Posts Tagged ‘Lo-Fi Let’s Play’

(Not Our) Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Life & Death

You may have noticed Leigh Alexander’s Lo-Fi Let’s Play series, with its curious and gentle examination of weird old games, hasn’t graced our pages in several months. Leigh, you see, went off to do exciting and lovely things with Laura Hudson at Offworld, where the series continues.

Through the magic of the Internet (and the courtesy of asking nicely), we can still show you them. Leigh published the latest on Offworld on Thursday, looking at 1988 surgery sim Life & Death.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?

I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era and beyond. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones.

When it comes to my Lo-Fi Let’s Play series, I have just a few hard-and-fast rules. One: No twitch, no arcade. Two: No hits. Don’t ask me to play Monkey Island and King’s Quest unless it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re paying for my party, so to speak.

But today, I buckled. It’s the season for copious work travel, conferences and speaking engagements, and when I found myself in a Helsinki airport on the way to Malta with an hour to kill, I got this itch. In the car to the airport, the Finnish cab driver was scrolling through his dashboard computer, trying to find Malta on the map, I think so that he could tell me how much more daylight I could expect there than here, when the sun has set each day at 3:30 PM after cold-rinsed mornings of perfectly-white skies. Here, I took a jog to the sea, or what I thought was the sea. What are these snowfields, I wondered? Oh, it is the sea, totally frozen.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play 19: Emmanuelle, A Game of Eroticism

I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era and beyond. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones.

The 1980s gave us a smattering of cartoonish, often crude graphical sex games — almost as if the player, assumed to be a “he”, were himself the butt of a joke for even questing for sexual stimulation from a computer in the first place. This excellent Atlantic piece about The Softporn Adventure, widely considered the first erotic game, describes the common tone the game set: it’s a “gawkiness”, a car accident of earnestness and chauvinism. As I grew up in the 80s myself, their awkward visual language is almost inseparable from the ticklish squickiness I felt whenever I accidentally brushed against that kind of sexual imagery as a kid.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play 17: Altered Destiny

I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!

Lo-Fi Let’s Play has been on a little break, but now we’re back on the regular, DOS willing. This time, we visit the year 1990. I remember once seeing a couple screenshots of Altered Destiny on the back of the box, or among the ads in the manual or something, from some other computer game I owned. I don’t remember which one, but those two screenshots instilled in me such a fierce wish to own this game that it took me quite a while, playing it over the holiday, to be certain that I never actually did.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play Special: The (Complete) Colonel’s Bequest

I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!

When I recently featured one of my all-time favorite adventures,The Colonel’s Bequest, for a quick Lo-Fi look, I thought it might be a good idea to revisit it later in a full-length video. I suggested it, and the response was overwhelming — you wanted more Colonel’s Bequest!

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: The Institute

I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!

Following on from last week’s Colonel’s Bequest — definitely the ‘best’ computer game this series has looked at — I decided to continue a ‘scary games’ theme for October. Searching for niche titles that don’t already have a major following, I looked into The Uninvited, A Personal Nightmare and even the original Alone in the Dark. The first two I couldn’t quite get to run reliably (advice on how to use a MiniMac for Uninvited, please!), and the latter was, I’m afraid, too tedious for me to want to record.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: The Colonel’s Bequest

[I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

I know I said no hits, but I’m often surprised to find this classic 1989 Sierra title from Roberta Williams is usually considered niche, especially relative to the classic King’s Quest and other “quest”-themed series. Of course, The Colonel’s Bequest, about the inheritance to be left by a mysterious, cranky old bayou patriarch, also has the word “quest” in the title. Cute.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Tass Times in Tonetown

[I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

A few of you have asked about Tass Times in Tonetown, Michael and Muffy Berlyn’s 1986 love letter to weird neon new-wave. I’d never played it before, so I spent some time with it for the series, and it’s immediately evident to me why it’s so well-loved. There’s so much charming and offbeat detail within — I’d go so far as to assume that many things about Tass Times set the tone for the big adventure game boom of the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s. Perhaps you’ll see what I mean if you watch the video.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Man-Eng – Master of Evil

I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!

For the first time, I’ve got virtually nothing to tell you about the origin or creator of this week’s obscure find, Man-Eng: Master of Evil. I mean. I can tell you it has a wine river. A wine river! But otherwise, I found it in the annals of the Virtual Apple site, and all my research couldn’t turn up even a pack shot, let alone information on its creators, The Chiang Brothers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Critical Mass

[I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

Like Sirius Software’s Gruds in Space, the same company’s Critical Mass was one of my main childhood demons — absorbing, unsolvable, inspiring. Time is a factor in this game, and each move causes it to pass — taking planes to new places can eat up great swathes of it. When the time is up, a bomb goes off. I didn’t know exactly who I was or why I was traveling the world, fearing the great animated nuclear mushroom cloud that would eventually destroy the world if I took too long, but I loved doing it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Neuromancer

[I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

Interplay’s 1988 Neuromancer game is only very loosely based on the William Gibson novel of the same name. As it turns out, legendary acid psychologist Timothy Leary was the one who originally wanted to make a game about the book — he thought escaping into computer games might be the next psychedelic frontier.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Mystery House

[I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

In honor of Activision’s revival of the Sierra label, I decided to revisit the 1980 classic Mystery House, Ken and Roberta Williams’ first “Hi-Res Adventure,” and the first official game by the company that would become Sierra On-Line.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Dream Zone

[I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

The only thing I love as much as the sullen, radical 90s is the gaudy, late 1980s-capitalism aesthetic that sowed the seeds for it to bloom. You know, giant brick-shaped cell phones and heavy metal babes on car hoods. I think in 1989, my mother was buying me penny-saving mass-produced Marshall’s T-shirts that had neon skateboards on them, and the marquee ‘radical.’ Maybe.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Crimson Crown (Transylvania II)

I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: The Curse of Crowley Manor

[I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old advetures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

In my excavations of text-based graphic adventures from the 1980s, one of my favorite discoveries has been the late Jyym Pearson’s “Apple Other-Ventures”. Each one begins with a dead-serious provocation: These are “state of the art”, with dynamically-changing, “breathtaking graphics”, “psychological realism” and “the plot quality of a fine novel.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Gruds in Space

I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »