April 12, 2012 at 4:37 PM ET
"Dragon's Lair" is a vestige of the golden age of the arcade, circa the early 80s, and one still fondly remembered by many. That's because it was completely different from every other game at that time. Instead of crude pixels pushing the action, you had silky smooth, hand-drawn animation -- the stuff you saw at the movies or on television. Its innovations and legacy are the subject of an upcoming documentary. "Inside the Dragon's Lair."
The project, which is being written and directed by Martin Touhey, has been in the works for some time now, and recently featured on Kotaku:
The documentary includes a number of interviews with Don Bluth, who aside from creating the game, is a celebrated animator. In addition to "Dragon's Lair," Bluth is known mostly for "The Secret of NIMH," "The Land Before Time," "All Dogs Go To Heaven," and "An American Tail."
The documentary addresses all the subsequent home console ports that couldn't reproduce the lush animation found in the original version. It wasn't until the advent of storage solutions that increased in size and decreased in cost that accurate translations were possible. One could argue that the desire for an arcade-perfect port has long been one of the many driving forces behind such innovations.
Additional details pertaining to the documentary are otherwise scarce. There's an associated Facebook page that has plenty of "Dragon's Lair"-related content -- mostly behind-the-scenes material and promotional goods.
The legacy of "Dragon's Lair" goes beyond its rich visuals. As previously reported, the style of gameplay it introduced, which was mostly designed to support the notion of an interactive movie, is still prevalent today. The level of interactivity it provides, or lack-thereof, is the source of much controversy, and it is hoped that a movie that is all about its source will address this fact.
Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.