Aliases: The Dragons and the Black Bat; Yorgle, Grundle, and Rhindle; The Seahorses and the Bird
First appearance: Adventure (Atari, VCS, 1978)
M.O.: Keepin’ it old-school
Known Crimes: Following orders
Nature of Demise: Stabbed with a tiny arrow, then picked up by Black Bat and scattered across the kingdom

Profile by Tomm Hulett? | January 31, 2011

Biologists have documented the earliest form of fantasy fauna in video games as Adventure, released in 1978 for the Atari 2600. While the creatures dating back that far lack the diversity (on both a species and a genetic level) visible in modern games, it should nonetheless be considered an important evolutionary step in the development of digital-based life. Especially interesting to researchers is the discovery that all species of dragon throughout video game history can be traced back to Yorgle, Grundle, or Rhindle—the three dragons populating Adventure. It’s nothing short of remarkable that this trio of primary-colored beasts sired such a genetic legacy.

Note: The other major creature in Adventure was the Black Bat who, though quite a nuisance, never posed a direct physical threat to the player (except in isolated incidences of course, when he might drop Rhindle in exchange for the player’s tiny arrow).


Yorgle

Appearance: Yorgle, the yellow dragon, appears to be quite yellow.

Disposition: This unique species of dragon didn’t keep a particular territory, but instead roamed around the kingdom seeking the Chalice and assisting the other dragons in guarding their own treasures. Interestingly, Yorgle feared the golden key and would flee from its very presence.

Observed Behavior: Floating lazily toward the player, suddenly pausing to open his mouth and emit a sudden “gwuh!” sound.

Known Descendants: Yorgle’s tendencies to seek the Chalice and help others (despite his employ by the Evil Magician) can be seen as heroic traits. For this reason, his bloodline has been linked to countless “good” video game dragons, including: Spyro, Bahamut, Quark, Savage Dragon, Bowser, and Ryu (Breath of Fire).


Grundle

Appearance: Grundle’s emerald green scales earned him the nickname, “Green Dragon”.

Disposition: Your stock standard “big bad dragon,” Grundle established the reputation game dragons would be known for right up to the present. “Foul tempered,” “violent,” and “persistent” all apply to this jade terror. He preferred to guard objects vital to the hero’s quest; never straying more than a few screens away.

Observed Behavior: Floating toward the player, suddenly pausing to open his mouth and emit a sudden “gwuh!” sound.

Known Descendants: The phrase “green with envy” was coined by warriors who faced Grundle in battle, due to the dragon’s obsessive compulsion with guarding objects. It’s little surprise that his descendants include: Tiamat, Green Dragon (Dragon Quest), the guy hired to stand in for Maleficent in Kingdom Hearts, Barba, Singe, Volvagia, and Keela.


Rhindle

Appearance: Rhindle can be recognized by his crimson red scales.

Disposition: Adventure’s red dragon was just kind of a dick. The fastest and most ferocious of the dragons, Rhindle would pursue players for extended periods, even showing up long after players assumed he’d lost their trails.

Observed Behavior: Floating aggressively toward the player, suddenly pausing to open his mouth and emit a sudden “gwuh!” sound.

Known Descendants: While Grundle’s offspring could also often be considered “bosses,” Rhindle’s are set apart by their ability to show up at the worst possible moments, as demonstrated by the likes of: Gleeok, Zoma, Ridley, Jimmy Lee, and Mecha Dragon (Mega Man 2).


Black Bat

Appearance: Not unlike a capital U or lowercase n.

Disposition: Somewhere along the line, it appears the enchantment cast on Black Bat by the Evil Magician went awry. Rather than act as the warlock’s active hand in the events of Adventure, Black Bat is a simple force of anarchy; appearing when the player feels as if he is only moments away from victory. Experts still cannot agree if its actions were formulated by some rudimentary intelligence or simply dumb luck (such as Black Bat snagging a key the player just used to enter a castle, effectively trapping him inside with no way to escape).

Observed Behavior: Flapping at angles or in a wavy pattern to intercept the player and any items (up to and including dragon corpses) that might be nearby.

Known Descendants: Contrary to what one could assume, Black Bat has no known descendants. (In fact, all species of video game bats -- and a majority of birds -- are Transylvanian in origin). Signs of Black Bat habitation have been found in Subcon, suggesting the creature may have migrated there. Biologists are currently studying the creatures of Subcon in hopes of finding links to the Black Bat. Possible traits include flight and innate attraction to important shiny objects -- possibly even giving pursuit should such an object be taken. At this time, however, the search has proved fruitless.


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