Saturday, December 1, 2012

Games we play. Part 4. Bird and jumping snake.

House of floppies. Attic of floppies. Drawer of floppies. They came, occupied big space and after a while started disappearing, slowly giving away their place for bigger forms. It was time to move into a drawer. For ten or more years they were laying there untouched until I came, looked, build a tower, snap snap with the camera and put back to the drawer for another ten years. My story about the joy the other day has stopped, it was getting too long already so I cut the cake in half and decided to prolong the feast next time, this time. 
I bet all games on floppy discs still work, but I don't have a computer which could read them anymore. That's a shame. Oh, I do have that kind of computer, but it's too dead. Oh, again, even if it was still working it's grayscale, so no real fun playing games without colors. My only left hope - internet. 

Several years ago I was caught up in the mood for old games. You know that kind of thing when you get nostalgic and just start to surf around. I saw a lot of download links and was going to try some, but one problem got in the way: 
it was frustrating that when I wanted to play old MS-DOS games after the instant rush, I was stopped by the necessity to install DOSBox or similar simulation program and play games with games. I needed to trick them that nothing has changed and I still have and use MS-DOS. I tried to understand how to do it, but it looked too complicated at that time and not what I will do in less than a minute, 'whatever, Miss Past, no thanks, see you next time'. 
I was irritated, because in order to travel in time you don't want to build a machine of your own, right? You want just press a button hop in a tube or box, or whatever, type year and enjoy a nice smooth ride. Is it too much to ask, that it would be that easy with simulating MS-DOS? It was, but not anymore. Finally time machines started to appear online and I found mine. I have to say it's not perfect, sometimes games don't react and you have to reload several times or if you go to another page and return you can't move anymore unless you put your mouse cursor on the game's window. But it's still better than building your own, especially when you're intending just to open a drawer, look in it and after a short time close it. Fancy a ride?

J-Bird - I mentioned before that it was my first. Bird and jumping snake. Even if it is a Q*Bert's rip off, I like it better. I won't hide that I'm subjective, after all it was my first game which I remember, had so much fun playing with and never tried the original, but still there is a possibility that it really is better. One day I will know. 
Basically what you do in this game is jump up and down, change color of blocks avoiding snakes, dropping balls or little cats (which make jumping frogs sound, weird). I don't remember what was the highest level I reached, but when I played today at the easiest mode I conquered only 2. How embarrassing... Not! Be aware that it doesn't work with arrow keys so to move your bird use 1,W,=,P instead.
Prehistoric 2 - want to feel like a caveman? Already one and love to look at yourself? This game just perfect for splurging with a club. It was and is hilarious. Created in 1993 but graphics don't look so shockingly bad as in some games (or my eyes are used to it because pixel art is on the wave now and new games mimic this look a lot).
I love that creators thought carefully about small details and my most liked part was finding a huge haunch of meat in secret spots on each level. Truth to be told, it was more fun for me than finish line itself (it's the journey, not the destination, folks). And I know pretty sure who will be happy to see this game mentioned. You're welcome, it just brightens the day, doesn't it?.
Wolfenstein 3D - imagine it is dark and cold outside, you are sitting in the attic, white light flickering and making near annoying but not there yet buzzing sound, alone at home and playing this game. It was scary, it was cruel, but sure it was addictive and constant shoots of adrenaline. Fighting SS soldiers, dogs, collecting gold, chicken legs and searching for the way out in other words to meet and destroy robot Hitler or other bosses. If you dig into the history you'll find some interesting facts - it was withdrawn from circulation 1994 in Germany because of swastikas and Nazi anthem even though Nazis were shown as enemies or that it was heavily edited for American auditory. All Nazi references gone, Hitler's mustaches removed, blood became sweat and dogs were replaced by giant mutant rats (irony lies in the acceptability to shoot people but not dogs).*

Perestroika (Toppler) - I will mention this game today just for the sake of II World War theme balance. It's a shame that this version doesn't have original introduction song, but youtube has. Game is a bit boring, you just try not to drown by jumping from one pad to another. But one little detail makes it interesting. It's the story: you are democrat jumping between always changing laws when bureaucrats try to catch you. On the way towards better life you collect some blue, pink, orange, red dots which represent grocery goods, currency transaction, progressive taxes and adventures.
What about cars? Did I play car games? I am quite consistent. If I played with toy cars, why wouldn't I play games with cars. At first it was Stunts, where the biggest fun for me was to build my own tracks and not be able to finish them because I put too much loop tracks in it and ended up crashing my car numerous times. This explains why I liked Carmaggedon so much - no rules, destroying cars and everything what is too slow and gets in a way, running from police which definitely won't be polite, stop you and ask 'Ma'am, your registration please', but will brick you straight into the nearest wall. Face expressions of your own character in the top left corner or a chance to drive the Plow and Supressor.   
What else left unmentioned? Ah, Dune 2 - harvesters and annoying sand worms. While I was searching for this game I saw accidentally that real sand worms exist and they look like were inspiration for the similar bigger things in the game. The down side of this discovery I don't want to go to the beach anymore and I don't care that probably you won't find any of these creatures in a million years here. Some things simply can't be unseen. 
SupaplexCD-ManGodsRealms of ChaosElectroman. It looks and feels that I just  emptied the box. MS-DOS games box.


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