Retro: Volume 3


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I read Retro Gamer, that fact has been established on this blog even in it’s short life time. I like reading about the games I grew up playing. Well Retro Gamer isn’t the only source out there on the news stand for being able to do that.

Each month in Games Magazine they have a retro section running along side their coverage of the latest video game delights. Well I don’t buy Games Magazine that often (well very rarely) despite the retro column.

But the nice guys at Games Magazine and their publishers gather up into a nice yearly (I think it works out that way) a nice compendium of the previous years articles in one great volume. And the price for this gem? £9.99, which is fantastic value.

It’s not reasonable for me to go through and list all the articles of interest etc because there are so many.

One article I really did enjoy in this collection was “PC Gaming: The Floppy Years”.

That was such a walk down memory lane. The early days of playing on a PC. My PC gaming were done on an Amstrad 386sx Laptop (clam shell design) running at 16Mhz, or lunch breaks on the works PC. Companies or well the one I worked for back then were a bit more relaxed about games on PC’s back then. It was that or the management didn’t have a clue. Or a combination of both.

I played the original Prince of Persia on a PC for the first time, which was a great platform exploration type game(is that the right description for it?). In the office there was a cricket game we played and had lunchtime competitions amongst ourselves.

But one of the big movements of that time was the try before you buy efforts of the shareware community. It really did allow some developers to get a toe hold into the world of software development (a bit like the mobile app dev is doing these days). But there were two games from this that stand out for me. Castle Wolfenstein and Doom. Such great games, fond memories of them, and I’ve bought them over and over again on different platforms over the years. A testament to just how well the games stand up over time. The latest incarnations that I have played are the versions of both that are available on xbox live for the xbox360.

And one of the fondest memories of that time is when X-Wing came out. A “space sim” that allowed you to fly an X-Wing. It was such a great game, it used the PC hardware of the time to it’s full. Oh and the sound using a sound card was awesome. I’m not convinced that the modern Star Wars games, visually stunning as they are have come even close to capturing the magic of X-Wing from those early days.

Another game from that age that I loved playing was the cyberpunk classic Syndicate. It was a classic and helped fuel my addiction to cyberpunk novels at that time from the likes of William Gibson or the Shadowrun series. The follow up Syndicate Wars was a hell of a lot harder than the original but a welcome return to that world.

One of my favourite books is Dune, and I enjoyed the deeply flawed movie as well. But the game Dune 2 was just an instant classic that Westwood would use to define a gaming genre. The follow up (ish) Command and Conquer would start a classic series. The number of hours I put in on these games doesn’t bare thinking of.

Now Capcom have tried to rewrite history and would have you believe that they created the horror adventure based genre of gaming with Resident Evil. But they didn’t the first one was Alone In The Dark. Which was a fantastic game, clever puzzles, good visuals, very atmospheric and a good story. It’s just a shame that the series got forgotten about, and then had poor updates. Although I think the recent 360 game was half decent (I’ll have to ask Nath).

So there you have some brief memories of my early PC gaming days, and a great compendium of articles at about yester years games to rush purchase.

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