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Veteran Member - Level 11
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.
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.