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…
Posts Tagged ‘Retro’
By Richard Cobbett on February 26th, 2011.
By John Walker on December 6th, 2010.
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.
By John Walker on November 22nd, 2010.
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.
By John Walker on October 18th, 2010.
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.”
By John Walker on October 11th, 2010.
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.
By John Walker on October 4th, 2010.
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.”
By RPS on September 28th, 2010.
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.
By John Walker on September 6th, 2010.
Ever since I visited the ill-fated Iron Lore in 2005, I’ve wanted to find the words to talk about a peculiar response I had to their level editor. It’s taken me this long to gain the vocabulary needed to even take a stab at it, primarily gained/cribbed from the essays and thoughts of film theorist André Bazin. (Whom I confess I first discovered through Linklater’s excellent Waking Life, rather than from the half a degree of film studies I slept through in ’98.) And so, smuggled onto the internet in a large wooden retrospective article on Titan Quest, my thoughts on the teleological nature of level editors. I don’t know how successful I’ve been, since I’m massively out of my depth without a useful background in either philosophy or semiotics. The EG commenters appear to have opted for pretending the article was only one page long, which is understandable. I’m nervous of what happens if someone who knows what they’re talking about responds. There’s a quote from it below, since I’ve waffled so much up here.
By John Walker on August 23rd, 2010.
With only coincidental timing, this week I wrote about the original Grand Theft Auto for Eurogamer – Dave Jones’ game that spawned the empire that led to his creating APB. Does the top-down 1997 original stand the cruel passage of time? Is it still controversial? I write:
It’s not like gaming had been an innocent pursuit until 1997. Obviously not. But it was the year that things got noticeably controversial. (The same year also offered us another chance to mow down innocents with Carmageddon.) And when a mainstream game from DMA – who had entertained us with suicidal green and purple rodents – contains lines like, “My brother knows I’m bangin’ his wife. Waste the sonofabitch before he finds me,” it comes as quite a surprise. To go from Christmas Lemmings to people shouting about “getting pussy”… it’s like your gran revealing she used to be a porn star.
By John Walker on August 16th, 2010.
My love for Soldner is real and weird. The most bugged game I’ve encountered (while Boiling Point’s bugs were extraordinary, it was at least a decent game underneath), it plays like slapstick comedy with an unbreakably straight face. I returned to it, playing the completely unpatched original version, and sticking to the single player (I did try to play some multiplayer later, but of course it didn’t work), to see if it would deliver the joy years on. It, of course, did. You can read my adventures here.
There’s a quote from it below, as it’s a bit long.
By John Walker on August 9th, 2010.
It’s thanks to Alec that I played King’s Bounty. Seeing turn-based combat in KB: The Legend my “Ew! Strategy!” alarms went off and I moved on to the next game on the list. But having read Alec’s My Zombie Wife piece, I felt I should give it a go. It’s fabulous. So when exploring the retro-weighed shelves of a nearby gaming store, finding the original King’s Bounty for sale meant a guaranteed buy. Except, well, it was on Megadrive. “Traitor!” shouted Kieron at me, repeatedly, all last week as I played. I’ve written all about it, and it’s almost entirely true for the DOS version too – a game I heartily recommend getting hold of. And the Megadrive version emulates beautifully on PC, I found out when taking screenshots after playing it for a few days on a real Megadrive on a television with a refresh rate low enough to give me a headache. There’s no good to be found in traiting. You can read my Eurogamer retrospective here, where I find much love and happiness in the game. A game with the most brutal game over message I’ve ever seen.
“Oh Mad Mohan,
You have failed to recover the Sceptre of Order in time to save the land! Beloved King Maximus has died and the Demon King Urthrax Killspite rules in his place. The Four Continents lay in ruin about you, its people doomed to a life of misery and oppression because you could not find the Sceptre.”
By John Walker on August 2nd, 2010.
Peering back through time, my retrospective hands seized upon Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, which I use as an excuse to explore the Tomb Raider series a little. It contains a paragraph that says this:
Lara is, let’s not forget, a truly dreadful person. Much has already been written about how she’s a grave-robbing thief, uncaring about either history or wildlife. And despite her having encountered dinosaurs, dragons and giant killer statues, she’s utterly blase about ignoring ancient texts warning of terrible plagues being unleashed upon the Earth if she takes one trinket or another. Screw Earth! She wants the shiny thing! Yeah, just steal it Lara. No one minds if you KILL EVERYONE ON EARTH. But of course Von Croy is the baddy, because he tried to do the world and its history a favour by killing her when she was a squawky teenager.
By John Walker on June 21st, 2010.
How funny was Armed & Dangerous? Yes, yes it absolutely had the Land Shark Gun, and no one can dispute its magnificence, but what about the rest of the game? I took a look at the 2003 game for Eurogamer, and then wrote words about it in the correct order. Some were:
“The reception is all down to context. You know when a golfer makes a funny mime to the crowd when someone’s phone rings, and everyone falls about laughing? Context. It’s not funny. It’s just unexpected. Put that golfer on stage at an open mic comedy night and his hilarity would be put into cruel perspective. It’s just not okay, not after 3000 years of games being around, for something just not being completely humourless to be good enough. And it’s not that A&D is unfunny – not at all. It’s occasionally wry, often silly. But just not “hilarious”.”
And the rest are here.