Baldur's Gate is 20 Years Old!

Baldur's Gate - Logo

Back in 1998 I was at University, drinking too much and generally enjoying my youth. Fast forward to the present and I’m basically doing the same thing. With the exception of not being young any more. Time, it seems, is not kind to our frail human form and I have begun to fall apart. My body doesn’t work quite as well as they did in the 90’s (my knees are shot) and I’m getting forgetful.

Thankfully, one thing I do remember is Baldur’s Gate. I was introduced to it in about 2000 by one of my uni friends and it was my first proper foray into video role playing games (VRPGs). I won’t lie; it took a bit of getting used to and a lot of effort to stick with it. The plot takes a while to gather momentum and my first attempt didn’t end well. I revisited Baldur’s Gate and I’m very glad I did. I got completely hooked and it occupied every free waking moment I had to the point that I fell into the trap that all amazing games present: “I’ll just play 5 more minutes”. Then all of a sudden it’s 3 am and I have lectures in 6 hours. Awesome.

Baldur's Gate - Firkraag

Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s the 20th Anniversary of Baldur’s Gate this year and it’s a game definitely worthy of celebration for several reasons. Firstly, whether you like VRPGs or not, the game was a huge success and sold hundreds of thousands of copies at first release. It’s continued to be a very popular and very well received game over the years.

Secondly (and we’re getting into my personal preferences here), it’s one of the greatest stories ever told in my not-so-humble opinion. It and the sequel, Shadows of Amn, tell the story of Gorion’s Ward, a teenager who is bustled off in the night to try to escape a mysterious figure bent on their capture. It turns out that you, the Ward, are connected to said figure. I won’t say more than that as you need to play the game to fully appreciate the epic saga. And a saga it is. With an expansion to the base game, Tales of the Sword Coast, then the sequel and its expansion Throne of Bhaal, the game story is enormous. Fantastic and memorable characters, locations brought to life in the lore of the Sword Coast and weapons that remain ingrained in the memories of every Dungeons and Dragons player to this day. Wielding the Carsomyr or the Flail of Ages was amazing fun. 

Baldur's Gate - Carsomyr

Thirdly, we at Polyhedron Collider are massive Dungeons and Dragons fans. Now, back when Baldur’s Gate was released the version de-jour was 2nd edition. Seems prehistoric now compared to 5th, but the 2nd Edition was the longest serving version of the RPG and many games were based on it. Despite having played Eye of the Beholder many years before, I hadn't realised at the time what I was getting myself into (1st Edition rules for one). Baldur’s Gate was where really I began my descent into D&D and where I learned a lot of the game system from. It and Shadows of Amn formed the basis of my current love and I expanded my interest into Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights (1 and 2) and of course Planescape; Torment. Baldur's Gate II introduced character love interests, something BioWare have been quite keen on in more recent games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect; it all started with Baldur's Gate.

To this day, Baldur’s Gate remains one of my favourite games of all time and is up there with Lord of the Rings for story and saga-ness. Since it was released some time ago for computers that needed coal to run, modern PCs may struggle to run it. Thankfully, the nice people at Overhaul Games (part of Beamdog) have released the “Enhanced Edition” of both games, which has updated the game engine, graphics and added a few more bits of their own. You can get it on most content delivery systems and I strongly recommend you do so. Just don’t expect to see daylight for a few weeks if you do. There’s a lot of game in there, in the hundreds of hours and it’s worth every second.

Baldur's Gate - Palace

So, if you’re like us here at Collider Towers, you’ll raise a flagon of De'Tranion's Baalor Ale, salute Boo the miniature Giant Space Hamster and venture on a valiant quest, butt-kicking for goodness.

Just be careful not to step in any evil on the way.

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