Either that picture's evocative or it's not. I suspect that there's one hand's worth of readers who will be intrigued by the picture, and the rest of you are on the path to glassy-eyed-stares. You might move along.
Ah, good old Dungeons and Dragons. 1st edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, if you like. Or the old Basic and Expert sets. Or the even older blue-covered dragon basic set. Good times. When "Dwarf" and "Elf" were classes.
The blue colored maps on the inside of the cover of the modules. The laminated chits that came in the box, because TSR hadn't yet managed to manufacture enough polyhedral dice. They gave you a coupon, though, so that when the dice had been produced, you'd be ready. But even then, you had to color half the faces of your d20.
So, maybe there's room for a retro-feeling computer RPG. I've been turning this idea over and over in my head for a while, now, and that's more or less my current leisuretime programming project. It's a super ambitious project - in fact, I've done no real coding on the game itself, just on things around the edges of the project. For example - I got this idea that the games should ship in DVD cases (I'm not sure why that was a good idea, but I'm going with it) that have the distinctive style of the first edition adventure modules.
I spent some time trying to get Appleworks (!) to output artwork that would be properly positioned on the cover, and I ended up going with ReportLab. I've written more code to generate the packaging than I have on the game(s?) itself.
I'm somewhat rationalizing that decision - I'm trying to tell myself that having the cases in hand makes the game seem more real, and I suppose that's somewhat true.
I think that having the cases in hand helps me consider the game from a slightly different perspective - what would I expect if I had a brand new computer RPG that I wanted to install? What would my expectations be? How could a game exceed my expectations?
Man, I totally wish I had a spare month to spend on this project.
If you've read this far, you may also want to click on through to my blog entry, where I chat a bit about the game to a similar lack of depth.