Welcome to the next episode in my weekly series I post every Sunday where I take a look at games listed in the book, 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. If I've played them, then I share my memory of the experience and if I haven't, then I find an online version or an emulator and I play them. This is a book every gamer should have in their library, and if you're interested in purchasing it, you can find it here.

Episode 1: 01 - 05 (here)

Episode 2: 06 - 10 (here)

Episode 3: 11 - 15 (here)

Episode 4: 16 - 20 (here)

For devoted gamers as well as those interested in groundbreaking graphic design, this is the first, most comprehensive, and only critical guide ever published to video games. The video game has arrived as entertainment and as an art form. This is the first serious critical evaluation ever published of the best video games and is a testament to the medium's innovativeness and increasing emphasis on aesthetics. Organized chronologically and for all platforms (PC, Xbox, PlayStation, etc.) and covering all genres from the bold (Grand Theft Auto and Halo) and dark (Resident Evil and Silent Hill) to the spiritual (Final Fantasy) and whimsical (Legend of Zelda), the book traces the video game from the rough early days of Pong to the latest visual fantasia.

So, last week there were two games that I either couldn't remember if I played them or I had minimal exposure to them - so I decided to see if I could find more about them online and perhaps even play them. I'm happy to report I found and played both of the games.

#17 - MUD

You may recall from last week a MUD is a multiuser dungeon; sort of the evolutionary step between pen and paper roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons to the MMORPG games we have available today like World of Warcraft. The concept of the MUD was big back in the days of bulletin boards and dial up modems. I admitted last week my exposure to them was limited, and I was doubtful I would be able to find any up and running in present day. Hah, boy was I wrong. I searched on Google, of course. Seems like a natural step. From there I found a list of the top ten best MUDs. I went to the first one and stumbled across a MUD by the name of Aardwolf. So, I connected using a Java applet they have available and before I knew it I was creating a new character and joining some type of MUD server. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to chat with the other members (totaling 400+). Some of the administrators were kind enough to answer a few questions like, "are you a real person?" I hung around for far longer than I care to admit...it was somewhat...addictive. Or at least, I think it could be. Sure, it was rudimentary and had a fairly steep learning curve navigating using text commands, but I can see why there are people still participating in this sort of activity. It was interesting, for sure. Check it out here if you're interested.

#19 - Phoenix

The good news is I found a place online to play Phoenix online (here).  The bad news is I discovered the game is nothing more than a Galaga or Galaxian variant. Actually, it looks like Phoenix might've been released first, but the game doesn't offer anything those games don't have to offer (in fact, it doesn't seem nearly as fun as those games). It's amazing how many games from that time were so closely related or emulated. Oh well, mission accomplished. I can now say I've played Phoenix.

Okay, so now I'm all caught up - twenty games down, and I've played them all now (to some degree). But it's another week, and another round of games. This week we continue on in the 1980s, arguably one of the greatest eras in gaming. This week also seems to focus more on the arcade games, with most of the entries debuting in the arcade before being ported over to home consoles or computers. Let's see what games are up this week, and whether I've played them or not.

#21 - Warlords

"Warlords is a computer game series created by Steve Fawkner, in which role-playing elements are combined with turn-based strategy in a fantasy setting. The series include four official games and two extension packs. Though the last game of the series was released back in 2003, the series is still relatively popular and has a dedicated community. Several remakes (both officially supported and fan-contributed) exist." -Wikipedia

I don't think I've played it because the name doesn't sound familiar and when I did a little poking around, the images I came across didn't jar any memories of playing it. So, you know what that means...I have a homework assignment to find this game online and play it. Next...

#22 - Centipede

"Centipede is a vertically-oriented shoot 'em up arcade game produced by Atari, Inc. in 1981. The game was designed by Ed Logg along with Dona Bailey, one of the few female game programmers in the industry at this time. It was also one of the first arcade coin-operated games to have a significant female player base, after Pac-Man. The player defends against swarms of insects, completing a round after eliminating the centipede that winds down the playing field. The player is represented by a small, somewhat humanoid head at the bottom of the screen, later depicted as a caped, elf-like character on the Atari 2600, Atari 5200 and Atari 7800 cartridge graphics (though described as being a garden gnome in the trivia section of the cell phone interpretation). The player moves the character about the bottom area of the screen with a trackball and fires laser shots at a centipede advancing from the top of the screen down through a field of mushrooms." -Wikipedia

Ah, a game I have played in the arcade before...but admittedly, not a game I am a big fan of. I'm not sure if it's because I don't like bugs, heh heh...or the fact it uses the roller ball. I've discovered a pattern of not liking games that use the roller ball, though I don't know why. That doesn't seem to make sense, but it does seem to be true. I dunno, the game seemed to be a lot like Space Invaders...but it just had that stupid roller ball. Give me Space Invaders any day.

#23 - Galaga

"Galaga is a fixed shooter arcade game developed and published by Namco in Japan and published by Midway in North America in 1981. It is the sequel to Galaxian, released in 1979. The gameplay of Galaga puts the player in control of a space ship which is situated on the bottom of the screen. At the beginning of each stage, the area is empty, but over time, enemy aliens fly in formation, and once all of the enemies arrive on screen, they will come down at the player's ship in formations of one or more and may either shoot it or collide with it. During the entire stage, the player may fire upon the enemies, and once all enemies are vanquished, the player moves onto the next stage." -Wikipedia

Weren't we just talking about this game? Ah yes...I was commenting on how many of these types of games there were occupying space in the arcades back then. Apparently this game had a few more features over its predecessor, but since I wasn't really a fan of any of them (I was too busy playing Donkey Kong) I couldn't really tell you what they were. More bad guy aliens spaceships charging down the screen trying to take you out. It is interesting to note, something I came across while working on this blog that I don't remember from before...

Galaga was used as a side game during the loading stage of the PlayStation port of Tekken in 1995.


Galaga appeared briefly in 2012's The Avengers. Upon entering S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Helicarrier, Tony Stark catches an agent playing Galaga and remarks, "That man is playing Galaga. Thought we wouldn't notice, but we did." After the Avengers' team meeting, the agent returns to his game.


#24 - Donkey Kong

"Donkey Kong is an arcade game released by Nintendo in 1980. It is an early example of the platform game genre, as the gameplay focuses on maneuvering the main character across a series of platforms while dodging and jumping over obstacles. In the game, Jumpman (since renamed Mario) must rescue a damsel in distress, Lady (now named Pauline) from a giant ape named Donkey Kong. The hero and ape later became two of Nintendo's most popular characters. The game was the latest in a series of efforts by Nintendo to break into the North American market. Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo's president at the time, assigned the project to a first-time game designer named Shigeru Miyamoto. Drawing from a wide range of inspirations, including Popeye, Beauty and the Beast and King Kong, Miyamoto developed the scenario and designed the game alongside Nintendo's chief engineer, Gunpei Yokoi." -Wikipedia

Let's get it on like Donkey Kong. Here it is. This is it. My all-time favorite arcade game. I'm no Billy Mitchell or Steve Weibe (look up The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters if you don't know who I'm talking about) but I was a pretty decent Donkey Kong player. I absolutely loved the game, and even though I was fairly young when it made its debut in the arcade, I remember a time or two when I'd have a few of the soldiers from the local Army Post standing over my shoulder watching me play. It's a legendary game, and...AND...it is the game that starred Jumpman which would go on to become Mario. I've been playing Donkey Kong games ever since - some 30 years now, which would probably make Donkey Kong the character that's been around the longest in the history of my video gaming career. I love Donkey Kong; in fact, one of my favorite games of all time is Donkey Kong Country Returns.

#25 - Qix

"The objective of Qix is to fence off, or "claim", a supermajority of the playfield. At the start of each level, the playing field is a large, empty rectangle, containing the Qix - a sticklike entity that performs graceful but unpredictable motions within the confines of the rectangle. The player controls a small diamond-shaped marker that can move around the edges of the rectangle, with the goal to claim as much of the screen as possible via drawing lines. When the player completes a closed shape, the captured area (defined as the side of the Stix opposite to where the Qix is) becomes solid and points are awarded. To complete a level, the player must claim most of the playfield (the game was shipped at 75 percent for level completion, but the arcade operator could adjust the requirement between 50 percent and 90 percent)." -Wikipedia

Played it, but not in the arcade where it started. I played it years later on the Amiga and eventually on the Gameboy. I'm kind of surprised how much I like this game since it is sort of a non-standard puzzle type of game that I didn't play a lot of...but I liked this game. It was like Tetris or Angry Birds in that it offers simple yet addictive game play. It's easy to play, but hard to master.

This concludes another week's review of games found in 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. There were some great games from the 1980s definitely earning a spot in the book and only one this week that I need to find online and play prior to next week.

This week's homework assignment: Warlords.

Until next week - happy gaming.