I find it a shame that you can't see past the interface of the games. They're classic for a reason. As good as some FRUA modules can be, I've rarely felt that they've reached the heights of the actual Gold-Box games. And that's not just nostalgia...I've replayed them a lot over the years. The stories in Champions/Death Knights, Curse of the Azure Bonds and Pools of Darkness are awesome. Pool of Radiance is the best of the bunch. There's even a decent story buried in Secret of the Silver Blades.
I guess this is also a matter of taste, it might just be that I'm looking for different things than you and others. Like I said, I've played Pool of Radiance
and Curse of the Azure Bonds
- granted, not the original games, but I'd assume that Ray's adaptations are as faithful as can be. I thought these games were okay, but I liked Ray's own stories and Realm adaptations a lot better, and yours too. I've played so many FRUA designs that left a much more lasting impression on me than what I've seen of the Gold Box games so far. But I was never a big fan of Forgotten Realms anyway, hardly ever read any D&D novels, not even the Krynn series, and I think I also kind of prefer hans' short story telling designs to epic Gold Box ones with a lot of combat. If I was confident that I would eventually come to love these classics just as much as you do, I'd be much more willing to deal with the minor annoyances, but tastes differ, and I fear that their length and all the combat to be expected might become tedious to a player like me even without the roundabout UI. So if I'm being honest, the reason that these things put me off are not just the things themselves, but that they represent additional
hurdles, when I'm not even sure if I'd really be interested enough in the games to bother. That doesn't necessarily have to do with the quality of the games themselves though, just with my personal tastes.
Also, you may be the first person I've ever heard who complains about the journal entries.
Well, how many other people do you know trying the games now for the first time and who aren't huge Krynn/FR fans or oldschool gaming freaks?
I get why they had to do it like this at the time, but back then you had a nice manual in print that came with the box and that you could comfortably leaf through while playing. Nowadays, to read the entries, you have to ALT-TAB out of the game or play in Windowed Mode to read a pdf file, or waste your printer ink on a collection of loose paper sheets. It's not a total no-go for me, but it adds to all the other minor annoyances.