Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tron 2.0 on Steam!

It finally happened! An excellent old-school PC game (a game you've likely never heard of) just got released on Steam and is now playable on all computers. This is one of my favorite PC games of all time, and I group it on my mental PC gaming mantle alongside Baulder's Gate, Thief, and Fallout. It is the only first-person action RPG that actually brings the Grid to life. That game is Tron 2.0.

It was released back in 2003, but don't let that stop you from checking it out, because once you enter the Grid you don't even notice the polygon count. The sheer joy one experiences of throwing their identity disk into the face of an irate ICP (Intrusion Countermeasure Program) can only be described as holistic programming.

I didn't actually know about this game back when it came out in 2003. In fact, I'd hadn't even heard about it until 2009, when a friend of mine mentioned it to me once when we were talking about the movie Tron. He let me borrow his copy of the disks and, upon installation, I immediately fell in love. Everything in this game is Tron-centric in its lore and descriptions, and happily abuses computer terminology for the purposes of the story and setting. Email messenger programs have little messenger bags, firewalls appear as giant walls of fire, Resource Hogs look like pig-faced orcs (and have names like "realplyr.exe."), and it goes on. And you're caught in a war between two forces, the Viruses and the ICPs, led by a militaristic officer program called "The Kernel." At one point you go back to an old 1993 computer with 512 megs of ram and everything looks dumpy and slow. Its so excellently pun-filled but keeps it completely legit. Plus it is an FPS with plenty of rpg-like elements. You can find 'build points' (XP) to upgrade your 'version number' (level), and use them to improve your processing capacity (magic item capability).

As some of you know I have an unhealthly love for the Tron universe. This game is a big part of it. While the storyline isn't technically considered 'canon' after Tron: Legacy came out, there isn't that much crossover between the two that would get in the way of them both being considered legit. Just a few emails you find from Kevin Flynn that take place after 1989 in the game would have to be removed, and those are just filler emails for storyline purposes. You don't even need to find them, so its not even an issue, really.

Back in 2011 I ran a couple games of a Tron RPG I created, using the OD&D rules and basically re-skinning it to the Grid. In that process I referenced Tron 2.0 constantly. Constantly re-playing and using the leveling elements, the subroutine installation pieces (equipment), and all the weapons from the game. It really was a Tron 2.0 PnP RPG that I ran, and had a lot of fun doing it.


Tron 2.0 is on Steam. Check it out!

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