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You can now play Baldur’s Gate 3 on a laptop from the ’80s

The first act of BG3 is now playable on a Tandy TRS-80 Model 100 notebook computer from 1983, with an engine based on the D&D ruleset.

Baldur's Gate 3 demake

Fancy playing through Baldur’s Gate 3‘s first act on a notebook from 1983? Me neither, but Alex Bowen over on YouTube has created an incredible demake of the popular RPG, and managed to get working on one of the world’s first commercially successful laptops, the Tandy TRS-80 Model 100.

While Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t demand the best graphics card in its system requirements, it was never going to work on hardware from the 1980s, so this project required quite a bit of creativity from Bowen, who posted a video breaking down the project in great detail.

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Bowen refers to the demake as a “charmingly simplified adaptation” of Baldur’s Gate 3’s first act, and it features an explorable overworld with multiple locations, playable origin characters, and combat based on fifth edition D&D but displayed in a JRGP layout.

The game runs on Bowen’s own Dungeon Delver Engine, which is specifically designed to accommodate a limited subset of the D&D ruleset on the TRS-80 Model 100. You can even download it yourself now via github should to want to take on your own ambitious demake.

Bowen explains that this project should be viewed as “interactive fan art” rather than a proper demake. However, the end result is still an incredible achievement, offering more story detail than I expected. One interesting limitation of the hardware was a restriction on the text file size, which came in at 5KB, which required a workaround using a dictionary coder compression system.

Demakes are becoming more and more popular, with this being an extreme example of what is possible. For a look at another cool demake project, check out the Bloodborne-inspired Nightmare Kart, which was released recently on Steam for free.