At this point it feels important to me to take a look at the lighter side of life. This article is also slightly more intended who remember gaming on systems like the Commodore 64, Atari ST/Amiga and the pre Pentium 1 gaming days. I remember those days well. Simple days! It was all about working the absolute minimum one had to do and the rest of the time was about enjoying the outside life (to some extent) and then to go home and enjoy a video game…..or two. In those days if a boss required you to work overtime, then you went to the chemist at lunchtime and bought him some Valium or Xanax, so he could relax. Good Times!
A few weeks ago I stumbled upon something called D-Fend reloaded, which is a DOS emulation program, with an additional link to a place called ‘My Abandoneware’ at http://www.myabandonware.com
These two places allow you to play the old original games from those early gaming days. The fun part is that I had several of them, yet the advanced options of D-Fend allowed me to slow down the processor to such an extent that those games finally worked again and they worked flawlessly.
Now, for most this is not new, or in some cases they think that these games have nothing to offer.
I beg to differ. The X-Com games and The Ultima series are more than most realise. These games brought a level of original gaming that even today can hardly be surpassed. You see, a good game is not about smooth graphics. It is all about playability. This is without a doubt a lesson we can learn for free so it seems, so this is a number one trip for all readers. The abandoneware site had actually a second option. Each game has a link where the original owner can identify himself, should he object to his game being freely available here. I found one such game, and I bought it for the iPad at the Apple store.
The interesting part is that these games still touch me in some way. These were the original titles and they are part of gaming history. More important, this list of over 4000 games will show you one clear thing. These people were innovators in more than one way. They were able to deliver a game that was able to run on a 640Kb system (yes, I know that most do not even have a memory card that small).
So, consider how the bulk could be transferred to something as ‘simple’ as the Nintendo DS. Add slightly better graphics and several of these titles will soon be more coveted then several high marketed products on the game store shelves today. After 20-25 years that is some achievement.
Of course many of these 4000 games are below par by most standards, but that is the consequence these games have, some were from, or meant for the Commodore 64. It only had 64Kb to work with. It was not until 1990 that this world changed for the personal computer. The main reason was the coming of the SoundBlaster. The SoundBlaster was a soundcard that went to places the Adlib card could not reach (the ruling soundcard in those days). It gave the PC sound abilities that surpassed the initial 16-bit home computers like the Amiga and the Atari ST.
Yes, many will not be swayed as they are so into ‘graphics’, yet these games depended on game play, which is not that far-fetched when you are limited to 640Kb high-end computing powerhouses (as they were then).
Legally this group of games is interesting too. Even though many might not bother or realise this but these games still have copyrights. More important considering the term of copyright, and it currently goes to figure why some of these games are not reset for the new and smaller systems. This is where the one owner option on that games site comes into play. The game that was removed from the system as per request by the original owner was a game called Ascendency. It has a tactical and it has a strategical side to it. I will not go into the game itself, but what is clear is that he made an excellent export to the iPad. Most of the game remained the same. Only small changes were made to get this game to run on my iPad 1. The result is one enjoyable journey into a game thought was lost to me. It works great! Consider that I had no problem dishing over those $7, even though I still have the original PC disk. This version is a happy addition to my collection.
The two big winners here would be Sid Meier and Richard Garriott. Their old games are still as fun and rewarding to play as the moment I got these games in the early 90’s. A dozen games all almost ready to be ported to handhelds and tablets. All ready for a new generation of gamers who will quickly learn that these games filled with game play can easily outlast some high end graphic game we conquer in 20 hours for $99 retail. Comparing new games against transferred game I can see a dozen games, each having 50-100 hours of gaming value at $10 each. That comes down to almost 1000% more game play for the amount of one new game. I say that makes it a win-win for us.
A win one as we get great game play, and win number two as the game industry needs to start thinking long and hard on how their marketing hypes are winning less and less, whilst we the gamer become ever weary on what we are offered and for the amount it is offered for.
Will this stop games like Elder Scrolls 6 or a new God of war? No! Good games will always get our attention.
Their question should be what makes it a good game for us!