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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:29 pm

After lucking out with a recent find of a completely unopened and fresh box of Infocom's 1988/89 Journey: The Quest Begins, I was immediately struck by the incredible artistic sophistication of the on-screen illustrations that enhance the game.

They evoke a very painterly style in a classical and modern impressionist sense. With the use of directional lighting and simple yet beautiful palettes, the small images (and there are over 100 yet all fit onto a single 3.5" floppy) breathe incredible life into the gaming experience. Coming from an art background myself, I quickly did a search. On all sites, including Wikipedia, I found only the mention of a Massachusetts-based artist named Donald Langosy, but with no further information save for the fact that he was also credited as the artist for James Clavell's Shogun game also by Infocom. Overall this made sense to me as Infocom was originally based in Cambridge, MA. You'll notice on Wikipedia that his is the only name in the credits box that is in red - which means there are no write-ups for him.

Going back to Google I did find an surrealist artist's site under the name of Donald Langosy, but there were no mentions of a games background of any kind. Everything was traditional oil paintings, drawings and sculpture. The site pointed to works from as far back as the 70s and 80s (ding! ding!) but nothing about digital art in the slightest.

Then, in the About section, some unfortunate news about this talented man I knew nothing about until a few moments earlier:
In October 2003, I collapsed and was taken to a hospital, where I was finally diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.
It was upon learning this news that my search for information nearly ended. And yet, just a few lines below this, I saw a blue link upon a dark background that read, "Keep in touch". So I clicked it.

After a few minutes I decided to reach out via email anyway. I fully did not expect a response (the site's last update appeared to have been at least 4 years earlier in 2012). But I was inspired, thus I wrote feeling as if I was crafting a message in a bottle:

Are you the same artist whom is credited (without links or info) in Wikipedia for being the artist of the Infocom game Journey: The Quest Begins?

This game was published for [Commodore] Amiga in 1989 in Massachusetts. I noticed on your site that you, too, are from MA. But, I couldn’t find any mention by you of the art from this game, or Shogun - another Infocom classic.

If not, I sincerely apologize if I’ve disturbed you.

Then I went to bed.

The next morning, I checked my email while eating breakfast. Same old same old. Weather. News (Prince had not officially died yet, so it was a quiet morning.)

Right before leaving for work, I checked my email one more time. There, in the "From" column, I saw a sender's name, "donald Langosy" [sic].
yes i am.... but that was so many years ago.... the computer world was rewarding for a while... but then very frustrating... and not really my thing... so i returned to fine art... which sadly i had neglected... and which is really who i am..... thank you for appreciating my work.... i also did Shogun...which was highly praised by James Clavell [the author]... illustrating back then was a challenge... low rez.. and only eight colors.... i considered it bit map mozaic.... but never missed leaving it behind... although i still use photo shop for working out compositions for my paintings.... my best, Donald
The fact that this incredibly talented man, suffering from MS, took the time to write me back completely blew me away. I immediately thanked him for his time and promised to evangelize and fully credit his digital works from nearly 3 decades ago. The unboxing was the start. Giving him full credit as the artist of the game on Journey's own AmigaLove game page in the new Games Library was the next. Very shortly I'll add Shogun to the Games Library (still in the works) as well.

To feel honored to have corresponded with this man is an understatement.

I do think in this era of communication over IP, internet culture assumes the world will respond to provocation, but isn't really reachable or capable of "real" connections. I'm here to say that attitude is false, or at least is only true to those who abide by it. Avoiding the comments sections of most major sites is not a bad idea. But communicating to those you admire and appreciate sometimes works and is worth the effort. With the recent passing of under-appreciated yet supremely talented engineers and artists from the 70s, 80s and 90s, don't wait. Tell your heroes that they matter to you. They won't be reading internet comments or Twitter hastags after the fact.

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Posted Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:21 pm

Thank you for sharing this!

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Detroit, MI, USA

Posted Tue May 03, 2016 12:21 pm

It's too bad he doesn't look more fondly on that era of his life. Not even enough to give it a mention on his own site... Though maybe it's like an actor who is known for a certain part, he's done a million other parts and is great but people only want to talk about Luke Skywalker... hahah.... Although in the computer nerd world I think Mark would get it worse with Wing Commander fans! Must be a treat for him to have equally crazy nerd fans for two different projects. Anyway, I was saddened by his words honestly. I can't dismiss a man his first and true love, but that computer artwork is worth noting... And it's truly a step worse because that's an actual artist who is dismissing computer games as an art form... Computer games ARE art! Have more respect for your own work is what I'd tell him!

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