Welcome to the official homepage for Blood of the Chameleon, a uniquely historical (by which I obviously mean outdated) role-playing/adventure game by Thomas Lipschultz. Originally completed on August 25, 1999, Blood of the Chameleon began as a multiplayer BBS door game (Not sure what that means? Learn more!), but has since been adapted for a single-player (or single-family) experience.
Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to infiltrate the mystical land of Vulteria to take down an evil shape-changing wizard known only as "The Chameleon." His whereabouts are quite well-known, but he's sealed himself behind four elemental barriers which require four very rare tear-shaped gems to pass through. Finding these gems won't be easy, but with a bit of ingenuity, a touch of magic and a LOT of exploration, you're sure to pull through!
Although ancient in appearance, this game has been thoroughly polished and painstakingly ported, now running natively under Windows 2000, ME, XP, Vista or 7. Download today (for free!), and have yourself a glimpse into a forgotten chapter of video gaming history...
Blood of the Chameleon was a pet project of mine back in the late 1990s. Although it's hard to imagine now, the internet was still but a fledgling at that point in time, only just beginning to come into its own after
existing as little more than a novelty for many years. Throughout most of the 1990s, people didn't use regular ISPs, but rather online services like AOL, Prodigy, NVN and Delphi. Some of these (most notably AOL) offered world-wide web services (or at least newsgroup services -- remember newsgroups?), but most were comprised entirely of their own internal networks, including message boards, file servers and games.
Meanwhile, computer nerds were creating their own miniature versions of these online services known as "bulletin board systems," or BBSes. A BBS was typically a collection of message boards, file servers and games, just like its bigger siblings -- except there was usually just some local schmoe running the thing out of his/her own house, using BBS software like Renegade or Iniquity. Local BBSes were generally accessible only via dial-up, and were invariably 100% text-based affairs (making them universal to pretty much all makes and models of computer, and requiring only that the user had
a TTY "talk-to-you" program like Telnet installed on his/her system to access them).
Despite being text-only (or perhaps BECAUSE of this restriction), local BBSes became their own little subculture of nerdism for a period of about five years. If you were a TRUE computer nerd in the early 90s, you ran one, and you filled it with all manner of "text art" menus using high ASCII ("American Standard Code for Information Interchange") text such as boxes
and lines to draw cool pictures, animated and colored via simple ANSI ("American National Standards Institute") codes known as "escape codes."
Unsurprisingly, these local BBSes also featured multiplayer online games (again, purely text-based) known as "doors"... though why they were called doors, I really can't say!
Eventually, BBSes fell out of favor with nerds as MUDs (multi-user dungeons) and, ultimately, the internet became the new "game space." And it was around this time -- sadly -- that I learned how to make my own BBS door game.
So, as 1999 drew to a close (and BBSes were already virtually obsolete), my first and only BBS door game, "Blood of the Chameleon," was born.
...aaaaaand it wouldn't compile. So if anyone wanted to actually run the thing, they'd have to have QuickBASIC 4.5 installed.
And on top of THAT... it also crashed a lot.
Basically, the game was doomed from the start, and the number of people who actually played it when it was new is probably only around a dozen or less. Which is rather unfortunate, as I really think I made a pretty amazing game that easily topped any other BBS door I'd ever experienced, and could even stand on its own as a single-player title.
But thanks to a wonderful program called QB64 (basically a 64-bit emulator for QuickBASIC 4.5 that's native to Windows), Blood of the Chameleon -- the little engine that COULDN'T for over a decade -- finally CAN. And so, the game that lies before you now is, in its entirety, an original, pristine BBS door game completed on August 25, 1999, known as "Blood of the Chameleon." It's not QUITE the same as it was back then, of course (what with the lack of a multiplayer online component)... but I've attempted to emulate that as best as I could. It's not perfect, but it's probably the most complex programming feat I've ever accomplished, and I'm extremely proud of my work on it. I hope you have a blast playing it, and I'd love to hear from you if you do!
Care to learn more? An expanded version of this history can be read from the main menu in-game by selecting the (H)istory option. Give it a look!
By day, Blood of the Chameleon creator Thomas Lipschultz works as a mild-mannered localization specialist at XSEED Games. One day, he was called upon to assist in making April Fool's Day particularly special for the company by adapting Blood of the Chameleon into an XSEED-themed minigame which had been previously announced as their next upcoming release. After all, April Fool's Day is about making people believe things that aren't true... and what better way to accomplish that than to promise something entirely unlikely and stupid-sounding, then ACTUALLY DELIVER IT?
The game is pretty awful, but it was made over the course of about 12 hours, and it was designed to be utterly obnoxious, so personally, I'd say it's a rousing success! Every current employee of XSEED Games is playable, nothing is sacred, and the ending is lovingly modeled after one of the most infamously infuriating endings in video game history. It's win-win!
If you're looking to sample this wonderful travesty of a video game, simply direct your attention to the downloads section above. And, inasmuch as you're able... enjoy! ;)