Posts Tagged ‘Retro’

Eurogamer Retro: Tomb Raider Legend

By John Walker on July 18th, 2011.

She's a brave girl, existing without internal organs.

I really do like Tomb Raider Legend. Obviously I hate its boss fights, and clearly I’m not so stupid as to enjoy the QTE nonsense that occasionally infects it. But it was such a treat to see Lara brought back to life, once more in a world tailor-made for her personal jumping distance, in a way remarkably faithful to the game’s triumphant early releases. And even more so, with its surprising sense of humour. And so it is that I celebrate this, with caveats, over on Eurogamer. I say things like,

“It’s exquisitely British, too. When realising that the clues (oh yes ‘the plot’ well, Lara’s friend Amanda didn’t die when she thought she did, and there’s this sword in bits, and something about Lara’s mum, and so on) are taking them from their exotic worldwide locations to, well, Cornwall, Lara replies, ‘As in, take the M5 to the A30, Cornwall?’”

I also had a bit of an insane post-boss fight rant which didn’t make it into the final edit, that I’ve put below.

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NaClBox: Play Monkey Island In A Browser

By John Walker on May 10th, 2011.

This is a picture of Monkey Island in a browser.

That’s my slightly sensationalist tabloid headline, but it’s entirely true. So long as you own the game, etc. And via the burgeoning magic that is NaClBox. Which really does let you play Monkey Island, or indeed any other DOS game playable in DOSBox, in a web browser. If that web browser is Google’s Chrome. I know it’s true – I did it.

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Eurogamer Retrospective: Dreamfall

By John Walker on April 26th, 2011.

Pants!

Oh, so on Sunday, in the middle of our yacht-based hammocking, my retrospective of Dreamfall went up on Eurogamer. The conflict the game generates in me was interesting to explore, and once again its moving story of faith and Faith won out. For instance, I utter:

“This isn’t a game that’s worried about drawing in the kids. In fact, it’s imbued with a strong tone of melancholy that it absolutely does not let go of throughout. This is a downbeat game, and goodness knows that’s rare. But it’s not so one-dimensional as to be miserable. Within the trauma, the sadness, the directionless confusion of people’s lives, is a message of extraordinary optimism, a resounding cry of hope. Because there’s faith.”

You can read the rest of it here. And I really whole-heartedly recommend reading my interview with creator Ragnar Tørnquist. I think it’s one of the best things wot I’ve done.

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EG Retro: Legend Of Kyrandia + MAPS!

By John Walker on April 4th, 2011.

Remember when games had graphics, eh?

This weekend saw my Eurogamer retrospective of one of the lesser-remembered adventure games of the early Nineties, the Legend Of Kyrandia: Book One. It contained moments like,

“It contained a single cursor. I’m not really sure what to do with this information. Does it undermine everything? Is everything that’s being produced now a homage to Kyrandia?

Obviously not. And not only because Kyrandia also suffers from the same issues. To say the story owes something to the King’s Quest series is a bit like saying Vodafone owes something to the Inland Revenue. In this fairytale land an evil wizard – brilliantly named Malcolm – is removing all the magic and, er, killing a few trees.”

And rather delightfully, it had me making maps for the first time in years. Below!

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Gaming Made Me: Quake

By Lewis Denby on March 6th, 2011.

Come on in, children. You'll make friends.

This week, in our Gaming Made Me series, Lewis Denby explains to us how it was that Quake came to make him. In a very personal account, find out how violent videogaming took away a child’s loneliness, and even got him to go to school.

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Eurogamer Retro: You Don’t Know Jack Vol. 1

By John Walker on February 28th, 2011.

I love you, question four.

After Richard Cobbett’s impressions of You Don’t Know Jack, it encouraged me to go all the way back to the beginning to play the original 1995 edition. And then write about it for Eurogamer. It contains things like,

“It’s a quiz game. And wow, do those usually suck as videogames. The late nineties and early 2000s were a time of great darkness, as those who cared about gaming looked at the best-seller charts and saw inane, lazy crap like the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Weakest Link games sitting in the top spot, presumably bought by the masses resulting from a mad scientist splicing slug brains into humans. But You Don’t Know Jack was something else. First and foremost, it began as a videogame, despite a few attempts at making television shows out of it. It was intended to be played this way. Yes, it pretends to award prize money, but here it acts as points for a high score. And it was really damned funny.”

You can read the rest here.

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Gaming Made Me: Leisure Suit Larry 1

By Richard Cobbett on February 26th, 2011.

Do doop de doopie-doop doo doo, doop doopie-doop doo...
We continue our Gaming Made Me series with a quick visit to the brain of Richard Cobbett, who might just have been exposed to an excessive amount of point ‘n’ click as a youngster. Let’s see what he has to say…

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Eurogamer Retro: Tron 2.0

By John Walker on December 6th, 2010.

Mercury's not as good as 13. I'm just saying.

Do you know what I did? You do? Oh. So yeah, I wrote about Tron 2.0 for Eurogamer. With the new movie coming out soon, it seemed a good time to go back to a game that is oddly similar to the plot of the next film. I wrote words. Some of them were:

My lasting memories were of three things: 1) The pink worm monster thing I could never beat. 2) The light cycle races I could never win. 3) The Disc weapon. What I’d forgotten was that it was in many ways as much of an RPG as Deus Ex. Not only is there a good deal of walking through friendly areas, or areas populated with friendly NPCs at least, but there’s a lot of chitchat with them and your companions. Combined with this is the levelling up – something that’s so incredibly rarely featured in an FPS. And then on top of that is the absolutely superb way it lets you add in various abilities, augmentations and weapons.

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Eurogamer Retro: Myst

By John Walker on November 22nd, 2010.

I hate Myst.

A hundred years ago, when I first started out writing reviews for PC Gamer, I was sent the adventure games. This was partly because I knew a lot about adventure games, but mostly because they were far more likely to be awful. And everyone hates me. Which meant I suffered at the hands of Myst. Myst, a game more tedious than being shown someone’s photographs after they’ve been on holiday to Swindon, spawned so many copycat pre-rendered mechanical-puzzled miseryfests. And sure, while they paid my rent, my loathing grew and grew. You may have played Myst when it first game out, and in your youthful naivety mistook it for something not purest evil, but I’ll bet you didn’t play Dracula: Resurrection, Jerusalem: The 3 Roads To The Holy Land, or Arthur’s Knights 2. Or Schizm: The Mysterious Journey. Or The Secret of Nautilus. Or The New Adventures Of The Time Machine. Or The Watchmaker. Anyway, the point being, I’ve written a retro of the original Myst for Eurogamer. Choice quote below.

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Eurogamer Retro: Fate Of Atlantis

By John Walker on October 18th, 2010.

They were less politically correct times.

Playing old games makes you more handsome, so in my desperate struggle to ascend from “bridge troll” I’ve created another retrospective for Eurogamer, this time about Indiana Jones & The Fate Of Atlantis. Made at the same time as The Secret Of Monkey Island and The Dig, I argue that it’s the best of the three. Despite not having any fondness for Indy. I say:

“It’s a good job the Nazis didn’t have access to all the mystical, powerful idols and machinery that gaming would have us believe. Although it’s equally odd that our fiction wants to take one of the most horrific and murderous forces ever to have existed, and suggest that had they only got their hands on the Holy Grail or secrets of ancient worlds then they could have caused some real trouble. But such is the way of both gaming and the Indiana Jones franchise, and so once more the good doctor is trekking about the planet, trying to beat the Nazis to finding the lost city of Atlantis.”

You can read the rest here.

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Eurogamer Retro: Curse Of Monkey Island

By John Walker on October 11th, 2010.

That's the second insult swordfight I've ever seen.

It’s important to admit when you’re wrong. All my life I’ve maintained that The Curse Of Monkey Island was rubbish. So I went back to check, and found out that, well, it’s not. So many of the puzzles are. The tacky line drawings often are. But it’s a better game than I’d remembered. I write all about it over at Eurogamer, including this representative paragraph:

With series regulars like the Voodoo Lady and Stan appearing, now it seems daft that the game works so hard to reintroduce them. But with over half a decade having passed, a good proportion of the potential audience wouldn’t have had any idea who they were. Plus a lot of the references were starting to feel dated back then and now seem positively archaic.

During my eighties childhood, about 70 per cent of the programmes I watched included quicksand at some point. To misquote comedian Adam Carolla, until the age of 10 I was certain I was either going to die by falling in quicksand or by being eaten by cannibals who would first make me their god. Now, outside of madman Bear Grills’ on-screen suicide attempts, there’s not a drip of quicksand to be found. And worrying about being eaten by cannibals is perhaps considered culturally insensitive.

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Eurogamer Retro: Uplink

By John Walker on October 4th, 2010.

Hackity hackity hackity hack.

Sometimes, with enough time travel and science, it’s possible to play games from the past. For instance, last week I played Uplink. Then, having done this, I wrote about it. Eurogamer kindly agreed to publish this article on their website, and now I link to it. It’s the circle of life.

I think it taps into a nightmarish fear that we all must have experienced at one time. That thing we did, or may have done without knowing it, that catches up with us. Like that time I paid for a packet of Fruit Pastilles in pennies, knowingly one coin short, and the man in the petrol station said to me: “I won’t count it. I’ll trust you.” Mobil closed down a few years later, which surely has to be at least partly my fault, and I know that one day the policeman will knock on my front door. I’ll look up from the jigsaw puzzle I’m completing with my wife and our two children, and he’ll say, “Are you John Walker? I’m going to have to ask you to come with me.”

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Re-Retrospective: Planescape: Torment

By RPS on September 28th, 2010.

A corpse with irresistable sexual magnetisim, indeed.

This retrospective post was originally published on RPS in 2007, and we repost it here to celebrate the arrival of Planescape: Torment on Good Old Games. It was first written by Kieron for PC Gamer. Some spoilers follow, but nothing absolutely critical.

Ignored by the gaming press upon release, only receiving warmish reviews that stopped well short of open adulation and the victim of one of the most ill-judged marketing campaigns (“A corpse with irresistible sexual charisma”) in history, Planescape Torment is the classic Underdog. Inevitably, it became the (relatively speaking) commercial runt of the Baldur’s Gate litter. In the years since, the coin of its critical worth has accumulated to the point where aficionados regularly cite it as the greatest of the PC RPGs. In fact, it’s rehabilitation has gone too far, with its name being a simple byword for narrative excellence without anyone really feeling the need to say why. There’s more here than dogmatic romantic myth.

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