In 2022, the famed Gold Box D&D games finally came to Steam (opens in new tab). They'd been on GOG for years, but the newer Steam releases featured updates including preinstalled versions of the Gold Box Companion (opens in new tab) and All-Seeing Eye (opens in new tab) apps that made the aged games more manageable on modern hardware. Now SNEG, the company behind those updates, is doing the same for eight more D&D classics from long ago, including Spelljammer, DragonStrike, and the Silver Box games.
The Silver Box games aren't as well- known as those of the Gold Box lineage, but as Jody explained in his excellent analysis of the Steam updates, it's all a little bit arbitrary anyway.
"Not every game made with the Gold Box engine was released in a gold box, and which games should be counted depends who you ask," he wrote. "The bundle of Gold Box Classics (opens in new tab) SNEG released on Steam doesn't include the 1991 online game for obvious reasons, or Spelljammer or the two Buck Rogers games made in the engine but not published with gold boxes, yet does include the Dark Sun, Ravenloft, and Eye of the Beholder series, as well as Menzoberranzan and Dungeon Hack, none of which were given gold boxes or made with the engine."
The Silver Box games are similarly muddled: Wikipedia (opens in new tab) lists them as Heroes of the Lance, Dragons of Flame, and Shadow Sorcerer, while SNEG's Silver Box bundle adds War of the Lance. Wiki lists that one as a "standalone game," maybe because it's not an RPG but a top-down strategy game. But Shadow Sorcerer is strategy-focused too, while Heroes of the Lance and Dragons of Flame are sidescrolling action games.
Anyway, whatever you call them, these games collectively represent an important slice of gaming history from the late '80s and early '90s. Here's the full lineup:
- Spelljammer: Pirates of Realmspace (opens in new tab)
- Fantasy Empires (opens in new tab)
- DragonStrike (opens in new tab)
- Deathkeep (opens in new tab)
- Heroes of the Lance (opens in new tab)
- Dragons of Flame (opens in new tab)
- War of the Lance (opens in new tab)
- Shadow Sorcerer (opens in new tab)
DragonStrike is a "dragon combat simulator," while Spelljammer is a bit like Sid Meier's Pirates, except you're sailing through Wildspace instead of the high seas. Fantasy Empires is a strategy game, and Deathkeep is a first-person dungeon crawler. It's also the newest of the bunch, although "new" is relative: It was released in 1995.
"I’m an old D&D fan and It was always my dream to bring back all its video game classics," SNEG director Oleg Klapovskiy said. "Back in 2015, I started making that dream come true by bringing the Gold Box titles back to gamers, and now we are continuing with this dream by bringing back another portion of classics to both GOG and Steam."
Klapovskiy is serious about his commitment to old-time videogames: Prior to co-founding SNEG, he spent several years at GOG.
Spelljammer: Pirates of Realmspace, Fantasy Empires, DragonStrike, Deathkeep, and the Silver Box Classic Bundle are set to launch near the end of March—a specific date hasn't been set yet—and will be available on Steam (opens in new tab) and GOG (opens in new tab).