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Sunday, March 17th, 2013
|Video games I have played
I tried to come up with a top ten list of games that have consumed large chunks of my life, but I am apparently a terrible editor. I don't consider myself a gamer in the usual sense--I have no interest in first-person shooters, after all--but clearly I have spent many hours in pursuit of digital glory.
- Snack Attack - This Pac-Man knockoff was our first game for the Apple II. No one was better at this game than my mom. (No one in my family has ever believed that boys are better at video games than girls, because my mom will totally pwn you.)
- Pong - although we were jealous of our friends' Atari 2600 systems, dusting off my parents' Pong console was pretty awesome and earned us some old school cred.
- Snake Byte - for Apple II. This game has a variety of names, but it is probably the best game that requires only 2 keys to play.
- Pitfall - Kevin A. had an Atari 2600 and Pitfall was by far the best game. Kevin was great at it too--he had such an amazing score one day that he took a photograph of the screen. I believe there was a magazine such photos could be sent to and he would be listed as one of the Pitfall greats.
- [Unknown] - there was a driving game that my dad coded from a book on BASIC programming, meticulously retyping several pages of code. I don't remember what it was called, but it was another game that required just 2 keys. Low-res!
- Lode Runner - well, really Lode Runner 2, which had the create-your-own-levels feature. My brothers and I would create difficult puzzle levels to try to stump each other and my mom. (Again, like Snack Attack, my mom was the household champ at this game.)
- Galaga - I probably saw this first either at Pinball Pete's at the Frandor Shopping Center, or in the lodge at the Lansing Ski Club. This is still my favorite arcade game and I cannot resist dropping in a couple quarters whenever I see it.
- Archon - Llewelyn F. introduced me to this game, a battle chess of sorts. His family loved games--he taught me the little I know about chess, and introduced me to other board games, such as Stratego.
- Spyhunter - this game was fun to play on the Apple II, but was then impossibly difficult in the arcade!
- Autoduel - I went through a software pirating phase along with some other tweens and teens in the 517. Using byte editors we would take the already cracked code and insert our own handles in the place of the original person who overrode the copy-protection. Kevin A. was Black Lightning (and I was the derivative Blue Lightning), and he had inserted his handle into the opening of this game. Also, this game was where I first heard of Scranton, PA, as the game involved delivering/smuggling goods between different Northeast cities.
- Ultima V - 10 floppy disks! Copied from Jeremy F. aka The Cheese. I spent basically a year of my life playing this game. I never did win, although I never really knew what the goal was either. I used the byte editor to cheat and give all my characters the best weapons. There was a wishing well in the game where you could throw in a gold coin an make a wish. The only wish that worked was a wish for a horse -- which gave you a horse. However, you could also wish for a sports car: Ferrari, Porsche, etc., and it would give you a horse. My first discovery of an Easter Egg, although I don't know if that was in the original or only in the cracked version I had.
- Law of the West - a choose-your-own-adventure type game where you could choose dialog snippets in conversations with people in a lawless Western town. From this game I took my BBS handle, El Gringo. (I had no idea what it meant.)
- Beyond Castle Wolfenstein - there's nothing quite like bombing Hitler. Although my favorite part was using the dagger to silently kill Nazi guards and drag their bodies into corners.
- Might and Magic - my first 3D maze game. Actually, I don't remember this one all that well except that I spent too much time playing it.
- Black Magic - one of the first games that I played to completion, whereupon I discovered its limited replay value.
- Gauntlet - there was a machine in the cafeteria at Manchester College, where I stayed for 2 weeks at a summer camp. I spent $60 playing Gauntlet with some of the other kids there (it was a 4-player game). I always played the elf, and now the phrase "the Elf shot the food" will forevermore be linked with my overzealous trigger-finger.
- R-Type - I always loved music and the graphics of this arcade game. Although I found it difficult, I was drawn to it all the same.
- Rampage - you play the bad guys and smash buildings. When you take too much damage you turn back into a tiny naked human and step sideways off the screen. Brilliant.
- Omega - a Rogue-like game that I downloaded off a BBS. I wasted well over a year playing this at different times in my life. A great game filled with all sorts of humor. (Spoiler: the way to win is to quit the game!)
- Risk - I used to play Risk long into the night on the Macs at the North Campus computing center as a freshman. I would probably be a millionaire today if I had used that time differently. Instead, I merely conquered the world many times over.
- Sim Earth - see above.
- Golden Axe - Tina rented out someone's Man Cave as an apartment for a while, and it contained a Golden Axe arcade machine. Bernie and I, during one visit, played the game straight through.
- Golden Tee '97 - Bernie and I used to play this at the Pony Keg Pub, the crummy country bar next to our apartment building, on paydays. Bernie was well-known there, at least to the bartenders. "Double Jack and Coke, short glass," he'd say. "Honey, you know the Coke is just for color," they'd advise. "I know," he'd reply.
- Pokemon - Nintendo Gameboy. Miranda and I played this for the entire year we lived in Plymouth and bought a second Gameboy in part to trade Pokemon, and in part so we wouldn't have to share. We were complete Pokemaniacs. (Gotta catch 'em all!) At one time I could have easily listed off the original 150 pokemon. There was a Burger King on campus that had a Pokemon trading night on Wednesdays. When I showed up I realized it was for children, and then I left feeling disappointed and creepy.
- Master of Magic - Nicola introduced this PC game to me. It's a fantastic game, highly addictive. It is only through great force of will that I am not playing it right now. It probably takes 4-5 hours to finish a game, so it is a dangerous pursuit.
- Plants versus Zombies - this iPad game is goofy, cute, and fun. "There's a zombie on your lawn...we don't want zombies on our lawns."
#25 on the timeline really should have been Bejeweled
, which I played a lot on my Handspring Visor while I was waiting for Miranda to get out of work at the Borders HQ.