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Author Topic: Games of the 80s  (Read 1417 times)

JayzusB.Christ

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Games of the 80s
« on: 22 December, 2018, 04:14:04 pm »
I was just having a nostalgic festive think back to the games I used to play on the Spectrum (and the Commodore at my friend's house).  They were dreadful, of course, but suspension of disbelief made them amazingly brilliant and full of atmosphere.

Jet Set Willy - how many games these days can you find about a hungover millionaire tidying his house after a party?  Very simplistic graphics but it was easy to feel that you were exploring a gloomy and magical mansion.

Ant Attack - Odd 3d game about a boy saving a girl (or vice-versa if you wanted, fair play to them) in an isometric ruined city populated by giant ants.  It was set in some post-apocalyptic desert and somehow managed to feel like it. Also wins the prize for some of the most pretentious instructions in gaming history (which hint that the in-game characters are aware, Animal-Man-style, that you the gamer are controlling their destiny).  http://sandywhite.co.uk/fun/ants/AAInlay2.htm

Saboteur - incredibly easy but who cares?  You got to be a ninja assassin and go in a helicopter.

Thanatos - the parallax scrolling, as it was called, really gave this the required atmosphere.  I remember dreaming about playing the game before I'd every actually played it, and when I bought it, the gameplay was exactly the same as my mind's version.

Castle Master - one of the first proper, solid-graphics, 3d First-person POV exploring game.  I loved it but I knew it was the beginning of the end;  home computers would have to up their game to do this kind of thing properly.
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IndigoPrime

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #1 on: 22 December, 2018, 04:22:42 pm »
There was a lot more craziness back then, that's for sure, which has only really returned to gaming on mobile. I was a C64 guy myself, and it's interesting that some (although only very few) of those old games still stand up today. I'd happily have a Bubble Bobble cab in my house. On C64, Boulder Dash and Paradroid remain first-rate games. Stunt Car Racer on Amiga desperately needs to be remade for modern handhelds.

There's clearly something in the air about all this stuff, mind, given the mini console craze. C64, Neo-Geo, NES, SNES, Atari 2600, various Segas… all of them can be grabbed from Argos – although they're of course just tiny PCs these days emulating the original hardware.

JamesC

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #2 on: 22 December, 2018, 04:31:22 pm »
I’ll always have respect for those who created really  playable games on such limited hardware. I was more in love with the Speccy than the C64 but both had some really excellent games and it’s surprising how many stand up today (off the top of my head - Dizzy games, Highway Encounter, Bomb Jack, Penetrator, Batman - The Caped Crusader ((the one with the overlaying comic panels)), the Magic Knight games).
I always think the Game Boy had something in common with those early home computer days. Lots of simple, playable games and ports of games they could barely hope to replicate but, sometimes, somehow, they made a pretty good job of it.

Tjm86

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #3 on: 22 December, 2018, 07:42:55 pm »
Fair dues, Spectrum prompted the development of some cracking games.  Tornado Low Level anyone?  As you say, Manic Miner and JSW were cracking mind wasters.  Of course there was also the Hobbit (waiting an age for scenes from the book to render), Warlock of Firelock Mountain and of course for us Tooth fans, Strontium Dog: The Killing.  Happy days!

Magnetica

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #4 on: 22 December, 2018, 08:17:29 pm »
We had a BBC Micro. I spent endless hours playing games on that. Particular favourites were Planetoid, Arcadians, Zalaga, Revs, Elite, Castle Quest and Citadel.

GrudgeJohnDeed

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #5 on: 23 December, 2018, 02:52:06 am »
We had a BBC Micro. I spent endless hours playing games on that. Particular favourites were Planetoid, Arcadians, Zalaga, Revs, Elite, Castle Quest and Citadel.

Citadel on the Beeb! I really liked that as a kid, in all honesty I think mainly because the title screen got in my head and transported me to another world! It's the main thing I remember. That might sound weird but back then box art and title screens (if they bothered with art) were so powerful to me, sparking off the imagination that would then work whilst you played.

Repton, Daredevil Dennis, Space Pilot, Deathstar, Frak! and Shark were other highlights for me on the Beeb, although Shark didn't want to work often and gained legendary status probably because of how rarely you'd get to actually enjoy it!

HdE

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #6 on: 23 December, 2018, 08:28:42 am »
I was just having a nostalgic festive think back to the games I used to play on the Spectrum (and the Commodore at my friend's house).  They were dreadful, of course, but suspension of disbelief made them amazingly brilliant and full of atmosphere.

Back about 18 months ago, I was actually given a bunch of old Spectrum and Amstrad CPC games to look at in preparation for that there YouTubey thing that I do at the moment. After looking at those, I actually think there's a lot more quality games for those old home computers han people give credit for.

Yes, the design was often rough and ready, and the games were usually FAR too difficult. Arcade conversions were often painfully inaccurate as well. But there were plenty of titles that were feats of genius in terms of their concepts and execution. Especially given how some of those older computers weren't ever really conceived as gaming platforms in the first place.

Something I looked at that really sticks in my mind is an old Speccy platform action game called 'Rex.' I couldn't actually get a review together before the cassette tape gave up the ghost  (some of the kit I was given was REALLY ropey.) But for the brief time I was able to get it working, I remember thinking it was every bit the equal of one of those retro-styled pixel art platformers that are all the rage now. There was a real sense of wonder still palpable about it due to the way exploration and experimentation factored into it. 

And let's not forget about whacked out 3D isometric games like Knight Lore and Head Over Heels. We don't often see things like that anymore (although there is the excellent 'Lumo' for more contemporary consoles.) I must have sunk HOURS into those as a kid. And... er... would do again if I could claw a bit more time out of my week to fiddle with my CPC!
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Richard

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #7 on: 23 December, 2018, 10:51:24 am »
Space Rogue (1989) is still my favourite game ever. I got totally immersed in that. Excellent world-building, so much fun.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #8 on: 23 December, 2018, 11:28:33 am »
HdE: check out Oquonie if you can. If you’re a fan of old-school isometric games, You may well get a kick out of it.
« Last Edit: 23 December, 2018, 01:04:07 pm by IndigoPrime »

JamesC

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #9 on: 23 December, 2018, 11:35:31 am »
Monster Max on Gameboy is another quality isometric game.
I’ve heard good things about Solstice on NES too, along with it’s SNES sequel Equinox which I believe is more linear than most isometric maze games, having end of level bosses and stuff.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #10 on: 23 December, 2018, 01:05:01 pm »
Monster Max is by Jon Ritman, who did Head Over Heels and Batman. I interviewed him about MM years back for Retro Gamer. It's a decent game if you've a Game Boy (or fancy emulating one).

Dandontdare

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #11 on: 23 December, 2018, 11:08:25 pm »
This gives me nostalgic shivers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtBoRp_cSxQ

I remember a friend at school did some work on a Spectrum game and earned a few hundred quid, which made him loaded as a teenager in the 80s. He got his computer O level by turning the AD&D random gem generator into a BASIC program - whooo, heady stuff.

I've got to say I don't miss those infuriating RPG games that never understood a damn thing you typed, but I did love the original Lemmings. (was that on Spectrum, or I am I misremebering my earliest PC games?)

Tiplodocus

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #12 on: 23 December, 2018, 11:14:17 pm »
I programmed pretty much the whole of the AD&D Players Manual into my 48k Spectrum so we could generate the characters and tool them up and then print out all the details.
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TordelBack

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #13 on: 24 December, 2018, 12:50:08 am »
It'd be interesting to know how many independent versions of that Character Generator program there were! No github back then! 

Sadly the products of my own Acorn Electron version were ruled inadmissible at the table due to the limitations of LET STR=RND(6)+RND(6)+RND(6). A repeating sequence of 'random' numbers was not what Our Lord EGG intended... Also,  I had no printer and knew no-one who did,  so had tobtranscribe the results by hand. Not much labour saving!

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Games of the 80s
« Reply #14 on: 24 December, 2018, 06:48:54 pm »
Fair dues, Spectrum prompted the development of some cracking games.  Tornado Low Level anyone?  As you say, Manic Miner and JSW were cracking mind wasters.  Of course there was also the Hobbit (waiting an age for scenes from the book to render), Warlock of Firelock Mountain and of course for us Tooth fans, Strontium Dog: The Killing.  Happy days!

Think The Hobbit may have been one of the first games I played on the Spectrum.  Great fun; a very condensed version of the book (out Bag End door and you're straight to the parched desert).  I used to love those type-in adventure games; a particularly memorable one being Curse of the 7 Faces.

I never go to play Samantha Fox Strip Poker, despite my intense longing to do so.  Played it as an adult on an emulator, of course; and naturally it was as massively disappointing as you'd expect a black-and-white 8-bit topless 80s 16(!)-year-old to be.
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