Wednesday, November 21, 2007

retro gamer

I'm home from work today, sick, so I've decided the best way to help me recover from my mystery illness is to download a couple of Commodore 64 ROMs of games I played in my youth. I thought I'd blog about it, to keep the nostalgia theme of the last couple of posts running.

Although, I can't remember where from, I recently downloaded a game called Shogun, where the objective is to win friends and otherwise influence people into becoming your subordinates. You can do this a number of ways depending on the character you choose to be. You can be a thug, a priestess or priest, a samurai, a lady, or a lord, or a servant and then some, amongst the twenty or so characters available. What really stands out about this game is the whole aesthetic: it's wonderfully atmospheric. The gameplay is simple and a little bit odd because you can sort of run up into the sky; there's no gravity. Regardless, the game involves picking up objects and money and giving them to selected people after talking to them to win their favour. If you're not very strong, trying to attack people is a quick ticket to death. Presumably you can make or break alliances by sending your disciples to kill, protect or give gifts to others. Presumably. I used to play it for hours even though I wasn't really sure what I was doing. I remember the C64 version having this really nice white noise that increased and decreased in volume as your character crossed the landscape towards the sea but the version I've downloaded doesn't have that. It's a pity.
I've downloaded three games today:

1) Impossible Mission. Who knows how many hours of my life I spent playing this game. It's such memorable fun and I love the speech in it, which was quite an accomplishment for c. 1983: "Another visitor; stay a while, stay forever!" and "Kill him, my robots!" And who could forget the blood curdling scream when you fall down a pit to your death? I saw my sister complete Impossible Mission, which is impressive because it's not an easy game at all and there's a surprising amount of problem solving in all the platform jumping. If you watch the Youtube end sequence to Impossible Mission 2 (the game of which I unfortunately can't find to download) I hope you're as disappointed as I am. Such an anti-climax after all that effort.

2) Wizball. I downloaded the Sensible Software original but I couldn't get the cat to work and as Graham Goring, Trevor Storey and Infamous over at Retrospec had gone to all the effort to remake it, I've been playing that version instead. It retains all the playability, addictiveness, quirkiness, difficulty and fun of the original. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to support a joystick or control pad but that doesn't matter because it's still fun. The Youtube embed is the original theme music to the game. I'm beginning to see where my love of synths and electronic music comes from.

3) Attack of the Mutant Camels 2: Yak Attack. If memory serves, the fun and funny thing about Jeff Minter's original game is that it abounded in llamas and this one seems to follow suit - minus the fun.
Okay, enough geekiness.
I'm now going to watch an anime film.
playing in just a moment: tekkon kinkreet

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