Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Games people played..

I haven't played a game on a computer, excepting solitaire and that ilk, in years. Well, I take that back: I think I've played a little bit of Diablo or Diablo II on this machine since I moved up here.

Which is funny, because this computer, like every computer I've owned before it, was built to play games. Test Drive and Sim City on the XT; Red Baron and Civilization on the 286; Wing Commander and Eye of the Beholder on the 386; Privateer and Crusader: No Remorse on the 486; and whole weekends of LAN parties playing Quake and Diablo and US Navy Fighters and Need For Speed on a succession of ever faster Pentiums...

So I'm reading over at Popehat and Patrick is off on a nostalgic tear about one of his favorite old video games, Star Control II, which I never played, and he casually mentions a joint on the 'net called Good Old Games, which has apparently been acquiring the rights to the back catalogs of several companies. Oh, man, they have Red Baron and the first Gabriel Knight game! And no DOSBox required!

40 comments:

Brian J. said...

No comments yet, I see.

Because everyone has clicked over and is lost for hours.

Or you have and won't be around to moderate comments for some time.

Anonymous said...

I resisted the urge to click, so far...

The first game box I built, an AMD 386 DX-40, was to play VGA Planets and it spiraled out of control after that thanks to BBS's like I-285 and others that offered multitudes of downloadable games to try for free.

It was a great time to be single and live in Atlanta a mile or so from Jimmy Carter Drive.

Gmac

Laughingdog said...

Actually, most of their games use DosBox. But it's integrated into the function of the game. You'll see the DosBox window pop up briefly, and then never see it again the rest of the time you're playing.

Tam said...

Ah. I wondered how the magic worked.

genedunn said...

GOG is awesome... I hope you enjoy it. The deals are great, and the install packages are clean and no-nonsense.

Anonymous said...

http://www.google.com/search?q=mame+cabinet

Plumb the true depths of retro gaming nerdliness...

Let us know when you've reached the KLOV...

Tam said...

Anon 8:49,

Was never much of an arcade gamer. I've spent some money on Gauntlet II and Street Fighter II in my time, but that's about it for me and arcade games.

Pac Man and Joust and that ilk leave me cold.

bluesun said...

Couldn't find Commander Keen... sad day...

Dirt Sailor said...

Commander Keen is on Steam, I believe, bluesun.

Cond0010 said...

"Was never much of an arcade gamer."

Yeah, me neither. I learned years ago that in FPS twitch-fests, a computer/machine can/will always twitch faster than our bio/electrical hardware. Thus the lack of interest.

I just finished walking down nostalgia lane and played an old, old, old... old, old, game online called 'Risk' on Pogo. Of course the brain was in neutral during the entire time, but it sure was enjoyable to go down memory lane.

mizubob said...

I wondered what in the world I was going to do with all that free time.
Thanks for the link!

BobG said...

Never played arcade games, though I used to do some pinball before they came out.

SpeakerTweaker said...

OMGOMGOMG! [/geekgasm]

They have Rise of the Triad! I need a cigarette...



tweaker

Outsider said...

Dosbox is great. No (reliable) other way to play Master of Orion 2 online..

GK I was a great game...

Civ was only a prototype game. For the real Civ, see Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. That's the gaming* equivalent of heroin, I think. I only allow myself some during summer holidays..

*too bad the AI sucks, and Sid Meier may be a good game designer, but why couldn't he ever design or get designed a non-sucky AI? I bet academics would be falling over themselves to offer up novel neural network algorithms for a game like Civ V(pretty to look at but sucks).

One could probably get a PhD or a masters degree if one wrote a decent AI module for such a game.

Tam said...

Outsider,

"GK I was a great game..."

One of my roommates at the time, who was working on her MA in Lit and was not at all into computer games, so totally fell in love with it that she borrowed my CD-ROM and went and played it through a second time with her fiancee.

As she put it "You know, this is such a good story that it would work as a book or a movie or a play just as well."

(Unfortunately, when I stumbled across the novelization a few years ago, it turned out to blow goats. Too bad they couldn't have got a better writer for the job.)

Tam said...

Oh, and for whatever reason, Alpha Centauri never really caught on with me. Same with most of the Civ games. I think the series reached its "beer'n'pretzel" perfection in Civ 2...

Orphan said...

You can't not love Alpha Centauri. That's like not loving Dungeon Keeper, or Lords of Magic 2/SE, or Diablo 2; it was the pinnacle of its genre, unmatched before or after. (Although Call to Power - the first one, not the sequel - comes close to Alpha Centauri.)

Dan said...

Ah, the glory days of PC gaming! I feel like a crotchety old man saying this, but back in my day, games actually lasted more than 20 hours and we had to buy real disks in real boxes.

I'm surprised no one has brought up HOTUD.org . It's free and nostalgiatastic!

Skip said...

One other option for those of you looking for retro games is GameTap - for a small subscription fee you get access to hundreds of games, ranging from the old infocom text games all the way up to stuff only a year or two old. As well you get retro console stuff emulated. Well worth it in my view.

Ian Argent said...

Star Control 2 itself is available open-source; though not under that name. Try ur-quan masters

Robert said...

Haven't fired it up in a while but I keep an old craptop around just so I can play Great Naval Battles of the North Atlantic.

Eric said...

I still play one of the first MMORPG's, Gemstone. Although it's up to IV now. No named servers, one instance of the world, no graphics, it's awesome.

JT said...

GOG, HOTUD, GameTap, all very good options for some good stuff, with their own individual targets/idiosyncracies.

GOG/GameTap have pretty much nailed down functionality on modern PCs (through DosBox magic or what have you), where HOTUD is DIY for the most part.

GOG is pay-once, portable, own-forever, DRM-free, where GameTap is subscription-based (pay monthly/yearly no matter how much or how little you pay) and proprietary, where HOTUD is free/abandonware.

GOG also very often offers additional little bonuses on their offerings like additional art assets from the game (wallpapers, etc.) or soundtracks from the game in MP3, etc.

Robin said...

My wife is going to hate Patrick...

Ken said...

Already have Il-2 '46, but there are some other titles there that are Do Want, and the price is right.

Outsider said...

I started on Freeciv (better graphics and everything than CIV2) and couldn't cope with CIV2 (ugly graphics, clunky interface).

Alpha was/is IMO better, because you can design your own units. Tactical combat is almost as good as Panzer General(). All kinds of units are present, from infantry. through artillery, armored cars, hovertanks.. but the AI is nothing much. Hitler on speed was a far superior strategist. Computer cannot be arsed to do simple stuff like not get caught in the open, keep to well defensible squares or just attack en masse, not piece by piece (which just gets them dead)

Shame they didn't go for hexes and a round planet, (is just a torus).

Freeciv has a nice isophex iconset, and is very much fun. Hasn't got enough units or terrainkinds though.

Also, Gabriel Knight III is not bad. Good advanture fan, the graphics are a little sterile and outdated, but the story is okay..(basiacally, I suspect Dan Brown ripped off GK III when he was writing his bestseller book. Da vinci code?)

Outsider said...

@Cond110

Computer wins? Not really. Folks who play FPS games profesionally eat the best bots for breakfast (Godlike on UT, for example). Maybe with hitscan one hit death weaponry.. but if the weapons shoot slower projectiles and you have to lead or anticipate the enemy.. they stop shining.

Bots in FPS games are just boring. They cannot think, they just run around, use no strategy mostly.

Outsider said...

Correction: not 'torus' in Alpha.. just cylinder. Toroidal hex maps are better..

Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, I see where this thread is going. Just remember Tam, Water is Good, Food is Good, hit the Pause button and put some into your body every couple of days. Have a nice summer!

Ruth said...

urg....so much for my free time this week. Thanks!! (I shall be sharing the link lol)

jed said...

Figures someone would beat me to the MAME reference. I installed it, and got a real kick out of playing Galaga again.

Running Linux, I don't have as many gaming choices -- not that I'm much of a gamer. But there are times when I wish for a way to fire up MechWarriorII (that is, if I had the media still -- I don't know whether that's still in a box someplace).

I do know a few folks who'll be interested in that GOG site though.

Steve Skubinna said...

I still play MOO II from time to time, especially since Impulse offered it in a version ported to newer OSs.

But the game I wake up late at night really missing is Shamus, on my old Atari 800 back in '82.

Cond0010 said...

"Folks who play FPS games profesionally eat the best bots for breakfast "

The programmers design them to be eaten, Outsider. Otherwise, people would not play the game.

Its a stacked deck.

MattCFII said...

I've been reliving USNF/Fighters Anthology with the more modern Strike Fighters series (IIRC their designer also worked on USNF).

I started playing F-15 Strike Eagle and F-19 Stealth Fighter on an Atari ST. Since around 1989 to about 2007 I've owned just about every combat flight sim out there. My favorite is still the Falcon series but my home cockpit for 4.0 got a little ridiculous especially after having kids. For right now the Strike Fighters and add-ons is a good mix of easy to play, I don't feel like I need a lot of hardware input devices (the cockpit had 50+ switches, MFDs, lights, 3 monitors) but still has good depth and is simulating a great in 1960s to early 1980s jets. Same company makes First Eagles which might be a descent modern equivalent of Red Baron. But the last time I got on a WWI kick I just got RB3D to run for awhile and got my fix.

Most of my DOS stuff I still have so if it is on CD, I can play it when I get nostalgic with DOSBox which works ok for me most of the time. But for me it doesn't take much to get the fix and I back to the more modern stuff.

I haven't played Civ5 but have al the other ones and agree that for beer and pretzels level 2 is about were it's at. Alpha Centauri never held that much interest for me but sure did for my youngest sister. For me I think it was mostly the SciFi setting didn't draw me as much.

Anonymous said...

Abandonware is where it's at...

Outsider said...

@Cond

I doubt that. At the higher difficulty levels, almost no one can beat them. Except people who play the game too much and have some talent.

Cond0010 said...

Okay Outsider. You know best. :)

Anonymous said...

ScummVM is generally preferred for adventure games, though.

Especially Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

Outsider said...

BTW... Master of Orion 2 is probably the best civ clone. Has great and very complex tactical combat... you get to design your own battleships. Lacks some micromanagement..

There is no optimal strategy, so you have to know what your opponent has. Unlike CIV, you cannot research all techs, so there is a lot of agonizing about which tech to pick.

Some dozens of people still play it over the internet...

@Tam
Something tells me Roberta X would like the game... that is, if she is the kind of person who likes strategy games.

Also democracy and capitalism is now a viable strategy... techs faster than the hive minds which ruled in original game (they did not do enough playtesting.. so rules were unbalanced)

Too bad Feudal is bugged.. and the idiots who own the rights lost the source code...(can you believe that? Lost the sources...)

Ian Argent said...

MoO2 is available from Stardock Impulse for a few bucks.