Advanced Games Group at Atari, where we'd developed five games, including Final Legacy, which was released in a shortened form, and Hobgoblin, which was written off. But Chris and I liked Hobgoblin, so we soon joined together as partners in a new company, MagicLogic, to take the idea behind Hobgoblin quite a bit farther.

Hobgoblin had been a text adventure. All Hallows' Eve was to be one of the very first CD games, with animation and sound. We did a three-way deal with Philips, Sony, and Warners, and set to work. This was enlivened by the fact that Chris, who was English, moved back to England while I stayed in California, so we ended up having meetings all over the world.

Well into the design, a brand-new conclusion occurred to us: a CD game would need a Save feature. But when we told Philips and Sony, they said they'd already begun production on their first-generation home CD players and could not add any features. Chris and I soldiered on for several more months, trying to figure out how to do a CD-length game without a Save, but in the end could not. The project died.

It's worth expanding on that a little. I remember how dazzled everyone was when they first understood how unbelievably much bigger a CD was than a cartridge or a series of floppies. It was a watershed time for all gamers. But the other projects Philips and Sony were contemplating were, for example, a walking tour of Sherlock Holmes' London, which did not need a Save. It simply never occurred to any of us that we'd need that feature, until it did.

Anyway, All Hallows' Eve remains one of my favorite creations, in any medium. During the course of Halloween night, you had to bring four stones to Stonehenge - from the south of England, from the north, the east, and the west. The world around you was changing all night long, getting darker and more dangerous, so that no matter in which order you got the stones, the stakes escalated inexorably, and things you did innocently enough early on paid monstrous consequences in the hours before dawn. It was wonderfully massive. And all along the way, a little creature called Hoppy the Hobgoblin was by your side - but whether he was friend or foe was up to you...