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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)
Episode 5: 21 - 25 (here)
Episode 6: 26 - 30 (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 hadn't played
(or had no recollection of playing). I'm happy to report after some exhaustive
searching I found both and managed to play them.
#26 - Scramble
I said in last week's episode this game sounded familiar
and I thought I had played it, but wanted to at least revisit it to be sure.
Well it turns out I have played it before. There are several games like this,
even some newer versions. But I played the old school version and you can to as
there are several places online including this one.
#28 - Venture
This game took me a long time to find and I finally had
to result to downloading a MAME emulator and a ROM to play it. The game is
described as "like Gauntlet", and I suppose it kind of is, in a very crude and
rudimentary sense. You're a dot navigating around a map and when you enter a
room, you look like a smiley face with an arrow. You see skeletons and snakes
and other nasties. I played it for a
short time. I don't know how long it would take to finish the game, or if you could
finish it...but I can at least say I've played it. You can find the ROM online.
Having played both of these titles now, I can say that I
have played the first 30 games now. Let's see how I fair with the next five. I've
peeked ahead, and I have to say...this is going to be a rough week. I think I've
only played one or two of these games.
#31 - Gorf
"Gorf is an arcade
game released in 1981 by Midway Mfg., whose name was advertised as an acronym
for "Galactic Orbiting Robot Force". It is a multiple-mission fixed
shooter with five distinct modes of play, essentially making it five games in
one. It is well known for its use of synthesized speech, a new feature at the
time. The player controls a spaceship that can move left, right, up and down
around the lower third of the screen. The ship can fire a single shot (called a
"quark laser" in this game), which travels vertically up the screen.
Unlike similar games, where the player cannot fire again until his existing
shot has disappeared, the player can choose to fire another shot at any time;
if the previous shot is still on screen, it disappears." -Wikipedia
I actually think I have played this game, but I might be
confusing it with similar games like it. It is clearly a Space Invaders clone,
with a few new features. The name and gameplay sound familiar, but since I am
not 100% certain, I will investigate it further just so I can remove all
#32 - Ultima I
"Ultima, later known
as Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness or simply Ultima I, is the first game in
the Ultima series of role-playing video games. It was first published in the
United States by California Pacific Computer Company, which registered a
copyright for the game on September 2, 1980 and officially released it in June
1981. Since its release, the game has been completely re-coded and ported to
many different platforms. The 1986 re-code of Ultima is the most commonly known
and available version of the game. Ultima revolves around a quest to find and
destroy the Gem of Immortality, which is being used by the evil wizard Mondain
to enslave the lands of Sosaria. With the gem in his possession, he cannot be
killed, and his minions roam and terrorize the countryside. The player takes on
the role of 'The Stranger', an individual summoned from another world to end
the rule of Mondain. The game follows the endeavors of the stranger in this
task, which involves progressing through many aspects of game play, including
dungeon crawling and space travel." -Wikipedia
I've played several of the Ultima games, but the first I
remember playing was Part III, Exodus. The one I played the most was IV, Quest
of the Avatar. But I have not played Ultima I. I'm actually kind of excited
about this one, as I am a big fan of Richard Garriott aka Lord British.
#33 - Gravitar
"Gravitar is a
shoot 'em up arcade game released by Atari, Inc in 1982. In the game, the
player controls a small blue spacecraft. The game starts in a fictional solar
system with several planets to explore. If the player moves his ship into a
planet, he will be taken to a side-view landscape. Unlike many other shooting
games, gravity plays a fair part in Gravitar: the ship will be pulled slowly to
the deadly star in the overworld, and downward in the side-view levels. The player
has five buttons: two to rotate the ship left or right, one to shoot, one to
activate the thruster, and one for both a tractor beam and force field.
Gravitar, Asteroids, Asteroids Deluxe and Space Duel all used similar 5-button
controlling system." -Wikipedia
I've certainly played a ton of shoot 'em up arcade games
from the 80s, but I do not recall this one. The name and the screen shots do
not invoke any sort of familiarity, and the only thing I can think is the
arcades I frequented never got the game. You know what that means...more
#34 - Joust
"Joust is an arcade
game developed by Williams Electronics and released in 1982. It is a platform
game that features two-dimensional (2D) graphics. The player uses a button and
joystick to control a knight riding a flying ostrich. The object is to progress
through levels by defeating groups of enemy knights riding buzzards. John
Newcomer led the development team, which included Bill Pfutzenrueter, Jan
Hendricks, Python Anghelo, Tim Murphy, and John Kotlarik. Newcomer aimed to
create a flying game with co-operative two-player gameplay, but wanted to avoid
a space theme, which was popular at the time. Staff worked within the technical
limitations of the hardware (originally developed two years earlier for
Williams' first game, Defender), excluding concepts and optimizing the visuals.
The game was well received in arcades and by critics, who praised the gameplay.
The gameplay mechanics influenced titles by other developers. Joust was
followed by a sequel three years later, and was ported to numerous home and
portable platforms." -Wikipedia
Finally! I was getting nervous I wasn't going to have played
any of the games featured this week. Sheesh. But I have played Joust on
numerous occasions. It was brutally challenging if you ask me. So, it's like
jousting from medieval times, only you are on a large bird that looks like an
ostrich, only these can fly. And the bad
guys are on buzzards. The goal is to hit (or joust) the other players riding on
their own birds. If you got a successful hit, the bird would drop an egg and
you would have to swoop down and get it before the egg hatches another rider
that climbs aboard another bird. As silly as it might sound, my favorite part
of the game was when you flew too low to the lava, this hand would reach up and
grab your ostrich by the legs - if you were quick enough at tapping the fly
button, you could actually get free...but more times than not, I'd get pulled into
#35 - The Hobbit
"The Hobbit is a
computer game released in 1982 and based on the book The Hobbit, by J. R. R.
Tolkien. It was developed at Beam Software by Philip Mitchell and Veronika
Megler and published by Melbourne House for most home computers available at
the time, from more popular models such as the ZX Spectrum, the Commodore 64,
Amstrad CPC 464, BBC Micro, MSX, Dragon 32 and Oric. By arrangement with the
book publishers, a copy of the book was included with each game sold. The
parser was very advanced for the time and used a subset of English called
Inglish. When it was released most adventure games used simple verb-noun
parsers (allowing for simple phrases like 'get lamp'), but Inglish allowed one
to type advanced sentences such as "ask Gandalf about the curious map then
take sword and kill troll with it". The parser was complex and intuitive,
introducing pronouns, adverbs ("viciously attack the goblin"),
punctuation and prepositions and allowing the player to interact with the game
world in ways not previously possible." -Wikipedia
Well, I've played The Hobbit from 2003, but unfortunately
I haven't played the one from 1982. I have a feeling I know how it ends though,
heh heh. I've looked at some screenshots of the game and it looks fairly basic.
I guess I'll add it to my ever growing homework list and see if I can find it.
Crikey, it did turn out to be a rough week. With only
five games being reviewed, there were several I hadn't played and one I wasn't sure
about, so looks like I am going to have a busy week trying to find all of these
games and play them. This week's homework assignment: Gorf, Ultima I, Gravitar,
Until next week - happy gaming.
I have fond (if frustrated) memories of Joust. I did play it a bunch when it was at the restaurant where I worked, but that was about it. I could never get the timing right of hovering and dropping down to knock the guy off his perch.
I swear I've played Gorf before, but I have no memory other than that it looks kinda familiar.
Wow. This is the first week where I can say that I've played none of the games on this list.
Ultima, Joust, and Hobbit were some good picks.
Gorf! Man, I put so many hours into that at the arcade when i was young.
Gorf is a fave of mine. Love the list.
I've never even heard of any of these (except The Hobit, which I'm currently reading). Interestingly, Gorf kind of sounds like an improved version of Galaga, in a way. I wonder why it didn't catch on as well?
I have never heard of any of these games o.0 Haha, good blog Saint.
The nes port of Ultima is one of the earliest rpgs I remember playing... As I recall spell effects depended on which of the two animations the enemies were set on regarded whether they hit or not requiring a bit of timing. Good stuff! And the Hobbit actually wasn't bad although I remember prefering the 5.5 inch floppy version of TLotR more!
Hmm, I had no idea there was a Hobbit game other then the newer one. Gonna have to look into that lol.
Wow. I thought I knew my old school games, but the only one I recognized on here was Joust.
I'm really loving this blog series Saint. Such a great idea. But you know, as soon as you get to the 8-bit/16-bit games, I'll bet your views and comments are going to go through the roof! Thanks for doing this. Great read.
I've played Joust, and Ultima 4 and 5, but that's about it. You're a braver man than I, committing to tracking these all down.
I play a stupid amount of Joust at one point in time....
I have never heard of any of those games.
I always enjoy stopping in and seeing this weekly series but sadly, I have still never played any of them. Maybe some day I will get my wings and be able to respond with, "Yea I played that and I thought it was...." Someday.
Should be, "Every game you must beat before you die!"
It definitely was a rough week for me too, I've only played Joust which is a lot of fun.
I'm not sure if I want to play Ultima I, but at some point I do want to play an Ultima game just to see what they are like.