Good Old Games
I’ve gone through many stages in my gaming life. The first was with my Sinclair ZX spectrum.
If you’ve not heard of it you’re probably too young or you had a NES. Instead of cartridges it had cassette tapes that would take between 30 seconds and 15 minutes to load. Sometimes they just wouldn’t work at all and you just had to accept it. This was my first almost experience with PC gaming.
Later I would get a SNES that turned me into the lifelong Street Fighter fan I am to this day. Once I got to high school was given a PC to do homework on etc. Obviously this homework turned into playing games and thus started one of the more intense gaming periods of my life. The catalyst for this was Command and Conquer.
I played a demo in a PC magazine and my world was turned upside down. Strategy games were unknown territory and C&C did it so well that even the 3 level demo turned into countless hours spent ignoring homework and human interaction. Once I picked up the game I basically turned into a crack addict. I never really got tired or it and if I had it in front of me right now I’d probably still know what levels require specific tactics all of 15 years later.
It was an incredibly creative time for video games during the mid to late 90’s, especially in the pc market. Taking advantage of higher spec machines and better controls the top down strategy game flourished and produced hundreds of ground breaking ideas. The reason I’m bringing this up is due to my discovering www.GOG.com .
This is an online store for most of the games that I remember from this era. Adjusted for modern computers with tiny prices. If you played PC games during this golden period be prepared for a rush of nostalgia as you search through the website.
I’ve got about 10 games on my wish list already from the site but the game I decided to pick up first was Theme Hospital.
The premise is simple. Run a hospital as well as possible. Make sure your patients are happy, that your reputation is high and that you make as much money as you can. I remember playing this in my teens and playing it over and over. I never completed it because it’s really bloody hard as I’m still finding. It’s intricate and funny and challenging so go ahead and get it.
Constructor is another game that I fell in love with from the demo. Like Sim City in that you’re managing a city that you build, but with the added challenge of dealing with the tenants both good and bad. You can plant anti social houses in order to sabotage rival housing developers in the form of psychopath clowns or thugs. The humor runs through the whole game and almost hides a very tricky resource management game.
Syndicate wars is the inspiration for the FPS shooter that was released recently. You control a team of four soldiers that have been augmented with bionic limbs etc. That team then acts on behalf of your corporation to assassinate, destroy or disrupt rival owners, buildings or practices of other corporations. The aesthetic looks blocky now, but the neon theme was mind blowing at the time with an incredibly deep game engine.
The game I have fondest memories of however is Dungeon Keeper 2. The original is still excellent but DK2 is an example of a sequel improving on everything the original did. You are a demon who is able to control orks, witches, warlocks ogres etc and use them to take over the kingdoms around you from the ground up. You design your dungeon to attract the various mythical beings and then train them to further improve your force while trying to keep them happy with food, bedding and entertainment. This game also told you off for staying up too late to play the game which I found many a time due to its addictive nature.
Bullfrog is the company that produced three of the four I’ve mentioned and if you’ve never played one of their games you should. Peter Molyneux of Fable fame was one of the creators of the studio which was purchased by EA near the turn of the century. Whatever you think of the Fable games and Molyneux himself you should look these games up on gog.com. They cost the same as a sandwich and will fill your video game gland with dozens of hours of joy.
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