The weird and wonderful world of old school computer gaming
Posted by Sam Calvert
Online trends writer
April 27th 2011 at 10:00
Sam grabs his trusty joystick and steps into the past to explore the world of old school computer games…
Now, I’m not a gamer in the hardcore sense of the word. But I will be tempted by the latest iPhone games as they come and go, and during the depths of winter I can sometimes be found in front of my laptop whiling away time playing big strategy games (Civilisation, The Sims etc.) that prevent me from venturing out into the cold.
I have good friends who are gamers, some who are queuing when the first new edition of Call of Duty is launched, and some who are rock gods and goddesses in their living room to Singstar, Guitar Hero or Rockband. Certainly I appreciate the effort that goes into one of the big games, the time spent developing it, testing it and the way people can get so involved they literally belong to another world while playing it. I have even found myself spending eight hours in front of a multi-player shooter or similar, just for the competitive nature of it all.
Recently I watched a documentary called King of Kong about gamers battling it out to set a new world record in Donkey Kong, and it made me think about when gaming was a simpler beast, a world of Pacman, Tetris, Frogger, Bubble Bobble, to name just a few of the 80s classics that ruled arcades and early consoles.
Stepping into the past
After watching the documentary I sat down at my computer and got straight into a game of Pacman, then Tetris and even Snake from old Nokia mobiles! I must admit to being a bit rusty, but I couldn’t help but feel some nostalgia and some definite admiration for those early game developers who captured the spirit of computer gaming (trying to better the last time you played, or beat your friend) so well.
Brushing up on old skills
I even thought, this is more enjoyable than some of the more complex AI games that have been released, and as a friend of mine said, it’s because they are all about timing, standardisation and hand-eye coordination. Truly skills to master.
So call me simple, call me nostalgic but what I’m going to do for a bit is find some old school games, download them on my iPad, iPhone or even just play Minesweeper at work – just for the memories. And also – when friends come up and tell me that they have beaten the latest Grand Theft Auto – I can explain to them that I just passed the first 5 levels of Galaga – no mean feat, I assure you.
What do you think? Any old school games you are a fan of? Or are today’s MMORPGs and slick 3D shooters meaning you have turned your back on arcade classics?
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