Earlier this week, I considered writing about the Conan games that have come out over the years. The problem with that is they were all by and large horrible games, and two publishers released better Conan games the games actually based on the Conan stories. I'm sure the historically crazy Robert E. Howard wouldn't have wanted his hallucinations converted into horrible video games, but alas, they were.
From 8-Bit Animal's post on the Conan games. I have to wonder exactly what "historically crazy" actually means. Is it used in the same way as "legendarily crazy"? Does he mean that the historical person was crazy, as opposed to the popular mythic figure? Does he mean that he would be considered crazy through the lens of history? What a strange thing to say. The reference to "hallucinations" makes me suspect that 8-Bit Animal has only seen "Conan Unchained," with the infamous interview with Milius, where he claims that Howard really believed that the ghost of Conan came to him at night, and he had to write them down. It's a cool idea for a horror-dark fantasy story, but it ain't true.
For posterity, here's my response:
By the use of the term "hallucinations" I'm guessing you've seen "Conan Unchained," where Howard was presented as a paranoid barely-functioning nutcase who believed Conan's ghost was coming to him late at night to dictate his stories to him. That's a massive misinterpretation of what he actually said in his letters, where he was using similes to describe how writing Conan was so natural it was "as IF" his ghost was present. There's no evidence of Howard actually having hallucinations of a long-dead warrior king.
I'd suggest you read Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard, or at least Rusty Burke's "Short Biography of Robert E. Howard." Howard studies has made leaps and bounds over the last few decades, and commonly held "facts" have been soundly debunked. Howard was eccentric, true - what writer isn't? - but he's hardly "historically crazy."
Anyway, it got me to wondering about Conan in videogames in general. Perhaps I'll do a review of them some time down the line, or at least an overview. The long-lived (by internet standards) and very cool site Conan the Digital has information about all the Conan games, though I don't think all of them are easy to attain, and some are quite infamously bad. Conan: Mysteries of Time is even considered one of the worst games of all time. That's frightening.
Of the games, I've only played two: 2004's Conan: The Dark Axe and 2007's Conan. Both were rather substandard games, the latter better in terms of gameplay, but a lot shorter and far less satisfying an experience. Both wrought havoc on Robert E. Howard's creation in different ways, though both are (marginally) closer to Howard than Conan the Barbarian or any of the television series. It's been a while since I played both, though. Another playthrough may be in order.
However, now that I have a shiny new laptop (4 GB RAM, 2.27GHZ processor, 450 GB Hard Drive) I might - might - be able to run the big one. Yes... Age of Conan. All I need to do is get my internet worked out, and Taranaich of Cimmeria may make his first encursion into this strange universe...