Way back in the days of the 16-bit Revolution, I would walk down to the four-way and rent games for my Sega system. One of the ones I stumbled across was a cartridge called “King’s Bounty”. It had a instruction manual that was as thick as a phonebook. For a Sega game! I mean, I was used to “press this button to jump, that one to shoot”.

Well, it was amazing. It had castle building and army building and combat. I stocked up an army with nothing but archers and suffered a morale problem because elves and trolls were in the same army. I played until the week was up and took it back and thought little of the game again until a few years later when Heroes of Might and Magic came out. “Playable on Windows 95” they said. Huh. My computer had Windows 95 on it! And I already beat Doom! And Myst!

I picked it up and loaded it up and, oh my god, it was an updated version of King’s Bounty. They had castle building and army building and all of the stuff I remembered except with cutting edge graphics! Playable on Win95!

A year later, I asked for Heroes of Might and Magic II for Christmas and I got it… and, to date, I think that that remains the game into which I have poured the most hours. It’s the game I showed Maribou when she first came out to Colorado to visit, as a matter of fact.

Heroes III came out within a few months of our getting married. That was a game that made us fight over the computer.

We’ve played Heroes IV and Heroes V (and *ALL* of the expansions) and today I saw that Might and Magic is having its 25th anniversary… which means that Heroes is having its 15th.

Now, this isn’t a post about feeling old, as much as one announcing that Heroes VI is coming out come September… and there’s a tribute video celebrating 25 years of Might and Magic.


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. One day, I’m going to dust off my notes about my version of this and read them again. I never actually played Heroes of Might and Magic but I played lots of games like it.

    I take it you’d recommend a used copy of IV?

    • If the price is right. If, however, there’s a copy of III or V nearby, you may do better to pick up either of those instead.

      IV’s perfectly good, mind. It just ain’t III or V.

      • I’d say go with III if you possibly can. I never found any love in my heart for V but I also may not have given it enough of a chance.

  2. I love, loved loved HoMM2. Never played 1 which is probably for the best.
    HoMM3 has always had a warm spot in my heart. I really enjoyed it and many people said (and say) that 3 was the pinnacle of the franchise. The stories were probably the best choreographed and written ones from my point of view. Landing with the queen on the shores of war shattered Enrathia (her childhood home) was pretty damn epic.
    Then HoMM4 came trundling out and that was a head scratcher for me. The cityscapes got so large and the graphics changed in a way that made the sprites look… well… really really ugly. Also the heroes were actually -on- the field. Like present. This was cool, they mattered more they were important, but frustrating: a bunch of goblins could skitter over and cold clock your poor wizard into a heap. Then of course when they got higher level and got good gear the game sort of broke: heroes could single handedly slaughter entire armies and since they moved fastest without any creatures with them there was little incentive to build creatures instead of just having your hero romp around the map alone.
    But on the other hand HoMM4 really improved the game play: particularly with regards to castles. Creature placement and the like became considerably more important. Ranged units actually retaliated against other ranged units when shot which was –enormously- important. Ugh but those beasties were so ugly… the elves looked like pallid emaciated corpses in green leotards. The horror…
    HoMM5 was pretty and all but I never could get into it… the 3d stuff slowed everything down and the game just felt sluggish and badly written. Maybe I should have given it more of a chance.
    Oh and I should mention the music. I don’t think there was a game before HoMM2 (maybe Warcraft 2) that enraptured me with music the way HoMM2 did and they kept that tradition alive. The Academy or the Asylum themes from HoMM4 and the Haven theme from HoMM5 are awesome epic pieces of music. Love em.

  3. Oh Jay, I meant to ask: In each Heores what city was yours? Or did you just play em all?

    • Oh, I played all of them. I lived for Campaign Mode.

      I think that the most fun one was Necromancer because of the joys of exponential army growth but the graphics were so gorgeous and the music was so sweeping and taking your gimungous army to wipe out an almost but not quite equally gimungous army was the bomb diggity.

      • I liked playing the hippies, err I mean elves early on, then barbarians in 3 and then Asylum in 4.

        And yes, the epic battles were the best.

        • Elves had the archers that I loved so much. Have you played them in V? Or were you not able to force yourself to that point? (They were the third race in the Campaign, if I recall correctly.)

          • I wasn’t… when I got out of the tutorial mode and started riding round and none of the places you visited gave any commentary (just a little +1 this or that) I quit in disgust. Plus on the computer I had at the time all the faux 3d nonsense made the game scroll slowly and painfully and there was no way I was going to play the game if it had to think for 5 second just to gallop the hero from one place to the next. I was very thoroughly done at the time but perhaps unfairly so. Maybe I should see if I can find the copy and give it a second chance on my new beast of a machine.

          • When we played it on the old computer, we powered through only for love of the series. When we got the new computer and we reloaded it, we found that we could run max graphics and swoop in and back out and the interface moved from clunky to transparent.

            I admit to bias here but I think you should check it out again.

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