So I was bored Friday evening, and decided to try a few old games out. I like to do this occasionally because once in a while, you run across these gems that validate your search and provide a few hours of non-crappy entertainment.
Don’t get me wrong, modern games are visually spectacular but they often seem to lack something in terms of gameplay. For instance, in the last two months, I’ve tried the following games:
- Dungeon Siege – nice graphics, nice party-based hack’n’slash, but got bored about halfway through. Lacked story.
- Age of Mythology – why the hell can’t there be a more intuitive interface? This just made me miss Total Annihilation (and TA: Kingdoms).
- Rise of Nations – felt like the Age of… series, but with a Civilization-like twist. I played this for a few days, and got incredibly bored after winning the thirtieth single-player skirmish. This game could’ve been so much cooler if borders actually meant anything, and I missed the Civilization-like ability to totally dominate and have riflemen fighting spearmen. Perhaps it was more “fair,” but it was less fun.
- Deus Ex: Invisible War – the story has always rocked in Deus Ex. I would love to read this as a novel, but somehow I wish there was more to do besides shooting. Maybe a Deus Ex with an adventure game twist and some actual puzzles would’ve been nice. And deformable environments.:-P
- Neverwinter Nights – I’d looked forward to this for a while, but absolutely hated the inability to summon more than one creature or have more than one other NPC in your party. Baldur’s Gate 2 totally kicked this game’s ass.
Anyway, so I ran across Magic: The Gathering on the Underdogs website. Granted, some people would call this a questionable source for games, but in my opinion, discontinued = fair game. You can make up your own mind about the morality of this.
Moving on, I installed the game, only to have Windows XP crash on me with a fault in “cardartlib.dll” – just great. Being the inquisitive type that I am, I spent an hour or so on Google trying to dig up resources on this problem. I found a few websites that mentioned it, but essentially all they’d say was “install the game, install the patch.” Okay, morons, did that already (in fact, I believe the patch is pre-installed in the Underdog bundle for download, but reinstalled it anyway) and it didn’t help.
So I experimented a bit. The deck editor crashed every time I loaded it, and the game itself ran okay until I tried to manipulate the deck. Intuitive leap of thought led me to suspect that it was something with my display settings.
So, for those of you running Windows XP, and wanting to play Magic: The Gathering (that whole Shandalar thing) – if you get an error with cardartlib.dll and installing the patch does not help, here’s the solution: drop your resolution to 800×600 and the game will run just fine.
Yup, that’s all there is to it, at least on my system. Apparently 1400×1050 is just way too much for this old (1997) game and the card art libraries were never intended to stretch the cards that much.
Now, to deal with the consequences of installing this virtual crack cocaine…god, after the 50th loss to a !#$(!##!$#@(*(!@ druid, I want to smash something, but I want my lost cards back more. Talk about addictive…and me just the little naive innocent who wandered into this having never played or more than heard of Magic before.
Hope this helps some other addict-to-be out there.:-)