I have been a fan of the SimCity games from Maxis for years, starting
with the original SimCity with a blocky 2D, top-down view of the landscape
in VGA. The underlying logic was somewhat more sophisticated, particularly
in the latest SimCity 3000 simulation and I found that if one is idle
for many weeks without many other distractions, SimCity 3000 can be very
absorbing indeed. However, like all games, one will tire of it after several
weeks of intense gameplay. SimCity 3000 does well in throwing up the occasional
surprise and so there is always the incentive to continue playing and
experimenting with different scenarios. My favourite aspect of this game?
Seeing those beautiful farms pop up in the distant countryside or cultivating
really beautiful commercial skyscrapers. I must be really shallow.
SimCity 3000 Page: Screenshots of Olympus
Maxis: SimCity Page
Alert (Command and Conquer)
During a particularly long Christmas break, I started to play a copy of
Red Alert borrowed from my cousin and was quickly hooked, even though
I quickly realised I could never be a field commander in real life; I
was far too impatient! Battle scenarios were long-drawn and each level
could sometimes take 2-3 hours to complete. Graphics were excellent and
gameplay was stunningly realistic, and perhaps it also desensitised one
to extreme violence because it began to feel particularly satisfying to
run my tanks over enemy troops just to hear the cute squelching sound.
Oh, and I used cheats occasionally, took on the side of the Soviets (baddies)
and eventually won the game.
Madden Football (Electronic Arts)
If you're an American Football fan and like it for its more intellectual
(ahem) aspects, you'll probably like this game. Graphics are simple but
that ensured fast gameplay on slow 8086 machines! There is a lot of emphasis
on quarterback strategy here and hundreds of "plays" to choose
from. I learned a huge amount about football strategy and rules here,
and it's really quite exciting to score a touchdown.
- all the John Madden Football games available
Review in Game Bytes Magazine
Screenshot for Flight
Simulator II not available,
using Flight Simulator 2000 instead.
the simulation game that kept me engrossed for hours. Scenery was beautiful
compared to earlier flight simulators where the horizon was represented
by a jagged green line across the screen. Here, I could fly right through
buildings, or record my flight and then choose to represent it as a "fuel
truck", hence I had a lot of flying trucks in my "scenarios".
I even buzzed the Golden Gate Bridge and flew through Coit Tower without
a scratch. I never got hold of any of the scenery disks, or I would have
probably tried crash-landing my Cessna on Battersea Power Station. Night-flying
is particularly lovely and scenic - all those little lights!
Flight Simulator 2000
Silent Service (Microprose)
Another of Sid Meier's award-winning simulations. This was a game that
invoked a deep sense of suspense and anticipation in me; the tension with
which I waited to see if the torpedo will actually sink the enemy ship
and the huge relief and glee to watch the distant explosions. To those
who think computer games are a complete waste of time, I did learn a lot
of submarine terminology here as well as wartime tactics of how to avoid
sonar pinging detection. It was a somewhat sophisticated simulation for
its time and very engrossing.
Service II Review
Another strategy game that I was pretty hopeless at, but it provided hours
of frustrated entertainment anyway for a teenager trying to avoid homework.
You're a field general of sorts, controlling an army at the right of the
screen, deploying choppers, missile launchers, soldiers, ambulances and
so on. Your enemy has the same sort of resources but works from the left
of the screen, and the whole aim of the game seems to be gaining more
territory and eventually reaching your enemy's base at the far left (and
to prevent him from reaching your own base where the game will end).
It was fun while
it lasted, but when I replayed the game on an Apple IIe emulator a few
years back, it puzzled me how it could have captured my interest for more
than 5 minutes.
the Rescue Raiders ROM from the ClassicGaming vault.
IV: Quest Of The Avatar (Origin)
No gamer's collection in the mid-80s would have been complete without
the Ultima series. They were the ultimate in RPG games even though at
the time, graphics were blocky (see Wizardry I) and a lot was left to
the imagination of the gamer. Ultima IV's quest was for developing one's
personal virtues - with the ultimate goal of becoming an Avatar. This
involved wandering around Lord British's oft-unpredictable realm of Britannia
and getting others to join you on your personal mission. Amazingly sophisticated,
this was one of the most imaginative games ever designed. I have not played
all of the Ultima series, but of those I have played, I regard this as
the best, a true RPG classic.
IV: Quest of the Avatar
It's the year 2000 and the world (or at least the USA) is in a state of
anarchy.You lead a gang and your mission is to locate a group of scientists
while moving your gang and their equipment (converted trucks and cars)
around the USA. Rival gangs will try and murder you, or they may become
allies - how it goes all depends on you. I didn't find this game particularly
compelling when I first played it, and thought it mostly depended on luck
(and lots of game saves) - I never solved it, but for some odd reason
I spent a lot of time playing this after school.
2000 from the ClassicGaming archive.
RoadWar 2000 Cheat Sheet
Runner (Broderbund Software)
Not usually a fan of arcade games, nevertheless this one engrossed
me for months even though I never did get beyond level 50 or whatever
it was, and knew I probably had another 50 to go. Does wonders for your
hand-eye coordination. It requires a combination of strategy and skill,
and yet the concept remains amazingly simple. There's a version for Linux
called Scavenger which is really an Apple IIe Lode Runner clone with different
level scenarios, and it runs well on RH Linux 7.0 and 7.2. Highly recommended
for a quick fling.
Lode Runner Archive
Play it Now! The
Lode Runner Emulator Java Applet
Lode Runner for Linux: Dave
Ashley's Scavenger Page
Of The West
Not much point to this one really, apart from practising your prowess
at the joystick. Certainly, I almost wrenched mine out of its socket playing
this, trying to shoot the baddies before they got me. You play a sheriff
and walk around town, encountering a variety of townsfolk from sweet little
old ladies to murderous gangsters out to get your hide. Your responses
to their queries tend to influence the outcome, i.e whether they go away
peacefully or pull the trigger on you. However it quickly tended to breed
sadism in me and it became quite funny to gun down people at random. Oops,
maybe I shouldn't have confessed that....
Law Of The West from the ClassicGaming archive.
In The World is Carmen Sandiego (Broderbund Software)
A truly excellent children's educational game, this had me going for a
while - and the USA version ensured that I knew every state capital within
hours. Carmen Sandiego, glamorous thief- extraordinaire, has stolen away
something valuable and your mission is to track her down, flying all over
the world, and questioning various people for clues as to this pathological
globe-trotter's next destination. This is a laughably easy game to solve
for anyone over the age of 10 but the animation kept me well amused.
Strike Eagle (Microprose)
The earliest flight combat simulator I can remember playing. Goodness
knows, there wasn't much of it either - mostly line graphics and minimal
sound effects. Still, it was meant to be quite accurate and it was an
enlightening learning process, flying missions over Libya and so on and
learning how to "jam" enemy radar and missiles. Whenever I hit
an enemy jet though, graphics were laughable - just lines emanating from
a flailing stick-target. Simulations have come such a long way since then,
and guess what - I don't play them anymore! Which is a shame...
Preview of Jane's F-15 Flight Simulator
MigMan's Flight Simulation Museum
- requires subscription to get anywhere good, phooey.
Oh my, this is probably the 2nd computer game I had ever played, this
was appallingly simplistic and yet I spent such a long time playing it,
kicking and punching my way to rescue the beautiful captive princess who
then rewards me with a suitably passionate embrace. It did not pose much
of a challenge, apart from the annoying hawk or eagle which was the only
vaguely difficult obstacle in the game. I thought it had beautiful graphics
at the time, even though my monitor was green.
from the ClassicGaming archive.
Bards Tale (Electronic Arts)
Another role-playing classic with an innovative change of perspective.
It employs a 3D maze through which you navigate the town in your adventure.
You lead a band of merry adventurers through Skara Brae, bursting through
doors, revelling in taverns, haggling with blacksmiths and hacking off
trolls' limbs, that is, when they are not hacking off yours. This is not
generally a difficult RPG game in comparison with others but I never got
too far with it. Nice, catchy theme music though.
The Bards Tale Webring
- link to all the B.T fan sites out there
Bards Tale Section: a website dedicated to maps, hints and other BT
Bards Tale from the ClassicGames archive.