We recently reviewed A Gamer’s Guide to Gaming, and one of our biggest fans, Helga Pearson has taken the time to give us a little insight into her top five old school video games. Enjoy this little trip down game memory lane!
I have no idea how an Atari 2600 came to be in our house as a child. My parents were not exactly trend setters or tech-savvy, yet there it was in front of me, at five years old.
While watching a recent documentary, Video Games: The Movie, it suddenly struck me – I’ve been playing video games for nearly thirty-two years. That means I’m a bonafide veteran gamer, even though that feels strange to admit.
I often travelled with my dad to Johannesburg on his business trips and, it was during one of these trips that I was introduced to computers.He sat me down in front this mystical thing that I had never been allowed to touch before – a computer. My dad inserted a magnetic floppy disk, a big square piece of black plastic and magnetic tape that made really alarming noises as the computer seemingly ate it. Brown, glowing writing eventually loaded on the screen. This was my introduction to the wonderful world of Zork.
What is Zork? It’s a text-based adventure that cast a spell over me. Zork combined my two all-time favourite things, a story AND a game. It was kind of like a choose-your-own adventure book but for the computer. Zork would have to go at the top of my list for nostalgic old-school gaming. It wasn’t my first video game but it was my first ever ‘computer’ game. Here are some other games I remember fondly from childhood:
Originally, Arkanoid was an arcade game adapted for home computers – a fancier version of Pong for one player. There was a paddle and ball which you used to break rows of coloured breaks at the top of the screen. Many blocks or rows had hidden power-ups or extra lives when you hit them. This was the Candy Crush of the early 90s.
I remember Montezuma’s Revenge being one of my favourite games ever. The player controlled a little man that moved in a 2D scrolling style from room to room inside a maze-like underground Aztec temple. The object of the game was to score points by gathering jewels and killing bad guys.
In King’s Quest, players were finally able to play a character – a pixel person exploring the game world around you. The game play involved you, the gamer, typing in commands that made your character move around the world and interact with people or objects. This was cutting-edge stuff when it was released and I’m sure the inspiration behind many future games. Fun Fact – King’s Quest was designed by Roberta Williams, one of the few female design engineers of her generation and one of the most influential game designers of the 80s and 90s.
Where in the World is Carmen San Diego (European Edition)
This was apparently one of the first trivia, edutainment games but it was in no way boring. My cousins had the lurid 1988 edition, with graphics in pink and turquoise but it didn’t matter, we loved it. Not only that, we were learning things at the same time. In order to catch the villains, including old master criminal Carmen San Diego herself; you had to answers questions about history and geography. Much more entertaining than it sounds, I promise.
No list would be complete without Mario Brothers. If you were a kid in suburbia and didn’t play Mario Brothers, what exactly were you doing with your time? Superhero plumbers, secret mushrooms, flying turtles, princesses – really what more could you ask for from a game?