Wednesday 18 January 2012


Firstly, a bit about me.  It makes me feel old, but have been gaming since the late 70’s.  I can’t remember exactly when it started but during that period my brother and I owned a couple of fluorescent display games (Astro Wars being the one I remember) and my family bought a Grandstand console which had several built-in variations of Pong and a lightgun. I also, although rarely, visited the arcades when I had the chance – early memorable games variously being Kasco’s The Driver, Xevious, and M.A.C.H.3.  I was also amazed by Dragon’s Lair although never having had the chance to play it I wouldn’t have realised how little control you had over the character. 

My first proper home computer was a Commodore VIC-20 I bought from a friend before moving up to a 48K Spectrum as a few of my a friends also owned them.  I had other friends who owned variously a Philips Videopac G7000, Atari 2600, Commodore 64 and BBC Model B. My next computer was a 128K Spectrum which was a bad buy as the 8-bit era was sadly coming to an end at that point although there were a few good games for it (Starglider in particular). 

Next up was an Atari ST bought in part because my best mate had one and I couldn’t afford an Amiga.  We had some good times linking up the machines playing Stunt Car Racer, Populous and Spectrum Holobyte’s Falcon among others.  It also had some great two player games such as IK+ and Speedball 2.

In the early to mid 90’s I got my first PC blowing £1,500 on a (then) state of the art 90mhz Pentium PC with a huge 1Gb hard drive and (if I remember correctly) a whopping 16Mb RAM.  At the time it could run any software thrown at it (often too fast) and it introduced me to the joys of editing autoexec.bat and config.sys files in order to run a game.  I can’t remember any games for the recently released Windows 3.11 that came installed. I have owned PCs ever since and also bought my first consoles – Sony Playstations 2 and 3.

Back in the early days games were just simple pick up and play affairs, or to be more accurate simple, wait 5 minutes to load and play affairs. In recent years, being married with a family I don’t have the time to invest hours and hours in adventure, strategy or RPG type games anymore and have started playing this type of game again – games such as Peggle, Soldner-X, Bejewelled, Zuma that you can play for a half hour and put down again. 

In that vein I thought I would go all retro and pick my favourite games from some of the popular systems and say a few words on the ones that, for me, have stood the test of time.  I’ve already found a couple of games I used to love, but couldn’t bear to invest any time in today.  I hope to revisit some games from my youth, games I missed out on playing and games I had never heard of.  Being a gamer for so long I can turn a blind eye to crude graphics and deaf ear to primitive sounds, and concentrate on playability and fun.

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