Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Classic games for the Personal Computer

Who didn't love 8 bit graphic computer games as a kid.  I sure know I did.  Yes Nintendo and Sega Genesis were great and easy to use but if you had a solid game for your PC computer, you knew you were in for the best home video game experience EVER.  Here's my list of the top 10 computer games ever.  I'm going prior to 1999 and the PlayStation explosion.

10.) Oregon Trail - The game that taught me about dysentery and cholera.  Most people had this game or played it in elementary school. It was a pretty hard game to win, especially when trying to navigate with no food and theives ran off with your clothing. Some of the terminology in this game described my way off life senior year of college (grueling pace with bare bones rations). Very rudimentary graphics but I always got a morbid kick at seeing friends die.

Best Part: Seeing something like "Cousin Mike has a broken leg"
Worst part: Whenever you tipped over while trying the ford the river or caulk the wagon.

9.) Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - There was one night when I lived in Boston that a friend and I tried to beat the game and we used another friend on Long Island to help us out via a "phone a friend" feature. I think the $1,000,000 question asked who the purple teletubby was. All in all, a fun game to play and Regis Philbin was there to ask all the questions. Regis is my number 3 all time video game announcer behind Verne Lundquist in NBA Live 98' and Vin Scully in MLB 99'.

Best Part: The scary goofy music.
Worst Part: When you ask the audience and they give you the wrong answer...damn them!!!

8.) Shuffle Puck - An Apple 2 GS staple...the type of computer where you'd put a 3x5 disc into it. I can't remember all the characters but there was the really big fat guy with an evil laugh and an alien. I was terrible at this game.

Best Part: All of odd looking characters and their random catch phrases.
Worst Part: Losing almost every time I played this game.

7.) Mean 18 - I had this for my old Mac Plus (with a state of the art 5 inch black and white screen at the time). There was only one course but you could also design your own holes. I think my friends and I would play for skins here using real money even though we were only 13 or 14 years old.

Best Part: Its golf! On a computer!
Worst Part: The graphics looked like an 18 month old threw up onto a white paper plate.

6.) PGA Tour Golf -  Since this was on a PC and could hold a little more memory, this was one of the first sports games with a real announcer. I don't think you ever saw a golfer, just your shots. The best part was when the announcer would whisper "this putt...will break slightly to the RIGHT". I think you could play 4 round tournaments but that was it. It featured cutshots using classic videos of golfers.  The best was Craig Stadler on his knees on a blanket hitting a shot underneath a tree. That shot is illegal by the way.

Best Part: The whispering voice.
Worst Part: The putting was nearly impossible.

5.) Phantasmagoria- I'm not sure if anybody else had heard of this game and its sequel but it was about a couple moving into a haunted house and the husband going absolutely crazy and trying to murder you. It featured real actors from TV and there was brutal violence, gore, and even a rape scene. Yes, your husband rapes you during the game during a cut scene and there's nothing you could do about it.  There's also a scene when the main character's (the wife) face literally gets ripped apart. The sequel was even more weird involving S&M clubs, aliens, and even more violence. Ironically, I loved these type of games.

Best Part: Getting revenge on the demon that possessed your husband.
Worst Part: Getting raped.

4.) Murder In The 1st - This was another one of those games featuring real actors using green screen and not the more common computer generated character. This was in the "choose your own adventure" style but instead you play as a lawyer. A hard game to beat as the witnesses always clammed up if you asked the wrong questions. Some of the acting and cut scenes are just terrible but winning this game by getting a first degree murder conviction was the most satisfying thing I've ever accomplished in life just behind getting married.

Best Part: When the jury foreman says "we find the defendent, James Tobin, guilty as charged.  Murder in the first degree".

Worst Part: When the guy who worked with the accused murderer gets nervous when you start intimidating him. He goes ballistic and calls you an asshole.

3.) The Beast Within - Gabriel Knight 2 - Another stop motion game about werewolves infesting a small town in Germany. You play as a detective trying to find out why children are disappearing  Spread out over 6 discs, it was only like playing in a real movie. Plagued with bad acting, it had a really good story. Also featured lots of violence and gore.

Best part: Any werewolf scene was awesome but it took forever to get there.
Worst Part: This game took months to complete.

2.) Ripper - The only computer game to feature Christopher Walken, Jimmie Walker, Ossie Davis, the fat indian guy from the Indian Jones movies, and Karen Allen in the same game. The only game on this list I couldn't finish because there was one puzzle I couldn't figure out even with a cheat guide. The story played out as you being a detective for a murder but involves then budding virtual reality parts and impossible puzzle solving. I wish I could see Christopher Walken's bad line reading again.

Best Part: Christopher Walken in a video game?
Worst Part: You literally can't win the game.

1.) Red Alert - Command and Conquer. Possible the greatest game ever made (including the PS3 and XBox era). I would miss meals and spend hours on a single mission. The best was linking my campaign to my college roommates together (very old school considering it was 1999) to fight missions against each other. The connection always broke after 10 minutes though. Great cut scenes...the girl who tried to help you was crazy, dogs were vicious, and you always wanted to have at least 4 tesla coils guarding your base.

Best Part: The voices in the game are still ones I use to this day. "Engineering", "Building..." "Noooooo!!!!", "Repairing" "Affirmative"

Worst Part:  It literally could take hours up on hours in a single session to build up enough man power to win a mission.

Honorable mentions - Space Quest 2, Zany Golf, Jeopardy, Goldrush, Blade Runner, Tender Loving Care, and Microsoft Golf.

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