Friday, December 21, 2018

Baldur’s Gate: 20-Year Anniversary Contest Winners Announced

Twenty years ago a legend was born! Baldur's Gate is a legend we're still in awe of. Our hats are off to BioWare for creating this masterpiece. We’re proud to celebrate this anniversary with all the Baldur’s Gate fans around the world!

In just seven days, we’ve heard nearly 500 amazing stories from fans sharing their favorite Baldur’s Gate memories. It shows how much a game released twenty years ago still means for many people.

Choosing our favorites from the shared memories was difficult. Many of the stories shared on Twitter, Facebook, and the forums were sincere, touching, and downright relatable. Many made us smile, while others are so emotional they nearly made us cry.

Congratulations to Dale (aka ZoGarth) for winning the Grand Prize - a Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear Collector’s Edition signed by the team. Here is his story:

“I was about 33 and my group of friends since High School had earlier stopped our DND gaming sessions due to moves, and just "gasp!" grown up responsibilities. Either way a gap was there, I had earlier played Diablo and enjoyed it, but I missed the AD&D Gold Box experience from my earlier Amiga computer times. Then, after the drought of good RPGs along comes Baldur's Gate with a promise of a Epic storyline and fantastic graphics. This gave me a reason to convince my wife that on our shoestring budget to upgrade from my older 486 DX66 computer to a new custom built (too save on cost) computer with an advanced 200MHz AMD CPU to run it (A disastrous, but educational 1st attempt, but I digress). It sounds silly now, but Baldur's Gate brought back that feeling I had as a 13 year old kid in '78 when I was introduced to the D&D Basic, Expert boxed editions & later multi-book laden AD&D game. The excitement of discovery, or the feeling of loss for companions, and yet the sense of satisfaction of overcoming an apparently impossible battle that consumed a good portion of my younger years weekend was again available when I turned on my computer. Later I would play Baldur's Gate1 & II and mod it until no end, eventually when my kids and a nephew got older we multiplayer the game on my home intranet, adding even more fun to the experience. Now here I am 20 years later I'm in my 50's, playing Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition on not only my Windows 10 turbo-charged, ram'ed up, mega-cored computer, but a tablet way more powerful than my first computer I built. And best of all and I still get that feeling of a 13 year old Jr. High kid when I now get online and play with my kids and nephew hundreds a mile apart. So, to point to one experience is impossible for me, because all of us have shared in it. Thanks for the keeping the memories alive.”

The winners of 8 Swag Packages are Chaotica and Renaske from the Beamdog forum, aARon cliffVRd‏ @EgoAnt and This guy‏ @neokarny from Twitter, Marko Infovich and Wojciech Pelczar from Facebook, plus two people who signed up for the Beamdog newsletter! Congratulations! Each of you will receive cool game & t-shirt packs!

20 years ago, Chaotica was a sad kid but Baldur’s Gate helped bring their family together: “I was in remission from an autoimmune disease; my parents had split up seemingly out of the blue; my brother left for uni and my best friend moved schools. I was a very disenchanted nine year old girl. It turns out, I just needed a little fantasy.

Getting to know my step-dad was a difficult process - we're not really 'people' people. I would go to this new house where my mum lived and this other bloke would be sat in the corner on his computer. My brother played computer games, but I was the annoying kid sister so I never really got to play. But my mum's boyfriend didn't mind me watching over his shoulder, and so sitting at my mum's PC to his left (he was the first IT expert I'd met) I would spend hours watching him slay mythical creatures and going on quests. Then, Baldur's Gate came out. Oh boy, did my life change.

When Baldur's Gate came out, I was asked if I wanted to play and of course I jumped at the chance. I created Chaotica, the half-elf ranger cleric, as player two to my step-dad's human fighter on our LAN game. With that, I became a gamer. Every weekend we would reveal more of the map as we explored the world outside Candlekeep, meeting characters that kept me company for so long. My memory is hazy (mostly because I threw myself into BG:ToB as soon as it came out and never looked back!), but my world brightened with the hours poured into these games. I consumed everything Fantasy and Fantasy-adjacent. I played all the games I could get my hands on.

BG brought my new family together, gave me a retreat from the difficult times, and opened my eyes to a whole world of magic.”

When Renaske discovered Baldur’s gate she was a 11-year-old girl with aspergers and no friends, but now she’s an engineer and has no problems in communication: “I remember how I beg my mom to buy me a game because it was very pricey at this time for her. And she bought me it for whatever reason. Then I was re-playing BG and especially BG2 so many times I couldn't remember. Every time after school it will be only books or Baldur’s gate. So when one of my classmates acknowledged that I’m playing BG he start to talk to me about it and we start interacting and respect each other it was really awesome, because he became my first friend in school. In fact communication between the characters in the game and a lot of scenarios in BG teach me how to interact with people and showed me how to treat people according to my intentions, so basically I own to BG creators a HUGE thank you. Now almost nobody (except close friends and family) can tell that I have aspergers because my communicative skills were somehow really improved in my teenage years by playing these awesome games series. And also BG is the big reason why I started to learn programming, now I’m an engineer. So this is my story. I treasure every bits and pieces in these games: beautiful landscapes, music and of course the story and dialogues. So far, my favourite is BG2 If somebody from BG creators will read this, thank you so much, I can’t be thankful enough. (And sorry for my grammar, english isn’t my first language) And yeah, I use Minsc’s phrases in my daily life.”

When aARon cliffVRd‏ @EgoAnt and his wife got together 20 years ago, he was broke and unemployed: “She asked me if she could give me a bit of money for rent - I said, "No, but I really want Baldur's Gate, if you're feeling generous". We are still together. I still have that copy of BG”.

The favorite Baldur’s Gate memory of This guy‏ @neokarny is when he was 9-10 years old, and just discovered cheat codes: “So of course I cheated my character up as much as possible and summoned demons to rampage the towns. The next day I told my best friend all about it during our science fair.”

Wojciech Pelczar has been playing Baldur’s Gate for almost 20 years, and now is doing it with his wife: “I started when I was in high school, just when BGI came out and I have been walking though this game countless of times. I tried almost every character and I have plenty memories with this game but the greatest one is that I instilled my wife into this game and now we're playing it side by side.”

Marko Infovich shared a truly touching story: “Saturday morning. Finally, no school today. The weather outside is grim, temperatures are freezing. Being inside is so cozy and exciting. Exciting? Yes! I’m gonna play Baldur’s Gate again! It’s been on my mind the whole week. Stupid school and basketball trainings. Nothing can stop me now! I start playing at 8. The story and the characters are so immersive and entertaining that the outside world seems so stupid and boring. Some of my friends call me if I’d like to go out tonight. Hell no, I say. I have to clean the whole mine of Nashkel today, and there’s also that intriguing new place to visit - the Friendly Arm Inn! My mom calls me now, it’s already late afternoon, lunch is ready. I throw the food into my mouth and run back to my 15” CRT monitor. I paused the game at the bridge, just before Edwin managed to approach me. I’m curious who this guy is. Only later I will realize that he’s the most powerful mage in the game. Too much annoying, but powerful. I clean up the mines and get a nice sack of gold, items and XP points. I pause for a second to check the outside world. Whew! It’s pitch black, it’s midnight already! Time seems to run faster on the Sword Coast. Well, better save the progress now, tomorrow I have to get up early and do it all over again. I love you Baldur’s Gate, you remind me of simpler and happier times. When the world seemed so much more interesting, the future nicer and with my mom by my side. Now, the world is boring and stupid, the future is already here and it’s not what I have expected would be, and my mom is not with me for 6 years already.”

Bubb, Zaghoul, and Mantis37 from the Beamdog forums, Galiskner‏ @Galiskner, AnaisAndStuff @AnaisAndStuff, and Lihvarček Miša @lihvarcekmisa from Twitter, Sophia Lamar, Edson Pagola, Yohan Lippert, Kathy Paxton-Williams, Igor Beczek, Colin Listner, and Gary Grant from Facebook, plus two people drawn from our newsletter list will receive their choice of a digital PC version of one of our games, or their choice of one of our games with all currently available DLC on mobile. Congratulations!

Another game package winner is John Winski, a famous writer, programmer, and designer on many games, including Baldur’s Gate (remember Winski Perorate, the Sarevok's mentor)! His favorite memory “will always be when someone decided to level up Gorion so that the opening battle with Sarevok would look more impressive.” He was really confused when Sarevok died and so was Gorion.

And last but not least, thirty-two winners from  Twitter, Facebook, forum, and newsletter entrant pools will receive their choice of a digital PC DLC for our games: we drew 10 winners from the newsletter entrant pool, Kenji, Altair, Enuhal, ZaramMaldovar, Grond0, modestvolta, OurQuestIsVain, Aedan, WithinAmnesia, and MERLANCE from the Beamdog forums, Hansel Eldor @HanselEldor, Eevee @Lohapedrar, wedge @wedge_one, goblin @zipperblues, Michael J C @MercKilsek, shaydh @the_shaydh, and Lord Fenton Gaming @FentonLord from Twitter, Jampd Balodis, Björn Eknem, Liz Walker, Andy Landon, and Greg Scott from Facebook!

Thank you to everyone who shared a story! We’ll contact all the winners after the holiday period.

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