I would like to talk a bit about one of my favorite games: Dune.

It is a game that I come back to time and time again and recently I discovered that people on the internet have reverse engineered its data files. Meaning that graphics and sounds can be extracted from the game. That got me excited and I started to review the information that was out there. I wanted to see if I could understand it and maybe do something with it. But before I talk about my adventure with the data files, I would like to introduce the game.

Game menu

Dune is a first person adventure strategy game that was made by the french company Cryo Interactive in 1992. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I saw it for the first time (I guess about 11-12 years old), but I do remember how impressed I was by its graphics and music.

Take a look at the game intro. It may not look like much today, but not all game at this time succeed in having in such beautiful scenes with the limitation of 256 colors.

The game has a soundtracks that is very distinct and fit the game excellent. It is basically one of two soundtracks from the yearly 90 games I can still remember. (The other being the one for Test driver 3). You can listen to the soundtrack on YouTube. There is the Adlib version that I heard as a child, A mashup of the three different versions made for different soundcards and the special CD release version.

Paul Atreides, main protagonis

The story is loosely based on Frank Herbert’s famous novel with the same name and visually there are some similarities with the 1984 movie adoption, but mostly it has it own distinct look.

You play as Paul Atreides, the son of Duke Leto and Lady Jessica. Your family has by the Emperor been granted the privilege to move to planet Arrakis (commonly called Dune). In exchange you must extract an spice called Melange. Melange is the most important substance of the universe, it is what makes it possible to travel between the stars and is the very foundation of the empire. As Paul, you are tasked by your father to travel the planet and recruit the local inhabitants, the Fremen. They are the workforce you’ll need in order to collect the spice and to deal with the family’s arch-nemesis, the Harkonnens. (This is a very brief summery of the story. If you want to know more, I recommend you head over to the game’s Wikipedia page)

The World view where units can be directed

The gameplay is simple, but still as unique now as it was then. You jump between moving Paul around the world in first person and using a world map to overview and direct your units. You’ll be lead through a story while managing spice extraction and deliveries to the Emperor. Later in the game you’ll also need to direct army units against the Harkonnens.

I recently replayed the game and it is still one of my favorites. It has aged well and I can’t find much to improve on. Currently it is easier than ever to play the game. Not only can it be found as abandonware on the internet and played with DOSBox, it can also be played in a web browser.

A Smuggler’s village

The game was my introduction to the Dune franchise. Don’t remember in which order I read the book or saw the film after that. But all three has left lasting impressions on me. I simply love the world and the “hero’s journey” story hit me at the right time of my life. The game will always have a special place in my heart and that is why digging through the data files is so alluring to me.

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