Memory Lane: Old School PC Games 1
When Levi is old enough I will have to share with him the fact that the internet and interconnected world he was born into was not always like he grew up knowing. I have accepted that I will sounds like an aged potato recalling to Levi the times when, if I wanted to play a game with a friend I would have to call the landline hoping they are home, wait patiently for them to come over, grab another chair and take turns playing the old school games that shaped my childhood. We never owned a gaming console so the PC was our sole avenue of electronic entertainment, but it was more than enough to bring many, some would say wasted, I would say invested hours into the classic games.
Here are some of my most beloved old school PC games, in no particular order.
This is the mother of first person shooter games. I first lay my eyes on the game before our arrival to Australia around 20 years ago. I still recall walking aimlessly around a some strangers house that my parents were visiting, when suddenly as if the curtains were ripped off and the holy of holies was beaming into my eyes, there in one of the spare rooms, a game that was so advanced to my childish eyes that it was on par with magic.
I didn’t get to experience the game hands on until after my family made the passage across the Indian Ocean to land of Oz. But when I did, I spend hours immersed in the wunder-game.
The game consists of you in first person running around in a maze like building shooting Nazis, finding ammo and better guns and of course looking for secret passage ways. This habit of slamming spacebar ad nauseam on all walls in hopes that a secret chamber would reveal itself, was copied in some of the later first person shooters.
Wolfenstein was ground breaking at the time and deserves to be raised on a pedestal as one of the greats in the historic gaming world.
Recently when my friends and I were playing Cards against Humanity, an adult party game of some note, one of the cards in the original set was Mecha-Hitler, which is a throw-back reference to one of the final bosses in the original Wolfenstein. The term derives from you as a player having to face Hitler who is in a giant robotic suit with quad machines guns on the sides. Some may say it is an obscure term, but those of us who got to experience the game growing up would find it comedic.
Commander Keen 4
Why 4, and not the three proceeding Commander Keens? I don’t know, maybe it was the fact that it was the first of the series I got my fingers on. I did eventually play the earlier releases of the game, which I found lacklustre. Perhaps it took four tries for the develops to perfect the gaming recipe and developed a true candy of a game.
Even after all these years this game makes me think of chocolates and sweets? The makers of the game took every opportunity to litter the 2D world with various lollies and candy-bars that you as a pogo-skipping, helmet wearing boy are tempted to collect. Commander Keen was not just challenging but lots of fun too. Everything from the stoned trees in the background to moving rocks that creep up to you before attacking made each level look flashy.
The vivid colours, easy controls of the character and just the fun theme makes this game a big hit for me. Like many games (looking at you Mario), water levels where you have traverse the map by slowly swimming around were a real pain. Those levels particularly brought on lots of fist banging at the outrage that the big buck-toothed fish had the audacity to eat you when you were this far in the level. But it was all in the name of fun. Still a classic.
Another installment will come when I feel like it.