What’s Gus Playing – Arcanum, Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura

Gus Arcanum 1 SPLASH

Our massively miniature munchkin of merriment mulls magickal masterpieces ~

Lloyd Sabin, 27 August 2018

This week my tale is a short and woeful one, with only a few piddling screenshots to show for it. You can’t win them all, right? So being done with Dishonored – Death of the Outsider, I find myself still in a steampunk mood. I have several choices on my HD to satiate such a mood, and Arcanum sounds like a great choice to me.

Steampunk tech and magic IN THE SAME GAME??

My history with Arcanum is much like the story that some guys have about The One Who Got Away…you know, the woman who you fell madly in love with but then ruined it some how and she left, forever. Or a giant fish of some kind that you just could not reel in, I guess. I’m babbling.

I first fired up Arcanum in 2001 when it first came out. I was so psyched. Steampunk tech and magic IN THE SAME GAME?? How did I get so lucky?

I think I ordered the boxed version of it from Amazon and immediately ripped the box apart to install it and then start playing. The intro blew me away. Orc-piloted Eindecker fighters shooting down a zeppelin! Armored knights blowing each other away with high-powered pistols! Refined orcs and elves and humans getting drunk together! This was setting up to be my greatest gaming experience ever!

And then the actual game began. After a few dialogue choices I was totally lost…even after reading through the manual. I got frustrated, not knowing what to do and eventually shelved the game…crestfallen and heartbroken.

Fast forward 15+ years to last summer when I discovered Arcanum available on GoG.com for less than 10 dollars (probably 25% of what I paid for it originally) and visions of gaming greatness came rushing back. “I’ll make it work this time, I know it,” I said to myself as I fired up the newer version.

Again the orcs and eindeckers and zeppelins flashed across my (now modern) screen and the game began in earnest…and looked like crap inside a small, fixed box. Modern resolutions not supported. Crestfallen but determined, I continued on through the intro and beyond as my avatar and partner attempted some early exploration of the first map and disappeared. They didn’t get lost…they literally just disappeared off the screen, with only their in-game shadows visible. Then I tried to save the game and it lost its mind, colors bleeding, characters gone, and me once again, weepy eyed.

I guess it’s just not to be for you and me, Arcanum. I wish it didn’t have to end this way, again.

Check out the tiny handful of shots I was able to get below with FRAPS and cry along with me, for it is a truly a tale of woe. Thanks for reading, and I will attempt to be more upbeat next week.

Arcanum, picture #1

Arcanum, picture #1

 

Arcanum, picture #2

Arcanum, picture #2

 

Arcanum, picture #3

Arcanum, picture #3

 

Arcanum, picture #4

Arcanum, picture #4

 


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