June 22, 1996
Again, early spring 1983... I am asked by Marsten Systems Corporation to write an overview of each episode in the Alternate Reality story. Here you have an early printout of that, complete with a few typos etc. This is truly the most descriptive document in existence regarding all of the episodes and their relationship to each other.
ALTERNATE REALITY the series
Alternate Reality will be a series of disk based
entertainment programs for Atari Home Computers.
They will require at least 48k to operate.
Each installment of the series will feature:
Joystick controlled scrolling 3D Hi Res Graphics
Sound effects and Original Music
Alternate Reality is a Fantasy Role Playing Game. Every month role playing games seem to increase in popularity. They also tend to stay on the charts much longer than arcade type shootumups. Role Playing Games that were introduced years ago can still be found on the best seller lists. Traditionally these games have been classified into two major groups. There are the ones that concentrate on graphics to create the illusion of believeability. The others see fit to weave their magic by supplying the adventurer with an extensive array of spells, monsters and weaponary via the printed word. These are sometimes called text adventures. Apparently the reason for these games falling into one category or another has been the fact that their creators have felt home computers are not powerful enough to handle both types of programming. Alternate Reality will shatter that idea and set standards of excellence in both simultaneously. As if this were not enough, it moves out even further and incorporates the computer's sound capabilities and offers up original music that moves in and out of the game play in order to establish an even stronger total illusion. As indicated above, Alternate Reality is a series of games. Although you must have the initial installment, (The City), in order to play the rest of the series, it isn't necessary to purchase the entire set. After buying "The City", you could wait until "The Wilderness", (installment #5) was released; buy it and access it from your City disk without owning the other segments. It should be noted, however, that the later episodes of Alternate Reality will be much more enjoyable with a higher level character. The easiest way to build such a character is to experience the series as it is released.
ALTERNATE REALITY The Scenario...
Below in order are the various segments to the series along with a brief explanation of the goals and storyline in each.
#1 Alternate Reality...THE CITY
The City is the first in the series and the one that is required in order to access any further segment.
Storm clouds begin to gather over a large urban center on earty. No sooner have they formed but they begin to part in a most unnatural fashion. Descending to a point beneath this cloud appears an alien spaccraft. While hovering over a cityscape the aliens proceed to abduct various people on the surface by beaming them up to their ship. It so happens that you are one of these people. Your personal experience in Alternate Reality will begin after your abduction. Your first conscious thought finds you in front of an opalescent portal, in a room that affords no other exit. Above this doorway you see controls of various colors displaying ever changing numbers. Although you shall retain the memories of your home planet the speeding digits overhead will freeze at the moment you pass through the portal. It will be as if you were dealt a new hand in life. You might find yourself stronger or wiser. Whatever it may be, this is the framkework within which you will have to interact with the other life forms within Alternate Reality. As you move about the City, (via joystick control), you will undoubtably notice the variety of shops and stores. You will be able to purchase goods and services at these establishments. Additionally you may be surprised to see the sun rise and set each day. In order to survive you can take on work at various places. Your life in the city will revolve around learning its value in helping you get the most out of the rest of the installments. In addition, there is a prize redeemable in the real world hidden within its walls.
#2 Alternate Reality...THE DUNGEON
Shortly after the release of "The City", The Dungeon will be available.
Beneath the city lies a world shrouded in mystery. A place that ffeeds off the terror and fear it serves to those who would venture there. Dark damp passageways where rounding a corner could result in a confrontation with the thing nightmares are made of. This realm should be explored for two reasons. It affords you experience in character building and contains treasure of every description. Returning to The City after a foray through the depths, you'll have an opportunity to use your new wealth and power to further your position in the community while gaining insight to the true secrets of Alternate Reality.
#3 Alternate Reality...THE ARENA
This episode will mark a new dimension in the series. Until now the graphics have presented a characters eye-view of things. The Arena allows you to both see and control yourself in actual combat.
Many times in the City you've passed by the great arena. You've heard the trumpet fanfares and the cheers from the crowd. Like most beings in the city, the Great Arena has been off limits to you in the past. Now you have a chance to enter. Do not, however, begin this enterprise with a low level character. I say this because you enter not as a spectator but rather as a combatant. Should you survive your first contest you will have an opportunity to mingle with the martial scholars living within the Great Arena. As a group they have spent more time in Alternate Reality than most anyone. It is said they have answers to questions you haven't even thought to pose. Learning new techniques and gaining fighting experience in the arena will enable one to garner even greater rewards in the dungeons below the city.
#4 Alternate Reality...THE PALACE
Back again to an eye view episode. This time you'll take your high level character to the pinnacles of city life. Your wisdom and wealth will take on new meaning as you enter the realm of the nobility.
Until now you have been a nomadic citizen of sorts. You've roamed the city streets and the dungeons below. You've taken shelter when and where you could.
If you found treasures too heavy or valuable to keep on your person, you've had to intrust its safe keeping to one of the local banking institutions. Now for the first time you are to be granted noble status. You will be allowed access to the castle and other establishments reserved for the upper class. In addition you will be allowed to purchase property within the city itself. This is to say when darkness comes and your fatigue level is high, you can return to your own home. Therein you'll be able to store the fruits of your efforts. While your social standing in the city continues to grow, you will find yourself ready and able to begin an adventure that reminds you of desires that filled your thoughts during your first days in the city...
You make plans to leave it.
#5 Alternate Reality...THE WILDERNESS
Again eye-view 3D graphics. The first installment that allows you to venture great distances from the city.
Excitement is in the air as you prepare to leave the city for the first time. You look around your house deciding what to leave and what to bring. As you walk to the city gate memories race through your mind as fast as familiar sights pass your view. Once outside the walls you stop a moment and reflect on the view ahead. So often you have wanted to venture towards the mountains, this time you can. Soon you've traveled far enough so that the city can no longer be seen during quick glances to the rear. You commend yourself for having taken the time to map the direction of your progress. You travel through and over a large variety of terrain features ranging from thick forests to hot dry deserts. You encounter a number of beings. Many of them have very interesting things to tell you. Many of them have yet to utter a civil thing in their life. When you finally reach the mountains themselves, you find them to be extremely steep and virtually impossible to climb. You find yourself moving along the base of the mountain searching for...anything.
SO THIS IS THE END?.. A STONEWALL IN THE MOUNTAINS!
A number of adventurers will find cave systems in the mountains. Here encounters and treasures will point ever closer to the answers they seek. Some adventurers will find reaching the mountains requires a bit of seamanship. For you see the mountains they seek rises from the center of an island. Once on the island they may find a solid metallic barrier set in bedrock... a barrier, opalescent in color...
#6 Alternate Reality...REVELATION
Having succeeded in passing the metallic barrier, the adventurer is shocked as he stands facing another but two meters in front of him. it is not, the impact of a new barrier that he finds unsettling. It is not, that to his left and right long hallways seem to stretch to infinity that disturbs him. He is in awe of the fact that everything he sees appears to be from another place. Another technology. Everything in his view has been constructed with materials that remind him of that first day when he stood before the portal. Wherever he is, he knows he feels closer to Earth. His journey down the hallway seems endless. Numerous times he stops to rest and wonder if taking the hallway to the right was in fact the wrong thing to do. Just when he was about to head back and try the other direction, he notices a window on the left wall up ahead. He approaches and looks out. At this point he has his second and by far biggest shock of the day. The window shows him stars and deep space. Just as he was convincing himself that he was seeing nothing but a fancy diarama, an object that was unmistakably some kind of shuttle vehicle moved past the window. He began to realize something that seemed impossible to believe, The world he had been living ON, he had in fact been living IN.
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